Off the Rack ~ Panache Envy Bra Reviewed

In the aftermath of Curve, each member of the Hourglassy team received a sample bra from Panache. This week I’ll be reviewing mine, the Panache Envy in black, size 30G.

The last time I tried Panache Superbra (as opposed to Panache Cleo) was several years ago. I was desperately in need of a strapless bra, and the Panache Porcelain molded strapless was the only thing I could find, as the Deco strapless had not yet been introduced and I was still relatively new to the small-band-big-cup world and just wasn’t aware of any other brands.

The Porcelain was a terrible fit on me: way too shallow and wires way too wide. I used it for the event at which it was necessary, and then I basically wrote Panache off as simply not being the brand for me. But last year I tried a random Panache bra with three-part cups in a brick and mortar store, and was pleasantly surprised at how well it fit. So you can imagine my excitement when a brand rep at Curve offered to send me a sample.

Since I haven’t worn Superbra in so long, I deferred to her recommendation on what bra I should try. I stated that I typically wear 28GG or 30G in Cleo depending on the design, and am currently waffling between 28G/30FF and 28GG/30G depending on brand. She said a lot of people find Panache to run tight (I usually do; most of my Cleos are 30 bands), and since I’m already taking the larger cup in Cleo I should do the same for Superbra. She suggested the Envy as a good starter bra and size 30G. I chose the black colorway in part because black dye tends to make fabric less stretchy, so I thought that would make the 30 band even tighter and closer to a 28.

Verdict: I am a total Panache Superbra convert!

However, I have to admit Envy is not a perfect fit for my shape (narrow root, very full on bottom). But let’s start with the good first! Here’s the manufacturer’s photo:

(Please ignore the weirdly Photoshopped cleavage.)

(Please ignore the weirdly Photoshopped cleavage.)

It’s pretty basic, right? But it’s hiding a fun surprise…

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The bottom portion is actually houndstooth fabric! One of my favorite prints, this is actually my third houndstooth bra.

There’s also a detail on the underside that I really enjoy:

Criss-crossed band trim!

Criss-crossed band trim!

The construction—a single vertical seam, a horizontal seam, and a side panel—gives excellent uplift and pulls the breast tissue inward. There’s no east-west look here at all.

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Further, the stretch lace on the top portion is divine. It’s really stretchy yet bounces right back, and feels very soft and not at all scratchy or itchy. There’s no ribbon or sewn hem at the top of the lace, meaning this would be an excellent choice for full-on-top ladies who worry about the top edge cutting in. Plus, unlike a lot of other cut and sew bras I own, I don’t get even the tiniest bit of rippling on my smaller boob side where the lace meets the lower portion (*cough* Freya) or along the center vertical seam (*cough* Bravissimo).

This is perhaps a minor thing, but I also quite appreciate how thin the straps are on this bra. Maybe I’m just used to Freya’s somewhat clunky-looking elastic-esque straps, but these look much nicer.

Finally, I’m really pleased with the overall shape. It’s very round and uplifted, yet has just the slightest downward slope on the upper half of my boob, giving a nice, natural profile.

Sadly, despite all my positive findings, there are some definite fit issues. First up, the 30 band is too big. Right off the bat, I’m wearing it on the tightest hook and it’s still sloping up my back just enough that I can feel it. In fact, when I swapped bras to take some photos of it on me, the Panache band was sitting at least an inch above the slightly red mark where the previous bra’s band had been sitting. The band is really stretchy and comfortable, so I have no doubt that a 28 would be perfect.

Unfortunately, the Envy starts at 30! Of the seven Panache bras from the Autumn/Winter 2015 collection that start at 28, only the Andorra has similar construction to Envy, so that one would be next on my to-try list. (But I really want the houndstooth!) I really don’t understand why Panache’s bras don’t all start at 28 when many of them have similar construction to one another. What is the logic of having half of them at 28 and half at 30?

Moving on, the next couple issues are things I deal with all the time. First, the wires are a little too wide. In this next photo, I’ve got my thumb placed where my breast tissue stops, about an inch in from the wire:

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It’s not that big a deal. I still feel supported, and I’ve certainly experienced waaaaaaay wider wires among other brands. But I’d still prefer narrower if I had a choice.

Next is that the bra is slightly too shallow in the base of the cups. It’s causing me to experience the “orange in a glass effect,” meaning my breast tissue can’t squeeze all the way into the cup base, so instead the cup is folding over and the underwire is being pushed further down my ribcage instead of resting directly below my breast tissue.

Folded over cup from front.

Folded over cup from front.

Folded over cup in profile. If you click the image to view it full size, you can clearly see the unfilled space and improper wire placement.

Folded over cup in profile. Here, you can clearly see the unfilled space and improper wire placement.

Finally, and again this is a common issue for me, the straps are set a little too far out to the side for my arms, leading to some chafing along my armpit. You can really see the way it’s digging in when I place these photos next to each other:

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As I said in the beginning, despite these issues, I would still consider myself a Panache convert. They’re all issues that I experience with a lot of brands, but with Panache it’s much more minor. For example, Bravissimo has much worse shallowness (with some models, anyway) and Curvy Kate has way worse arm-chafing due to wide-set straps. I love the stretch lace with a passion and appreciate the attention to detail.

