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One Year of Indie Lingerie: A Challenge

"Kitties are the best medicine" panties by Angela Friedman x Quinne Meyers

“Kitties are the best medicine” panties by Angela Friedman x Quinne Meyers

Like many bloggers, I spend a lot of my time heavily promoting buying from indie lingerie companies over the megabrands. Like many bloggers, I don’t practice what I preach. We’re all really great about promoting indies and showcasing their latest innovations, but as I know from my consulting experience, this doesn’t mean that anyone is actually buying from indies over the big corporate brands.

Susan Velvet Chiffon Negligee by Ravendreams

Susan Velvet Chiffon Negligee by Ravendreams

 

There are lots of different reasons for this, but here are the big three:

  1. Money
  2. Fear of the unknown
  3. Lack of choice outside the standard size range

Before I get to the actual challenge I wanted to talk some more in detail about these, including the dreaded invisible elephant of lingerie blogging: money. 

Sophia Collection by Katherine Hamilton Intimates

Sophia Collection by Katherine Hamilton Intimates

Money effects all parts of the lingerie blogging cycle, Big corporations have a huge sample budget and can pass out the latest item for free among a large group of bloggers. This is why you frequently see the same item or company reviewed around the same time if you follow lots of lingerie blogs. Indies have almost no sample budget and what they do have generally has to go towards getting their products featured in larger publications or in things like music videos. Therefore, to check out a new brand, a blogger generally has to pay the actual full retail value of the item to do it. As you’ve noticed, this leads to a situation in which indie lingerie pieces are rarely reviewed.

Since I live on a writer’s salary (I do a lot better than some people, but I’m hardly rich) I plan out my lingerie purchases for each season months in advance. I budget, I figure out what I want way in advance and I rarely make impulse purchases. If I had a trust fund or didn’t have to pay any bills, I’d buy a lot more lingerie!

Floral Hi Waist Panties Ohhhlulu

Floral Hi Waist Panties by Ohhhlulu

All of this leads into the next issue, which is fear of the unknown. Since indie lingerie isn’t reviewed as much, there isn’t a ton of information about sizing or quality out there. Fear of buying something awful at a higher price point is an issue, but fear of buying something that doesn’t fit is also one.  If you’re outside the standard size range, this becomes even more of a barrier to entry. No one wants to send a stranger an email to ask if they can make a piece bigger – after all, who wants to get rejected before they’ve even developed a relationship with a brand? This makes it easier to go with the tried and true, which is the big brands.

Kate Maxi Robe in Teal by Dear Bowie

Kate Maxi Robe in Teal by Dear Bowie

Finally, this is all compounded by lack of choice if you’re outside the standard size range or want bras with more built in support. Wireless bras are both popular and cheaper to make, which means that they’re exceptionally popular with both indie designers and their customers. If you’re a larger cup size, need the support of an underwire and want to buy from an indie lingerie brand, you’re generally looking at an expensive bra purchase with very few options to choose from. Indie brands can provide gorgeous panties and sleepwear any day of the week, but finding pieces that feature support for heavier breasts and hold up to everyday wear can be tough.

Grey Lace High Waisted Panty by FRKSlingerie

Grey Lace High Waisted Panty by FRKSlingerie

 

I’ve thought about doing an indie lingerie challenge in previous years, but all of these reasons killed my momentum. This year, I’m determined to try it and see if it’s possible for a plus size lingerie consumer without a trust fund to fill her lingerie drawer with pieces that are 80% from indie lingerie companies. I will review each piece but also document the year at various points so see how I’ve kept up with my resolution.

Piggy Bank Panties by Tattoo Socks

Piggy Bank Panties by Tattoo Socks

 

Here are the rules I’ve set for myself:

  1. 80% of my lingerie purchases must come from indie lingerie brands. There is no minimum or maximum amount of pieces I need to purchase and no set price range.
  2. Pieces can be any type of lingerie, but at least one must be a bra from an indie lingerie company I have not tried yet.
  3. Progress will be documented and pieces will be reviewed on the blog.

I’m planning on making some purchases this week, so hopefully there will be an update soon! In the meantime, do you think you could subsist on only indie lingerie for a year? What brands and pieces would you buy? Let me know in the comments. 

 

7 Comments

  1. you’ve hit the nail on the head with the smaller size ranges. i blow way too much money on bras, but as a former k cup, now an H/HH, i just can’t even try something new from an unknown brand. i’d love to buy small brands stuff, but i need support! i’m so excited to see what you find in wired bras since you are in a similar size range! thanks for taking the risks, i hope it pays off! maybe someone will be able to focus on the upper cup range if we can show we are willing to buy/try!

    • I also spend a ton of money on bras. And matching sets. Neither of which is going to really work during this, so I’m seriously going to have to rethink about how I conceptualize lingerie and what I want to invest in. I am the ultimate “buy the set because it is easy” person.

  2. The companies that produce bras in my size (34G/36FF) that I believe aren’t Megacorp: All Undone, Harlow & Fox, Katherine Hamilton, Claudette, and Miss Mandalay. Are there more? Have I mischaracterized “indie”? What about Affinitas/Parfait? I’m afraid I don’t know enough to say if I could do it, especially since most of the companies that come to mind are more luxury based.

    • I think of all of those, Katherine Hamilton is the only one who makes my size! I’m kind of desperately hoping All Undone expands their size range during this challenge, because I’ve been wanting to try one of their sets since they launched. Other than that, all I know in the G+ range is Louise Ferdinand. Options below a G cup are much more plentiful, so you’re lucky you have (comparatively) so many choices.

      • Buttress and Snatch, Blue Reign, Creepy YeHa make up to H cup,
        Whilst Maraki Intimates, Playful Promises make up to G cup.
        Also shouldnt polish brand like Ana Pardal and Ewa Michalak be considered indie?

  3. I found your blog on Twitter and thought that I would give it a read since lingerie has been one of my most recent ‘bings’! I loved your post by the way ☺️ I am into indie brands on a few different category items that I absolutely love. I actually had no idea that indie lingerie existed but now I do. If I found a brand that was tried and true I would most certainly would try them!

  4. I think you hit the nail on the head with the risk of the unknown. I’m a G cup. Bras are never cheap and never, ever on sale in my size. If I can’t try it on and/or return it at very low cost to me, I can’t gamble with $60 or more for a bra. I buy the same 3 mainstream brands over and over again because I’ve tried them on at Nordstrom, worn them before or bought them online from herroom where I can ship them back inexpensively.

    I also fear that if it’s quality in that size range, the engineering involved is likely to put it out of my price range.

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