Review: ColieCo Alexa Bra & Custom Amy Knickers

Review: ColieCo Alexa Bra & Custom Amy Knickers

Review: ColieCo Alexa Bra & Custom Amy Knickers

Disclosure: I purchased this set myself. Links with a * are affiliate links.

My previous blog post was all about ColieCo, so now seemed like a good time to review the set I bought from this brand earlier in the year.  An independent label that I’ve been following for a couple of years, it’s headed up by designer Nicole Neaber and is sustainably-handmade in Portugal. What really draws me to the brand though is the aesthetic; ColieCo is all about prints, and there are so many of them that I adore.

Many of the pieces in ColieCo’s Etsy store* are available in a whole range of fabrics, not just the one shown on the model. This Alexa soft-cup bra* comes in a choice of sixteen! There’s probably no print type I love more than a realistic and detailed floral, and the one you’re seeing here is option 4 on the list. The Amy knickers* were a custom order as they usually come in lace, but I really wanted an ouvert design like that one to match the bra. There was no additional charge for the fabric change, or the fact both pieces were made to measure.

Appearance

Guys, I love these knickers! You all know I love a strappy design, and the cheeky, bum-revealing back of these is just so fun to wear. They are definitely the standout piece of this set for me, and I want to own them in a whole bunch of different prints.

Speaking of which, the digital floral print is everything I expected it to be. It’s super detailed and full of colour. The way Neaber has arranged the panels on the bra, there are lots of yellows on one cup and more whites on the other. I like it like that – it makes the blooms feel even more organic. Looking at this lingerie set laid flat, there’s absolutely nothing I would change about it.

Verdict: 10 / 10

Construction

ColieCo lingerie is handmade in Neaber’s studio, and she’s clearly experienced at sewing – both pieces are neatly and securely sewn together. The knickers, though ouvert, are not crotchless and have an organic cotton lining at the gusset. The rest of the fabric is unlined, but it’s super soft and comfy.

The bra is wireless and lightly lined. The lower two sections of the cups are backed by soft foam; the top section is lined with powernet. There are flexible plastic bones at either side to help the bra hold its shape, and it fastens with a metal swan hook on a narrow band of adjustable elastic. It’s overall well-made, and comfortable to wear.

Verdict: 9 / 10

Fit

ColieCo offers standard size options, but welcomes requests for custom sizing too. Both of my pieces were made to measure. For the knickers, I sent over my waist, high hip and low hip measurements and also requested that she make the adjustable straps at the back a tad longer, just to make totally sure they weren’t going to cut in. I needn’t have worried as they sit flat on my skin with a couple of inches of length to spare. The knickers fit perfectly at the waistband too.

Unfortunately the fit of the bra is not quite so ideal. The band has been made to my full underbust measurement (26″) whereas I would have expected it to be a bit shorter, stretching to 26″ for a firm fit. Most of my other bras measure 22-24″ unstretched for comparison. This one rides up at the back, and I’m planning to remove the adjustable elastic section to shave a couple of inches off.

I should also point out that the thick, horizontal strip of padding in the Alexa bra has a very flattening effect. I think that’s just how it’s supposed to fit (rather than it being the wrong size), but it’s not my favourite look! I chose this bra because I thought the seaming would give it some depth, but in hindsight I wish I’d gone for something wired or unlined instead.

Verdict: 6 / 10

Durability

I’ve already mentioned that both pieces were very well-constructed, and they haven’t deteriorated at all in the 8 or 9 weeks that I’ve had them. And the print is as vibrant as ever! I’ve been hand-washing the set as instructed on the label, but to me this feels like a set you could pop in the machine on a delicates cycle just fine (if you used a lingerie wash bag).

Verdict: 10 / 10

Value for Money

The Alexa bra* costs 38€ (~£33 / ~$45) and the Amy knickers* are 23€ (~£20 / ~$27). As noted earlier, there was no additional charge for customisation. I find ColieCo’s prices beyond reasonable for what you get – there’s a reason the brand has featured in my budget-friendly gift guides for the past two Christmasses running!

The set is expertly-made and uniquely-designed, and the fact I got to choose the fabric just makes it feel all the more special. Definitely worth every penny.

Verdict: 10 / 10

Overall, the bra could be a better fit, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing it. I love the print and the design of the knickers far too much to let this set languish in my lingerie drawer! I would happily purchase from ColieCo* again, and probably will, but next time I’ll be trying a different style of bra.

Are you as much a fan of this floral print and the ouvert knickers as I am? Have you ever bought from ColieCo yourself?

Lingerie Review: Rosamosario Lace Bodysuit

Lingerie Review: Rosamosario Lace Bodysuit

Lingerie Review: Rosamosario Lace Bodysuit

Disclosure: Links with a * are affiliate links.

A slightly different kind of review today. Normally, I wouldn’t review something I’ve decided not to keep. I feel like you need to wear and wash a garment at least a few times before you can properly judge it. But ever so occasionally, I’ll get my hands very briefly on a piece of lingerie that is so special I want to write about it anyway, as was the case with my first ever Agent Provocateur Soirée purchase. So just bear that in mind that my opinion here is based on first impressions alone.