I think ladies who would get the best fit in Panache Envy would be women with fairly average shape: neither super full nor super shallow, neither super wide nor super narrow root, and neither a broad nor particularly small frame. The stretch lace does mean that very full-on-top ladies could do well in the brand, though. I’ll definitely be returning to Panache in the future…but I’ll also only be ordering from companies with a good return policy.

Disclosure: This bra was received as a review sample. All opinions are my own and based entirely on my experience.

 

Off the Rack ~ Autumn/Winter 2015 Curve Coverage Part III: Freya & Fantasie

Apologies for my absence last week, dear readers. I really wanted to do my Eveden post as soon as possible, but then I got swamped with work! Finally, here is my overly excited report on Freya and Fantasie’s latest and upcoming offerings. This is going to be an image-heavy post, with explanations of each item located after each photo.

First up, Fantasie lingerie:

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This was the first item pulled for us, and Darlene and I were pretty much swooning over the lovely print. “Alicia” in blossom print. Plunge bra 32-38 C & 30-38 D-G, side support bra 30-40 D-FF & 30-38 D-J. Release date May 2015

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I really enjoyed the candy pink coloring of this baby. The cream one would make a lovely bridal set, and includes a molded strapless, padded half-cup (also in pink), side support bra (also in pink), and basque, along with high-waisted briefs, regular briefs, thong, suspender belt, and even a garter. What a collection! The “print” on these is actually a super soft velvet. I was a huge fan.

“Mae” in lipstick or champagne. Strapless 32-40 D, 30-40 DD­-E, 30-38 F-G, 30-36 GG; padded half cup (both colors) 32-38 C & 30-38 D-G; side support (both colors) 30-38 D, 30-42 DD­-F, 30-40 FF-G, 30-38 GG­-H; basque 30­-38 D­-G. Release date Feb 2015 (champagne), May 2015 (lipstick).

A closeup of Mae’s modern floral velvet print.

A closeup of Mae’s modern floral velvet print.

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Easily my favorite Fantasie piece of the entire collection. This gorgeous Japanese-inspired print immediately made me think of a kimono or Ukiyo-e (woodblock) print. It also felt really silky and nice.

I’m super confused, however, because it’s missing from the AW15 lookbook. Somehow I forgot to take the previous season’s book, which features items being released right now, but it’s not on Fantasie’s website either. So I have no idea of the release date and I was only able to collect size information from other bloggers, so this is not complete: “Clementine” side support bra in 30-40 D-FF & 30-38 G-H.

In any case, here’s a closeup of the sheer back of those cheeky panties. Love it!

In any case, here’s a closeup of the sheer back of those cheeky panties. Love it!

Next up is Freya lingerie, which, oh gosh—so much to love!! Some of this stuff is from the collection that’s out right now and some is from AW15.

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Of course I have to start with Deco! I totally adore this neon yellow set with black and white animal print straps. You can even choose a thong in all print with neon yellow trim for a less monochromatic matching set. I swear, I never get tired of neon citrus colors (lemon, lime, and orange).

“Deco” molded plunge in zest: 32-38 B-C, 28-38 D-G, 28-36 GG. Release date March 2015.

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Another Deco! Apparently I’m a sucker for neon blue as well, though this was more of a super saturated sky blue than a neon in reality. Love that black trim. It’s also coming out in purple with neon pink accents. Includes a J-hook in back.

“Deco Vibe” molded plunge in electric blue: 32-38 B-C, 28-38 D-G, 28-36 GG. Release date Oct 2015.

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Love this mint color and the total sheerness of the Starlet. Also the polka dots on the bows. It also comes in…

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A lovely neon blue! With orange bows.

“Starlet” in peppermint and electric blue. Vertical seam bra in 32-38 B-C & 28-38 D-F; plunge balcony 32-36 C & 28-38 D-G. Release date January 2015 (peppermint), April 2015 (electric blue).

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Next season will also see the addition of neon pink (though I think it looks like orange) and black (continuity). Same size range, release date June 2015.

Starlet brings me to Freya’s next big innovation—mix-and-match panties called “Fancies.” Here’s the blue Starlet bra with its matching briefs and a pair of Fancies on the bottom:

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And here are all the colors being released Dec 2014 through April 2015:

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The idea with these boy-short and Brazilian panties is that you can match them with several bras from the season. I think it’s really clever and the styles are cute. However, I’m a little disappointed by the price point. These aren’t as upscale as the other matching underwear in terms of materials and construction, but they have almost the same price point at $26-$28 (compared to $28-$30). I’m sorry, but I will never pay more than $15 for a pair of panties, no matter how well they match my bras.

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Here is a design that I’m desperate to try, as much for experimentation’s sake as because I like the style. I don’t really care about the leopard print (though that lilac trim at least makes it a little different), but check out these details:

Keyhole and very deep plunge.

Keyhole and very deep plunge.

Single hook and eye—single??

Single hook and eye—single??

Extra narrow strap (on the left).

Extra narrow strap (on the left).

The narrower plunge strap on top of the padded half-cup version. It’s 3mm smaller than the half-cup and 7mm smaller than the GG-K balcony, according to the lookbook.

The narrower plunge strap on top of the padded half-cup version. It’s 3mm smaller than the half-cup and 7mm smaller than the GG-K balcony, according to the lookbook.

The keyhole, straps, plunge, and band design are unlike anything Freya’s made before. I really, really want to check out this bra to see how it feels and how supportive it is. Plus, the AW15 colorway is way more up my alley:

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Halloween colors!!

Halloween colors!!

When the Hourglassy crew was part of a focus group at the Eveden NY office some time ago, several of the other busty ladies present said they wanted all the delicate trappings of smaller bust bras (thin straps, single hook, less cup coverage, etc), and I think this bra fits that bill. So kudos to Eveden for listening! Of course, the plunge stops at G, but I have a hard time believing such a dainty design would be supportive enough for K cups, which is what the traditional balcony version goes up to.

“Minx” in leopard, Tabasco, and sugarplum (not shown, but it’s light pink leopard with pink lace). Plunge balcony 32-38 C & 28-38 D-G; balcony 28-38 GG-J & 30-36 JJ-K; padded half-cup 32-38 B-C & 30-38 D-G. Release date May 2015 (leopard), Sept 2015 (Tabasco), Nov 2015 (sugarplum).

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Lastly, I just need to point out the gorgeous jade color new to the basic (but excellent fitting on me!) Rio bra. And I also enjoy the back of the thong. It’s, like, half brief and half thong. Interesting (and maybe more comfortable than a regular string thong?).

Rio in “jade” plunge balcony: 32-38 B, 30-38 C-D, 28-38 DD-H.

Next up is Fantasie swimwear.

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I could take or leave this print, but I’m thrilled that a large-cup lingerie company is offering a one-strap swimsuit. It’s so on trend!

Inside is a full-on underwire bra with adjustable band.

Inside is a full-on underwire bra with adjustable band.

“Cayman” comes in a balcony bikini top up to HH, bandeau up to G, tankini up to H, two swim bottoms, a maxi dress, and the asymmetric one-piece in 32-38 D-G. Release date July 2015.

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I don’t usually go for obviously tropical prints on swimwear, but something about these layers of green with just pops of pomegranate really spoke to me. “Antigua” comes in a full-cup bikini top up to H, bandeau up to G, tankini with adjustable sides (shown here) up to H, a one-piece suit up to J, two bottoms, and a long sarong.

That’s all that really caught my eye among Fantasie’s swim offerings, but Freya had lots for me to get excited about.

First up, speaking of on-trend asymmetrical swimwear…

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Oh my god, what is this?? Holy crap, it’s a gold foil, stripper-chic, cut-out monokini. This is so far from my style, but I am sooooo happy Freya is making this. It only goes up to an F cup, but that’s still a lot bigger than the boobs that will fit in the completely support-less strips of spandex these suits are usually made of.

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The inside features hidden underwires and a non-adjustable clasp. And if you want the gold amazingness of the fabric, but prefer something a little more traditional, there’s also a halter bikini that goes up to FF:

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I’d be tempted to just buy the bottoms and pair them with a solid black or white top.

“Gold Rush” cut-out suit comes in 30-36 D-F and halter bikini in 30-38 C-E, 30-36 F, 30-34 FF. Release date December 2014.

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Augh, loooooove the watermelon and coordinating watermelon seed print! I want to buy every item in this group and mix and match them. I think it’d be so cute to pair the fruit print on top with the seed print on bottom (or vice versa).

“Watermelon” comes in a wired halter bikini up to H, padded bandeau up to G, wired halter tankini up to G, two bottoms, and a bandeau dress. The seeds (“Pip”) come in a wired halter bikini up to H, sweetheart padded bikini up to GG, two bottoms, and a one-piece up to FF. Release date: February 2015.

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Moving into a sportier look, we have “Revival” in “Surf,” with just a touch of neon. It also comes in an indigo base with fuschia and white accents. On offer is a padded bandeau top up to GG, sweetheart padded top (shown here) up to GG, padded bandeau tankini up to GG, and two bottoms; “Indigo” also comes in a third bottom and a bandeau one-piece up to GG.

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Continuing the trend of sporty + neon, here is the swimsuit I am utterly obsessed with! I actually bought this from Asos earlier this week and am waiting for its delivery. Hello, a longline bandeau top with sporty black accents? In neon?? With high-waisted bottoms??? It’s like Freya read my mind! I cannot wait to try this suit.

“Bondi” in “Vibe” also comes in a padded sweetheart top up to GG and a soft triangle up to F, plus two bottoms and a swim skirt (the longline goes up to G). I’m not as big a fan of the sweetheart top because the pink strip at the top is narrower and continues onto the straps, whereas I’d much prefer the straps stay black like the longline and the soft cups.

This suit is also coming out in a “Seaspray” color combo that I’m even more in love with in August:

Soft triangle top and classic brief.

Soft triangle top and classic brief.

I’m really disappointed (really), however, that it’s not being released in the longline or the high-waisted bottoms. WHY NOT?? I love the way the soft triangle cups look, but they stop at an F cup for crying out loud. That’s too small to even sister size into unless I want a huge, loose band. It also kills me that the two bikini bottom options are just solid instead of featuring the accent color at the waistband.

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Continuing with the neons is the delightfully Barbie-esque hot pink, polka dot “Bon Bon,” available in a sweetheart padded top up to GG, padded halter (seen here) up to GG, padded plunge up to J, bandeau tankini up to GG, and two choices of bottoms. Release date May 2015.

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Last up is the Saved by the Bell-looking “Tribal Tax.” Again I love the black trim, and I’m a big fan of this “mid-line” padded bandeau top, which goes up to G. This print also comes in a sweetheart padded top up to HH, and there are two bottoms.

