Product Review: Cleo Kayla

I have a vision of two Panache designers sitting at a long table with colorful fashion sketches intermixed with swatches of fabric, lace, and ribbon, and one asks “What about making another, slightly different version of Jasmine?” The other nods as she contemplates the question before finally responding “Well, you can never have too much of a good thing.” There’s more to this fictitious conversation obviously, but I truncated it to what is relevant for the review. For those not familiar with the brand, Jasmine is one of those best-selling, crowd-pleasing favorites which brands and retailers alike dub “rent payers,” and because of that success, Panache has tweaked Jasmine several times, including fuller-coverage Envy and plus-size friendly Chi Chi. As a result, when my rep told me last year the Cleo line would now feature a Jasmine-esque style, I was so ecstatic I ordered a bunch for the shop. Yet, I have never seemed to review the style myself.

As I mentioned in the Petra review, I am consistently a UK 34H (US 34K) in Panache bras, and Kayla remains true-to-size. The band fits comfortably on the loosest hooks, and I fill up the cups completely without gaping or overflow. (Side note: I think I’ve written those word combinations at least twenty-five times, but damn it, they summarize size so succinctly!) From a fit perspective, Kayla certainly shares overlapping features with the Jasmine, but there’s another best-selling contributor at work too: the Cleo Marcie. With genes like those, you know Kayla is going to have something special to offer!

For starters, Kayla sports the beautiful stretch lace found in so many of the Jasmine variations as well as sister styles like Clara and Andorra. Stretch lace contours more evenly across breast shapes, especially in cases of asymmetry, and also forgives size and weight fluctuations. However, the flexibility decreases the overall hold and containment, and for some clients, the jiggle factor is too high for comfort. Like both Marcie and Jasmine, Kayla also features a narrow gore, U-shaped underwires, and deep, projected cups—an ideal combination for narrow roots and close set tissue. The forward projection, vertical lift, and rounded shape is phenomenal, and the use of stretch lace on the upper cup lends a better fit across breast shapes.

For the frame, Kayla relies more on Marcie’s construction, opting instead for its three-section design over Jasmine’s four sections; however, Marcie sports a 2-ply mesh on the bottom whereas Kayla borrows from Jasmine to utilize restricted stretch fabric. In all three styles, a center vertical seam lends added boost while powermesh wings anchor comfortably to the body. Falling somewhere between Marcie’s mesh and Jasmine’s heavier fabric, the lower cup material manages to be both lightweight and sturdy, gently pulling tissue forward and supporting the weight easily. Moreover, as with all fuller-cup Panache bras, the straps are fully-adjustable but partially felted.

Since Kayla is in the Cleo collection, it naturally only has two hook-and-eye closures, a decision I find polarizing. Some clients love how much lighter the bra becomes without all the added back and side height while others feel the band loses comfort and even stretches faster. Personally, I prefer three hooks but do not mind two provided the support is not compromised. Because of the textile decisions, Kayla also proves a lightweight bra overall. We received our first shipment last year right before summer, and customers reported how much cooler they stayed wearing Kayla. Given how warm our temperatures are (*cough* 88 degrees today *cough*), a piece like this can become a go-to because of the difference it makes.

Before discovering Comexim, Marcie was my favorite bra, and the comfort and lightness even allowed me to climb a mountain wearing it. Meanwhile, Jasmine was the first bra I really experienced a “break in” period on, and I think Kayla again leans more toward Marcie in this respect. The bra just feels comfortable. The underwire height on the side is also slightly slower than Jasmine too, an important change for people who struggle with the wires on the original. That said, the height and width combination does pull slightly under my arm, but I believe this relates more to the newness and thus stiffness of the fabric. I compared the height with Petra and found them similar, and Petra has become an everyday staple. I’m sure the side will soften with wear and washing—washing especially because Panache uses a pretty sturdy starch on their bras.

In previous seasons, Kayla released in a multi-color plaid and a brushstroke inspired print, and for fall, Kayla veers more neutral with a monochromatic palette of painterly floral blooms and hot pink accent bows. It’s a cute bra with a cute print and cute details, but it’s not one of those lust-inducing bras for me. Of course, I have written over fifty bra reviews, and I may be jaded. Strike that. Yes, I am totally jaded. I’m literally writing the first draft of this review, listening to Fleetwood Mac, and now chastising myself for how jaded I’ve become. I can remember when my bra choices were beige, slightly different beige, and white. Now, I’m all “Meh, it’s cute” to a bra I would have jumped for joy to have six years ago. Dear readers, take my aesthetic notes with a grain of salt. That said, because this is Panache, there are no core neutral options for this bra, but the use of black lace, accents, and background mean Kayla reads like a traditional black bra which certainly adds to the versatility.

