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The Lingerie Addict Awards: Our 20 Favorite Lingerie Brands of 2014

It’s time for The Lingerie Addicts’s annual list of our favorite lingerie brands! As always, these labels represent the very best of what the lingerie world has to offer in the entirely subjective opinions of the TLA team. Curious about our top picks from previous years? Then take a look at previous Lingerie Addict Award winners from the past – 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009 are all available for you to view. What were your favorite lingerie brands of 2014? And there any names you think we should pay special attention to this year?

 



Lingerie Designer to Watch: Karolina Laskowska

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Best Lingerie Brand Overall: Dita Von Teese

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Best Industry Newcomer: Nubian Skin

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Best New Luxury Brand: Edge o’ Beyond

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Best Corsetry Brand: Sparklewren

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Leah Axl

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Best Indie Lingerie Brand: Toru & Naoko

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Best Editorial/Directional Brand: Chromat

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Best Ethical Brand: Naja Lingerie

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Best Lingerie Boutique: Trashy Diva

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Best Retro/Vintage-Inspired Brand: Dollhouse Bettie

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Best Budget Full Bust Brand: Parfait by Affinitas

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Best Maternity Brand: You! Lingerie

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 Best Full Bust Lingerie Brand: Panache

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Best Plus Size Lingerie Brand: Cacique

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Best Legwear Brand: Strathcona

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Best Accessories: Darkest Star

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 Best Ad Campaign: Dear Kates ‘The Ada’

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Best Loungewear: Meng

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Best Budget Brand: Blush Lingerie

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Best Custom/Costumier: Flo Foxworthy

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Cora
Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

34 Comments on this post

  1. […] stumbling upon The Lingerie Addict’s post about their favourite brands of 2014 — check out those silk robes by Meng — I thought it would be fun to round up a few […]

  2. Jannette says:

    I love your list; but I have to know where you found the robe that’s under parfait by affinitas? I’ve been looking for it and I can’t find it. I need it in my life *_*

    • Cora Cora says:

      Hi Jannette,

      If you’re referring to the robe that’s above the Parfait by Affinitas entry, it’s by Dollhouse Bettie. However, this article was published months ago, so it may no longer be available.

  3. Sina King says:

    Congrats to Flo Foxworthy! I had the pleasure of wearing her garments last year for a photoshoot seen below. The burlesque and showgirl world is very lucky to have a creative master like Flo to make our dreams come to life! Flo was voted best around the world too (by 21st Century Burlesque) might I add. Keep up the fabulous work Cora and Flo. x Sina http://cheekyglamour.com/post/84132817007/showgirl-in-the-forest-sina-king-by-roxy

  4. Thank you so much Cora! It is truly an honour to be on your list of favourites. Blush does aim to be the #1 affordable luxury lingerie brand, and to be named as your Budget Brand of 2014 tells us we’re getting it right. Once again, thanks so much!

  5. Irene says:

    Some of my favorite brands made it into this list, so happy for them! A hosiery brand that’s definitely quite niche but very interesting is Verum by Grimoire: http://www.grimoire-onlineshop.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=11 A lot of their designs have been badly ripped off and are sold on eBay for very cheap, but the real thing is high quality and features beautiful and original prints. They opened an Etsy shop a few weeks ago that’s currently closed, but they ship internationally through their website and Chiffon Rose is their official Australian stockist: http://chiffonrose.com/collections/grimoire-verum

  6. emma says:

    And Mise en Cage???

    • Cora Cora says:

      Mise en Cage wasn’t a favorite of 2014 for my team and I, but I’m glad you included their name here so TLA readers can know about them. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Phadre Oh says:

    I can hardly imagine why Dark Garden ( http://www.darkgarden.com/ ) got left off this list. I won’t buy corsets elsewhere.

  8. Wow, thank you so much Cora and team, i’m absolutely stunned to be named on this list alongside such incredible brands! It’s incredibly special to me, thank you so much!

