Review: Impish Lee Custom Lingerie, Part 2

Disclosure: I received this lingerie from Impish Lee for overview purposes cost-free of charge. All opinions are my personal.

Impish Lee lookbook

Impish Lee lookbook

This post is the second installment in my review of Impish Lee’s styles.  The first element focused on the specifics of the lingerie itself, from quality of building to match. This element will as an alternative concentrate on the experience of ordering from the brand and the complexities of the brand’s hugely uncommon company model.

Impish Lee’s product range is most noteworthy for the fact that it’s completely customisable.  The brand’s promoting point is its revolutionary ‘design-your-own’ app, enabling buyers to choose from a plethora of fabrics, trims and garment silhouettes.  It advertises more than a trillion design possibilities. Such an incredibly diverse choice of fabrics (all of which are produced to order) was made attainable by a profitable crowdfunding campaign, which effectively raised a sum of $ 14,417 last year.

Lingerie by Impish Lee Photo by K Laskowska

Lingerie by Impish Lee
Photo by K Laskowska

The brand’s offerings are impressive not just for the quantity of design and style options.  Alongside the apparent 27 million style possibilities, there’s also a single of the widest size ranges that I’ve ever observed for an independent lingerie brand, encompassing dress sizes -24, bra band sizes 28-40 and cup sizes A-J. This is especially noteworthy as it applies to structured underwire bras. Underwire bras are one particular of the most complicated pieces of lingerie to make, from the use of specialist components to the intricate building methods.

The development of complete bust bras is an very hard, expensive and time consuming procedure.  This is part of the cause why most lingerie brands select to specialise in a specific size range.  A lot of independent brands pick to eschew underwires totally for this cause, so to see Impish Lee approach their size variety so wholeheartedly is simultaneously encouraging and slightly regarding.

There’s a distinct lack of size inclusivity in the fashion planet, with independent brands in certain typically only sticking to the core size ranges. Even so, full bust bras and plus match clothing need an in depth understanding of specialist pattern cutting and grading.  As a lot as I hope that the brand has achieved a excellent fit across their complete size range (which I already know that they have accomplished in the core ones), I can’t aid but stay a small skeptical about their larger ranges. It’s a phenomenal quantity of sizes, with 13 dress sizes and 70 bra sizes. For a organization of this size, that’s a lot of work in receiving the fit proper.

Impish Lee Lookbook

Impish Lee Lookbook

Thankfully, my issues are somewhat assuaged by the website’s gallery. In an sector where the majority of lingerie brands rely on imagery solely of slim models, Impish Lee has captured its styles on a wide range of sizes.  Not only does this aid to demonstrate garment match, but it permits clients who aren’t generally represented in the wider arena of fashion to see their body shapes in the goods.

Regrettably I identified Impish Lee’s basic strategy to bra sizing to be a little confusing even for a skilled like myself. The website’s bra size calculator asks for 5 measurements and provides so many size possibilities (including sister sizes) that anybody unfamiliar with bras would be utterly overwhelmed. When I placed my order, I ended up merely deciding on my usual bra size rather than what the site suggested and I’m glad that I did. The bra I received was a comfortably firm fit, and I suspect the 28DD advised on the internet site would have been a small also tight.

I was a lot more than a tiny shocked to study Impish Lee’s returns policies. They’re extremely generous contemplating how each piece of the brand’s lingerie is created to order.  The brand delivers cost-free returns on most orders within 30 days of delivery, either for retailer credit or a remake (not inclusive of underwear, which seems to be a relatively regular policy for US primarily based brands).  This is the sort of policy 1 would expect from a enormous corporation, but it is truly impressive for a modest, independent brand to accomplish.  It makes me wonder how sustainable this model is as lingerie bought at a distance often has a comparatively high return rate.  Owing to the custom nature of Impish Lee’s items, it can not be simple to recoup losses on returned merchandise.

