29 March 2013

Panache Learn the Fit

A picture of Panache Learn the Fit course

Yesterday I had the pleasure of going on a little adventure up to Sheffield for the day for an exciting, information and fun filled day over at Panache HQ.

What is Panache? 
Panache Lingerie was launched in 1982 and in 1989 Panache started their own in-house designs. In 1998 Panache made it's first move to department stores in the UK and in 2003 they launched their first D+ sized swimwear range. In 2005, Masquerade was launched and in 2008, the Cleo range. In 2011, Panache launched Panache sport and in 2012, Panache saw the launch of the Sculptresse range and Cleo swimwear range. Also in 2012, Panache won Best Sports Bra of the Year. Panache Lingerie specialises in D+ sizes, with lingerie made from quality fabrics, expert designs and fits, all for a comfortable, right fitting and supporting bra. Panache know how important it is to have a bra which is the right size and fit, not just for comfort, but also to support and look after one of the most important parts of the female body - our breasts. 


A picture of Panache Learn the Fit course

"Panache bras are fabulous. Their Superbras are the 'Ronseal' of the bra World. I swear they change women's lives! I can't recommend them enough!"
Quoted from a user on Mumsnet, September 2012.


My first bra fitting experience
The first time I was properly fitted for a bra I was around 14 years old (late bloomer!) and my mum took me to Marks and Spencers for it. Off I popped along, nervous as anything, and stood in the dressing room with a woman I had never met who didn't have much to say other than "Get undressed then". So stripping down my top half, you can imagine my nerves of being bare chested in front of a complete stranger. It has put me off of getting measured ever since. 

A picture of Panache Learn the Fit course

My misconceptions of what a bra should be
Since then I've kind of just guessed my bra size, gravitating towards a 38D/DD for a good decade or so now. In my late teens I decided that the only bras I should be wearing, were Ann Summers bras. I wanted to look and feel sexy, sultry and gorgeous, so I was determined to fit into Ann Summers, buying any bra in my size that they had to offer. But every single one has always been a tight fit, left my boobs spilling out and giving me those dreaded 'kebabs' around the back. But I didn't care - I was wearing Ann Summers, and that's what mattered to me. As I've gotten older I have moved towards bras which weren't quite what I wanted them to be aesthetically, be ones which fitted better. Still sticking to a size 38D/DD. These still never fitted properly, meaning I'd constantly throughout the day be adjusting my bra and boobs to try and squeeze them in!


A picture of Panache Learn the Fit course


The importance of a proper fitting bra
For yesterday's visit to Panache HQ, we spent the day on a 'Learn the Fit' course. The course was all about learning how to fit bras correctly, how to find the right sized bra and what bras are best suited for what bust shape and size. Of course, a lot of this is down to personal preference - You have to be comfortable in the bra you are wearing. But here are some of the main points learnt from yesterday.
  • Up to a massive 80% of women in the UK are wearing the wrong bra size.
  • The average bra size in the UK at the moment is a D/DD/E.
  • Wearing the wrong bra size can cause many problems including neck, shoulder and back ache, skin irritation caused by straps digging in, irreversible damage to ligaments which can cause breast pain and sagging, and wires in ill-fitting bras can stick into breast tissue causing unnecessary pressure and discomfort.
  • Wearing the right sized bra will be comfortable, supportive, lift the bust revealing the waist to give a slimmer appearance, fill you with confidence and create a better posture and a smooth silhouette under clothing.

A picture of Panache Learn the Fit course

Getting hands on
As well as learning about the history of Panache and all the different brands and styles and shapes created by Panache, we got some hands on practice during the day of learning how to fit bras. I was pretty nervous about this - I wasn't overly confident with the idea of fitting a bra on a complete stranger. But our four models for the bra fitting lesson were lovely and relaxed, and helped us work out what the right size for them would be. We also had on hand our wonderful course leader for the day, Karen Forbes, who has her own independent bra shop 'The Little Big Bra Shop' in Market Harborough. Sharing a wealth of information with us, I learnt how to correctly fit two bras to two different girls. 

A picture of Panache Learn the Fit course

Getting myself measured and fitted
After explaining to Karen my one bra measuring back in my early teens and how it had put me off ever since, she kindly offered to give me a measuring and fitting session. Karen put me at ease - which is something I had always worried wouldn't happen if I had popped along anywhere to get measured. After a quick chat about what size bras I had been wearing, what shape, style and finishes I like with bras and what size I thought I'd be once fitted, we got to the measuring. After wearing a 38D/DD for over a decade I was pretty sure that I needed to go up a few back sizes, maybe to a 42D/DD. How wrong I was! After my fitting, of being measured and trying on several different Panache bras, Karen and I decided I was in fact a 38FF/G! A massive difference to the size of bras I have been wearing.
(I didn't have to get bare chested like I had as a teen and neither will you if you go to the right establishments to get fitted) 

A picture of Panache Learn the Fit course

Panache Tour
Once our 'Learn the Fit' course was over, we got to go on a tour of the Panache factory floor, learning what the wonderful machinists do and how they make the bras, step by step. As a lot of my family have been machinists in the past and my Uncle used to run a clothes factory in London back in the 90's, the factory floor tour really brought back some memories. And it was exciting to see exactly where these beautiful bras are made!

A picture of Panache Learn the Fit course

The wonderful creative and talented Panache design team
We also got to meet the wonderful design team at Panache who talked us through the S/S13 lines for all the different brands under Panache. I loved seeing the mood boards, client stories and learning how they put together a whole line of lingerie from just a few initial ideas. The creative team were wonderfully welcome and I have to admit - I left a little bit envious of their careers and talent.

Overall the day itself was so, so informative. I am so genuinely happy to finally have plucked up the courage to get fitted and measured properly. I learnt so much about lingerie and really understand now just how important a properly fitted bra is, not just for comfort, but for our bodies too. I fell even more in love with the designs of Panache Lingerie, a brand whose bras I already own and wear. And after a sneaky look at the A/W13 range due to come out later this year, I am beyond excited for what's to come from Panache and already know exactly which items I'll be adding to my collection! 

A picture of Panache Learn the Fit course

You can find out more about Panache Lingerie and all their different brands, sizes, shapes and styles over on the Panache website. You can also do a fun little Panache Bra Fit Challenge to really test your knowledge of the bras you are currently wearing and if they are right for you.
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32 comments

  1. I've been meaning to go get measured cus I'm sure I'm wearing the wrong size and I've never been measured by anyone else before! I know, thats so bad. Looks like you had a brill day, very educational lol :P xx

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    1. A lot of people are probably the same! Definitely go get yourself measured, you may find yourself surprised! I did, it was a really informative day and I think it's something important for all girls to know :) xo

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  2. I was wearing a 32B for years and when I got measured as a 30E it was such a shock! Since then I've been encouraging everyone I know to go and get measured! :) x

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    1. That's good to hear Hails! I will be doing the same :) xo

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  3. Cor, just goes to show that getting properly fitted pays off. I think I must be wearing the wrong size but I swear sizes differ between shops. In one I'll be one size, in another I'll be 1/2 sizes up or down! x

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    1. I think sizes definitely do differ between stores. In fact I asked Karen about this on the day! There doesn't seem to be a Universal fitting guide for companies to abide to when making bras but usually they are as close to the same size as they can be. xo

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  4. Great post. I got measured a few years ago. I had been wearing a 38DD because that was the biggest size I could find in the store. Turns out I should have been wearing a 36H. It really does make a huge difference.

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Massive difference, I was shocked to see I had the cup size so wrong! xo

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  5. These looks like it was such a good event to attend! I have never been measured (oops) so I could possibly be wearing the wrong size! xo

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    1. Well you should pop along somewhere and get measured for sure then Megan :) It was a lovely day! xo

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  6. I've had similarly bad experiences with M&S. I might see if I can find somewhere better for a fitting. Sounds like a spectacular experience, though I wish I was anywhere close to the national average! I have to buy kids bras (assuming I guessed my size right) =(

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    1. You never know, once you get measured you might find you are wearing the wrong size. As there are places and brands like Panache who specialise in D+, I am sure there will be brands who specialise in smaller sizes too! :) xo

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  7. This is really important! I highly, highly doubt I'm wearing the correct bra size currently. Great post Sophia!

    abundanceoferica.blogspot.ca

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    1. Thanks Erica, I'm glad you enjoyed the post and I think it's really important too! xo

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  8. I really need to go and get measured! I've always thought it doesn't matter too much when you're smaller up top! Right now I wear a 32B, wonder what I'll get measured at?! x

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    1. When you find out, let me know! (In a non creepy way) It'd be interesting to see! I think mine was much, much different to what I expected xo

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  9. I self fitted myself in a 38H back in October. Today I went to Bravissimo to get fitted and my self fit of a 38H was right, I just had the wrong style of bra to give me the best look.

