Available on Etsy.
Based on the results of my as yet unfinished poll, it appears most of you are craving more pictures. And I was thinking on my way home that I’ve never done an Elmer Batters tribute proper. So why don’t I spend the next few days rectifying that?
You all get lots and lots of photos of Mr. Batters’ best work and I get to soothe my guilty conscience. It’s a win-win situation for everybody!
A few weeks ago, I posted about the epic Made by Niki sample sale. I hope you all were able to find some good deals, and if you did buy something I’d love to hear from you. However, that entry reminded me of how long I am overdue for posting my own review of Made by Niki’s luxurious shapewear.
Because I’m talking about my personal experience with Made by Niki, this is one of the rare occasions your friendly, neighborhood Stockings Addict will post photos of herself. In this review, I’ll discuss three pieces from Niki’s original Fresh Foundations line: the sheer knickers, wireless cinch bra, and suspender skirt…all in black mesh and lace. So let’s get started!
All three garments are made from 100% nylon. The bra has cups composed of a lace lower half and a mesh upper half, with a central, adjustable gore allowing for more or less support as you see fit. A bow accent between the breasts and ribbon straps complete the retro-inspired styling, which reminds me of a bullet bra. The panties are made in a similar half-and-half style, with a lace front and fully mesh back. In terms of rear coverage, I’d say the knickers are moderate…resembling a modest Brazilian cut brief.
The suspender skirt contains, by far, the most detailing. It has a wide band of elastic at the top to hold the garment in place above the navel, as well as specially sewn, triangular panels at the front to smooth and shape the midsection. One of the more innovative features of the suspender skirt is the bum lifting band that starts near the low hip and continues around to just beneath the rear. The suspender skirt also has a zip closure, four garters, and extends to about the mid-calf level, depending on your height.
The suspender skirt and knickers are available in sizes S, M, L, and XL with the XL size corresponding to a UK 16 or a US14 according to the official size guide. The cinch bra is available in a range of sizes including hard to find DD, G, E, and F cups. I ordered a large suspender skirt, large knicker, and a 36B bra, and I have a few notes about fit.
The 36B converts to a 36A in U.S. sizing, so I would recommend ordering one cup and one band size up from what you wear if you normally buy American bras. For example, I’m a smallish 34B, so Niki’s 36B was a perfect fit, but if you were a full B cup or between a B and C cup, the Niki’s B would almost certainly be too small. Likewise, if you are in between band sizes, I’d recommend going up one just to be certain. Don’t forget, the cinching gore allows you to take in or let out the band a little bit, if it’s not a perfect fit. The knickers fit roughly true to size, though I’m glad I ordered a large and not a medium. If there’s a significant size differential between your hips and waist (my rule of thumb is 10″), I’d recommend going up one size, just to make sure you have enough room in the seat.
Now we move to the suspender skirt which is one of the most eye-catching pieces of shapewear I have ever seen, and the undisputed star of the Made by Niki collection. I really like this garment, but there are some concerns surrounding size and proportion that I believe other potential buyers should be aware of. My body measurements are 35-28-40″, and most of those 40″ are in my bottom.
The most significant issue I have with the suspender skirt is that it is not made for very curvy women. I’ve worn the piece about four times now, on both “fat” days and “thin” days and I always have significant trouble pulling the zipper up. This problem actually keeps me from wearing the suspender skirt as often as I’d like because I don’t want to rip the mesh with my pulling. If you have curves, you may find the “bum-lifting” band of the skirt to be uncomfortably restrictive. I’m a size US 8, and I feel like I’ve maxed out the stretching capabilities of the large suspender skirt. So, if you’re ordering this piece with the assumption that it’ll fit a US 12 (as indicated on Made by Niki’s fit guide), I’d consider buying an XL (or more).
The other notable issue I had with this piece concerns the placement of the garter straps. I found them to be a bit too low for my tastes. Even tightened as much as possible, the garter straps only come to mid thigh…which means if you buy your stockings to fit higher up the leg (as I do), they’re going to sag and bag rather unattractively. In this case, I recommend wearing stretch stockings, as opposed to 100% nonstretch nylons.
Overall, I enjoy all three of these pieces. They’re expensive, but not ostentatious. Unlike many luxury brands, the construction, detailing, and finishing in these garments make be believe they’re worth the price. I would unilaterally recommend going up at least one size for all Made by Niki pieces or consulting the shop owner for guidance (in my case, Dollhouse Bettie was an invaluable source of information). Especially with the sample sale event going on currently, I think Made by Niki is a great buy.
*All photos by Photognome.
James Lillis, of Black Milk Clothing, needs your help! You see, he lives in Brisbane, and, in a new bid to become a leading fashion capital, the city is holding a contest for local labels. The prize? A shop in the middle of the city rent free for six months.
You don’t have to be a businessperson or a fashion designer to know what a huge deal this is. Please support James by voting for his shop here.