This bodysuit is from Rosamosario’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection, though they currently have two similar products available. One is the Matrimonio All’Italiana bodysuit, a wired-cup piece with sheer mesh back and sides. There’s also the Jumeirah Crystals bodysuit which has the same, soft-cupped construction as the one I bought, but which is richly-encrusted with crystal beading. With those pieces retailing for 580€ and 1,080€ respectively, can you imagine my delight when I saw this one on clearance at Yoox for just £33*? (And it’s currently reduced further to £29 until the 29th!)

I’ll be honest, the design of this piece is not really my style. To me, it looks super vintage-y, both in shape and colour (it appears cream, beige or blush pink depending on the lighting). Mostly, I just bought it out of curiosity – it’s not every day a girl like me can afford lingerie by a brand that lists Kate Moss, Madonna and Rihanna amongst its clientele. But I was still hoping I’d be able to wear it.

Unfortunately, this bodysuit is clearly made for someone much taller than myself. I bought a size XS (UK 6-8 according to Rosamosario’s size chart) and it just wrinkles all over on me. Like, a lot. The cups especially were baggy, even with the straps shortened all the way in an attempt to pull them flat. So, yeah, this really needs to be worn on a taller body to get the whole thing lying taut and smooth. I’m 5’3 by the way. If you’re someone who struggles to find bodysuits that are long enough in the torso, you definitely shouldn’t have that issue here!

Otherwise, I was pretty impressed by the construction. The lace is entirely backed by sheer mesh, for strength and to avoid irritating the skin. And everywhere there’s a seam, including inside the cups, it has been completely enclosed by a strip of fabric sewn over the top. The zipper end and points where the straps join the back of the bodysuit are also topped with a little fabric ‘cushion’, albeit a little messily sewn at the straps. Clearly though, Rosamosario has made an effort to ensure this bodysuit is as comfortable to wear as possible. All of these details are time-consuming to add – you certainly won’t find them on a cheap or even mid-priced garment.

I don’t know how much this bodysuit retailed for – Yoox ‘before’ prices are not the original RRP – but based on similar Rosamosario designs, I’m going to put it at somewhere between 400€ and 600€. Brands such as Amoralle have bodysuits in that price range that are far more interesting to look at, but in my experience at least, the quality doesn’t match up to the price tag. Here, I was a little surprised to see a very cheap-looking, printed fabric content label inside, but otherwise it is beautifully made. Some brands simply look luxurious, Rosamosario truly is.

If you’re planning a purchase direct from Rosamosario and my review has left you worried about the fit, it’s worth noting that they do offer a made-to-measure service. But if you’re shopping on a much smaller budget then, provided you have a long torso, this is an incredible deal for £29! You can get it here* where only a few pieces remain in sizes XS and S.

What matters most to you when shopping for lingerie – looks, or construction quality? Are hidden details like the covered seams and strap ends here features you’d be willing to pay more for?

What is a Bralette Exactly?

What is a Bralette Exactly?

What is a Bralette Exactly?

If you follow me on Twitter and saw my thread on bralettes (or rather, bras) the other day then you’ve kind of already read this post. I just wanted to share it here for all of my blog readers too.

Ever since the explosion in bralette popularity, I’ve spotted more than a few brands labelling something as a bralette (also spelt bralet) when it’s clearly not. And it annoys me, because it spreads misinformation and confuses consumers about what a bralette really is. (I did a quick, very unscientific poll of 127 people over on Instagram and a quarter thought the items they were being shown were bralettes. They weren’t). Plus, for the customers who do know what a bralette is, it still makes it harder to find what they’re actually looking for. Different lingerie styles have different names for a reason!

So, exactly what is a bralette? And why do some brands insist on using the term for regular ol’ bras? Well first up, a bralette is a bra. It’s just a specific style of one. A bralette is a wireless bra that’s minimally-structured and usually unpadded. What do I mean by minimally-structured? You’re unlikely to find more than one seam on the cup of a bralette, sometimes even none. Seams are used for shaping and support, but without an underwire below the cup can’t really shape or lift your breast anyway.

When I think of bralettes personally, what usually comes to mind is a little triangle-cupped thing with thin straps and an ultra-narrow band, but they’re not all like that. Freya, Cosabella, Adore Me, Parfait and Addition Elle are just a few of the brands who’ve released bralettes for fuller figures. These offer wider bands and more coverage – perhaps don’t even have separate cups – but they’re still soft and wire-free.

Bralettes are almost certainly the biggest trend in lingerie right now, if they can even still be classed as a trend now that they’re so ubiquitous. And naturally brands want to profit from that. Most do it by, you know, actually making bralettes. But a handful take the lazy route, just sticking the word ‘bralette’ next to the wired bra they really want to sell you.

Not a bralette

Not a bralette

Not a bralette

Not a bralette (or even a ‘bra that gives you [the bralette] look’ as the description claims)

Not a bralette

So you add a longline and suddenly it’s a bralette? Nope.

Maybe they do this to make their product seem ‘cool’ and ‘trendy’. Or maybe it’s for SEO reasons, to lure people in who were searching Google for an actual bralette and then hoping they’ll buy something anyway. I can’t imagine that the highly-trained people designing these things (because it’s not little indie brands mislabelling bralettes, it’s big brands and high-street stores) really don’t know what a bralette is. Probably, the designers are not involved in naming the product online.

Almost without exception, the bras being mislabelled here are ones with a lacy, longline band. Why is that? I think it’s probably got something to do with the rise of ‘festival fashion’ and athleisure. The relaxed fit of a bralette goes hand in hand with these aesthetics, and they’ve been adopted as a type of crop top. Often, they’ll be ones with a longer band (it offers more coverage as outerwear) and for festivals especially, ones made from lace (it’s pretty to show off). Then somewhere along the line, brands started lumping all lacy, longline bras together in the same basket with bralettes.

But ‘bralette’ is not another name for a longline bra. It’s also not just a term for a bra you might want to wear as outerwear. It’s a lightweight, unstructured, wire-free version of a bra. So brands, please start naming your products correctly! And if people looking for a crop-top style piece is really your target market, why not just call them festival bras or bra tops? There are customers searching for those terms too.

THIS is a bralette. Vanessa by For Love & Lemons

This is also a bralette. Millie Lace by Figleaves.

This too. Pink Lace Raceback by Torrid.

What do you picture when you think of the word ‘bralette’? Did you think it meant a longline bra?

Lingerie I Love: ColieCo’s Leaf Knickers

Lingerie I Love: ColieCo’s Leaf Knickers

Lingerie I Love: ColieCo’s Leaf Knickers

Disclosure: Links with a * are affiliate links.

Okay, firstly, how cool do these Leaf knickers* by handmade, Portuguese brand ColieCo* look?! I’ve always had a thing for sumptuous, ruffly knickers (they are excellent for creating the illusion of bigger curves) but these ones are especially gorgeous. The rows of leaf-shaped cut-outs make them feel like something out of a fairytale – lingerie for a pixie or a wood elf. And the vibrant array of clashing colours and prints manage to work perfectly together.

But I’m not just featuring them because I think they’re pretty. I also love the reason that ColieCo decided to produce them. Designer Nicole Neaber wants her lingerie brand to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, for example by using fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles, or end-of-roll pieces that would otherwise have ended up in landfill.

The Leaf knickers are just an extension of this commitment to reducing waste, by taking the little off-cuts of fabric created in her own studio and turning them into something wearable. There will always be some fabric scraps generated in the lingerie-making process, but with the Leaf knickers, ColieCo is really keeping them to a minimum – at least for the scuba jersey fabrics these little leaves are made from.

The Leaf knickers have a plain mesh front, and are available in a choice of black or white. They come in sizes XS to XL (there’s a detailed size chart available to reference on the product page*), and cost a surprisingly low 25€ (~£22 / ~$30).

What do you enjoy most about these knickers, their eco creds or just the way they look? Have you ever purchased from ColieCo?

35 MORE Stylish, Modest Swimwear Options for Summer 2018

35 MORE Stylish, Modest Swimwear Options for Summer 2018

35 MORE Stylish, Modest Swimwear Options for Summer 2018

Disclosure: Links with a * are affiliate links.

Yay, it’s finally summer! Now that the weather is hotting up, my blog post on 35 stylish, modest swimwear options from 2016 is getting a bunch of hits again. However whilst some of those pieces are still available to buy, many are not. So I thought an updated, 2018 version of the list was in order.

Whether it’s to protect your skin from the sun, for religious reasons, or to boost your confidence by covering up parts of your body you’d prefer not to show, modest swimwear doesn’t have to be dowdy. Looking for a conservative swim piece that’s still chic and stylish? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Of course, there are different levels of modesty, and the options here range all the way from bikinis to full-body coverage. There are long-sleeved swimsuits, swim dresses, tunics and more. They’re ordered, roughly, from most to least amount of skin on show, so scroll on down until you find the level of coverage you’re looking for.

Boohoo Jessica Plus Size Bikini, £20 (~$27 / ~23€)*

Lime Ricki Lemon Rose Crop Top, reduced to $24.75 (~£19 / ~21€) + High-Waist Bottom, reduced to $14.75 (~£11 / ~13€)

Betty Felon Fashions Metallic Rainbow Tankini, CA$120 (~£70 / ~US$93 / ~80€)*

Sophie & Trey Long-Sleeve Striped Swim Top, $24.99 (~£19 / ~21€) + High-Waisted Bikini Bottoms, $14.99 (~£11 / ~13€)

Dashiki Dresses Gede II Long-Sleeve Bikini, reduced to $150.95 (~£113 / ~129€)

ASOS Graphic Palm Print Short-Sleeve Swimsuit, £35 (~$47 / ~40€)*

SWELL Castaway Short Sleeve Swimsuit, reduced to £31.99 (~$43 / ~36€)

Red Dolly Swimwear Boy-Short Swimsuit, $65 (~£49 / ~56€)*

Sunnyside Swimwear Black Tankini Top & Skirted Bottoms, $99.95 (~£75 / ~86€)*

Origami Customs High-Neck Swimsuit, CA$140 (~£82 / ~US$109 / ~93€)*

The Upside Animal Print Paddle Suit, £237 (~$316 / ~270€)*

Monki Long-Sleeved Swimsuit, £30 (~$40 / ~34€)*

SunHaze Floral Bouquet Surfsuit, AU$150 (~£85 / ~US$114 / ~97€)*

Protest Mojito Surfsuit, 69.99€ (~£62 / ~$82)*

Spot Surfwear Wild Rose Long-Sleeve Surf Suit, $128 (~£96 / ~110€)*

Roaman’s Plus Size Leopard Print Retro Halter Swimdress, from $64.99 (~£49 / ~56€)

Roaman’s Plus Size Swim Dress, reduced to $41.99 (~£32 / ~36€)

Sunnyside Swimwear Navy Sailor Long Swim Top, $69 (~£52 / ~59€)*

Indigo Exchange Swimdress With Boyshorts, $68 (~£51 / ~58€)

Red Dolly Swimwear Polka Dot One-Piece With Detachable Skirt, from $118 (~£89 / ~101€)*

Ella Mae Fashion White Flower Margaux Swim Top & Skort, reduced to $75 (~£56 / ~64€)

Hasema Swim Top & Leggings, reduced to ₺134 (~£22 / ~$29 / ~25€)

Roaman’s Plus Size Floral Swim Tunic, from $44.99 (~£34 / ~39€) + Long Swim Short, from $19.99 (£15 / ~17€)

Hasema 08 Laci Swim Tunic & Leggings, ₺229 (~£37 / ~42€ / ~$50)

Adasea 3077 Navy Floral Swim Tunic & Leggings, 67.50€ (~£59 / ~$79)*

Creations By Savannah Polka Dot Swim Dress With Cropped Leggings, from $115 (~£87 / ~98€)*

Modestly Yours Swim Tunic & Leggings, $84 (~£63 / ~72€)*

Aqua Modesta Style 2601 Swim Dress, $72 (~£54 / ~62€)*

Mayovera Half-Closed Swimwear With Pearls, 69€ (~£61 / ~$81)

Mayovera Gold Series Full-Body Swimsuit, 119€ (~£105 / ~$139)

Madamme BK Amélie Champagne Burkini, reduced to 98€ (~£86 / ~$115)

Nasira Marbella Anbar Full-Cover Swimsuit, reduced to 150€ (~£131 / ~$175)

East Essence Tropic Print Burkini, reduced to $66.99 (~£50 / ~57€)

Mayovera Ombre Balloon-Skirted Full-Cover Swimsuit, £99 (~$132 / ~113€)*

Hasema Siyah Fully-Covered Swimsuit, 110.85€ (~£98 / ~$130)*

If you know of any other brands making stylish, modest swimwear, please let me know in the comments section below! What’s your favourite look from today’s list?

Review: ASOS Western Bikini Set

Review: ASOS Western Bikini Set

Review: ASOS Western Bikini Set

Disclosure: Links with a * are affiliate links.

Hey guys! I’m experimenting with a different review format. Less structured, more ‘flowy’. Let me know if you prefer this, or like to have clear sections and ratings for fit, construction, durability etc.?

This is one of the looks I featured in my 2018 swimwear lust list, and the only one I’ve bought so far. It was both one of my very favourites and one of the most affordable, so it didn’t take much to convince me. Shortly after I bought it, this bikini went on sale (isn’t that always the way?!), making it now an even more budget-friendly £22.50*.

There is also a matching swimsuit* which I have only just now noticed has an amazing, O-ring racer back, and gosh I’m kicking myself because the swimsuit is even cooler than the bikini! ASOS also offers a full-bust version of the bikini top* for DD-G cups, but for some reason they made that one sleeveless. Last time I checked, sleeves don’t affect the bust fit. But oh well.

What really drew me to this bikini is the print. I love a slight flash of metallic, all the more so when it’s gold-coloured. The black fabric is covered with foiled cacti, horseshoes and cowboy boots – hence the product name, ‘Western’. I also liked the tasselled details, and they turned out to be even prettier than I expected. Each tassel is held together by a stamped-metal end cap, topped by a little bead.

Unfortunately, the tassels are deteriorating pretty fast. I’ve worn this bikini out twice, and both times noticed a half-dozen tassel strings on my towel when I got up to leave. Another one even fell out just taking these flat-lay images! And you can see in the images that a bunch more strings are hanging down lower than the rest, like they’re going to fall out soon. In better news though, the print is holding up fine so far. The bikini has been soaked in sea-water and hand-washed with regular detergent, and the metallic foil is as shiny as ever.

I bought a UK size 6 for the top and bottoms, which is my usual dress size. Although I loved the look of this bikini, I was a little unsure about the leg cut – it’s really high with a ‘cheeky’ back, which is more revealing than I’d usually wear at the beach. As it happens though, it’s actually the top I ended up being most self-conscious about.

As soon as it gets wet, the fabric gets looser. And since the plunge neckline was barely covering my nipples to begin with, well, you can figure out the rest. I worked out that the trick to keeping it in place is to pull the back down really far – as far as you can – which keeps the front laying flat. But get caught by one big wave and it’s baggy again.

Fit-wise though, I would say the top is true to size. The bottoms on the other hand felt ever so slightly small and honestly I wish I’d sized up to an 8, but they’re wearable. Also, although the sides are sewn together, the way the string ties thread through both pieces of fabric (pictured below) means it wouldn’t take much to add some inches to the waistband. Just a few careful snips of the thread holding the two channels together and voilà, bottoms with gaps at either side.

Bikini bottom side detail

Overall, I do love this bikini. I wouldn’t recommend it for swimming in though, if you’re at all worried about flashing someone. It’s more of a chilling-by-the-pool piece. Had I known the tassels were going to start falling apart so quickly though, I definitely would have waited to buy it on sale. But now that it is, a part of me is really tempted to go back and get the swimsuit too. Should I?!

What do you think of ASOS’ Western bikini*? Have you ever bought any other ASOS swimwear, and how was the quality if so?

Want to Write for Esty Lingerie?

Want to Write for Esty Lingerie?

Want to Write for Esty Lingerie?

You may have noticed that lately, I’ve only been posting new content once a week or so. I’d hoped when I quit my job to write about lingerie full-time that I would start publishing much more frequently, but it hasn’t really worked out that way. I am writing about lingerie more than ever, but a lot of the time it’s for other websites. And with my son’s school year coming to an end next week, for the rest of summer at least, I’m only going to get busier.

I do have a list as long as my arm of planned topic ideas, and I’m going to shuffle my schedule around to make sure I prioritise writing them a bit more. But I’ve also decided that it’s definitely time to add some new members to my team. So if you have a passion for lingerie and love to write too, read on!

I’m looking for two new writers to take on slightly different roles. First up, I’m looking for a features writer to cover lookbooks, interviews and brand news. I receive a lot of press releases and information from brands that I’d like to cover on the blog but can’t find time to, so for this role, I’m looking for someone who’s happy to be assigned topics and brands to write about. Of course, you can turn down any that aren’t a good fit. There will be 2 articles required per month.

Secondly, I have space to take on a second writer who will provide 1-2 articles per month, but I’m more flexible about what you write about. I won’t be assigning you topics, so you’ll need to be able to come up with a regular flow of ideas on your own. I’m especially keen to hire someone who can provide a perspective on lingerie that’s different to my own – so please do apply if you’re plus-sized, small-busted, disabled, a person of colour, over 40, a lingerie design student, someone who buys ultra-luxe, someone who buys very low-cost, or anything else that gives you a unique take on the world of lingerie!

What else do you need?

  • Great English! No previous writing experience is necessary, but I do need people who can write well.
  • If you plan on writing reviews of your lingerie purchases, good photography skills. Again, you don’t need to be a professional, but check out the reviews section for an idea of what’s expected. Good lighting, high-resolution, etc.
  • A Paypal account, because that’s how I’ll be paying you.

How to apply

Please send the following to info@estylingerie.com no later than 30th June 2018. I will be contacting shortlisted applicants in early July to discuss things in more detail.

  • Which role you are applying for – features writer, or general writer
  • If general writer, a list of 5 topics/titles you’d like to write about initially
  • A brief introduction – who you are, and why you want to write for Esty Lingerie
  • An example of your writing, preferably lingerie or fashion based, of at least 400 words. This can be something you’ve written previously, or a new sample piece to show me the kind of thing you’d write for this blog

These are paid, freelance positions. I’m perfectly happy for you to write under a pseudonym if you don’t want to use your real name. I can’t wait to read all of your applications!

Lingerie Review: Blush Reverie Bralette & Hipster

Lingerie Review: Blush Reverie Bralette & Hipster

Lingerie Review: Blush Reverie Bralette & Hipster

Disclosure: I received this set free of charge (except for customs fees) from Burgundy Fox when reviewing their lingerie subscription service – you can read that piece here. I decided I wanted to review the lingerie itself too, but this article is unaffiliated with either Burgundy Fox or Blush. 

As the disclosure says, I received this set in a subscription box. I had no idea what was going to be inside, and it’s not something I’d ever have chosen for myself. The shape, the colour… it’s just not my usual style. But it fit well and felt comfy on, so I started wearing it, and then something strange happened – I realised I’d actually been wearing it a lot.

I haven’t owned any lingerie by Blush before. They’ve been around since 1988 but are based in Canada, and with shipping to Europe being somewhat pricey, I’ve never really paid the brand much attention. Whilst writing this review I also spotted that they’re charging non-Canadian customers more for their products. A 25 CAD item becomes a 25 USD item for everyone outside the country, which equates to a 33% price hike. Since moving to Spain I’ve noticed just how many brands do this – the EUR version of an item is so often more expensive than the GBP one – but common as it may be, it still feels pretty shady.

But I’m digressing, let’s get onto the review!

Appearance

Although I’ve said that Reverie isn’t my typical style, there is one thing I like about this range – the lace. It’s made from a wide net with a flat, embroidery-like floral pattern. I particularly like the longline bra band as a way to show its pattern off.

The lace is broken up with polkadot mesh, and the straps are nice – satin-striped elastic with picot edging and gold-tone hardware. It’s overall a cute, simple-but-sweet basic that’s really rather pretty.

Verdict: 6 / 10

Construction

The Reverie bralette and hipster are both well-made, with neat and secure sewing throughout. The cups and centre-back of the band (either side of the hook-and-eyes) are backed with mesh for added support. The most interesting feature though is what Blush describes as a “1/4 wire”, something quite a few of their bralettes come with.