Whew! That’s all of it. And that’s all for my Curve Expo coverage this go-round.

 

Off the Rack ~ Autumn/Winter 2015 Curve Coverage Part II

Continuing my coverage of the Curve Expo, this week I’m focusing on our familiar brands Claudette, Curvy Kate, Parfait, and Panache. Panache in particular was really good to us this year, spending oodles of time showing us the new collection and having the models put on anything we wanted.

As a reminder, everything we saw is scheduled for Autumn/Winter 2015, so these will be available for sale between September 2015 through February 2016.

 

Claudette

Ah, Claudette. I love this brand. They’re so fresh, and they always listen to their customers. This year, for example, they’re offering several different neutral colors after consumers asked for them, none of which are called the politically incorrect “nude.” Colors include Blondie, a super-pale, pink-leaning beige; Sunkissed, a basic tan; Allure, a baby pale pink; Barefoot, a slightly brighter pale pink; Rouge Noir, a brownish plum; Gothic Grape, a dark, cool eggplant purple; Alter Ego, a darker mocha-esque tan; and New Classic, a light mauve-y purple; and finally a basic black.

Of course, since this is Claudette and their ethos is always fun, there are also a slightly toned down neon pink (“Elsa Pink”) and a lovely ocean blue (“New Wave”), both of which turn up as trim on all the other shades and as pieces in their own right.

I really wish I’d taken a photo of all the skin-like neutrals next to each other. The brand really does offer a nice range, from the ultra pale Blondie and Allure (good for my pasty self!), through the darker tan Sunkissed and Alter Ego, to the Rouge Noir, which I think could work as a “nude” for a lot of black women. I think it’d be really cool if Claudette took advantage of what they have on offer, and used models of a few different races in their lookbooks and photo shoots.

As for those colors, here are the Dessous bras with Elsa Pink trim in (left to right) Rouge Noir, Alter Ego, Elsa Pink, and New Classic:

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And here is the Dessous with New Wave trim in Barefoot and Gothic Grape:

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Claudette is also introducing their very first Dessous tee-shirt bra, which will come in black, Allure, and Sunkissed. It uses the same mesh band and seam structure as the classic Dessous, but with light padding and opaque fabric in the cups. Of course, they had to throw in a little whimsy too, so all the colors are lined with Elsa Pink:

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Further, Claudette is adding the lace “Darling” to their offerings, which is replacing the old Bardot model, available in New Wave, Elsa Pink, Blondie, and Gothic Grape.

Darling in Gothic Grape.

Darling in Gothic Grape.

And finally, the Fishnet bra (one of my favorites, though I never reviewed it here . . . so many bras, so little time!) is coming out in Elsa Pink and Rouge Noir. I’m very partial to the Rouge Noir, shown here:

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The Fishnet that I currently own has velvet straps, but the newer models have normal strapping fabric, though I did notice that the underside has a strip of satin-y material that makes it look extra comfortable:

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Finally, we have Claudette’s biggest addition to the family—soft, stretch mesh coverups! These totally sheer, brightly colored garments could be worn as swim coverups, loungewear, or even outerwear over a camisole or bra if you’re feeling really brave. There’s a dress, pocket tee, and “cheeky all mesh hotpants.” They come in Elsa Pink, New Wave, and Gothic Grape, to perfectly match your Dessous sets.

I could definitely see wearing the blue or grape as outerwear with a solid black bra underneath and maybe a little biker jacket over the top.

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Claudette bras cost $58 – $72, with the coverups going for $32 for the hotpants, $39.50 for the shirt (not bad!), and $52.75 for the dress. All their bras come in the same size range of 32-34 A, 32-38 B, 30-38 C, and 28-38 D-G (UK cup schema).

 

Curvy Kate

Sigh…Every year I lament that CK doesn’t work for me. While the bands and cups are fine, the straps are so wide that it’s unwearable (check out my review of the Eden bra for details). This collection is no exception, with loads of colors and prints that I adore, including a cherry print bra—cherry print!!

F/W15 is all about bright, pop-y colors. First up is the lovely “saffron” Dreamcatcher bra. CK does such a good job with contrasting trim. I love the teal here:

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Next up is the Cherie, which I’m pretty sure made me gasp out loud. Ugh, why can’t this fit me??

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More teal and orange shows up in the zebra-esque Madagascar set:

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You know I’m a sucker for black, white, and red, so I’m also loving the Illusion:

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And don’t get me started on the freaking adorable swimwear they have coming out:

The Plain Sailing set of padded balcony bikini and skirted brief.The Plain Sailing set of padded balcony bikini and skirted brief.

The Plain Sailing set of padded balcony bikini and skirted brief.

Are you kidding me with these bottoms??

Are you kidding me with these bottoms??

They’re also introducing a nice basic black set, including high-waisted bottoms (though they’re a bit big on the model here):

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But what I was really excited to see of CK’s offerings was the new Scantilly line. This is a more risqué and sexier side of the same CK customer, and it really hits that sweet spot of being sexy for the boudoir without being silly, over-the-top, or trashy-looking. Sadly, it comes in a slightly reduced size range of 30D to 38HH instead of going to the usual J or K cup.

The secret box unveiled!

The secret box unveiled!

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Aside from the Scantilly collection, Curvy Kate comes in 28 (sometimes 30)-38 D-J (sometimes K), UK sizing.