Impish Lee sweetheart bralet and high-waist knickers. Photo by K Laskowska

Impish Lee sweetheart bralet and higher-waist knickers.
Photo by K Laskowska

Impish Lee’s rates are comparatively reasonably priced compared to several independent brands, with rates ranging from $ 68 for a thong panty to $ 168 for a complete length robe. I wouldn’t categorise its designs as luxury in any way (in reality, a single of the issues that I did take in my initial overview was the low top quality of specific fabrics), but the prices are a fraction of what you would generally pay for custom lingerie.  Definitely they’re higher than many men and women are used to paying for lingerie, but this can be explained by the manufacturing strategies employed by the brand. All garments are made to order, ethically in New York. This means there’s a fraction of the usual waste produced by other brands, but also that there’s a larger manufacturing expense per garment.

The expertise of really putting an order with the brand was a fairly positive a single.  There was really a lot of exciting to be had playing about with the selection of silhouettes and colours on supply. It reminded me somewhat of the dress up video games I used to play as a child (which is not bad factor!).  I will admit though, that when it came to in fact choosing a final style I did discover myself struck by decision paralysis. With so several alternatives offered it can get overwhelming.  Fortunately, there are a number of style templates offered, which offer you at the really least a excellent starting point and make the customisation process a small significantly less daunting.

Impish Lee Lookbook

Impish Lee Lookbook

Alongside the fabric possibilities, the app also has 4 distinct skin tone options for the lingerie liner colours.  It’s a commendable move to see a brand supply distinct colour possibilities for varying skintones. A single move I would like to see the brand move towards in the future is to also include some different body shape options within the app, to further assist buyers visualise the items on themselves (albeit as a 2D illustrated version).

All round, I’ve been quite impressed by Impish Lee’s offerings. Their brand philosophy was often incredibly ambitious from the get-go. Even seeing its kickstarter success left me impressed, but it is the brand’s willingness to take criticism on board and consistently increase their offerings that has created a good impression. Whilst I retain some healthy scepticism towards specific elements of its company model, I do hope that it sees longterm good results. Custom lingerie is a difficult beast at the best of instances, and I can only commend a lingerie brand that can provide such an reasonably priced and accessible selection.

Readers: Would you ever order custom lingerie? How do you really feel about ordering underwire bras from an indie brand?



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Ordering Custom Lingerie: Dangers, Rewards and a Few Recommendations

Author: Avigayil

Disclosure: this blog post consists of affiliate hyperlinks.

Custom lingerie is a viable choice for people needing lingerie that falls outside what is presently available, reasonably priced or accessible. In many methods, custom lingerie is now getting touted as the answer to any match or size concern ladies are advised to just custom order if they cannot find what they need.

Beneath, I outline a lot of of the rewards and the dangers associated with the growing trend to purchase custom lingerie. At the finish, there are a handful of recommendations for minimizing threat and acquiring the most out of your next custom order.


Custom lingerie supplies alternatives for these who fall outdoors readily available sizes. For instance, a size 26 band is fairly rare and I am unaware of any firm that incorporates it into their regular size range. Acquiring custom permits girls to order a bra that will fit without having further alterations.

Custom lingerie also provides alternatives for girls whose bust, waist and hip ratios do not fall within the company’s regular allowance. For instance, my waist is 34” and my hips are 48”. It is exceedingly uncommon that a 14” waist-hip difference is the norm for underwear, bodysuits and other lingerie. For a excellent fit, I have to custom order my knickers. Females come in all shapes and sizes but standard size ranges typically attempt to cover the middle ground.


Transgender females and guys with gynecomastia who choose to wear bras may also discover custom lingerie very beneficial as their bodies often fall outside the normative, cis-gender female architype that guides mainstream lingerie design and style and production. Numerous transgender ladies and guys who wear bras want a huge band/tiny cup, which is one of the most beneath-served size ranges in lingerie.

Size customisation is not the only benefit of custom lingerie. Design and style customisation makes it possible for for higher expression of character and gender identity by way of wearing lingerie. Androgynous men and women can acquire bow-significantly less bras devoid of lace and floral patterns. Femme people can request the designer pile on the ruffles, lace and bows.

Furthermore, individuals with disabilities advantage from custom lingerie. The vast majority of bras are closed in the back, however a custom bra can be created to close in the front or at the side exactly where it is far more accessible. Custom knickers can consist of a pouch for insulin pumps and far more.