    Regarding using more recent images of my work – I’d love to be able to share images of all my work, but the vast majority of my pieces are custom made for individual clients and it’s not possible (or appropriate) to have them professionally photographed on models before they leave my hands.
    I’ll often instagram work-in-progress pics, but it’s my policy not to share full images of completed custom garments online because it’s my client’s place to reveal the new costume :)
    I’m sure this goes for many designers who do custom work, sometimes clients will send us images we can share online, and sometimes all we have are the snaps we take in our workrooms ;)

  9. Sweets says:

    Those Meng kimonos make me want to pass out they are so good. I just went to the website and looked at everything and drooled for a while. Swoon.

    • Cora Cora says:

      They were truly one of my favorite brands of last season’s market. I mean, I like a lot of stuff for a lot of reasons, but this is one brand I’d love to see succeed because the products are exquisite.

  10. KathTea says:

    I’m glad Sparklewren and Flo Foxworthy are representing the corsetry and costuming industry this time around! I noticed that no budget brands were mentioned? To be fair the pool is just as small (with TT & OC being mentioned in previous years) as those representing small bust brands. Which is fair. Let’s hope 2015 would have something that surprises us!

    • Dee Lushious says:

      I agree that I’m excited to see these two, as well! I’d have liked to see current work of Flo’s shown, though, since this is supposed to be Best Of 2014 – the two corset emsembles in the photos are from 2012.

      • Cora Cora says:

        That’s a fair criticism, and I understand where you’re coming from. In this case, we prefer to use publicly available promotional photos (for copyright reasons and the like) which meant going back into the archives for a few designers…especially since I wanted to use multiple photos for each brand (had I used one photo per brand as in previous Best of the Year posts, this particular concern wouldn’t have popped up). I do hope that doesn’t turn anyone off of trying Flo’s work though as she’s an exceptionally talented costumier.

    • Cora Cora says:

      You mean budget corsetry brands? As you said, there really aren’t any new players in that space. Rather, Orchard Corset is dominating the market (I have a feeling their customer base far outstrips anyone else in that sector right now). And, honestly, the reason budget corsets are budget is because they’re a bit boring. That’s not a condemnation of budget corsetry, of course. It just means they’re not very exciting when talking about brands that really stood out, creatively or otherwise, last year. In terms of mid-price corsetry brands, I very much like RetroFolie’s work and for off the rack, What Katie Did is the best. But neither of those is really budget. Considering the shift towards consumers wanting ever cheaper corsets, I honestly doubt if we’ll see any new, major, reputable players in this space anytime soon. But I do predict plenty more $25 “corsets” before this trend is over.

  11. Dana says:

    I was pleasantly pleased by your awards post… That is until I came to your Plus Size lingerie winner. I understand that Cacique is a well know plus size lingerie distributer, but that is more so because of lane Bryant than anything. Have you all checked out “hips and curves” I find their fit to be absolutely amazing, much more so than Cacique.

    • Cora Cora says:

      Hips & Curves carries a range of products from other companies (such as Seven ’til Midnight, Rago, Parisa Fe, and others). While they are an excellent boutique, they are not a plus size design label, and, in fact, many of the items they carry are sold at lots of other stores (albeit usually under their real names). While that’s not a critique of Hips & Curves’ business strategy, I found Cacique’s collaboration with Sophie Theallet last year to be much more exciting, and, I hope, indicative of greater things to come for plus size lingerie this year.

  12. Camila says:

    What an honor! Thanks Cora and TLA team :D I’m beyond happy and thankful and I’ll keep working this hard to become better every day that goes by!

  13. Renee Ruin says:

    I’ve got to admit I’m pretty surprised to see your “Best Indie Lingerie Brand” is Toru & Naoko. This brand has been around a little less than a year and to be quite honest are a in some instances complete rip offs of distinct Hopeless Lingerie designs and derivatives there of. Not to mention I distinctly remember reading a review where you had nothing but primarily negative things to say about the brand and their quality (link here: http://www.thelingerieaddict.com/2014/09/review-toru-naoko-kelly-soft-bra-high-waisted-knicker-set.html) where to quote you directly say –

    “The lingerie is wrapped in a very cute drawstring bag, printed with the brand’s logo. However, the printing process has left the bag with a very unpleasant chemical smell, which unfortunately does seep into the lingerie and takes a long time and a few washes to fade. I also noticed that the labels within the garments didn’t actually feature any sizes – which is what I suspect led to the next problem. When I first tried the lingerie on, I noticed that whilst the bra was a good fit, I didn’t even want to try the knickers on – they were absolutely tiny, and when I measured their waist/hips at maximum stretch, they essentially equated to a size XS/S on the brand’s sizing chart. Equally problematically, the knicker elastic binding had a lot of skipped stitches – in one area so much so that the knicker fabric had actually escaped the binding, leaving a hole on the knicker hip.”