 

Parfait by Affinitas

Parfait added some really classy and sophisticated prints and colors to their repertoire this time around.

First up is the zebra Ellie. With a tan underlay and black or pewter top layer, this is the most subtle zebra print I’ve ever seen. It comes in a molded cup or an unlined triangle wire bra.

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Next is the Marianne, whose silver grass-like embroidery really appealed to me:

Note the pin dots in the upper mesh and cups that gradually fade into the straps for a triangle-shaped effect, instead of tacking the strap on, a feature I really like when I can find it.

Note the pin dots in the upper mesh and cups that gradually fade into the straps for a triangle-shaped effect, instead of tacking the strap on, a feature I really like when I can find it.

Love that silver. This bra also has 15% spandex, which sounds really comfy!

Love that silver. This bra also has a high spandex content at 15%, which sounds really comfy!

Next up is the rich, deep “cassis” Destiny, in a molded contour or unlined wire bra. The contour has a really attractive outer satin side sling:

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Both styles have corset-esque lacing detail in the gore and a tiny matching bow (small enough not to peek out of low-cut tops!).

Both styles have corset-esque lacing detail in the gore and a tiny matching bow (small enough not to peek out of low-cut tops!).

The Jeanie basic bra now comes as a strapless bustier and a strapless convertible bra in black and tan. Additionally, the plunge molded and the unlined wire bra are coming out in Java, a super dark brown. Yes, another “nude” for dark skin! My photo makes it look almost black, but in real life it’s more like the color of coffee beans:

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A closeup of the unlined wire Jeanie. I like the construction with two vertical seams on the bottom half.

A closeup of the unlined wire Jeanie. I like the construction with two vertical seams on the bottom half.

Lastly, we have something I’m inordinately excited to try: the Tess in freaking modal fabric. The Parfait rep told me it was cotton, but the lookbook says modal, which is my favorite fabric in the whole world. It’s a type of rayon made by spinning reconstituted cellulose, usually from bamboo or beech trees. It’s smooth and soft with a nice weight and drape, and is resistant to shrinking and wrinkling.

I don’t care at all what this bra looks like, I just want to put it on. Though I will say that I’m a fan of the charcoal grey color:

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Parfait comes in 30-40 D-GG (UK sizes), with select items starting at 28 band and going up to a K cup.

 

Panache

We learned so many cool things at Panache! I was most impressed with the fact that they’re taking the Superbra line in a slightly more fun direction without actually skewing younger and stepping on Cleo’s toes.

At that point, let’s start off with the Floris bra. We were told that previously this bra featured “older,” more subtle floral prints. This season, they’re offering a much more modern print:

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A closeup. This pattern makes me think of the aurora borealis.

A closeup. This pattern makes me think of the aurora borealis.

Along a similar line is the best-selling Jasmine, with a stiff lower cup and stretch lace on the top. Unusually, it’s only being released in fashion colors this season, no cores. They’re offering a rose floral against a black background, a super subtle teal and black snakeskin, and a Jackson Pollock-esque abstract print that I quite like:

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The abstract looked really great on the model, especially with that royal blue lace and trim:

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Next up is the Clara, which of course comes in black and tan, but the really exciting part is the pair of fashion colors being released—a gorgeous claret with charcoal lace overlay and a bright teal with navy overlay (only two of my favorite bra colors!):

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I just could not get enough of the teal and navy when it was in front of me. I even managed to get a color-accurate photo for once!

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More amazing colors are the cobalt blue and the black with teal embroidery Tango (anyone else sensing a theme with all these blues and teals?):

Another miraculously color-accurate shot in the Javits Center’s terrible fluorescent lighting!

Another miraculously color-accurate shot in the Javits Center’s terrible fluorescent lighting!

And a closeup to get a better view of the embroidery.

And a closeup to get a better view of the embroidery.

Next is the Fontaine, which is apparently not a new design, but it’s one I’d never seen before. It really caught my eye because it’s got such a low plunge and very triangular cups. Unfortunately, it only goes up to a HH instead of K-cups. Still, I thought the simplicity of the design and flat, square bow at the center gore paired with the girly raspberry color was a really nice combination. As I get older, I still want bright colored undies, but maybe in a slightly more grown-up style compared to Cleo’s ultra-cutesy look, and this really fits the bill:

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Finally, there are two innovations that I’m super excited about:

Hello, high-waisted, vintage-inspired, sheer, houndstooth underwear! With a tummy control panel! Gimme gimme gimme!!! This is part of the Envy collection, and also comes in tan and ivory.

Hello, high-waisted, vintage-inspired, sheer, houndstooth underwear! With a tummy control panel! Gimme gimme gimme!!! This is part of the Envy collection, and also comes in tan and ivory.

Take a close look—those are removable straps! They stay put in the front, but you can switch up the back and wear it cross-back. This is the new Porcelain Elan Lace, which (sadly) stops at an H cup.

Take a close look—those are removable straps! They stay put in the front, but you can switch up the back and wear it cross-back. This is the new Porcelain Elan Lace, which stops at an H cup.

Panache Superbra starts at 28 or 30, goes up to 38 or 40, and includes cups D-J or K, with some bras (mostly the molded ones) stopping at G, H, or HH.

Next, I’m really pleased to introduce you to Panache’s newest range, Panache Black. It’s taking the place of the discontinued Masquerade line. It’s a lower price point than Masquerade was, but higher than Superbra, and is intended to be more upscale and sexier than the Superbra range.

