Monday 4 March 2013

Panache Andorra Plunge Review (And Plunge Bra Musings)

I've had my ups and downs with plunge bras. And by that, I mean I've had a lot of downs with plunge bras. The shape of my boobs (full on top and fairly close-set) means that I constantly display 900% more cleavage in a plunge bra than I want to show. I always strive to strike a balance in between no cleavage and a level of cleavage that makes me feel a little overexposed. This photo from Bravissimo's website of the Fabulous Fuschia bikini shows approximately the cleavage level that I personally aim for:

Lovely cleavage!

I love the fact that this bikini top allows her to show this deep cleavage without requiring her to show a lot of the center or sides of her boobs as well. But displaying this subtle shadow of cleavage when you have a lot of upper volume can be a bit tricky. I find that wearing anything with a deep v-neck can lead to a situation in which I am literally showing over half the volume of my boobs in addition to just the cleavage that I'm aiming for.

A supportive plunge bra is really the answer to everyone's hopes and dreams on this front, because theoretically such a bra would dip down enough in the middle to get that shadow of cleavage, but rise high enough to cover enough boob volume to still reign in the girls and give a feeling of support. I've tried a decent number of plunge bras. You can see my review of the Cleo Molly here, the Curvy Kate Elegance here, and the Bravissimo Thea here if you scroll down. I've also owned the Freya Deco, which looks like this on me:

I find that the Deco gives me way too much cleavage for a casual event. Even though it fits me pretty well in a 30GG (yes, I know the back band is riding up a bit), I always felt like it was most appropriate for a very high-energy party or club evening. I've long been searching for something more low-key for everyday. I'd love to be able to wear a v-neck top to class, to lunch with friends, or on a casual date and not feel that I'm making too much of an 'impression'.

The Curvy Kate Elegance was an unmitigated disaster:

 The Cleo Molly was better--okay but not perfect, but it worked much better on my best friend, so I passed it on to her.

My answer, for awhile, was the Bravissimo Thea. As you can see, it gives me a lot less cleavage than the Deco:

However, I also found that the Thea would decline in shape throughout the day. This is something I experience with Curvy Kate balconettes, too--the shape looks great in the morning, but catch a glance at yourself in the mirror around lunchtime and you'll be shocked to see a pointy, downward-facing look. The Thea just couldn't wrangle my boobs consistently unless I shortened the straps a lot, and when I did, I had the same problems I have with the Deco--too much 'push-up' effect and too much cleavage for my comfort.

So I wanted to try the Panache Andorra Plunge. Now, you may remember that I tried the Andorra "balconette" (which is actually a full cup) and was surprised by how well it worked:

The Andorra's success in the full-cup shape I dread came from the side-support panel and the stretchy top section that supported me without cutting in. Because the Plunge version of the Andorra has these same features, I was hopeful that it would have the same success. I ordered it in a 30H, hopeful that it would fit me in the same size as most Cleo bras and also the same size I tried in the Andorra full cup.

And I was really pleased with it:

As you can see, the cleavage level is moderate, but not super-high. Best of all, it gives a REALLY nice rounded shape from the side, better than the Andorra full cup, and it stays like that throughout the day:

The top section is stretchy, which is good for my shape. My upper breast area is very firm, even hard, and has a lot of volume, so I need either something that is cut very open there, or something that has enough stretch to handle my shape. The Andorra delivers the stretch. Because it's stretchy rather than very open, it would also work on those with less stubborn volume in the top. In that way, it's a bra that could work for a wide range of shapes. My one worry with this sort of stretchy material is that those with softer texture might find it does not provide enough support or stability.

I also love the back band on the Andorra Plunge. Not only does it have three hooks, unlike my beloved Cleo bras, but it also sits at a wonderful angle, lower than your typical British bra band. Because of that, it fixes the problems I detailed in this post, sitting like this:

...rather than like this:

The lower angle eliminates back bulges and is much more comfortable and supportive for me.

As for cup size, I think the Andorra Plunge runs true to most Panache and Cleo sizing. For me, I always need a 30HH in Curvy Kate and Bravissimo bras, so this 30H runs more generous than those brands with are tighter and less forgiving in the top. I would say, though, that it's a fraction smaller than Cleo bras like the Marcie, and therefore it's walking the narrow line of needing to size up as someone who is often in between a 30H and 30HH. I do need to slip a finger along the underwire a few times throughout the day to readjust on my larger (left) side, as the upper volume presses down on my minimal lower volume and causes creasing, like so:

This isn't the first bra where I've dealt with this problem. I have it in the Panache Confetti, too. Since it only happens on one side, I find it's something I can deal with to a certain extent with a bra that serves a necessary function. In this case, the Andorra Plunge is so great in terms of shape, support, and comfort for a plunge bra that I'm willing to look away from this creasing issue until such time as I can find something better. Plunges in general aren't highly compatible with my shape, so I'm not really expecting that I will find something better than this one. A great shape and the really startling comfort level of this bra make it a keeper for me. But it's definitely not taking the place of the Cleo Lucy or Panache Sienna as my 'perfect' bra.

