On Wednesday night, I headed over to Shop Direct’s London HQ for a lingerie bloggers event organised by Littlewoods. Having been properly fitted for a bra in recent years, I now feel more confident about buying lingerie online and so was quite excited to see a selection of the brands that this home shopping giant stocks. There was quite a gorgeous crowd of bloggers in attendance – including Georgina from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, Cheryl from Invest in Your Chest, and Elena from Frivolous Mrs D – and we were all treated to bubbly and nibbles while we waited for everyone to arrive. Once the final blogger was through the doors, head lingerie buyer Jo Holmes welcomed us all with a brief introduction to some of Littlewoods’ own ranges. What the team had brought along to show us was the bold brights of the Intimates Essentials (above), the glamorous range by Myleene Klass (below), plus some lovely ladies from Curvy Kate, Wonderbra and Maidenform to tell us about their brands too.
Leslie from the Littlewoods lingerie design team talked us through the process for producing one of their own lines, giving everyone an insight into why there are such long lead times in the lingerie business! Inspiration is taken from trends that are predicted for the season they’re designing to, which are then adapted by design team. These sketches are presented to Myleene for approval, before a very detailed design spec is sent to the factory with information on fabric, stitching, straps, fastenings etc. Samples are usually ready in 4 to 6 weeks, when the team then go out to China to visit the factory and speak to the manufacturers about the fit and finish. This is where any final tweaks happen. Then the factory provides a full costing, before samples of the range are presented to Myleene for final approval and a photoshoot. After that, the team arrange production. That’s quite a journey!
After this interesting insight, we heard from Wonderbra. As well as their infamous cleavage boosting plunge bras, this brand are also well known for their ‘solutions’. I can personally vouch for the amazing Ultimate Strapless Bra which astoundingly manages to give incredible uplift and survive any amount of jumping around. Sadly, I am allergic to the silicone on the band of mine, so it is currently sitting at the bottom of my lingerie drawer, but I have requested that they try to design a version without it. In the meantime, if any of you are in the market for a strapless bra and don’t have an issue with silicone bands, I urge you to try one out. You will not regret it! Wonderbra also brought along two new styles for AW13 – Glamour Dots Chic balcony bra and high-waisted briefs with removable suspender straps (can’t wait to try that set!), and the Glamour Linear Structure bra, shortie and suspender belt. Next up was American lingerie brand Maidenform, who have been shaping women for over 90 years! They brought a selection of the fabulous shapewear that they are best known for in the UK, including medium and firm control bodies, high-waisted briefs, leggings and slips. Later in the evening, I chatted to the lovely Ulla about the brand’s history and so they may be featuring in my MA dissertation. I’ll let you know more about that once I start my research.
Last, but by no means least, the gorgeous girls from Curvy Kate took to the floor to tell us about themselves. A much younger brand than the others – only 4 years old! – Curvy Kate was formed to fill a gap in the market for pretty bras in larger sizes. They developed their first bra with feedback from customers and have never stopped listening to the women who are devoted to their beautiful bright bras. Famous for never using professional models, they run a model competition every year and a couple of the previous winners were in attendance to model some of the styles and chat to us all. Curvy Kate also now do swimwear in D to K cups, and they are trying to tweak the fit so you would be the same size in their bras and swim range which would be extremely helpful indeed. A new product that got quite a bit of attention on the night was their first babydoll, called Lola, but my favourite was the Starlet moulded bra in a gorgeous colour called petrol. I entered their competition to win one, as you can see from the photo on the left, so I’ll let you know what it’s like if I win (I’d have to have the matching high-waisted briefs too, of course). I also got fitted by Hannah and Himare, and now have one of their Daily Boost bras in my possession. Once I have the matching shorts too, I shall post a review on Rarely Wears Lipstick, but my first impression of the fit of this everyday bra was, quite simply, “wow!”
Thanks very much to everyone at Littlewoods who helped to organise such a fun and informative event. I’ll probably be adding a great deal of the lingerie section of their site to my wish list before long.