There are only five designs to start, but they’re really nice. They’re certainly sexy, but still quite subtle. My personal favorite was the Aria, available up to an H cup:

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Look at that cheeky panty!

Look at that cheeky panty!

Closeup of the cup detailing. Black over tan is such a classic, sophisticated combination.

Closeup of the cup detailing. Black over tan is such a classic, sophisticated combination.

Another black and tan offering is the Esme, available up to a K cup, and matching high-waisted brief:

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Aside from black, the other color in the collection is—my favorite yet again—teal!

Eclipse, available up to a K cup.

Eclipse, available up to a K cup.

I think Black is off to a really nice start and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes in the future.

Next up are some highlights from Cleo:

The new Minnie colors, which I love. Goes up to J cup.

The new Minnie colors, which I love. Goes up to J cup.

A surprisingly sophisticated (and gorgeous!) burgundy Marcie. Also up to J cup.

A surprisingly sophisticated (and gorgeous!) burgundy Marcie. Also up to J cup.

Cleo’s first longline (I think), the Breeze. Goes up to H cup. Love the photorealistic floral print, and the black trim edges it up a little.

Cleo’s first longline (I think), the Breeze. Goes up to H cup. Love the photorealistic floral print, and the black trim edges it up a little.

J-hook on the new molded-cup Koko Belle! Why don’t all bras have this feature? Goes up to H cup.

J-hook on the new molded-cup Koko Belle! Why don’t all bras have this feature? Goes up to H cup.

My favorite piece in the whole collection, and a new style—the Hettie. Goes up to J cup. This photo isn’t that great, but it’s a vibrant royal blue with black overlay and black lace upper cup. It’s another pleasantly sophisticated surprise.

My favorite piece in the whole collection, and a new style—the Hettie. Goes up to J cup. This photo isn’t that great, but it’s a vibrant royal blue with black overlay and black lace upper cup. It’s another pleasantly sophisticated surprise.

Here’s a closeup that shows off the color a bit better.

Here’s a closeup that shows off the color a bit better.

Lastly, two aaaaaadorable swim options from Panache (not Cleo):

Love the pinup-y feel of the Annalise set, available up to H cup in a molded balconette bikini (shown here) and molded balconette tankini.

Love the pinup-y feel of the Annalise set, available up to H cup in a molded balconette bikini (shown here) and molded balconette tankini.

And you know I can’t resist a nautical. The Britt Stripe is available in a bandeau bikini (up to G cup), halter bikini (shown here, up to H cup), and halter tankini (also up to H cup). It offers two bottom styles; the one shown here is the “gather pant,” and that little red bow is removable (or you can move it to another spot on the same bikini). Too cute!

And you know I can’t resist a nautical. The Britt Stripe is available in a bandeau bikini (up to G cup), halter bikini (shown here, up to H cup), and halter tankini (also up to H cup). It offers two bottom styles; the one shown here is the “gather pant,” and that little red bow is removable (or you can move it to another spot on the same bikini). Too cute!

 

Next week, I’ll wrap up my coverage of Curve with a massive Freya and Fantasie overview. You guys, there’s so much good stuff coming out!!

 

Off the Rack ~ Autumn/Winter 2015 Curve Coverage Part I

Last weekend was the Curve Expo lingerie and swimwear trade show for Autumn/Winter 2015 in New York. Unless otherwise noted, everything you see below will be released for sale around October 2015–February 2016. This week I’ll cover some lesser-known brands I checked out at Curve, and next week I’ll go over the usual suspects of Claudette, Curvy Kate, Panache, and Parfait. I’ll be doing an Eveden overview all on its own, because Darlene and I went to their NY showroom and got to talk about and photograph everything from the current season and A/W15.

I’m just going to go in alphabetical order here, and provide some highlights of what I found:

 

Fit Fully Yours

Fit Fully Yours is a Canadian lingerie company that’s been in business for 11 years as of this April. Their bands go from 30 to 40, plus 42 and 44 in some models, and one model (the Maxine Moulded) that goes up to 46 band. Cups go from A to J in American/Canadian sizing, varying in availability depending on the bra. Here’s their sizing schema at D and up, with UK equivalent on the right:

FFY     UK
D         D
DD      DD
F          E
G         F
H         FF
I           G
J          GG

In going through their lookbook, it seems that most bras stop at G or H. The ones that reach J (or UK GG) include Maxine Moulded, Gloria Smooth Lace, and Nicole See-Thru Lace.

FFY bras include quite a few features that I’m often on the lookout for, such as straps that attach to the cups at the center instead of outer corners of the cup; double-layer bands where at least one layer is fabric not mesh; triple-hooks on all DD+ sizes; and straps that are closer together in back without being a racerback.

Another interesting feature that they told us about is that instead of using hard boning on the sides, they use a quadruple layer of fabric. As such, you still get the same support and structure, but it’s more flexible and won’t dig in.

The styles are fairly basic, but come in lots of great colors. Further, they keep the colors in production for up to two years (sometimes more), much longer than most brands. So if you find something you really like and it wears out over time, you can actually get a replacement!

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Above is the Maxine Moulded, in dark teal. The color is really saturated and lovely in real life, even better than it looks in my photo. I love the decorative bits where the strap connects, as it takes this from a basic to something a little more interesting.