I did, however, find that the more recent teal color ran a tiny bit smaller in the cups. For me, this miniscule size difference was enough to send it over the edge in terms of fit, and caused the teal Andorra Plunge to fit me poorly, shift throughout the day, and to not give as nice a shape as the fuschia color. So if you are on the very edge of sizes, as I am, you may find that you would rather take a larger size in the teal color of this bra. Unfortunately for me, it only goes up to an H cup, so I can't size up to a 30HH.

In general, I think the Andorra Plunge is one of Panache's triumphs, and also one of their best-kept secrets. I'm hoping it will gain popularity and get a bit more buzz as time goes on, because I think a lot of people would appreciate the nice shape and comfort given by this low-cut bra, and I don't want to see it get discontinued. However, I'm disappointed by my experience with the teal shade, as I'd hoped the Andorra Plunge could become a mainstay in my bra collection. I'm planning to try the Spice color that will be coming out in this coming Autumn/Winter collection, and I'll report back on my experience with the sizing.


  1. This is random, only tangentially-related question: are these pics of your andorra true to color? I ask because I ordered a pink full cup, and when it came, it was not at all the color I was expecting. I was expecting a deep, cool pink like in your photo, and I got a bright hot coral pink.

    I thought they only released it in one pink, so I am a bit shocked by this color. I love the Andorra so will wear it anyway, but if there is another pink, I want that one too.

    1. There's a colour called berry that looks a lot like these pics. I have one in the full cup and it's a nice cool pink.

    2. Yeah, that is what I was expecting when I ordered mine, but I ended up with a bright, hot coral. Thanks for commenting. I guess there *are* two pinks out there, then.

    3. Yeah. I believe mine is the "berry" color. If I'm not mistaken, there was also a more coral-y, hot pink type color--so I wonder if you got one that was mis-listed? Did you get it on ebay by any chance? I've bought bras off ebay in the past that were listed as a slightly different color (for instance, I once ordered a bra listed as the Cornflower Panache Harmony, and received instead the Duck Egg Blue). Typically there shouldn't be a huge variation in color between the product photo and the actual.

    4. Yeah, I ended up with a bright, hot coral color, which I didn't realize was different than "berry" (the ebay listing said "deep pink" and photos can be way off, so I thought it would be a "berry" Andorra.) Frankly, I am happy to have it; the Andorra is basically my favorite bra in terms of fit/shape, but it is very plain-looking, so any fun colors break up the monotony and make me happy! But "berry" is a shade of pink that I happen to like a lot more.

      What is weird about "deep pink" is that it seems to be available at only a few shops, and it wasn't ever on the Panache Superbra website or in any of the promo materials. It is a stealth colorway!

      The Andorra btw is promo'd as a "full cup" but shaped more like a balconette, thank goodness. I actually never would have tried it if a bra shop employee hadn't talked me into it, because I wanted ONLY balconettes. The fit (at least on me) is very balcony-like.

      Anyway, if you run across a "berry" full cup in 34H, like at the Rack or something, I want it!

  2. I would like to try this, but am leery of Panache's definition of "plunge". I tried the Tango plunge, and with a 3+" center gore it definitely wasn't "plunging". :-( I've also tried the Andorra (and the Ariza balconnet), and both of them had wires that could have given me an accidental tracheotomy.

    1. Panache does tend to have some pretty crazy wires. The Andorra plunge doesn't have wires as tall as the balconette, though, so you might find it better. As for gore height, I'm pretty happy with this one, and I'd actually be nervous to go lower, but I know some people look for gores that are really low. The closest I know of would be the Cleo Jude, which barely has any gore at all--basically just a little ribbon between the cups--but that only goes up to G, so it's not for everyone.

  3. I recently tried this bra, and hated it because I have bottom heavy 28Es (or 26F if we lived in an ideal world where this was a size I could actually buy).

    It actually fit very well, but gave me zero cleavage and separated my breasts horribly.

    It's kinda nice to see what it is like on a different breast size and shape! It looks really lovely on you!