Ordering custom does have several rewards, however it is not without having risk. It is this threat that deters men and women from ordering custom in the first spot, and those who do order custom lingerie may possibly be place off from performing so again if they have a poor experience.

how to make knickers


Ordering custom lingerie puts all financial risk squarely onto the shoulders of the buyer. Except below rare circumstances (and normally at the seller’s discretion), custom lingerie is not returnable for a refund or for an exchange since the designer could not be able to sell such a tailor-made piece to someone else.

As a client is not in a position to return custom products, they might look to other venues to recover some of their funds. Even so, custom made lingerie is tougher to re-sell due to obscurity, sizing and custom modifications.

Secondary buyers do not know what to count on in terms of size and shape simply because the custom made lingerie as not a regular size like XL or UK 10. Also, ‘custom’ connotes adjustments produced for the prior customer due to their certain, non-standard needs. Unfortunately, measurements such as waist, bust, and hip do small to convey fabric distribution. Secondary purchasers may also not be familiar with the brand so they by no means search for it and so exposure on web sites such as eBay and Varage Sale will be much reduce.

In addition, several secondary buyers are prepared to pay much significantly less for indie brand lingerie (the ones most probably to offer you custom) than nicely-recognized brand lingerie valued at the identical amount, as they see indie lingerie as a larger danger: there is no zeitgeist information of the brand’s high quality, longevity or basic match. If you add on the risk of buying custom lingerie made for somebody else’s physique, then you can understand how a lot of a economic danger the purchaser assumes.

custom handmade corset

Placing aside the financial risk, there are other risks as nicely. The vast majority of custom lingerie is presented by indie designers, a lot of of whom neither have formal instruction nor have apprenticed beneath somebody with that instruction / expertise. Indie designers have the most knowledge creating the range of sizes and designs they at the moment supply. Therefore, custom lingerie – when not just for aesthetic purposes – asks indie designers to make some thing outdoors their norm. Creating lingerie outdoors their current style and/or size range could be beyond their capabilities – whether they are aware of that or not.

For instance, they may possibly not be aware of extra modifications, materials, pattern alterations and so on. that other sizes or designs require. Even when indie designers are conscious of the changes required, they may not have the experience or the supplies needed to develop these garments to the customer’s standard.

Not all designers know how to grade a pattern. Pattern grading permits designers to size a pattern up or down while nonetheless keeping the suitable proportions of the original pattern. This is really beneficial for producing the identical style in a smaller or larger size however, custom lingerie is not constantly as simple as grading a pattern.

sewing and pattern grading lingerie

Diverse sizes ranges have exclusive demands. Full bust bras require stronger wires, thicker straps and other modifications to supply support. Plus-size bras normally call for distinct elastic in the band and a various placement of straps. Little-bust bras tend to need to have the straps closer with each other on the body and wires can be much more flexible. Even the supplies needed adjust: stretch lace may possibly be fine for core sizes, but the cups will require to be lined with a power mesh for plus and full bust sizes.

Underwear as well is not often a case of just getting graded up or down as fat does not necessarily coat the body evenly, it accumulates in diverse regions. Briefs designed for a ‘conservative hourglass’ shape will grade up but still not fit nicely on a much more ‘apple’ shaped individual. Torso length is also a widespread problem when scaling lingerie for different shapes and sizes.

Therefore, custom lingerie becomes a threat for both the designer and the buyer. The client may get anything that doesn’t match, fails to execute its function or is not excellent. The designer risks losing a client and also dangers bad publicity over social media due to the fact their understanding of lingerie design was insufficient for the customer’s expectations of the design requested.

Now, numerous indie designers do have the expertise essential to make a massive array of different sizes and designs. Even so, they have significantly less buying energy than massive businesses so might not be capable to supply the perfect parts even if they know they’re necessary. Material, fasteners, elastics, eyes and hooks, underwires and a lot more are mainly sold in bulk. Bulk purchases demand a lot of cash up front that a standard indie designer can’t afford – if they’re only promoting one full-bust set, they probably do not want to invest in ten or 100 complete-bust underwires!

Recommendations for Buying Custom Lingerie

Purchasing custom lingerie is fairly risky from a customer’s point of view, so let us speak about some methods to minimise that risk.

Look for designers whose present size variety is closer to your personal. For example, a plus-size client would be much better off requesting custom lingerie from an indie brand such as Ravendreams than a core-size brand, as Abi specialises in plus-size lingerie. There is also a greater likelihood that a designer who works with sizes comparable to your personal currently has a source for any specialist components needed to construct lingerie in your size range.

If the designer does not offer you your size normally, ask the designer if they have knowledge with the demands particular to your size. Also, ask the designer if they have produced similar things ahead of and – if they have – ask for pictures of their operate. Make sure your expectations are in line with their abilities.

As a consumer, take initiative. Be clear, concise and precise about what you are wanting each in terms of style and fit. For example, “I like sturdy, stiff underwires” and “I like a stretchy band that I can pull away from my back by a couple inches” is far better than “I want a bra that supports my boobs and is comfortable”. Constantly define vague terms like supportive and comfy as these are subjective terms open to interpretation.

taking measurements for custom lingerie

Provide reference photographs of your body so the designer can see your shape. Take pictures from multiple angles so the designer understands the size ratio from a single component to yet another portion of your physique. Be truthful about the measurements you give.

Give the designer something to perform with – literally. If asking for a custom bra or underwear style, send a piece of lingerie that currently fits you nicely. Some designers will ask for this, like Angela Friedman did when producing custom underwear for Holly from The Complete Figured Chest. If the designer does not ask, offer.

For extremely costly items, such as corsets, a lot of designers will advise a mock-up of the corset before they make your actual piece. This match mock-up generally adds to the expense of your corset, but it allows a designer to see how the corset will fit on your body and then make crucial alternations.

If your custom lingerie is mainly about style, give the designer reference photographs for the project that capture the appear you want. Once again, be precise: saying “I want big, black, oversized bows on the leg openings and at the waist” is much better than saying I want lots of bows”. Be clear about boundaries like colours or patterns you do not like and clear about expectations such as quantity of bows, position of decorations, length, rise, material, and so forth.

sewing knickers

As a customer, confer with the designer on how much input and manage you will have over the method of your order. Some consumers want to pick a theme and see the final outcome. Other clients want to approve every and each and every single fabric selection and style selection. The designer may possibly want some inventive leeway to make decisions primarily based on their own expertise. Establish this at the starting.

You could also want to ask the designer regardless of whether you can send your custom lingerie back for modifications. If the designer is prepared, make confident you know beforehand who would spend for what (sending, mailing back, modifications).

There are surely substantial risks related with ordering custom lingerie. Nonetheless, occasionally the rewards outweigh the risks. With custom lingerie, you have the prospective of owning a gorgeous piece of lingerie that matches your style and fits your body completely. I don’t know about you, but that is my dream!

Hey lovelies! Have you ever ordered custom lingerie created to your specifications? I would adore to hear about the knowledge – either constructive or unfavorable – so tell us about it in the comments!


Esty Lingerie Blog

Why Don’t Lingerie Brands . . . Just Do Custom Alterations?

Playful Promises Cordelia Red Lace Bra

Playful Promises Cordelia Red Lace Bra

We’re (briefly?) resurrecting the “Why Do Lingerie Brands…?” feature…which is basically me asking Catherine Clavering of Kiss Me Deadly questions my readers ask me and then posting her responses here. One of the things I love most about Catherine is that she’s willing to answer the questions most other lingerie professionals avoid. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes in intimate apparel; decisions that seem totally random to consumers can have actually well-founded reasons behind them.

One question that pops up a lot, especially for lingerie brands that offer a finite range of sizes is, “Why can’t all brands offer custom alterations?” While certain lingerie companies are famous for customizing most any bra (the Polish manufacturers Ewa Michalak and Comexim immediately come to mind), this isn’t an option for all designers. Catherine explains why in her inimitable way below. By the way, if you dig this feature/want to see it come back, please let me know in the comments!

When Cora messaged me with this question, she did so with an expression I can only interpret as “mischievous glee” since a) I’m fairly certain she knows the answer and just how irritable I get about it and b) apparently, and inexplicably, more people read me being irritable than me being polite.

Anyway, once I finished screaming gently into the nearest cushion with sheer pent-up exasperation (my downstairs neighbour has made a noise complaint), I sat down to try and say what’s going on from the perspective of someone who gets lingerie made.