    I am glad I went to get fitted today but I never would have done if I hadn't have won a set of Bravissimo lingerie in Elena's birthday giveaway. x

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    1. Well done for being able to self-fit yourself at the correct size Beth! :) xo

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  10. When I get measured i'm always 33 inches aroud the back but 34s always seem too tight! C's can sometimes be too tight too but D's too loose, its a pain haha! Anne summers bras are the only ones that seem to fit -pout-
    xox

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    1. I wish I could actually fit in to the Ann Summers bras. I spent hundreds in there over the years, determined to wear them, but they never fit properly and could often be quite painful too! xo

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  11. I only got measured about a month ago and I was wearing the wrong size bra but I knew that. I now have the right size bra and I'm obsessed with buying pretty underwear!

    Really wish I could of came, it sounds like a wonderful event!

    Amy x cocktailsinteacups.com

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    1. I think finding out my real size has spurred me on to buy a ton of lingerie again. Only problem is - Everything I own atm is now the wrong size! xo

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  12. amazing, right? I'm just nodding along with this post as I was in about the same position with about the same sizes. it's crazy. I've never been fitted, I just found a Web site a long time ago that helped me find the right size.

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    1. It's good to know you're now wearing the right size Melanie! :) xo

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  13. This totally resonates with me!
    I hate getting my bra fitted and one day just found the confidence/energy to go and get it done. I thought I was a 34D but they never really fit too well. Turns out Im a 32F :|! Had a bit of a 'oh dear god my bras are now going to cost a fortune' moment but its totally worth it for a good fit :)
    Now its just the task of finding inexpensive and cute ones. I may have to check out panache.
    Lovely post, really informative :)

    xx

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    1. I too resent how much lingerie costs, BUT, they last ages before they need replacing and we spend more on beauty and clothes so why not ey! :) Thanks Lucy, I'm glad you enjoyed the post! Let me know if you decide to try anything from Panache xo

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    2. Try ebay, just got a white Panache for £10.98. Worth the occasional trawl through.

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  14. I've never been measured! And I know I should change my bra size, because it doesn't fit good, I have strange boobs anyways :D
    I need to find out where do they measure in my country. Shop assistants are usually pretty clueless about it.

    Love this post.
    X Deja

    Deja Zu

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    1. Definitely find somewhere to get measured Deja! :) xo

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  15. Hi, Girls!

    Really interesting to read about Panache and how bras are made and fitted. I'd always assumed women were on top of all this (being a mere man) but it seems most of you have issues somewhere with bras! It all resonates with me as I have boobs and started wearing a bra a few years back. I kind of expected the sizing charts wouldn't work so well for me, given the difference between men's torsos and women's. It wasn't until I went to buy a bra and the lady in the shop dragged me into the fitting room to do it properly that I realised they don't work for women, either!

    I've had lots of fittings since then and the ladies who fit me all say it's an uphill struggle trying to get you girls to wear the right size and style of bra. I buy all my wife's bras as well - she hasn't much idea, either. Plus, the sizing does vary: I have bras in 36C, 36D, 36DD, 38B 38C ('my size') and 38D. Admittedly I do use chicken fillets but that's mostly because when I get a bra that fits round my chest properly, the cups tend to be a bit loose.

    I'm going to try Ann Summers as they say they fit bras and I do fancy something a bit raunchier for a change (I can't believe I just typed that. A few years ago I'd have thought twice about going in to Ann Summers, let alone get a fitting).

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    1. Hey! :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It's great to get a male point of view! I think because obviously going for a fitting can be a little daunting, a lot of us just end up putting it off! I'm super glad I took the plunge (no pun intended aha) and got fitted at the Learn the Fit course because know I can find and wear bras which fit properly and feel comfortable! I think bra sizes definitely different from store to store and brand to brand. It's actually a question I brought up on the day as in most shops I'll be one size, but then in another that size can be miles too small! It's like clothes, and utterly frustrating! Hope you find an Ann Summers set to suit you! :) Thanks again for commenting xo

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  16. Only a year after you posted! I went to be measured at Tinks here in Chichester. 30J she said, I nearly walked out as I knew I was 36G in M&S. How wrong can you be, I was 30J in Panache all right, it felt snug and I had to put it on and fasten it at the back but I haven't looked back. I wash them in my 30 quick wash with Woolite and they are wearing very well.

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