  4. I didn't even realize the andorra came in a plunge style! That's somethng I might have to try, because I have an issue with high center gores (breasts become super-close-together at the top). It's why I've always been afraid to try the regular andorra, even though people say it's so comfy and the stretchy lace on top really molds to your shape- another things that appeals to me!

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  6. Wow! My boobs are practically identical in size and shape to yours. That's how I look in the 30GG deco. I think I might try this out. . .it really is a well-kept secret! I've been wanting to try the andorra because of how great it looked on you, I didn't know it came in a plunge style! I have to get it now. Plunges are the only bras that have gores that lay flat on my chest because of how close my boobs are.

  7. I can't wait to try this! I find that a lot of the bras that work on you work well on me (despite the fact that I can almost certainly say that we have a totally different shape). I tried the Andorra fullcup and it was really comfortable and gave me a pointy shape that I like (as opposed to a pointy shape I don't like), even though it's too small on me. It looks like the underwires are taller on this one, so I can't wait.

  8. I am so gload to finally see a review on the Andorra Plunge! Thank you!
    I have been interested in this one for awhile, but could not find any reviews of it on the net. It interested me somewhat more than the standard Andorra, and even more so to hear you say the wires seem shorter, because that can be a problem for me. I know many people rave over the Andorras fit, and I was unsure if the plunge would have the same sort of side support ect. Not sure on sizing to get now though! I have a Jasmine and was thinking I shuld probably size up from that in the Andorra as I heard it ran small in the cup.

    Thanks again for this review. :)

  9. Great review! Totally going on my wishlist (oh and so is the Deco...well Deco was already there, but it's going to the top now!)

  10. I love that color on you! I wish Panache or Cleo would offer a plunge in a J cup! I have the Bravissimo Satine plunge & I love the way it fits in the morning, but by the end of the day my boobs have migrated towards the center & I end up with a quadra-boob profile.

  11. I want to love this bra but the wires are too wide (and angled very far back) and end up poking me, even after bending them back. It also digs into the top of my stomach quite a bit, which is a problem I had with the Cleo Lucy. I love the shape and the material, it's a shame it's so freaking uncomfortable.

  12. I want to love this bra but the wires are too wide (and angled very far back) and end up poking me, even after bending them back. It also digs into the top of my stomach quite a bit, which is a problem I had with the Cleo Lucy. I love the shape and the material, it's a shame it's so freaking uncomfortable.

  13. Just wondering, have you ever tried Panache Jasmine? I think you two might hit it off ;)

  14. Interesting...I have the Andorra Plunge in the teal color in a 30H and it fits wonderfully...but the gore is unbelievably painful after a full day. I really wanted this to become a go-to everyday bra because I love how open it is, but the gore hasn't softened up enough yet. Has anyone else experienced this problem with the Plunge?

  15. Thank you for writing such an amazing, detailed blog. I have learned so much from reading it. I originally stumbled upon it when I was looking for reviews on some panache bras to buy online.

    I live in Australia and take a 32GG. For some reason in Australia large-cup bras seem to cost 2-3 time the starting price of the same item listed on a UK/US store. Because of this I tend to buy bras online without trying them on and with no worthwhile way to return them internationally.

    I bought the Andorra bra based on your review and it for perfectly. Having someone write such clear, detailed and knowledgeable reviews has been a huge help for me.

  16. I really wanted to love this bra, and I did initially. But then I found that I had a whole list of problems with it:

    The wires were way too wide and ended up stabbing the back of my armpit. This would not be a problem for everyone.
    It's not firm enough. And by this I mean my boobs are free to bounce all over the place because the fabric is so stretchy.
    My boobs sag down, again because the cup is so stretchy. It's not uplifting like I would like.
    The bottom of the gore/cups leaves quite a lot of pain on the top of my belly. It digs in and I think it actually might have worn away a bit of skin the day that I wore it all day. I, too, had this problem with the Cleo Lucy as well.

    I usually love plunge bras; the Parfait Casey is my go-to bra. But this was a disaster for me :[

  17. Amy

    Thanks for those comments. They helped shape my decision on this bra.

  18. I love this bra. I bought it four weeks ago and it was my first plunge fits perfectly. The stretchy embroidery is very comfortable an wide wires will give a wider front sight and flatter profile.

  19. Don't know why, but my comment was devoured from Internet. So, this my second attempt.
    I bought the Andorra Plunge four weeks ago and was surprised how pretty it fits. It's my first Plunge that fits. The stretchy fabric is like second skin and feels very comfortable. The width of wires is perfect for me and support is great.
    I tried the balcony also, but it works not with me. Cups were to small and border was digging in my breasts. Plunge cut is more comfortable and shape is better.