Decades, centuries ago, everything you bought was proportionately much more expensive. Cars were for the very rich only. Clothes got mended and passed on because they were a serious financial investment. Hell, in the UK, clothes even got rationed during World War II. They’re resource-intensive, and we couldn’t get the fabric.

As with cars, we’ve gone from an era where the product you use was lovingly handcrafted by one person or a small team, to production lines, where each person has one job thats very short. Serious clothing production lines try to break things down into 30 second “operations” that they do over and over again. It’s pretty clear that this isn’t especially great for the mental health of the workers involved, but it’s absolutely genius at reducing the cost of each individual item and using resources effectively.

But it also has two other consequences that are relevant here.

Firstly, it means that there are far more companies and brands than there are manufacturers. There are hundreds of lingerie brands in the UK, but I can probably count the number of factories on my fingers.
This is more true for lingerie than most things, because it requires specialist machinery and skills. Underwired bras in particular are basically the stuff of investor nightmares.

So it follows that most brands can’t just chuck a bra over to a sewing person and say “Hey, could you make this back a bit smaller/add a bit to this cup/ widen this gore?” because the factory will rightly say, “Not unless you are ordering at least 12 per size, per style of them and give us however many week notice so we can allocate some staff to your work, thanks very much.”

Now they could set up a small production unit just to handle individual alterations, but that would mean duplicating all the machinery and skills the factory has and locating them somewhere…which means rent and taxes and wages and insurance. Inevitably, that location won’t be where it is convenient for retail customers because what you need for 4 industrial sewing machines and the fabrics, widgets, and thread to go with them is not, in fact, suitable for inside a lingerie shop.

Even if a lingerie brand or store invests in its own small unit for alterations or custom making, they would run straight into the second consequence of mass manufacturing, which is price expectations.

The price people are prepared to pay is dictated by expectations on what has been available and the base price of an item. Someone buying a $ 30 bra is deeply unlikely to be prepared to pay another $ 30 to get the straps and back changed and the cup pinched in to fit them perfectly. But when you break down the cost of the equipment, premises, staff time and staff training level required, combined with doing it to just one bra at a time, it can end up costing that.

Again, this is especially true because lingerie is different from clothes. My favourite designer can put darts in the back of most of his dresses and tops to make them fit me when I lose weight and let it out when I gain weight, using one machine, that, at a pinch, can be a domestic one. I recently tried to change the lace on one of our bra samples, and it was impossible. I needed two industrial sewing machines to take the entire cup apart and then redo it – at which point, because it was delicate fabrics, it probably would have fallen apart from the repeated perforations. We ended up sewing the new lace over the old lace and faking it!

Custom fitted lingerie is a really difficult and complicated area. If you’re ever pondering on this, just remember how much couture garments cost – the ones where you say “I like this design, but without that bit” and they make it to measure you perfectly. For structured lingerie, while it’s not quite that level of skill, there are similarities. You need a skilled worker, lots of time, expensive equipment, and you might end up making the garment from scratch anyway.

And that is why very few places do this. Let’s talk again when we can 3D print bra cups. Then it’ll get exciting!

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Custom Lace Fluffy marshmallow by L’Amour Guzzardi of Bump &amp Grindercise. Australian burlesque star L’Amour Guzzardi’s fondness for ‘60s sex kitten’ has evolved into a side project, a line of extremely ‘Valley Of The Dolls’ boudoir apparel. Think sheer nylon in babydolls, robes and peignoir sets in pastel ice-cream colors. This extravagant 60′s gown is the dark horse of the bunch and best for mornings exactly where I’m feeling dramatic. There is a lot of flounce involved, the sheer lace is a nice, bold print and the ruffles are layered and gathered nylon. The handiwork and labour of really like by L’Amour is apparent, I can’t even envision sewing that numerous ruffles! There is some thing a lot more, queen-like and nonchalant about this style, compared to waist-tie robes, I feel owing to the truth it ties at the bust with ribbon and drops loose over the body. It almost feels like a attractive cloak! L’Amour’s garments have been intended to be part of burlesque routines and are created to match a whole variety of undergarments or costumes, as per client request. But demand has deemed them appropriate not just for those that want to be star on-stage, but feel like one over morning coffee. This is special piece to me that I know I will hold onto for life.

L’Amour Guzzardi/Bump &amp Grindercise Here


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