Panache Cleo Zia Bra 32J

It’s been a little while since I did a lingerie post (and I know some readers have been missing them!) so when the lovely people at Panache got in touch to ask me to review something from their latest collection I was absolutely over the moon!

In the past, when I have tried Panache bras I have ended up feeling disappointed.  The wide wires and shallow cups just didn’t suit me, no matter how much I loved the gorgeous designs.

However, a few months back I tried the Cleo Chloe and Alexa bras in 32J and I fell in love!  Seriously – the Chloe in particular was threatening to rival my beloved Ewa Michalaks!!  I’d heard that Cleo wires were significantly narrower and the cups deeper than regular Panache bras and I found this was absolutely true.  The bras were wonderful and gave such amazing shape, uplift and support, especially for unpadded bras.

Sadly, I didn’t keep the Chloe and Alexa I tried – a decision I have regretted ever since.  So when I got the chance to try something from Panache I knew the only line I wanted to choose from was Cleo.

I was advised that the Cleo Zia was the ‘new’ version of the Chloe which had previously suited me so well.

Image courtesy of Panache

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of polka dots so the Zia was always bound to appeal to me.  I like the colour combination used here – it’s perhaps not the obvious choice for lingerie but I think it works brilliantly.  The Zia is available in sizes 28-38 D-J and the cups come up a little big so I went with the 32J as I hoped the fit would be every bit as good as the Chloe I’d tried a while back.

Sadly, as you can see from the photos above, the fit was not what I was hoping for.  It appears that Panache have resized their Cleo bras since last season in order to bring the sizing into line with other brands, thus making the 32J more of a ‘true’ 32J.  I should think that the Cleo Chloe I tried was more like a 32K, so for me this means that the Zia comes up almost two sizes too small in the cup.  Such a shame!

The cups are made from a lovely soft but shiny fabric on the lower halves and sexy embroidered mesh on the tops.  They have quite defined edges, which on me caused significant cutting in, whereas if memory serves the edges on the Chloe were more roomy (and possibly even a bit too big!).

The band fastens with two hooks and eyes and there are three rows so plenty of room for manoeuvre as the band stretches out.  I found the band a good fit, which is interesting as I wear 30/65s in Ewa Michalak.

The straps are delightfully simple – they have limited stretch and benefit from a ladder-like embellishment to ensure the adjusters stay put and don’t slip out of place.  They appear to be fully adjustable, although the front half of the straps have a felted back for extra comfort so it may be that a little force is required to get the adjusters onto this section if you need to make the straps significantly shorter.

I absolutely adore the yellow ribbon and cute little metal rose pendant on the central gore – such fabulous attention to detail!

I love how the wires on Cleo bras are not too wide.  They sit in exactly the right position for me, encasing my boob tissue without cutting in.  I also love the depth of the cups, which cause my boobs to be held at the front of my body as they are naturally without a bra.  I just wish the cups were a little bit bigger, and then the Zia would fit perfectly!

Despite the fact the Zia has ended up being too small for me in the cups, you can see from the photos the amazing shape, uplift and support Cleo bras give.  I am seriously impressed with the engineering from Panache as it’s no mean feat to hold up boobs as heavy and front-facing as mine.

So, this may not be a traditional success story but it has inspired me to try to find Cleo Chloe and Alexa in 32J to see if the fit is just as good as I remember.  And if they are…well, I might just have to petition Panache to make their Cleo range up to a JJ or even K cup.  Who’s with me?



  1. Anonymous
    27 November 2012 / 02:29

    Isn't it just the cutest bra? I had similar fit issues. I ordered the same size in the Zia as I have in the Marcie, and I found that the top dug in way, way too much. The cup was odd– too tight on top but strangely roomy on the bottom? It wasn't the right shape for me, but I hope it works well for someone else! The pattern is to die for, and it looks great in your pictures!

    • Curvy Wordy
      29 November 2012 / 20:24

      It's such a shame this one didn't work for either of us but I am confident that Cleo will bring out more lovelies in the future that will give us plenty of lingerie options 🙂

  2. Boosaurus
    27 November 2012 / 04:02

    Shame this didn't work out for you – it's such a cute bra! I've had my eye on this one for a while – it may even warrant me making a new bra purchase. (!)I've also found that Cleo seems to work quite well for me while Panache hasn't as much. Yay Cleo! 🙂

    • Curvy Wordy
      29 November 2012 / 20:25

      I just love Cleo. Even though this one didn't work for me, I know others have done in the past. I think it's great how Panache have a range of wire width available across their brands so hopefully have something for almost everyone.

