I have quite a few swimwear and lingerie pieces that I need to review so that's what I intend to focus on for these first few posts.
Lingerie brand Panache not only sell some gorgeous underwear, but they also make bra-sized swimwear in a range of colours, prints, and cuts. Before my Caribbean holiday earlier this year they very kindly sent me a few bikinis to try, and today I am reviewing the Panache Swim Elle Tropical Print Balconnet Bikini.
Image courtesy of Panache Swim
Naturally I immediately fell in love with the stunning floral print and turquoise background, and the striped edging adds a striking contrast. I went for the Balconnet Bikini Top in 34J (UK sizes 30 E-GG, 32 DD-J, 34-36 D-J, 38 D-HH) and the Classic Briefs in 18 (UK sizes 8-18).
Please note that these pictures were taken some months ago; my tan has long since disappeared!
The Elle Bikini Top is unpadded and it is made from a polyamide/elastane fabric, which is lined with powermesh to add support for the breasts. I would normally wear 34KK in an unpadded bra, but I find that with bikini tops you can often size down without too many problems. Yes, the cups are a fraction too small for me, but when the bikini fabric gets wet it becomes more stretchy and so I'd rather go for a tighter fit to allow for this. The cups provide mid to full coverage, and the three part construction offers good shaping. I would have preferred more depth in the cups as my boobs do get a slightly east-west appearance but it's not overly extreme.
Those of you who regularly read my lingerie and swimwear reviews will know that a bugbear of mine is bras/bikinis with wide wires; thankfully the Elle is not bad at all in this respect. The wires are a little wider than I would ideally like but not so much that they bother me. I have a bit of empty space at the side of the cups, but otherwise the fit is good. The central gore lies flat against my sternum, but it is wider than the bras I wear and so it is not overly comfortable. It was fine on this particular holiday as I took a number of bikinis with me and therefore didn't need to wear it every day but I think I will take the gore in with a few stitches for future wear.
The band fastens with a large standard bikini clasp. The 34 band is a good fit on me and I found it very comfortable; however I do wish more swimwear brands would make their bikini bands adjustable. Saltwater, chlorine, and sunshine can all take their toll on swimwear fabrics and if the band stretches out there is nothing that can be done whilst on holiday unless you have a sewing kit with you. (Actually, I do carry one with me, but I should think I am the minority in that!) In addition, if you find the band is actually tighter than you first thought or perhaps you need a looser band to relieve something such as sunburn or irritation from prickly heat, it's not possible when the bikini top has no option to be adjusted.
The top's straps are fully adjustable, just like on a bra. Although they are not overly wide they are strong and have not stretched out with wear. They do not dig in or feel too tight, which is perfect for something you'll be wearing whilst relaxing in the sunshine.
The size 18 bikini bottoms are a little snug on me, as you can see from the photos. However, when I wore these on holiday they also stretched somewhat with the sea and pool water so they didn't look too tight. The coverage is good and the rise at both the front and back of the briefs is very comfortable. I am a fan of high waisted bikini bottoms so I would have liked those if they were available in this print, but as they were not the Classic Briefs make a good second choice. 18 is the largest size available in Panache Swim bottoms but I hope they will offer larger sizes in the future so that more women can wear their swimwear as they make such fantastic items.
The tropical print is absolutely gorgeous. The main colour is a greeny-turquoise, and it is paired with pink, white, black, and purple flowers, along with green and yellow foliage. Already a vibrant and eye-catching print, this is made even more so by the addition of a black and white striped edging to the top of the bikini and on the straps. It's a loud print, but one that looks utterly perfect when worn on holiday in the warm sunshine. Against gently tanned skin it really comes into its own and looks very beautiful.
You can read another review of the Panache Swim Elle Bikini at Fuller Figure Fuller Bust here.
The Tropical Print is from the Spring/Summer 2015 collection; what do you think of the Floral Print now available?
Image courtesy of Panache Swim