I have given the Panache Sculptresse brand a lot of grief over the years, but in the last 18 months, they have been killing it! If you are unfamiliar with the line, Sculptresse is Panache’s plus-size collection, and it boasts an impressive size range made from high quality fabrics and materials. I would be remiss without acknowledging my wonderful sales rep Jacquelyn who is always on point with her recommendations for styles, and one of her latest suggestions is the new Siren plunge bra. Plunge bras in plus-size are not always easy to find as many brands tend toward full-coverage fits. Because I wear a UK 34H (US 34K), I am sometimes forced to sister size in Sculptresse into a 36 band, but Siren is one of their styles which actually starts at UK 34FF, meaning I was able to go with my standard size.
As expected, the band on the Siren fits comfortably snug on the loosest hooks although the cups are slightly smaller on my larger breast. The difference is not enough to encourage me to size up, but it is worth noting in case you find yourself between cup sizes in Panache. The center gore tacks wonderfully against the sternum, and the plunging neckline means the underwire sits lower on the chest, which I find more comfortable. My breasts are very close set in the middle and actually share some connective tissue between them; as a result, on full-coverage styles, the underwire can dig into my sternum uncomfortably, which is also why I am not necessarily a stickler for a full tack near the top on me. However, the lowness and plunging shape of Siren sits below this tissue and feels secure but comfortable.
Siren exploits a unique four-section cup design unlike anything else in the Panache cannon. Usually, if I write about a four-section cup, one of those is a side panel, but in this case, the lower cup of the Siren exploits three different almost triangularly shaped sections along with the standard upper panel. The center lower panel mirrors the upper panel with a 2-ply composition consisting of an interior mesh and exterior lace while the remaining two panels are also 2-ply with the same interior mesh but with a smooth and silky exterior. The result is a bra with a lot of lift and support that also manages to create a forward, rounded shape. Because the lace upper section lacks much stretch, this may be a more challenging fit for people who suffer from shape fluctuations or more asymmetry. In that case, check out their styles which features the complete stretch lace upper or mesh fabrics with give like Candi.
In recent collections, Panache has been experimenting with different underwire profiles which I appreciate because in the past, it sometimes felt like you either were a Panache person or you weren’t, leaving little room in between. With these new underwire profiles, Panache is fitting a larger array of people, and Siren continues this trend with a narrower center and slightly deeper cups but a swooped side underwire to contain tissue better. On my part, I typically prefer classic Panache wires which are more U-shaped, and the Siren does have extra space between the underwire and my breast tissue, which creates some creasing near the underwire. However, this is quite common for me, so provided the underwire sits in a comfortable position and the width does not pull the cup sharply into my underarm, I overlook the fit quibble. Siren seems to have a slightly lower side underwire and cup (most likely from being a plunge), and the fabric on the side of the cup is flexible and soft, resulting in a comfortable fit.
In many of the Sculptresse styles, including Siren, Panache swaps the industry standard powermesh for a two-ply encapsulated wing style in that same kind of silky fabric found on the cups. Consequently, the elastic becomes contained inside which not only feels better against the skin, but it also improves the overall smoothing of the bra on the back and sides. Firmer wings anchor to the body perfectly before tapering into a three rows of hook-and-eye closures. Another thing Panache usually gets right is the straps. They are fully-adjustable but partially-felted which means you can customize the fit to your body while also limiting the inherent stretch of the straps, a decision which can prevent them from digging into the softer tissue of the shoulder.
In the eight years we have stocked Panache, I seldom have quality issues with them, and in more recent collections, that has only improved. Panache is a thoughtful company not only in how they design their products but also in how they choose fabrics, particularly in Sculptresse. The simple fact is that plus-size bras, especially full-bust plus-size bras, require more work to create and design, and Panache seems to be taking this to heart. Not only is Siren incredibly comfortable with a lovely fit and shape, but it also boasts high quality materials and fabrics which feel lightweight and comfortable against the skin.
Like many of Sculptresse’s more recent offerings, the price point is in the $70 range. Siren retails for $72 which is becoming closer to many of the industry average prices for a quality bra, and the materials and design certainly match the price. When you look at the construction, especially the tightness of the seaming, and the way all the components fit together, it’s clear this is a well-made bra which is going to last.
Siren also happens to be an exceptionally lovely basic bra. While I am a big black bra fan, the same cannot be said for beige. Point of fact, I only own one beige bra (the Panache Petra) because I don’t wear many light colors and find beige to be so boring. After years spent wearing that as the only color available to me, I just lost any taste for it. That said, I actually really like Siren. Often beige bras tend toward more of a yellow undertone, and Siren feels more like a cream or even pink in tone and matches my uber-pale skin almost perfectly. My only gripe is that they don’t have a second option for people with mid-tone or darker skin. I understand sometimes you have to pick between a light/dark color for an initial launch, and that may have been a factor here. Hopefully, Siren picks up a following and will be available in future colors because it has a lot to offer us plus-size people.