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Above are all the colors of the Crystal Smooth, which has slightly less coverage than the Maxine. I’m a big fan of the lime green, and I think the little crystal decoration in the gore makes this design just a little more special.

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Finally we have the Elizabeth Smooth Lace. The little pearls are pretty fun, and I like the lace band.

I wish I’d taken a photo of the Gloria Smooth Lace. It has a lace sling around the outer edge of the cups, which continues onto the straps. But even though the straps are decorative, they’re still fully adjustable. How rare!

Overall, I’d say that FFY makes tee shirt bras with colors and little extra details that make them just a little more special than a totally plain one. Prices range from $49 for their wireless options up to $80, about on par with other non-luxury big bust brands.

 

Harlow & Fox

Harlow & Fox, the ever-luxurious indie British brand, has been doing quite well for itself. They weren’t at the Curve show, but set up shop in a local hotel to show the newest collection.

This year H&F are introducing two of my absolute favorite colors—bright cobalt (though they call it “indigo”) and a rich teal. My photos do not do the colors any justice whatsoever, but I’ll try to get across how absolutely stunning these pieces are…

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Here’s the complete Indigo Eleanor collection: bra, bikini, thong, garter belt, tap pants, half slip, and robe. They all have the most delicate and pretty black eyelash lace, which is so gorgeous and sultry paired with the blue.

A closeup of the Eleanor bra.

A closeup of the Eleanor bra.

Augh, the color. I can’t deal. I saw a lot of cobalt at Curve, but nothing compared to this. And the silk is so soft. I wanted to swim in it.

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Above is my attempt to capture the teal, but nothing I did with my camera could get it right. It looks rather dull here, but it was really bright with a heavy blue tint. It was almost iridescent and made me think of peacocks.

The Augusta teal bra.

The Augusta teal bra.

A closeup of the Augusta’s art nouveau-inspired embroidery.

A closeup of the Augusta’s art nouveau-inspired embroidery.

The fabulous fringed Augusta garter belt.

The fabulous fringed Augusta garter belt.

There were also some new black offerings, including a Viola longline bra, side-tie bikini briefs, lacey thong, long silk gown (in two cup options—DD-F or FF-G), and a kimono of transparent cream tulle with black eyelash lace on the ends of the sleeves and skirt portions and a wide silk sash.

I’ve never been much of a swishy, romantic robe kinda girl (I don’t even own a bathrobe), but I was totally into the longline bra, which I previously tried in gold and absolutely fell in love with. Apparently customers felt the gold one ran small in the band, so that issue has been fixed with the new model.

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Not the best photo, but let me assure you this thing is gorgeous and fits like a dream. Feels like a dream too! The silk is so soft, which is especially appreciated on the straps, and overall it’s a terribly light and comfortable wear.

I’m a huge fan of the side-tie bikini as well.

I’m a huge fan of the side-tie bikini as well.

The bikini is totally sheer tulle on the back. So freaking sexy.

The bikini is totally sheer tulle on the back. So freaking sexy.

 

Kris Line

I realize Kris Line is not that new for most people, but this was the first time I got to look at some of their stuff in person. I am desperate to try out this Polish brand. They’re often featured on US flash sale site Zulily, but unfortunately they don’t accept returns (not even for store credit) with any intimate apparel, so it’s really only useful if you know your size.

Kris Line uses UK cup sizing from A to O (yes, O!), and bands from 60 to 115 (or 28 to 50 [yes, 50!]). They truly have the widest size range of any brand in existence that I’m aware of.

The most popular styles are Brillant and Fortuna, the latter of which also comes in a baby doll in white or black, sizes 30-50 B-KK (though each band size down loses the top letter, i.e. 30 goes up to KK, 32 up to K, 34 up to JJ, etc. Band size 50 stops at F).

Kris Line also offers a nice range of nursing bras and tons of awesome swimwear, including a gorgeous ombre collection that I’m really lusting over, though sadly I doubt I’ll be able to find it in the US since Kris Line has very limited distribution here.

Finally, of the brand’s large cup bras, there are just three styles: soft (no padding), semi-soft (padded on the bottom half), and Deco Plunge (molded cup). Once you know your size in each style, you can use that as a guide for all their bras.

I wish I’d taken more photos, but here are the few I have:

Just a closeup of the lace trim.

Just a closeup of the lace trim.

On the underside of the lace is elastic! So no worries about ribbon or a tight edge cutting into full-on-top breasts.

On the underside of the lace is elastic! So no worries about ribbon or a tight edge cutting into full-on-top breasts.

An example of a soft-cup.

An example of a soft-cup.

An example of the semi-soft.

An example of the semi-soft.

An example of a Deco Plunge. Agh I forgot to write down the name of this print! I’m not usually into floral, but this one really speaks to me for some reason.

An example of a Deco Plunge. Agh I forgot to write down the name of this print! I’m not usually into floral, but this one really speaks to me for some reason.

 

Passionata

Here’s a brand I’m really excited to share with readers. Coincidentally, I bought one of their bras just before the Curve show and I’m really pleased with it (review to come in a few weeks!), so I was really excited to speak with them in person.

Passionata is part of the Chantelle lingerie group, though they just launched in the US last fall. Since Chantelle is a French brand, Passionata uses single letter sizing. All their bras go up to an E cup (i.e. UK DD), and they also offer lots of really cute cuts up to an H (or UK FF).

