Welcome to Panache week! With our Find Your Fit Event on Saturday, I thought it would be fun to review two new Panache styles, starting with Petra from the classic Panache line. I’ve been eyeing Petra lustfully since the debut, but I am always hesitant about padded cups. My concern relates less to disliking padding and more to the myriad of fit issues I experience, including too shallow cups which create the “floating boob” or “orange in a glass” effect at the base. I also struggle with the center cups not having enough immediate projection which reduces the ability of the bra to tack, i.e., sit flat against my sternum. Considering my experience with Panache’s molded cups has never been exceptional, I worried Petra would simply be a pretty bra I could never wear.
Upon examining Petra, the design strikes me as a padded cup version of one of the more successful frames like Jasmine. Both utilize a four-section cup design complete with a side panel to gently pull tissue toward the front, a vertical seamed lower cup for lift, and an upper cup for containment. The result is a projected, lifted, and rounded profile. My boobs are sitting high in this baby, and the structured cup takes on the bulk of the heavy lifting, leaving my shoulders and back pain-free. When I put this bra on, I was smitten both with the bra and with how kick ass my boobs look. Go Panache! That said, the cup shape at the top is quite open, and I worry bottom heavy or soft tissue types could experience issues. Keep this in mind if you are contemplating purchasing.
Lately, Panache has focused on higher quality offerings, both in terms of design and materials, and Petra is no exception at $70. The powermesh wings are lightweight and feature sewn-in elastic to anchor comfortably. Fully-adjustable partially-felted straps are standard for Panache in fuller-cups, which I both love and loathe. I love how the felt part cushions the shoulders and prevents the straps from stretching over time, but getting the adjuster over the felt requires some patience. Perhaps we could find a compromise point with materials here?
The lightly padded cups use a plush material rather than a rigid, inflexible one. In fact, gripping the cup between your fingers feels more akin to modern spacer fabric than a true padded cup. This higher quality material contours better to breast tissue while also feeling lighter weight and softer. On the interior of the cup, the fabric is smooth and silky while the exterior uses a flat-laying lace and discreet seaming. The side of the cup near the top features elastic to contour and stretch with movement, which also contributes to why the bra feels comfortable despite the added underwire width.
I love the shape Petra gives under my clothes, and I find the combination of the lace and seaming are fairly discreet under knits, especially in comparison to offerings from competitor’s. Aesthetically, Petra is a sophisticated, elegant take on a neutral bra. Cappuccino base with cream lace provides light contrast, and the choice to sew the lace on each section rather than cover the full cup was a unique one which adds a thoughtful touch.
In the past, Panache often produced higher priced items in flashy prints or bright colors, and it falls flat for our consumers. Most of my customers willing and able to spend more than $60 on a bra look for pieces that are either special in a timeless, classic kind of way or those which are versatile to lower the cost per wear. As a result, when you release a $70 bra in—I don’t know—a bright pink and blue animal print, it misses the target market here. With Petra, you have the best of both worlds: timeless elegance with maximum practicality.
I have to confess that once I found Comexim, I pretty much wrote off any other brand as being able to produce a favorite bra, but now that I am experimenting again, I am really happy with the increased options. Petra is one of my new favorites, and I am looking forward to snagging one in a darker color in the future!
Final Grade: A+