You know how some bralettes have a short plastic bone at the side of the cups to add stability to the band? This is similar, except instead of boning, it’s a little piece of bra wire that follows the curve of the breast. Which is unusual – not a construction detail I’ve ever seen before! It’s not an underwire so don’t expect it to offer any lift – this is still essentially a wireless bralette. But if you’ve got breasts that splay out sideways, you may find that the wire helps to keep breast tissue forward and inside the cups. It also anchors those cups in place.

Verdict: 8 / 10

Fit

I was sent an XS brief and size S bralette, and as I’ve already mentioned, the fit is great. For reference, XS is my go-to for all clothing, so the bottoms fit true to size. They’re elastic-free all round the legline too and the lace is nice and stretchy, so there’s absolutely no cutting in.

In bras, I usually wear a 30DD. The band here feels like a 32 because it rides up just a tad. The cups are stretchy and sit perfectly flush against my chest, but could accommodate a cup size larger or smaller just fine. According to Blush’s size chart, it’s supposed to fit a 32C-D or 34A-B, which I think sounds about right. I would have preferred the tighter band of the XS bralette but then the cups would have been too small, so overall I’m very happy with the way it fits me.

Verdict: 9 / 10

Durability

I’ve had this set since January and have been wearing it once or twice a fortnight, and it still looks practically new! I’ve been checking it for at least some little sign of wear to mention, and there’s just nothing. Both pieces have been hand-washed, however only the bra says to hand-wash on the label; the knickers can be machine washed for easy care.

Verdict: 9 / 10

Value for Money

I’ll go with the USD prices since that’s what I would have paid as a European customer (to pay in CAD, you can only ship to a Canadian delivery address). The Reverie bralette costs $52 (~£39 / ~45€) and the Reverie hipster is $32 (~£24 / ~28€). It’s not particularly cheap for being a non-cup-sized, made-in-China bralette. For comparison, Boux Avenue (which I feel is of similar quality) has lacy, longline bralettes from £12 to £24, albeit without the side-wire feature.

However, it’s not crazy expensive either. And for how well the set has held up to regular wear, I definitely think you’ll get your money’s worth.

Verdict: 7 / 10

The Reverie bralette set also comes in black, cream and a purpleish-navy. Or if you’re loving the coral but not these particular pieces, there’s also a structured chemise and thong available. Sizing on everything runs from XS to XL, to fit up to a 36E/38DD and UK size 20-22.

Have you ever bought from Blush lingerie? What do you think of this Reverie set?

Review: Playful Promises Peek & Beau Gold Star Wrap Bra & Brief

Review: Playful Promises Peek & Beau Gold Star Wrap Bra & Brief

Review: Playful Promises Peek & Beau Gold Star Wrap Bra & Brief

Disclosure: This set was a personal purchase.

I’ve been window-shopping at Peek & Beau, a Playful Promises diffusion brand, ever since the collection was first released. I’ve consistently found Peek & Beau styles fun and interesting, and I was excited to purchase the Gold Wrap Bra and Star Gold Brief as my first experience with the brand.

The distressed gold fabric on this set is what really drew me in, and I couldn’t resist the black straps. I tend to shop for bras first and then buy the bottoms just to have something that matches, but with this set I absolutely loved the original star design of the briefs as well.

This set certainly lives up to Peek & Beau’s slogan, “attire to flaunt”. I bought it to wear out as a crop top, and I love the glitz this adds to an outfit! It even looks great peeking out from under a black shirt – but what else would you expect from a brand called Peek & Beau?

Fit: 5 / 10

The fit was my only real disappointment with this set. I followed the size chart and ordered a size XS (UK 8/US 4) brief, as I’m generally a UK size 8. Playful Promises and Peek & Beau share a size chart, of which my measurements fall on the larger side of the XS. In the past, Playful Promises-brand knickers in size Small have been too big on me, so I expected the XS to fit perfectly.

However, whether it’s because Peek & Beau as a brand or just this set in particular runs small, these briefs were incredibly small on me – so tight I could barely get them up my thighs. Unflattering, uncomfortable, and unfortunately unwearable for me.

With the bralette I had better luck. I ordered a size Medium, as the sizing chart on the product page recommended for my sister size 34DD, since my actual size 32E wasn’t listed. (Note: while at the beginning much of Peek & Beau’s collection only went up to size 36DD, more recent designs have included a DD+ and Curve version).

I’ve had problems before with bralettes being too loose around, but I certainly didn’t have that problem this time. It is tight, though I’ve worn it all day without that becoming a problem. I actually prefer it this way as it provides more lift than it would if it were looser. A size Large would have been a bit more comfortable, but the Medium works well for maximum lift and cleavage.

Biggest take-away: if you’re on the larger end of a size, and especially if you’re in-between sizes, I would recommend sizing up. Obviously, something is wrong on Peek & Beau’s end if someone could follow their size chart and still have the fit be so off. They do accept returns, so you can buy with some confidence despite the wonky sizing here, though if you’re outside the UK then shipping the item back can cost nearly as much as the briefs themselves.

