Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Panache "Melody"

Sometime in the course of this summer, I lost my black Freya Deco. I will never understand how I managed to LOSE a bra that holds its own shape and takes up as much space as a violin case. (The pink Deco I have doesn’t even fit in any of the drawers in my new flat!) After losing the black one, I spent awhile feeling wronged and frustrated that I had misplaced one of my favorite bras and one that I actually spent real money on (about $80; I usually try to get things for under $30). But eventually I realized that I needed to get a new black bra.

I took the opportunity to head to Bravissimo as soon as I arrived in Edinburgh. I’ve lived in the US my whole life, forced to depend on eBay and specialty stores that charge $80-$150 per bra (an experience that I’m sure to rant about in a later post). Heading to the UK for a year abroad, I was so excited to be able to go into an actual store that would have actual bras in my actual size. Unfortunately, my trip to Bravissimo fell far below my expectations. I was in a hurry that day and didn’t actually get fitted, so I’ll wait to write about my trip there until I can take the time to go again. But I do want to write about the bra I bought that day, which happened to be the only one they had which fitted me properly.

I was interested in the Melody because it's supposedly based on the Panache Harmony, a bra I’ve depended on heavily in the past. I feel the Harmony was a bit prettier (it had roses instead of this leafy design), and the shape isn't the same. The “Melody” seems to be cut differently than the “Harmony”—the upper leafy section was higher-cut and very firm, and it pressed a straight surface down my boobs, which caused a bit of a double-boob at the top. I proceeded to fix this with an alteration I do on almost all my bras, which turns the cups a bit and gives them more room at the top. There’s a wonderful description of this alteration here.

The alteration happened to give this bra one of the tightest bands I’ve ever experienced, which is GOOD considering most bra bands stretch out in about ten minutes. It also made it look like a Freya bra! By that I mean the cups went up towards the straps in a V shape, just generally covering more skin than the bras I normally wear. This meant there are little leafy bits poking out from a lot of my shirts, due to my stubborn refusal to dress modestly.

It also poked into the sides of my ribs like a bitch until I bent the wires into a more person-y shape in a fit of (tipsy) rage. Really, I wish Panache wouldn’t make the wires QUITE so wide in their small back sizes. I’m all for wide underwires but the ones on the Melody are literally almost going onto my back, which seems a bit excessive. Also, although the alteration got rid of most of the quadraboob, there is still some going on, and not in the way where your bra inches slowly down your body and you pull it up every hour, but in the way where your bra is angry and wants to make your boobs sad and presses them down towards the ground. (This is a pretty frequent problem for me as my boobs are very full on top.)

That can't be what it's supposed to look like....
Here's another image of the side view.

As you can see, it's definitely not giving much lift. This causes a peculiar phenomenon, though... under clothes, the shape is fairly good, and it makes my boobs look about five sizes smaller than they really are. It is literally the most minimizing bra I've ever worn, without any unhealthy squashing going on. Depending on what you're looking for, this might be a good thing once in awhile (or all the time) and that's the main function I'd recommend this bra for.

It’s still an okay bra but won’t take the Harmony’s place in my heart even though the Harmony and I have broken up and grown apart. I’m not saying the Melody is a terrible bra, and it has found a steady place in my bra rotation despite the odds. I just sort of wish it was… better for me.


  1. Great review :-)

    Posting pics always helps to demonstrate what you're saying as well...although I appreciate not everyone wants to put pics of their chest on the internet!

    It always amazes me when bras have massive cups that, as you say, go under your armpits and almost to your back; but yet not have enough room in the cup.

    I wish I had the skills to design and make my own bras - there is such a huge market out there to meet the needs of females such as us.

    I look forward to reading your future posts.

  2. I've always fantasized about designing my own bras. I have dreamed for years about having a bra with a snowflake print, and one printed with tiny whales (ha ha) but I'm beginning to realize that I might need to take matters into my own hands. Sometimes I wonder if it might be possible to sew fabric onto an existing bra to change the design. I'll probably do a post someday on a few successful, and many failed, alterations I've attempted :)

    1. I do that! I just buy a band that's close and cut out the cups. Then I make my own and see them in! You can do it!

  3. OMG...I think you are my bra twin! I wear a slightly smaller size, but not by much, and like you I have breasts that are very full on top. The Harmony has been my go-to bra for several years now--so bummed that they discontinued it. I have the same problems with the Melody that you describe here.

    I just discovered your blog (via a post on the LiveJournal group 32D) and look very forward to reading your other reviews. I bet I will get plenty of ideas based on your recs.

    One question: can you wear demi-cups? I have never found one that worked for me. Always assumed that it was because I am so full, and need such a rounded shape, that I need to wear full-cups. But I have recently started to think that maybe I just need a bigger cup size?

  4. You can still find the Harmony on ebay sometimes, and they have a few basic colors on, but no new colors :( So sad as it was a very pretty bra. I wore nothing but the Harmony balconette for two years!

    I actually don't have much success with full-cup bras--I find they sort of just "sit on" my boobs instead of lifting them up. I'm not sure exactly how you'd define a demi cup, but I do know that when I tried Bravissimo's "Demi Diva" bra (the half cup) it looked very very silly on me. The bras I have the best luck with are usually somewhat low-cut but have no stiff line or ribbon across the top--like the Panache Sienna (sadly doesn't come in a 28) and Confetti (discontinued too). I'll be doing a review of the Confetti in the next few days!

    As to your question about going up a cup size--that's often what I do, but sometimes that doesn't work because a bra can be less supportive if it's too big everywhere else. But I find that the alteration I linked to in this post really helps a bra to take on the rounded shape I need even if I don't go up a cup size.

    It's great to find someone with a similar size and shape!

  5. We managed to score a $30 Deco on ebay, so don't lose hope!

  6. There are a ton of Harmonies on eBay right now. I keep seeing them when I search for other bras. So b, this might be your moment.