Over two months ago, the lovely Nancy, my first ever bra-sized swimsuit, arrived fresh from Panache and ready for the beach. Unfortunately, winter kept a firm grip longer than expected, and I still have not had the opportunity to wear the suit for swimming. Within the next couple of weeks, I can indulge in some much-needed relaxation at the pool and lake and further test the suit under strenuous wear. In the meantime, I want to review the fit, materials, and design of the Nancy in case anyone plans on purchasing this style soon. Because I ordered both the balcony bikini top and the tankini, I will be dividing the review into two parts. Today, I am tackling the balcony top and the matching bikini bottoms.
Sizing: With Panache Superbra, I almost always need a 30HH, which is the size I ordered. The band of the Nancy feels comparable to other Panache styles, and the cups were perfect with no gaping or overflow. Given the stretchier quality of swimsuit fabric, there is flexibility with the cup size, and I may have even been able to wear the 30H for less coverage. Furthermore, given how a firm band can sometimes create an indent in the skin, you may also decide to size up in the band for aesthetic reasons. Personally, I’m happy with the 30HH.
Fit: A bandless frame, lower center gore, and narrower underwires make the Nancy balcony bikini more comfortable than many of the Panache bras I have tried! In fact, you could easily wear this top as a bra without anyone being the wiser. The deeper cup toward the center works well although I do have a smidge of extra space at the bottom of the cup where it is shallower. On the back and sides, the wings sit lower for less coverage, but I would have preferred they were thicker. Wider bands offer better side support, smoothing, and comfort even if they do seem more like a regular bra.
Furthermore, the underwires in the Nancy are firmer and press closer to the ribs, but after vigorous jumping and moving, I was impressed with the level of control and anchorage. Nothing accidentally popped out, and the top stayed supportive and in place—perfect for swimming!
From the side, the shape looks natural and rounded, and the overall design feels like a marriage of the Cleo Lucy and the Panache Tango Plunge.
Materials: Aside from the delightfully comfortable and soft swimwear fabric used on the cups and wings, the Nancy Balcony Bikini sports a fantastic plastic clip in place of hook-and-eye closures. The choice not only makes the bikini more water friendly, but it also keeps the design from looking too much like a bra. Anything with underwire and a standard balcony design seems destined for the lingerie drawer, but the reduced coverage and simple details give the Nancy an aesthetic boost. Finally, fully-adjustable straps offer women more options in customizing how the top fits.
Design: Ever since my boobs arrived on the scene, swimwear shopping has been a traumatic, stress-inducing nightmare which ultimately resulted in me buying whatever top at least somewhat covered my chest and then (hopefully) finding matching bottoms somewhere (See Exhibits A and B below).
Colors, prints, and designs were secondary to finding something with a modicum of coverage and support, so I’ve always been a bit blah about my swimwear and how I felt wearing it. When I saw the Nancy, I fell in love because the design is nautical and chic! The lifesaver print with the blue, white, and red color palette conjures the quintessential summer vibe, and the pattern balances the bra-like features. As a result, the suit feels fresh, beach-appropriate, and perfect for warm days!
The Matching Fold-Over Bikini Bottoms: While looking at the promotional shots, I thought the fold-over bottoms would offer the most coverage. I don’t want to be completely covered on the beach, but there’s only so much cheek I’m comfortable showing. Consequently, I opted for the UK 14 (size Large) for extra booty coverage. Now, the bikini bottoms themselves are very cute. The dark navy blue counters the bolder pattern (which is also carried over onto part of the bikini) and completes the nautical feel of the suit. However, the expectation and the reality were not in line on this one. To start, I felt like the bottoms hit me at an awkward spot on the hip so the fold kept moving and wrinkling. Then the coverage was problematic as these are cut high on the thigh and leg with a sharp angled design on the rear. When I first pulled them from the package, I remember thinking “These look huge!” Once they were on however, my initial reaction changed. A bigger size may have helped, but I already had bagging in the butt area where there was extra fabric. I think the back is designed to expose more skin, so fit issues pop up if you try to size up for coverage. That said, I’m still keeping the bottoms for times I feel more daring . . . and am visiting the dog beach area of the lake where people don’t venture. For other times, I’m currently searching for a faux-matching bottom!
If you want more information, check out our video review below: