[Katherine Hamilton Intimates generously provided this set for review. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Today’s my last product review for the foreseeable future, so I thought I’d save this slot for something really special– a bespoke luxury silk full-bust lingerie set by Katherine Hamilton Intimates WITH SURPRISE BOWS, eeeeee, I love them, come with me on this journey.
Some of you may remember Bosom Galore (I reviewed one of their sets almost exactly two years ago). Katherine Hamilton Intimates evolved from Bosom Galore, retaining a commitment to a wide full-bust size range and luxury materials like silk and lace, while updating some key fit factors as well as developing more sophisticated designs and branding. I was so excited when Katy Payne, the founder of Katherine Hamilton Intimates, invited me to review their new bespoke design service. Not only would I get to try one of the new bra styles for the first time, but I could customize the set in any way I wanted. As I mentioned in my recent review of my bespoke Harlow & Fox set, I’m not the strongest designer, so I worked with Katy to refine my ideas (and make sure my set could be completed before Sweet Nothings goes on hiatus, as time will always be a major factor in the creation of unique garments).
My bespoke set is based on Katherine Hamilton’s signature non-padded Sophia collection. The bra has three-part lace cups in my favorite shape: a single vertical seam in the bottom of the cup and a diagonal seam that cuts across the cup to join the strap. The cups are made of a fine black floral lace, with sheer black tulle lining in the bottom panels for extra support. External silk side slings help to draw breast tissue in from the sides of the body for a centered shape. The front of the continuous band as well as the front of the partially adjustable straps are covered in silk, while the back of the band is black powernet and fastens with three rows and three columns of hooks and eyes. The coordinating high-waist brief features a front panel of black floral lace with a beautiful scalloped detail at the waist, with silk panels over the hips and a powernet rear. The back of the waistband as well as the leglines are elasticated for a secure fit, and the gusset is lined with cotton. A finishing touch? Four fixed adjustable suspenders to hold up stockings.
In order to meet my publication deadline, we chose a design that wouldn’t require more time-intensive adjustments, like color-matching or dyeing trims and laces. Instead, I elected to use the same black lace and components as the regular Sophia set, but to change the silk color to a bold indigo blue. Black and blue is one of my favorite color combinations, and this shade is particularly lovely– it looks almost violet under certain lights! We really wanted to punch up the drama even further, so Katy and I brainstormed the idea of lush silk bows on the back of the bra and briefs. To avoid restricting the set to the boudoir, we made the bows removable by adding silk “belt loops” under the arms of the bra and at the waist of the briefs, to thread wide silk sashes through and tie into scrumptious bows.
One fun side effect of the bows I hadn’t anticipated is that wearing the sash with the bra transforms the appearance– it almost looks like a longline bra, as you can see in one of the images below. We foolishly took shots of the sashes themselves AFTER they’d been tied in bows, but rest assured that pre-tying they’re smooth and shining and not at all wrinkled (oops).
I’m currently wearing a 32H in most UK bras and a size 14UK/L in most knickers. In these pieces I took a 32H and a size 16UK/XL in the knickers, as they come up a bit smaller than some other brands. The fit of this bra is pretty spectacular, y’all. Katherine Hamilton Intimates have their underwires made especially to their specifications, to avoid the wider spread of some brands’ G+ sizes. As a result the cups suit my close-set deep shape perfectly. I don’t have to adjust or tug on the bra at all during the day, and I get a gorgeous rounded, centered shape that doesn’t feel exaggerated or over-pronounced, the way some of my Ewa Michalak bras sometimes do. The band feels perfect– I love that there aren’t stays under the arms, which tend to poke uncomfortably into my squishy bits, while the band is deep enough that it doesn’t fold up on itself or dig in. While the lace isn’t stretch, the cup shape feels open enough to accommodate my fairly full breasts.
I did size up in the knickers, and I’m glad I did– the lace and silk aren’t as stretchy as the mesh used in many modern knickers, and the waist is quite nipped in. In fact I’m a little worried that because my body doesn’t nip in sharply at the waist, I might be putting a little strain on the delicate materials, but so far they’re holding up okay. The waist hits right at my belly button in front and rises a little higher at the hips at back, a cut I find really comfortable. I also love that the seat isn’t too cheeky– I find many high-waist knickers have an unfortunate tendency to, well, wander. The whole piece feels nice and secure, ready to hold my stockings up through a full day’s worth of wear.
For a set that looks so luxe and glamorous, I’m surprised by how incredibly light it feels. The lace is fine and delicate, and silk is a wonder fabric. The silk-covered straps feel great against my skin, and the silk sling means that when my arms brush my sides, they brush against smooth silk instead of a seam or embroidery. The fit of the bra is SO GOOD for my body, and as beautiful and luxurious as it looks and feels, it’s also a bra that I can see myself wearing on long, busy days without a second thought.
The knickers are also pretty outstanding, although again I worry about about strain at the waist. My only nitpick is the suspenders aren’t detachable, which is good as it means there’s no risk of a suspender popping off during wear, but it also means that if you forgo stockings, you’ll still have suspenders hanging out. Not a dealbreaker by any means (I totally wore this set last week without stockings and barely noticed), but worth mentioning. My only other note, and it’s rather like noting that my diamond shoes are pinching me, woe, how terrible), is that I wish the sashes were just a tiny bit longer. Since Katherine Hamilton Intimates specialize in small band full-bust bras, I’m on the larger side of their customer base, and once the sashes pass around my waist and ribcage there isn’t quite as much sash left for the bows as I expected. Of course, because of the huge quantity of silk that goes into them, the sashes are some of the most costly elements of this set, so if they were longer the cost would increase accordingly.
I can really tell how much work has gone into the fit and design of this set. The stitching is smooth, secure, and consistent throughout, the cup shape is centered and rounded, and the luxury materials actually contribute to the fit and comfort.
I’ll be honest: I don’t usually expect a true luxury set to feel the same as a bra from a brand that focuses purely on fit. I expect different perks– the smooth caress of silk, a whisper of eyelash lace, but I don’t expect to feel the same level of security and shaping that a bra from a fit-focused brand like Panache has to offer. The thing is: I do get that level of fit from my Katherine Hamilton bra. It’s light, it’s decadent, it’s gorgeous; it’s also one of the best fitting bras I own. It honestly surprised me the first time I put it on, and it’s very different from the Bosom Galore bra I tried two years ago. I’m thrilled with the totally decadent sashes– not only do I have a gorgeous boudoir bra that doubles as a comfortable everyday bra, but sashes and ties can lend themselves to, ahem, other activities, beyond just looking pretty. This set is incredibly precious, and while I might never be in a position to order another bespoke set for myself, I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of the red Sophia collection to add to my lingerie wardrobe.
Have you tried Katherine Hamilton Intimates? What do you think of my bespoke set with the bows? If you could design your own lingerie set from their line, what would it look like?
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Bra and Suspender Brief: Katherine Hamilton Intimates (c/o), bespoke. Pieces pictured here are based on the Sophia collection; bra (£98) available in sizes 26-36 D-HH, high-waist brief (£64) available in sizes 6-16, in ivory and black, with red and leopard coming soon. Katherine Hamilton uses UK cup sizing conventions; the cup size progression is D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH.
Bespoke orders start at £695 (may be lower if stock colors are requested), and bespoke garments are made entirely in a UK-based atelier. Bespoke options range from new colorways selected from stock colors (as mine is) to full re-dyes of all bra components, new knicker styles, new large-scale pieces like robes or gowns, even a mastectomy bra! A set like mine, including the silk sashes, would retail for £880. To create your own bespoke ensemble, you can learn more here.
Photos: Michi Rezin Photography