    “The bra’s crossover detail does have a tendency to twist and cut in in certain positions, though this is unfortunately unavoidable given the garment shape. The bra does offer some light support, more suitable for loungewear rather than everyday wear”

    “With regards to the quality of the garments, there is a lot of room for improvement. The stitching is very inconsistent and a little uneven in some areas, with quite a lot of skipped stitching throughout the zigzag stitches. There are also a few smaller details that would have made a world of difference had they been considered – for example, the organza trim at the back of the bra has just been cut and left raw, instead of being gathered into the hook and eye for a smoother finish.”

    So how then does this brand then qualify for the 2014 Award Best Indie Lingerie Brand?? To be honest it makes me question all of the award winners you have chosen above which is quite disheartening as I have always followed your blog.

    – Renee

    • Cora Cora says:

      Hi Renee,

      Thanks for your comment. Regarding your first paragraph, Karolina wrote that review, not me. I stand by Karolina’s reviews in the way I stand by all my columnists reviews, but I do think it’s important to remember that I don’t write every piece on the blog (the photos in that review, for example, are obviously not of me as I’m not a white woman with waist length hair). I also don’t require for my columnists and I to be in identical lockstep regarding our opinions. Furthermore, our Best of the Year winners are selected by my entire team (or rather, all the members who choose to contribute). In the case of Toru & Naoko, several TLA columnists felt they were a strong brand for 2014 because of their design aesthetic and their use of transparency. When a brand is recommended by several of my team members (many of whom are also lingerie experts in their own right), I take their feedback into consideration. After all, that’s why I invited them to join TLA. It’s perfectly okay with me if the inclusion of Toru & Naoko in this list makes you question everyone else on it. As the first paragraph states, these are the brands we subjectively feel are standouts in the industry, so it’s absolutely reasonable for other people to have different opinions regarding their own favorites. I’m also 100% okay with you sharing the brands who you believe should have been included instead. Finally, while Hopeless Lingerie is very popular right now, I’d be reluctant to define every strappy, harness style bra as a Hopeless ripoff. I think there’s a tendency, sometimes, to overstate the influence of one brand on a particular trend, especially when that brand is a popular one. Hopeless Lingerie is amazing, and I’m definitely a fan, but I see Toru & Noako’s work as indicative of a larger, overall shift towards strappy lingerie as opposed to being derivative of one label in particular.

    • Camila says:

      Hi Renee,
      It makes me sad to read your comment, you obviously don´t know me and my personal ethics. Yes it’s been less than a year and I’m really proud of my work, anyone can tell you I’m very honest and I always own good and bad reviews, I’ve been working really hard and I can tell you the quality issues mention by Karolina are now solved.
      Concerning the ‘rip offs’ you mention I can only tell you the same as Cora, trends are trends, I’ve never copied a hopeless design, I do know we have a similar aesthetic and use similar materials, and I’m surprised sometimes to see hopeless designs with same fabrics, but just so you know, I buy almost every nice quality mesh I can get my hands on and it might be the same because there are not many options out there for independent designers and those fabrics are not produced neither in Australia or chile.
      Whilst it is not my intention to enter into a pointless argument, I believe the people that believe in me and my clients deserve to be told explicitly: I have never, and will never, copy any other designers work. Be this Hopeless or anyone else.

