Review: Panache Clara 32HH Navy/Aqua

I think I tried Clara on for the first time about a year ago, when I was first looking at finding a bra that fit. Unfortunately the bra I bought was used and was a bit worn out, thus I put the bra aside and forgot about it for a while. It has a stunning array of colorways though, and since I understand my size quite a bit better than when I first tried it I was lured in by the Autumn/Winter '15 navy blue/aqua combo.

30-38 D-J
Clara is a beautiful bra, no question. The various overlapping panels of lace and shimmering aqua fabric along with the scalloped edges are sophisticated and look quite luxe. I am particulalry fond of how the curves of the bra are echoed halfway up the straps. For bras that typically have slightly thicker straps, I don't think full-bust brands take advantage of the space to do interesting designs as much as they could.

I'm not familiar with many aspects of textiles, so I will do my best to describe the quality of the fabric despite my ignorance. It looks a bit fancier than it actually isthe shimmering parts are thinly woven into the lacey fabric and are a bit thin and not terribly soft or luxurious. That said, the price point of Clara is quite reasonable ($40-$70 depending where you buy and how old the design is), so I'm happy to sacrifice the texture for something that appears more expensive, frankly. The overall look of the bra is dramatic, and comes in so many beautiful colorsthe new "Duck Egg Blue" color seems right out of a Marie Antoinette film. It does crush me a bit to say that the fit wasn't quite right for me.

I typically wear a 34GG these days but bought Clara in 32HH after trying my usual cup volume and finding it too small. I think Clara must run a bit small in the cups since this volume fit, though the band seems true-to-size as I'm wearing an extender. The wires are of average width, and has a nice high apex with stretchy lace on top which creates a lovely natural uplifted shape. Because I have quite a bit of 'immediate projection' (projection right at the bottom/base of the breast), Clara is still lacking even with the size increase. While it's not terribly obvious on, I can always tell a bra isn't quite working because I can feel the pressure of the wires from the weight of my breasts. This may be exacerbated by the fact that is is a full-banded bra, a style that sometimes cuts uncomfortably into my stomach. Clara is also a bit too full-coverage for me. It is advertised as a full-cup bra but I do find that the more I go over the G/GG line that it's harder to find bras that don't come too far up my chest (for my taste). It is just a whole 'lotta bra and I feel very aware of it, whereas I prefer it when a bra 'disappears' when I put it on.

Besides my discomfort with how large the bra feels while I'm wearing it, it also rubs into my armpit a bitanother issue I see coming up more as I increase my cup volume. The fabric is a bit itchy as well. As I mentioned, the wires tend to dig in at the bottom due to the lack of immediate projection and full-band.

Briefs: The briefs are as beautiful as the bra and fit true-to-size. I don't have any complaints...Sorry about the lack of detailed pictures!

In the end, this was not meant to be (sniff). Looking at the pictures, it doesn't look like a terrible fit, does it? I think I tried to convince myself that I liked wearing Clara but it just didn't pass the fit and comfort test for me. I think my dream is a balconette-Clara with more bottom projection (so basically, Panache Jasmine with Clara's design...) Either way I think it's a bra worth trying if you're projected but don't need quite as much immediate projection as I do, simply because it is so beautiful.

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