At the end of March I was fortunate enough to be offered the chance to spend the day at Panache HQ on their ‘Learn The Fit’ workshop. Usually aimed at Panache retailers and retail assistants, it was opened to bloggers for the first time. The day was led by Karen who owns The Little Big Bra Shop in Market Harborough (which incidentally is rather close to where I live and I’ve been to before so I got a little excited!). Karen is not only incredibly knowledgeable and clever when it comes to all things bra-shaped but she’s also really blooming lovely and easy to talk to.
Bloggers and their phones… 😀
We were talked through each collection at Panache which was extremely helpful. I bought myself the Tango bra a couple of years ago but it just wasn’t the right shape for me so if I’m honest, it stopped me looking at any other Panache bras for a while simply because I thought none would fit right. (Or at least until the lovely folk at Best British Bloggers sent me the Marcie to review which is when I fell head over heels for them!) We got to learn what each collection is about, how they differ and who they are aimed at. The two collections that really stood out to me were definitely the Sculptresse and Cleo.
Sculptresse is designed for the fuller figured woman and runs from a D-J cup in 36-46 back. It has lots of clever little design features that make it perfect if you’re plus size.
The back straps sit closer together on the shoulder which eliminates any annoying falling down of straps. I have this problem with the majority of my bras because although I’m a big fat, fatty I have relatively narrow shoulders.
The under-band is also shaped so the middle part of the bra is cut a little higher. This will stop the band digging into your tummy flesh when you sit down.
The cups have a concealed ‘sling’ in the side which helps to project your boobs forwards for a more natural shape. I have a ridiculous amount of side boob and find that most bras either don’t encapsulate it or if it does, it gives me a really odd shape.
Cleo is everything women with D+ boobs have craved for years. It’s fun, flirty, colourful, sexy and has a young at heart attitude. They’re all about bright colours, gorgeous prints and comfort.
Top left: Melissa from Cleo, top right: Pure Lace from Sculptresse, bottom left: Bellise from Sculptresse, bottom right: Sophie Maternity from Superbra (that’s right, a pretty maternity and nursing bra!)
We got to view the latest collections of both lingerie and incredible swimwear on two gorgeous models.
Left: Tilly from Cleo Swimwear, right: Betty from Cleo Swimwear (and by far my favourite!).
These two were not only gorgeous but incredibly patient as we moved onto my favourite part of the day; practical fitting! I’ve always been fascinated by bra sizing and lingerie in general but over the last year or so I’ve started to take a genuine interest in it which I can only put down to reading blogs like Caroline’s and Georgina’s. Add to that, being educated by Karen about just how important wearing the right bra is and I’m the first to pipe up someone mentions bras or boobs!
Betty Pamper getting her fitting on. (Image pinched from her!)
We got a model each who was wearing the wrong size bra and our job was to fit her with the right one. Although we started with a measuring tape, the majority of fitting comes from using the bra they already have on as a starting point and adjusting one thing at a time until you find the right one. By some miracle I got all three models in the right size bra first time! I’m either harbouring some secret talent or I spend too much time staring at boobs.
Our fab day ended with a tour of the factory (where I got to pretend I was in a Corrie/Made In Dagenham mash up) followed by a visit to the design department where we were walked through the design processes. Both were a craft lover’s heaven. Walls of cotton spools, mood boards, luxe fabric samples and colour everywhere. It was magical!
Fabric and moodboards galore.
Being talked through each collection.
It was so interesting being talked through how each bra starts from quite literally, a sentence or a phrase and is elaborated on and ideas grow and shrink until a print/colour/pattern/feel is decided upon. It really was brilliant and if I could have another life I’d definitely like to be a designer please! (Not that mine is done and dusted but I think I’ve flip flopped about a bit too much now and it’s probably time to settle on a career!)
If being a designer means you get to wear awesome clothes like this to work, I’m in.
I came away from the day feeling full of knowledge and boob-shaped joy. Aside from all the sensible learning and bra fun, I got to spend the day with some much-loved familiar faces and meet some now equally loved new faces. My anxiety got the better of me on my way home where I went over every single conversation I had and worried about whether I came across as being too brash, or whether I swore too much, laughed too much, was too loud etc. But considering I drove all the way to Sheffield on my own and met new people, I think I did pretty well!
Oh hey, just hanging out with a beach ball.
Big, big thank you to Panache and Karen for hosting the day and to Maria and Katie from Best British Bloggers for inviting me. I had a blooming marvellous day and can honestly say that every time I’m involved in something like this my confidence grows as well as my knowledge and I come away feeling great.
The only down-side is that I now need all these in my life…