  3. Anonymous
    27 November 2012 / 09:08

    Beautiful bra. I wish it could fit me, but I need very wide wires (sigh).Good luck with Chloe and Alexa!Malica

    • Curvy Wordy
      29 November 2012 / 20:26

      Hi Malica, thanks for your comment. Have you tried the regular Panache bras? They have very wide wires, as do Fantasie and Elomi.

    • Curvy Wordy
      29 November 2012 / 20:26

      Oh and Curvy Kate too 🙂

    • Anonymous
      6 December 2012 / 22:08

      Yep, I own Panache Porcelain Plunge, which is a bit too shallow, but wires are perfect for me. So I think I should stick with Superbra (most Fantasie bras are more narrow AFAIK and I need tight 32 band, so no Elomi) and I'm going to order more of their bras.It's just that feeling when you adore some design, but there is not even slightest chance that this bra will fit you (most of us know it, alas).And thanks for suggestions )

    • Anonymous
      6 December 2012 / 22:15

      Thank you. Yes, Panache Superbra wires are ideal for me, indeed.It's just this design. It breaks my heart that there is not even faint chance Zia will fit me.(looks like Gods of the net ate my prev. comment, but if it will appear – sorry for duplicate)

    • Anonymous
      6 December 2012 / 22:17

      Thank you. Yes, Panache Superbra wires are ideal for me, indeed.It's just this design. It breaks my heart that there is not even faint chance Zia will fit me.(looks like Gods of the net ate my prev. comments, but if they will appear – sorry for duplicate)

  4. Anonymous
    27 November 2012 / 12:13

    I'm definetely with you.I love Cleo – their Lucy bra was like a revelation to me.But right now what fits me best is a 28J, which means that one teeny little bit of migration will outsize me…And I think that Cleo bras would be even better if they had three hooks and eyes, especially in the larger cup sizes.For some reason I still haven't ordered anything from EM yet and whenever I visit your blog I feel bad about it (read: want a PL Onyks).Greetings from Germany – J

    • Curvy Wordy
      29 November 2012 / 20:28

      Hi to a German reader,Thanks for commenting. I tried the Lucy and it was a complete disaster for me but I know it's a favourite of many of my lingerie blogging friends.I agree that it would be better if the larger cupped Cleos had three hooks and eyes, rather than two.Hope I can tempt you into placing an Ewa order before too long!

  5. Anonymous
    27 November 2012 / 12:55

    I would LOVE to sign that petition.I actually wrote to panache several times about making 3 hook bands on cleo and adding some basic colors. Stupid me, I forgot to mention sizing.Last years cuts prooved that cleo could work up to K.Btw. I think you might have overlooked cleo meg? From what I've seen on bratabase it's upthere with alexa size wise :)Anyway, Im with you on this and I know at least 20 bratabase useres would agree :)XoxoVlatka

    • Curvy Wordy
      29 November 2012 / 20:30

      Hi Vlatka, thanks for your support. It's true that last year's Cleos worked on larger boobs so who knows how they might develop the brand in the future.I haven't tried Cleo Meg yet but will seek out a Chloe and an Alexa first as I am sure they will work as well as I remember them. Thank you for the recommendation 🙂

    27 November 2012 / 15:34

    I really need to try Panache again, its been a very long time 🙂

    • Curvy Wordy
      29 November 2012 / 20:31

      Cleo do make some very lovely styles 🙂 x

  7. Anonymous
    28 November 2012 / 23:55

    I have this in the pink/blue Brav colors and I loooove it. Festive! ;D Panache didn't used to work for me either, for the same reasons. I loved Ewa but had a hard time with the ordering process. Cleo keeps everything front and center and the wires don't stab. I have the Alexa and I think the cups are slightly bigger than those of the Zia. Both work for me, as I'm somewhat in between sizes. I think being full all over helps me there, as I have better ability to maneuver soft tissue within the cups.

    • Curvy Wordy
      29 November 2012 / 20:32

      Hi there, thanks for commenting. It's so interesting to hear how regular Panache haven't worked for some people, whereas Cleos have. It just goes to show that we all need different wire widths and cup depths. Long live Cleo!

  8. Sarah
    29 November 2012 / 05:37

    I loved this bra but there was too much material at the sides – apparently I have a natural cleavage and the sides looked as if I could make another bra out of them! Shame cos I really liked it 🙁

    • Curvy Wordy
      29 November 2012 / 20:33

      Ahh that's a shame. Have you tried Ewa Michalak? The wires are especially narrow on their bras, with the exception of the HP style.

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