Since I have a rather unique job, especially for Southeastern Wisconsin, I get asked quite frequently about what it is that I do and how it all works. I thought it would be beneficial to put together a lingerie FAQ to answer some questions about lingerie. Some of you wrote in and asked me your lingerie questions so I will answer those first then get to the questions I personally receive on a daily basis!
Q: What lingerie pieces do you wear under certain pieces of clothing? What works under a dress vs. a blouse vs. a t-shirt? (Thanks Emma Leuman @emmaelsewhere for your fab question!)
A: Awesome question! It is so true that undergarments can make ALL the difference when it comes to how certain garments look on the body. I am going to speak from my personal experience so maybe this won't work for everyone but I have found these trick to be helpful over the years.
For under blouses I love to wear my nude every day bra from Target. Surprisingly, Target has a nice selection of undergarments that are comfortable and affordable. I love wearing my every day bra under blouses for work because I know it fits and I am comfortable all day long. For under more silky, lightweight blouses, it is important to have a bra with a smooth surface like a soft or silky knit versus a lace so the bumps don't show through and make you look like you have lumpy boobs! ;)
For under dresses I always opt for more of a pushup bra. I tend to wear more form fitted dresses since it works better for my body shape so I really like to accentuate the curves and use a push up bra to keep everything lifted!
For under t-shirts, I always think it is fun to do a contrasting color lace bra/bralette under a basic white tee. Just seeing a hint of black or red lace under a white tee is super fun and yet it still doesn't reveal anything!
Lastly, I like to wear my matching lace sets when I am wearing something that has print or pattern on it. That way your focus is on the print or pattern like a stripe and it does a good job of concealing those lacey bumps.
Q: Care instructions! Like do I really need to hand wash stuff or can I use a lingerie bag and throw it on a delicate cycle? (Thank you Makalah @makalahw for your lovely question!)
A: Such a good question! I totally agree that hand washing items can be super annoying, time consuming, and tedious. There are definitely some items that you never want to put in the washer and dryer (I have definitely learned this the hard way and tears were involved!) and there are some items that most certainly can go in the washing machine.
I never put my delicate lace bras in the washer! The lace is just too fine and fragile to handle the agitation of the washer so I definitely always hand wash and air dry those items; however, if you wear them less, they can be washed less frequently.
I do put my every day knit fabric bra (like a t-shirt bra) in the washing machine. Since I wear it every day, it gets more dirty and needs a better cleaning. I always make sure to clasp the hook and eye so they don't get bent and snag other clothes.
So I would say use your discretion when it comes to your undergarments for washing instructions. It is made for you to be worn and it can handle more than you think but as a general guideline I would say never put lace in the washer. Lace is just too delicate and it never will look the same if you throw it in the wash. Hand wash lace always!
Q: Of all the things to design/create, why did you choose lingerie? How did you find your niche? (Thank you Lauren Sturycz @theprettybrokeblonde for your amazing question!)
A: I love this question because I got started in lingerie on accident! I never ever thought I would be a lingerie designer. In fact, in grade school and early high school I refused to wear a proper bra because I hated how big it made my boobs look. I wore a training bra or sports bra almost every day! So I find it super ironic that I am now a lingerie designer after I truly hated wearing bras growing up.
My Junior year of college I was working on an evening gown collection and I ordered this gorgeous black lace from Mood to create a dramatic long sleeved evening gown. As I was draping the fabric on the dress form I thought maybe this would actually look better as a floor length robe!? My instructor agreed and the feedback that I received from my classmates in critique was that lingerie is what I should do. I was like really!? Like lingerie is something I should do!? The girl who hated bras!? So the more I thought about it, everything just clicked and it combined everything I love about fashion design: delicate laces, sumptuous satins, sassy slips, elegant robes, and the layering of looks i.e. satin slips and chiffon robes.
My Senior Thesis collection was all lingerie and now I design bespoke lingerie full time. There actually is quite a demand for custom lingerie, especially in the bridal market. I absolutely love that I fell into the world of lingerie and I am trying to make more people feel comfortable talking about and buying undergarments. We all wear them so it shouldn't be something taboo to talk about. If done in a tasteful way, lingerie can be very beautiful, elegant, and breathtaking.
Q: Do you stay busy? Is there even a demand for bespoke lingerie?
A: Surprisingly yes! I think in general most women love lingerie and enjoy wearing matching lace sets or a silky robe while getting ready in the morning. They want something that makes them feel beautiful and confident and lingerie does just that. I absolutely love seeing models or clients try on a piece of lingerie because they immediately light up and have this air of confidence about them. Most times they don't want to take it off because they just feel like an absolute queen who can take on the world!
The fact that my lingerie is bespoke, meaning one of a kind and made for you, really adds something special to the pieces. I will make the sample item so people can see the actual physical item but then it is up to them to customize it whether it be size, color, fabric, trim, etc. It is being made just for you so why not create the slip or robe of your dreams!? Also, the fact that no one else has it is pretty special. It is very rare in today's age of fast fashion to have something that was made specifically for you and your body shape.
Q: How long does it take to create a custom piece?
A: It truly depends on what you are having made! It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months. If it is a more intricate piece and I need to order speciality fabric and trims, then it will definitely take longer. Also, if you don't really know exactly what you want, the back and forth deciding on a design can take some time too. If you have a deadline, I ALWAYS make sure to complete it before then. On average, the entire design process from start to finish for a custom pieces takes about a month (concept to client's closet).
Q: How much does a piece of bespoke lingerie cost?
A: Again, it truly depends on the fabrics and silhouette of the garment. For example: The Valentina black lace robe costs around $350 because the lace is about $125 for 5 yards. The fabric alone is about half the cost! Whereas a short satin slip costs around $90 because it uses less fabric and the satin is not as expensive as the lace. In general, a custom piece can cost anywhere from $90-$500.
Q: What is your favorite part about designing lingerie?
A: There are two things I love most about designing bespoke lingerie. First, I love that I get to be a part of the entire design process from start to finish. I love seeing the design start as a concept then as a sketch then as an actual physical item. It is so amazing seeing something come to life that way!
Second, I LOVE that I get to work one on one with my clients. I love being able to meet them in person and see them face to face. It is so special creating something one of a kind to fit them. Most times it will be for a special occasion like a wedding or maternity shoot or boudoir session so the fact that I get to be a part of those big moments is really amazing!
Thanks so much for stopping by! I love having you all here and hopefully these FAQ helped shed some light on lingerie and what I do as a lingerie designer. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask any time!