I told myself I wasn’t going to review this bra, but I thought it would be interesting to show everyone how I alter my horrible bras to fit at least a little bit better. As such, this will not be a traditional review and I will not be ranking this bra the way I normally do. I’ll just be assigning it a star rating out of 10 for it’s unaltered and altered states. I did these alterations super quick with white thread so it’s visible. It was literally a 2 minute job just to hold the fabric how I wanted it. Please don’t judge how messy it is. I was going to use someone’s sewing machine to make the alterations permanent and neat, but I decided against it. I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I didn’t think I’d be posting this review.
Since this brand uses US sizing, a J cup in their sizing comes out to be an H cup in UK sizing. This means this bra sister sizes down to a UK 36K, but since the cups are so large, tall, wide, and deep I’d say it runs closer to a 36L or 36LL. Here’s a comparison chart showing a 40K Panache Rhapsody, 38L Bravissimo Alana, and the 44J Gemm LG900. You’ll notice that the cups are the widest, but the depth is between the two.
The bra in question is the Gemm LG900 in a 44J. If you’ve never heard of Gemm, it’s because they’re a small brand created by a wholesale company. I found out about them a few months ago because someone was selling one on Bratabase in a 44H. The measurements seemed pretty close to what I was actually wearing, but I thought I could use a cup size larger so I sought out the 44J. When I went to the brand page I found this review by ProperlyFitted on Bratabase. I loved the way the black bra fit on her because it reminded me of the Panache Tango colorway that got away. It looked like it gave decent projection, support, and coverage. The hard part was finding somewhere to buy it. I first contacted the company themselves, but I never heard anything back. I ended up finding the bra I wanted on Amazon and quickly realized they were the brand that always popped up in ads when I was bra shopping. It seems like the only place you can get this bra in the US is on eBay or Amazon because it’s usually wholesale only.
I got the bra quickly, and my first impression was that the wires were stupidly soft and weak. While I was pulling it out of the mailbox it was floppy and it bent easily. I took the bra in the house and bent the wire a little bit and heard them making snapping and crackling noises. All I did was bend it a slight amount. Since I had damaged the bra, I decided to keep it to do bra surgery on it. When I first tried it on, I was shocked that a fit that bad could even exist. It’s basically just holding my boobs in a sling without actually supporting them. This is definitely the worst bra I have ever tried. The material is extremely rough and scratchy and it irritates my sensitive skin. It makes the Panache Tango feel like silk. I would not recommend this bra on anyone that has even slightly heavy or pendulous breasts because it will not support your breasts at all.
A pro is that the band and straps are for the most part pretty great. The band is snug, measuring 43.5 inches stretched. The straps are wide and almost fully adjustable, barring an annoying detail that keeps me from adjusting the straps as short as I need them. The gore is also surprisingly narrow for a bra like this. I was expecting something much wider. It is, however, very tall. When I pushed the gore into my chest, the cups flattened out and appeared to be the correct volume. It also gave me a shape similar to the Panache Tango, which cemented my idea to alter it.
The first alteration I did was to switch the wires out. I have a shoebox in my closet full of what I call my “bra graveyard.” Since the original wires were extremely wide, I chose some wide wires that weren’t as wide as the originals to give me a better shape and more support. The bra I picked was the Panache Harmony in 32KK. I used to wear it to sleep with 2 extenders, but it’s so well worn that it’s time to let it go. This is basically all I did to remove the wire, and then I slowly worked the new wires into the hole left behind. For stability, I did stitch the wire channels closed again. When I tried the bra on, it was much better. It actually looked like it supported me pretty well, telling me that this bra would probably be great for a lot of people if the underwires were stronger. From the side, I’m getting a lot of lift that turns into a slightly pointy shape. I could have stopped here and been perfectly happy.
What I did next was shorten the bra band. I used this tutorial to do it without having to cut out any material or rip apart any seams. The amount that I folded over ended up leaving me with a 38 inch stretched band, a 5.5 inch reduction. Since I’m usually a 36 band and 36 bands stretch to around 37 inches, so I’m comfortable wearing this on the middle hooks. If I did decide to go back and make my alterations permanent, I’ll try to take out more length to make this a true 36 band.
The last alteration I did was something I do with a lot of bras that I don’t have the upper fullness for. I didn’t take pictures because I didn’t know I was writing this post. All I did was take the upper edge of the cup, fold it onto where the strap connects, and sew it there. What this alteration does is make the top connect to the strap, which makes the construction a little more sturdy than it was before. This also helps to take a little bit of length away from the straps, but not enough for me. In my final photos I’m using a Strap Saver, which is the only thing I need to add to this bra to wear it.
In its unaltered state, I’m giving this bra a 1 out of 10. I would not recommend purchasing this bra in the larger sizes unless you’re buying with the intent of practicing your alteration skills. If you love doing alterations, you might have fun with this bra. While it’s amazing that such a small brand is making sizes like UK H cups, it might not be the best option for someone that needs this size range.
In its altered state, I’ll give this bra a 5 out of 10. It’s significantly better than it was before when it comes to shaping and support, but the material is a dealbreaker for me because it’s way too rough for my skin. I can not wear this for more than an hour or two without it causing me some discomfort or leaving behind temporary rashes. I’m not exaggerating when I say I would never recommend this to anyone with even remotely heavy breasts.