Overall, I see why our clients have been loving this bra since its release. It fits wells, feels comfortable, and provides a gorgeous profile. Oh and did I mention, the discreet seaming and flat lace make it easy to wear under knits without much show through?  So if you love Jasmine and/or Marcie, definitely give Kayla a try, and oh look at that, it’s conveniently located in our online store.

Erica

Product Review: Cleo Kayla
Erica
Erica is a lover all things lingerie and is passionate about helping people find the bra which fits and flatters. Side passions include reading, writing, hiking, dairy-free food, walking her Jack Russell terrorists, and dying her hair everything from black to red.
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7 thoughts on “Product Review: Cleo Kayla

  • September 21, 2017 at 11:33 pm
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    I am def in the preferred 3 hook group b/c I do feel the 2-hook stretches out faster. I do think sizing down to the 34J in the white/plaid version really helped with this. The Kayla is lighter which is nice over the summer, but the slightly narrower strap kind of digs in or roll sometimes. Jasmine is still the best bra I have ever bought in comfort/shape/durability over the long haul. All that being said it apparently won’t stop me from ordering a super cute Kayla print, but I wouldn’t buy a “Lisa Frank” version just to get that style like I have done in the past with the Chi Chi.

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    • Erica
      September 23, 2017 at 3:17 pm
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      Oh, that those Lisa Frank Chi Chis. 😀 I totally agree that I feel like Jasmine is still the best in many ways although I do want to see them switch the wings on Jasmine to be that lovely fabric like Chi Chi. Next season looks super exciting too because they’re actually trying some new frames as well. 🙂

      Reply
  • December 29, 2017 at 4:48 am
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    Wow! This bra looks great, I like these little details and lace. Very sexy lingerie. Thanks for posting

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    • Erica
      December 30, 2017 at 2:21 pm
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      Me too! Glad you enjoyed the review!

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  • April 13, 2018 at 6:07 pm
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    So I’m undecided about whether to try this style or not. This is because I can’t do Jasmine (or Envy) at all because of the apex projection…it’s totally rounded and fine from the front, but as soon as I see the side view, it’s pointy. The cups are too projected and my soft tissue just molds and fills the shape of the cups. I need more projection at the wire than the apex. But, I have a Marcie that is perfectly uplifting and round on all sides. And so so beautiful on me! Though it is a smidge loose at the top (worse on the small side) as I’m more even to FOB and it’s expecting more upper tissue to fill out the cup more, which I lack. My Marcie is a 30F and is admittedly a little too snug in the band of my navy version (the band only stretches to about 29″ but I know some colours are looser) and the gore hurts (either from the snug band or being too tall or both), so I wear it with the extender for now (but it affects the cup fit and I get more gapping), but the pink 32E was too big in the band and didn’t flex the wires back enough the way that the 30 does. I’ve tried 28F/28FF (band too tight but gave good technical fit), 30E, and 32DD (band felt fine surprisingly) of Jasmine and none of them work. I’ve thought about Kayla in a 30E to minimize projection and the stretch lace upper should help the fit, but I just don’t know. If it’s going to fit more like Jasmine, it’s a no-go, but if it’s more of a Marcie fit, it’s got a chance. Can you add any input to help me decide if I should try this?

    To;dr Jasmine is a shape mismatch for me and is too projected and pointy for my soft and malleable bottom heavyish tissue, but Marcie is a great shape except a little loose at the top (and my navy colourway seems to be on the snug side for a30) so I have no idea if Kayla will work for me, but I’ve been interested/curious about it. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • April 14, 2018 at 9:35 pm
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      Hey Heather, I think you will like the Kayla, there is quite a bit of apex projection but it doesn’t have the additional side sling like the Jasmine (which ironically is a detractor for me) so I think you will prob like the shape of the Kayla better. Also the stretch lace upper is much more forgiving in shape than the top of the Marcie. My personal recommendation would prob be to stay with the 30F because i find the bands of the Cleos stretch out and give fairly quickly especially in comparison to the Jasmine which may have the stiffest band ever that never gives out. (I still have the first Jasmines I purchased over 5 years ago that I can still wear on the second hook which is more due to my weight loss than change in bra shape)

      Also this newest color of navy with butterflies is my favorite and got me to purchase it even though I had sworn off Cleo bras so 10/10 would recommend from me. (Also, also I noticed this stye wasn’t in next seasons catalog so if you like it hoard your size)

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    • Erica
      June 7, 2018 at 12:49 pm
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      Hi Heather! I don’t know if you had a chance to try this yet since I am so late in getting back to comments. I agree with Ashley that it could be worth considering this because it does have similar features to Marcie but the band is a little stretchy. Kayla, imo, is a Marcie with Jasmine stretch lace. Jasmine and Kayla do not share certain cup features like the extra side panel, heavy fabric, or fuller-coverage. That said, sometimes with the transition from fabric to lace on Kayla, there can be an indentation depending on the tissue softness.

      Reply

What are your thoughts?