Playful Promises Peek & Beau Gold Star Set

Construction: 8 / 10

The bralette is basically two pieces of fabric: the glitzy gold outer layer and a soft nylon inner layer. The black strap at the bottom of the bralette feels almost velvety against the skin. It’s the same width as the bralette straps (that is to say, thin. Don’t expect much additional support from these bra straps). Sturdy gold hardware finishes off the straps and back clasp.

Unfortunately, the briefs didn’t fit me well enough to properly judge how they would feel on. You’ll find the same soft nylon here as inside the bralette, as well as a 100% cotton gusset.

Quality: 9 / 10

This set is made of sturdy, comfortable materials, and the bralette has held up great after wearing it out several times. For a product in this price range, I’d expect to see the stitching start to fray, but the bralette has maintained its new look. Despite Peek & Beau being more budget-friendly than Playful Promises, I was happy to see the same great quality I’ve come to expect from Playful Promises.

Price: 10 / 10

Playful Promises has always had great quality lingerie, and now I can attest that Peek & Beau does as well. Particularly from an indie brand, the quality-to-price ratio doesn’t get much better than this. The retail price for this set is inexpensive: £30 (~$40 / ~34€) for the bralette and £25 (~$34 / ~28€) for the briefs.

I managed to snag it on sale a while back for over half off, and for that price it was an absolute steal. I’d always recommend waiting for sales at Playful Promises if you’re on the fence about something, as they occur relatively frequently and when they do the prices are incredible for the quality of the product.

Overall: 7 / 10

While I am disappointed about the sizing issues with the briefs, I would still recommend this set. Sizing up here would have definitely helped me, particularly with the briefs, but I’m still a fan of the bralette and plan to buy the briefs again in the correct size (after unfortunately missing the window of time to return it), as I love the design and the fabrics.

The Gold Wrap Bra and Star Gold Brief are also available from Missguided, who have sizes in stock that are sold out at Playful Promises.

What do you think of Peek & Beau as a diffusion brand of Playful Promises? What have been your experiences shopping from them?

Knit Lingerie Review: Maude Nibelungen

Maude Nibelungen 'Alice' crop top and knickers. Photography by K. Laskowska

Disclosure: The lingerie in this review was either purchased by me or received as personal gifts. All opinions are my own.

Maude Nibelungen 'Alice' crop top and knickers. Photography by K. Laskowska

Maude Nibelungen ‘Alice’ crop top and knickers. Photography by K. Laskowska

One of the problems with being immersed in the lingerie industry for so long is that you get desensitized. It’s difficult to feel excited about new designs. Very little appears original or innovative once you’ve literally seen thousands of pieces of lingerie. More often than not, I get my kicks from the stitch quality of garments, rather than the actual design.

My first Maude Nibelungen purchase was the mini dress in 2016. Shown styled with the over the knee socks and a Karolina Laskowska suspender. Photo by K. Laskowska.

With that in mind, it’s a pretty big deal when I say Maude Nibelungen is one of the most incredible intimates designers I’ve seen during my time in the industry. Her creations turned all of my lingerie expectations on their head. This isn’t machine sewn or glued lingerie; it’s hand-knitted.

Strumpet & Pinks ‘Mimi Gone High And Fluffy’ knitted knickers

I’ve seen a few examples of knit lingerie before, but it never really caught my attention. Knitty Kitty’s designs are cute and cosy. Strumpet & Pink’s ‘Mimi Gone High & Fluffy’ knickers are an over-the-top confection of lingerie art. But I could never see myself coveting or wearing those designs.

However, when TLA posted Maude’s ‘Bleu Nuit’ lookbook, I fell in love with everything. The designs not only gel with my personal aesthetic (which I like to describe as ‘lingerie goth’), but are also incredibly versatile, working both as underwear and outerwear.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve managed to acquire a sizeable collection of Maude’s work, and I remain enamoured with it all. Normally when I review lingerie, I give a detailed breakdown of the garment’s construction, but with Maude’s creations, I find myself at odds.

These garments aren’t cut and sewn from fabric. They are knitted by hand. I still can’t get my head around that or the amount of time and care required to create these designs.

Maude Nibelungen's 'Lola' chemise over the 'Alice crop top and knicker, styled with a corset by Pop Antique. Photography by K. Laskowska

Maude Nibelungen’s ‘Lola’ chemise over the ‘Alice crop top and knicker, styled with a corset by Pop Antique. Photography by K. Laskowska

These days, it’s difficult to find any clothing in the fashion industry with this level of hand craftsmanship. It frankly blows my mind that every single garment created by the brand is literally handknit by the designer.

All garments are made to order and available in US sizes 0-14 or custom sizing upon request. Most styles are available in several colourways, with custom colors also available upon request. However, Maude Nibelungen’s online shop is currently closed (although it should be opening later this year). In the meantime, she is currently sharing projects and knit patterns through Patreon.

Styles

Maude Nibelungen 'Alice' crop top and knickers. Photography by K. Laskowska

Maude Nibelungen ‘Alice’ crop top and knickers. Photography by K. Laskowska

The ‘Alice’ crop top and knickers are probably my favourite and most worn pieces. The crop top, in particular, is perfect for layering with outerwear. It looks incredible layered over strappy bras and under silk camisoles. The set is one of the more fitted designs available.

