I had a good time doing this roundup last January for 2015, and I thought it would be interesting to do it for 2016 as well! As I mentioned in last year’s post, often what I share on Sweet Nothings in the form of editorials and reviews doesn’t perfectly reflect my personal shopping habits. I’m really lucky to have the opportunity to try lots of different styles and colors thanks to the brands and designers who have offered samples, but I like taking the time to share what pieces I choose when I’m making a purchase out of my personal budget. When putting together this year’s list it became really clear to me that in 2016 I was in the lucky position of having my practical lingerie stash pretty well taken care of. My size range has leveled out in the last two years, so I’ve had time to build up a reliable collection of bras and knickers to meet my work and exercise needs. I didn’t fall prey to too many sales or impulse purchases this year; instead, I saved up for some real splurges that turned out to be beautiful pieces that I look forward to treasuring and cherishing hopefully for years to come.
Octavia Kimono by Harlow & Fox
Okay, this one actually was a bit of an impulse purchase. In fairness, I’d been saving for my summer trip to France with my sister, and my plane tickets had come in cheaper than I’d anticipated, and honestly my therapist kind of gave me the go-ahead and then whoops, I found myself purchasing a silk robe while I was waiting in line at Trader Joe’s. It’s BREATHTAKING, oh my goodness. Product photography doesn’t always tell the full story with lingerie: sometimes a professional model and careful lighting can make a low-budget option look much more expensive than it is (see the recent controversy where True & Co. marked up an $18 Leg Avenue set to $46 and justified the increase by pleading branding and photography costs). The flip side, of course, is that sometimes photography can’t begin to do justice to some truly spectacular lingerie. This robe is one of those pieces– there’s nothing like being able to see the sheen of the silk in person, how the gorgeous colors fade and flow into one another and create a trompe l’oeil effect where you can’t decide if the print is roses or a cloud-filled sky, or feeling the soft, smooth kiss of silk against your skin. I’m even more grateful I purchased it last year because it turns out other people liked it as much as I did, and it’s now sold out. I haven’t shot it professionally, but you can see me swanning around in it (as well as the rest of the Octavia set, Santa was good to me this year) on Instagram. My sister came to visit in November and we spent the first hour of her visit trying on my robes; this is the one she picked to be “hers” during her stay. It’s glorious.
This corset wasn’t technically a planned purchase, but did it did come out of vacation funds I’d earmarked for “just in case you go to a lingerie boutique while you’re in London.” I’ve shopped What Katie Did online, but I’m not always terrific about guessing what will fit my body or figuring out what I’ll like without seeing it in person. When Karolina and I finished our lace-shopping trip in Portobello Road, I was delighted to find myself staring straight at the front door of WKD’s London boutique. I thought perhaps I’d get myself a pair of tap pants, but when the lovely associates at the store asked if I’d like to be fitted for a corset, well…one thing led to another. This piece is beautiful, well-made, a versatile color, and surprisingly comfortable. I’m not a regular corset-wearer at all, but I’m delighted to have one in my collection in case an invitation to a costume party sneaks up on me.
Pompadour Guêpière by Empreinte
I went to France in July to vacation with my sister, our mutual friends, and our 2-year-old god-daughter at a house in a small village called Loches. We planned to spend most of the trip together but then split up for a few days at the end for separate pursuits: she went to Normandy, and I wanted to stop in London to see some friends there. Since I knew I’d be passing through Paris anyway to catch the Eurostar, I figured I’d take advantage of the opportunity to visit Empreinte’s L’Atelier Lingerie. You can read more about my experience at the boutique here. I wasn’t sure if I’d make a purchase, but the stunning pink-and-ivory Pompadour set absolutely blew me away. When I think of the Empreinte bras that are available in the US, I think primarily of the molded lace Melody collection, or maybe the embroidered Thalia (in beige, black, or white, of course), so I was wholly unprepared for the riot of vibrant colors and rich details that greeted me in the fitting room in Paris. The Pompadour set in particular felt so sweet, so fun, and so decadent, that the fact that it’s also quite comfortable and supportive takes it into the realm of the spectacular.
Kylie Bodysuit by Playful Promises
There is very little in my professional wardrobe or in my lingerie wardrobe that says “rock star”, but hello, this bodysuit. Playful Promises was named Best Overall Brand of 2016 by The Lingerie Addict, and I agree wholeheartedly: for one independent brand to offer core, plus, and full-bust sizes as part of their main collections as well as two spectacular diffusion lines in Peek and Beau and Bettie Page–well, they’re achieving the impossible and making it look easy. There are still perhaps a few kinks to work out (I lose beads every time I put this piece on), but the fit and comfort are outstanding, and the lined bodice makes this piece easy to try with some underwear-as-outerwear looks. I cannot wait to see the first new styles of 2017!
Curvy Maria Lingerie by Buttress & Snatch
This lingerie was designed in a lab expressly to please me. It’s princessy yet noir, glamorous yet girly, sweet yet sultry (the open-back knickers!). It’s entirely “impractical”, which, considering one of the reasons I started this blog was to celebrate all the non-beige bras the burgeoning full-bust market could offer, makes it an absolutely ideal set for my “Sweets” persona. I’d like to see a few fit adjustments from Buttress & Snatch in the full-bust bra department, purely for comfort reasons, but having such decadent, joyful, luxurious bras available in full-bust and plus sizes brings me a lot of joy.
And that’s a wrap on 2016! I’ll be back next week with the first review of 2017. Did you have any favorite styles or purchases from last year? Any goals or wishlist items for this year?
NanJanuary 11, 2017 at 12:03 pm (6 years ago)
Thanks for posting! aaarg! I have to admit I have been searching for some silk lingerie, either a robe or nightie. I was debating a Catherine D”lish one (the Deirdre bit it is jersey not silk), but was looking at some Violet and Wren things bit am intimidated by the sizing.. Plus not being able to touch the silk…Just looked at Harlow and Fox and daw their red fringed robe is on sale! What to do?
HelenMay 22, 2017 at 1:01 pm (6 years ago)
HI! I have just come across your comment on about being slightly intimidated by our sizing and not being able to touch the silk – if you would like any further details, or for us to send you a swatch of fabric so you can feel it for yourself, please do get in touch! Thank you! Helen, Violet & Wren x
Erica of A Sophisticated PairJanuary 11, 2017 at 12:19 pm (6 years ago)
Happy New Year, Sweets! I think my favorite lingerie purchase was actually my Foxers Boxers from Bluestockings. With the move and all that entailed, my spending budget was so low that I really didn’t get to replace much this year. But, the Foxers are my hands-down favorite. I love them! They are so comfortable and cute at the same time.
S.BJanuary 11, 2017 at 2:12 pm (6 years ago)
Happy New Year! My favorite snuck in under the wire of last year but I’m still completely Gaga over it. My husband surprised me for Christmas with the Elenore bra from Harlow and Fox. I never in a million years thought I would own anything by them and I’m completely in love. It’s so comfortable and sophisticated and luxurious. *Swoon* I’ve already started a savings account specifically for when more styles hit their outlet. 😛