    • Karolina says:

      Hi Renee – I wrote the original review, and whilst I stand by those comments, I don’t think it’s fair to permanently tar Toru & Naoko with the brush that QC issues at the early stages of a brand being started mean they are to be permanently avoided. I know exactly what it’s like to run a lingerie brand by yourself, and that when you start out there’s certain issues that you just may not consider, and mistakes to be made. The point is that you LEARN from these. Camila did everything she could to correct my order, which I was very grateful for – and she has corrected the issues I highlighted in that review. Toru & Naoko are a new brand and I’m sure they’ll grow to do great things. I personally love the newest styles that I’ve seen and I think this award is well deserved!

      I also find your mention of Hopeless in this comment pretty unnecessary. I know Hopeless has a very loyal fanbase, and I think that’s awesome – Gabi’s work is amazing! However, I definitely don’t hold up Hopeless as the owners of strappy lingerie and softer silhouettes (especially if you look at my designs – I don’t exactly shy away from elastic strapping). When I look at Hopeless, I see a *huge* amount of influence from historical lingerie – from the Kestos of the 1920s all the way through to 50s Fredericks of Hollywood and much more. I see similar influences in Toru & Naoko’s work, granted, but copies? Nope. Fashion as a whole is cyclical – NOTHING is original, it’s all just reinventions of concepts that have been worked over so many times before. There isn’t anything wrong with that – it’s the way things are. I’m just so very tired of the rip off card being waved around so much at Indie designers these days – after all, they’re the ones who are bothering to push new trends. It’s the fashion industry at large who are guilty of ripping off – they see the cutting edge designs pop up as trends and then churn them out by the thousand for a fraction of the price and quality.

      And wow has this turned into a bit of a waffle – sorry about that! I just think it’s disappointing to see indie designers being attacked in an arena that I normally love for being so supportive.

  14. This is a wonderful list. I think it might be nice to include a small bust brand to spotlight in the future? I know there are very few to choose from, but this year Yse comes to mind? I think you guys did a little write up on them at one point.

    • Cora Cora says:

      Yse Lingerie was our Best Small Bust Brand of 2013.

      • technicolor lover says:

        I see! I guess the pool is smaller than I thought. Perhaps next year (a girl can dream)! It’s still a great list, thank you for the reply.

        • Cora Cora says:

          It is a super small pool, and I didn’t really see any standouts in the small bust category this year. If there are some other names you’re thinking of or have run across, definitely let me know. But as a sector, small bust lingerie is stagnating…if not shrinking outright.

          • technicolor lover says:

            The only other brand I can think of that is new (to me) and made specifically for small busts is Elma Lingerie, which you also did a write up on. I haven’t had a chance to try them out yet but they are certainly at the top of my list.
            I agree with your observations re: shrinking/stagnation. I’ve found myself turning my attention (and dollars) to small labels with general sizing or bespoke services. There are a few brands that quietly expanded their size range year: Lonely added 30A-B and Aerie did the same. Although, I think just as many brands have cut their range, and most retailers are as reticent as ever to carry anything below 32B. Meanwhile, the small cup, large band options are as slim as they’ve always been.

            • Cora Cora says:

              I like Elma lingerie quite a bit, particularly their crop tops. But I agree with you that most small bust options are happening with made to order lingerie or though brands that are expanding their size ranges without much fanfare. I’ve worn both Aerie and Lonely though, and like them both, so I definitely recommend giving them a try if you haven’t already. And yes, the small cup/large band world remains in a sorry state. I honestly wonder if there’ll ever be any significant brands dedicated to that space.

  15. Lanae says:

    Interesting list- surprised to see parfait by affinities on there as I’ve been consistently disappointed by their fit and found their construction and materials shoddy and cheap, but hey, to each her own!

    • Cora Cora says:

      There’s a few reasons they made it onto this list, but which full bust brand would you recommend instead? :-)

    • Ellen says:

      Agreed. Really, I’m not impressed with the quality of Affinitas, and Panache bras never feel very comfortable on me. I’ve tried the Andorra, Clara, Envy and Jasmine and those underwires catch me right under the arm. I have been successful with the Panache sports bras, however, with three of them in rotation right now. I really do find more of the luxury brands to be more comfortable- Empreinte, Conturelle, Prima Donna- along with a more successful fit. Although, I know these aren’t in many people’s budgets.

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