Here’s the first of the reviews I promised you last week. It’s actually my first swimsuit review ever because I’ve only linked to possibilities (here and here) in the past .

One reason I haven’t posted swimsuit reviews is that I haven’t needed a new suit. But when I saw the Panache Geneva on the Bare Necessities website right before our trip to Vietnam, I decided I needed a new suit! I bought it in 36FF, the same size as my Panache Tango II bra that I wrote about last October. However, it may also have worked in 34FF, the size of my Panache strappy tops that I reviewed last August.

(Do you think this model is wearing a strapless bra for more support under her suit? Because it sure doesn’t look like this on me! You can see how I look in it after the jump.)

Another reason I haven’t posted swimsuit reviews is that I never remember to take pictures when we’re at the beach or a pool, and my main goal is to give you an idea of how a suit functions once it’s sopping wet. Imagine yourself as Venus rising from the sea. Will your suit look as good coming out of the water as it did in the dressing room mirror?

So here, after multiple dunkings in my bathtub this morning, are pictures comparing my new Panache with my old suits.

1. First, a comparison of the Panache Geneva with my old Miraclesuit.

Ultimately, I prefer the Vavoom Factor of the Miraclesuit to the functional Panache. The Miraclesuit’s V-neck is more flattering, and its shirring helps hide dart seams. The dart seams show up too much in the Panache (you can’t tell in this photo, but there are almost horizontal darts coming from the inside curves of the underwires), and the fabric is so thin that, when wet, it hints at my areola. One reviewer wrote on Herroom that “This top is supportive and fits well. The only downside is that the material isn’t thick and there isn’t a strong enough liner to conceal cold nips. I’m going to find inserts to pop in.”

A 34HH reviewer on Herroom wrote that “It is as supportive as my everyday bra, and is totally comfortable.” I feel sorry for her if her everyday bra supports like this swimsuit! The Panache holds me in place, but I would never wear it as anything but a swimsuit, and it’s not a go-jogging-on-the-beach swimsuit, either (does such a bra exist for us?). If it lifted and supported like my everyday bras, I’d run errands in it during the summer.

However, in trying them on so close together this morning, I realized that the Miraclesuit cup is way too small. If it were a bra, a bra fitter would tell me to go up a cup size because of side seepage and quadraboob. But Miraclesuit isn’t sized by cup, and Panache is.

So final score: Miraclesuit 2 (style and fabric) – Panache 1 (fit)

2. Now see the Geneva Tankini next to a generic Gottex tankini that I bought for $12 at the end of the summer in 2006.

These pictures confirmed my suspicion that the Gottex does nothing for me in the Up Top Department. Here’s where the underwire and cup sizing of the Panache makes a difference. You can see the triangle padding of the Gottex in both the front and side views. The pictures of the Gottex “bra” below shows why this suit just leaves me hanging.

Final score: Panache 1 – Gottex 0

Here are pictures of the bras in these swimsuits. The Panache has an interesting “bridge” that links the center of the bra (where the underwires almost meet) to the suit’s shell.

The Gottex “bra” basically only serves as a good nipple-hider.

The Miraclesuit bra would be fine if it were only in my size.