Started in 1988, I was told that Passionata was created as a backlash against the Calvin Klein-esque minimalism and androgyny of that period. I think that aesthetic is still reflected today, with lots of color and flirty details. The point of view these days is also “all about comfort all day.” Price point is on par with similar brands, about $60 a bra.

All the models I’m showing here come in the larger cup sizes (up to H).

This is the Bloom longline. This cup style apparently their “quintessential demi.” I love the sheer panel in front, and the lace side slings bring everything forward.

This is the Bloom longline. This cup style is apparently their “quintessential demi.” I love the sheer panel in front, and the lace side slings bring everything forward.

This is from the About Midnight collection. It’s a mesh over satin. I really like the black-on-black dot print. It reminds me a little of men’s suiting.

This is from the About Midnight collection. It’s a mesh over satin. I really like the black-on-black dot print. It reminds me a little of men’s suiting.

About Midnight also comes in this amazing jade green.

About Midnight also comes in this amazing jade green.

This is Miss Fashion tee shirt bra. It’s the same design as their “Smooth” tee bra, but with lace detailing on the sides and band.

This is the Miss Fashion tee shirt bra. It’s the same design as their “Smooth” tee bra, but with lace detailing on the sides and band.

And this is the Miss Fashion unlined bra, which features the same sheer paneling as the Bloom.

And this is the Miss Fashion unlined bra, which features the same sheer paneling as the Bloom.

The inside of the unlined Miss Fashion has a hidden double layer of mesh for extra support. You can see it folding on itself on the left side of the interior, and an actual seam on the right side.

The inside of the unlined Miss Fashion has a hidden double layer of mesh for extra support. You can see it folding on itself on the left side of the interior, and an actual seam just right of center.

 

Rago

Just a little teaser here. Rago is the go-to shapewear brand for pinup girls. Their shapers have really nice vintage styling and attractive colors and seaming. Some have bra cups up to DD that offer a subtle bullet shape. The best reviews I’ve found are on MissVictoryViolet.com.

What I’m showing here is their “corset dress.” I would love something like this to wear under my ’50s dresses to suck in my tummy just a little and give some nice poof (but not too much) under the skirt.

This dress offers “extra firm” upper body shaping. Additionally, while it only comes in small through xl (with no cup sizes), the cups are actually expandable (see photo below), so it could probably work for busty ladies up to a point.

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The waist features a wide elastic band and the back has three columns of hooks and eyes.

The waist features a wide elastic band and the back has three columns of hooks and eyes.

The expandable cups. The cup is not attached to the underbust at that big seam. Rather, the cup fabric can be pushed further out above the seam. There’s no underwire either.

The expandable cups. The cup is not attached to the underbust at that big seam. Rather, the cup fabric can be pushed further out above the seam. There’s no underwire either.

In NY, the corset dress can be purchased at Enz’s in Manhattan, or can be ordered online.

 

Tutti Rouge

Like Kris Line, this is actually a brand lots of bloggers have covered, but this was only the second time I got to see their pieces in person. The first time was at one of our busty clothing swaps, when someone had brought a 28G (I think) to give away, and it did not fit me at all (it was way small in both band and cup). I believe the sizing at this point is a little more consistent with other British brands, and so I’d really like to try it soon.

The theme of the A/W15 season is “kiss and tell.” I was told it’s about “loving the thrill of the chase” without necessarily being in love. So sassy! I really love it and think it’s great that the brand is here for the woman wearing the lingerie, not for her man. Additionally, all the bras go up to at least a UK HH and some go up to J.

After seeing the brand in person and getting to check out all the details and the lovely fabrics and fabulous colors and prints, I’m desperate to try it myself.

Which Tutti am I? Let’s see…

Love the print on this Betty bra. The sketchy black outlines make it look like a fresh tattoo to me.

Love the print on this Betty bra. The sketchy black outlines make it look like a fresh tattoo to me.

From upper left: Liliana, Betty, and Nichole. Note that although they’re all quite different, they intentionally share a spot of color or two so that they can all be mixed and matched. Genius! Also, I adore Nichole’s emerald color.

From upper left: Liliana, Betty, and Nichole. Note that although they’re all quite different, they intentionally share a spot of color or two so that they can all be mixed and matched. Genius! Also, I adore Nichole’s emerald color.

A closeup of Nichole’s sweet little bow with a teeny tiny heart. Love it!

A closeup of Nichole’s sweet little bow with a teeny tiny heart. Love it!

Another Nichole in a lovely purpleish-blue.

Another Nichole in a lovely purpleish-blue.

Don’t get me started on the Beatrice in emerald and noir. That color! The cameo at the gore!

Don’t get me started on the Beatrice in emerald and noir. That color! The cameo at the gore!

Beatrice also comes in a sweet bridal crème color.

Beatrice also comes in a sweet bridal crème color.

This is the Jessica, which I was told is the world’s first unpadded plunge with removable cookies.

This is the Jessica, which I was told is the world’s first unpadded plunge with removable cookies.

And of course I needed a closeup of the gore decoration here as well. Love that attention to detail!

And of course I needed a closeup of the gore decoration here as well. Love that attention to detail!

Again we have totally different styles, the Nichole on the left and Jessica on right, with similar colors so they can be mixed.

Again we have totally different styles, the Nichole on the left and Jessica on right, with similar colors so they can be mixed.