The yarn is made from mercerised cotton, which is soft and washes well. The full set retailed at $300 CAD ($235 USD) and was available in pink or black yarn with a choice of gold, silver or black elastic.

Maude Nibelungen 'Alice' crop top and knickers. Photography by K. Laskowska

Maude Nibelungen ‘Alice’ crop top and knickers. Photography by K. Laskowska

My body measurements fall in between standard sizes, so my set was made to measure. The knit design on these pieces is particularly open and organic. It incorporates deliberate slipped stitches across the body with contrasting, tightly-knitted fitted bands at the waist and neckline. The fit is tight, without being constricting.

The body of the knit has a small amount of stretch and skims the body with elasticated bands at the neck and waist cinching in the garment. The elastic at the neckline isn’t as soft against the skin as the main cotton yarn, so is something to consider for individuals with sensitivity issues.

I was particularly impressed with how the leg line of the knicker fit tightly to the body without cutting in. In most sewn lingerie, knicker legs are elasticated and tend to be a bit too tight on my pear-shaped figure. The knicker gusset is a much tighter knit than the body of the garment, so it still feels secure to wear. Both garments have held up well to hand washing and look like new.

'Jean' step-in by Maude Nibelungen. Photo by K. Laskowska

‘Jean’ step-in by Maude Nibelungen, shown styled over a corset by Pop Antique. Photo by K. Laskowska

‘Jean’ is a knitted reimagining of the step-in, a type of all-in-one lingerie garment that gained popularity in the 1920/30s. It retailed at $535 CAD ($418 USD) and was available in black or pink cotton yarn. I love how faithful Maude’s design is to the original vintage inspiration, with its unfitted body and loose crotch.

Given so much contemporary lingerie is focused on fitting and shaping the body contours, it’s refreshing to find a garment doing precisely the opposite. It’s an incredibly comfortable piece, perfect for lounging and sleep. It’s one of the tighter knitted designs, but still has a wonderful sheerness.

It’s a seamless design with the body knitted as one piece. The shoulder straps are crocheted, and can be adjusted with bows at the shoulders. There was also an option to have a criss cross crochet side detail or additional back tie.

Maude Nibelungen's 'Billie' babydoll. Photography by K. Laskowska

Maude Nibelungen’s ‘Billie’ babydoll. Photography by K. Laskowska

‘Billie’ is a body skimming babydoll in an exquisitely soft silk/bamboo yarn. It originally retailed for $195 CAD ($152 USD) and was available in black and pink. This is probably one of the more challenging Maude designs to actually wear. The cut is very side boob revealing, with an incredibly low cut at the garment sides. But the low cut gives this piece such exquisite lines around the entire body; the way it traces around the hip into a narrow racerback is so beautiful. One of the many downsides of fast fashion is designers often consider only the front of a design, as this is what’s most likely to sell the garment. It’s a rare treat to find design considering the body as a whole.

Maude Nibelungen's 'Billie' babydoll. Photography by K. Laskowska

Maude Nibelungen’s ‘Billie’ babydoll. Photography by K. Laskowska

My babydoll does have a couple of skipped stitches in its body, but it doesn’t bother me as it highlights these garments are crafted by hand. It’s one of the few instances where an imperfection is actually a positive feature.

My favourite feature of this design is the tasselled hem. Maude’s work has to be worn to be truly appreciated: photos and words can’t replicate the physical sensation of wearing these garments, and the very fact that knitwear is so tactile.

The yarn is beautifully soft, and the fringe has a wonderful way of brushing lightly against the body (a detail that reminds me somewhat of Made By Niki’s famed ‘fringe’ collections). Wearing lingerie is ultimately a physical and sensual experience. I love how this design embraces that with considered choice of fabric and garment movement.

Maude Nibelungen's 'Abyss' jumper over the Alice knickers. Photography by K. Laskowska

Maude Nibelungen’s ‘Abyss’ jumper over the Alice knickers. Photography by K. Laskowska

Knit lingerie won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s certainly a lot higher maintenance than something like a cotton jersey pair of briefs. You have to take extra care when dressing and undressing. A stray piece of jewellery can easily snag on a piece of yarn and pull a stitch out, which although fixable, is a fiddly process. You can’t throw these pieces in the washing machine or dryer without causing serious damage. In my eyes, the designs and wearing experience certainly warrant any extra care they might need.

Maude Nibelungen's 'Lola' chemise over the 'Alice' crop top and knickers, styled with a corset by Pop Antique. Photography by K. Laskowska

Maude Nibelungen’s ‘Lola’ chemise over the ‘Alice’ crop top and knickers, styled with a corset by Pop Antique. Photography by K. Laskowska

Final Thoughts

I could wax lyrical about the rest of my Maude Nibelungen collection for a lifetime (the silk-mohair yarn in the Lola chemise is so light and soft it makes me want to cry; the curves in the Bleu Nuit minidress are the perfect match for corsets, and the over the knee socks are basically the ultimate graphic hosiery), but it would save us all time to simply say… Maude Nibelungen’s work is a lingerie treasure. It’s so rare to find truly hand-crafted clothing these days. I feel incredibly lucky to have all of these pieces in my lingerie collection already, and hope to add many more in the future.