Indie Lingerie Review: Serpent and Bow Custom Indigo Bralette Set
Disclosure: The items in this review were purchased with my own money. All opinions are my own.
I’ve had my eye on small-batch indie maker Serpent and Bow since getting a peek at their moon phases indigo design here in 2017. I was immediately drawn to the hand-batiked designs and the rich, shifting shades of indigo.
Furthermore, while the word sturdy is not one we often associate with lingerie, there was something so appealing about the robust cotton knit fabric and full-coverage shapes. This was lingerie I could imagine wearing while traipsing through a meadow, frolicking in a lake, or, as is more typical of my life, working comfortably at home during the day.
I finally splurged on one of their custom indigo bralette and underwear sets in May 2017, ordering to be delivered in September 2017. As they work in small batches, custom sizes, and individual designs painted or printed on each piece, time between ordering and receiving your items is not speedy. Serpent and Bow has recently shifted focus, and at the time of this review the custom batik indigo pieces are not currently available. However, they continue to use similar fabrics, shapes, and techniques in their newer designs.
Serpent and Bow pieces are made to order, with varying degrees of customization. Sizing is offered either according to a range from XS-XXL or using your measurements. I appreciate that the custom sizing option is available for anyone and is mentioned multiple times on their site. I chose custom sizing and requested wider straps on my bralette for support.
The creation of each Serpent and Bow piece engages with ritual, myth, and deliberate intention to imbue the works with caring energy. In purchasing a custom set, the customer is asked to explain their vision in as many or few words as necessary and then to allow the team to interpret that vision. The indigo batik effect reminded me immediately of the photographic technique of cyanotype, and so in my order I requested that it allude to the botanical cyanotypes of 19th century photographer Anna Atkins.
When the pieces came a few months later, I fell in love immediately. The fabric and construction is, indeed, sturdy. The cotton Lycra has a good heft and recovery to it, even after wearing all day. In fact, Serpent and Bow states that any set may also be used for swimming, though I haven’t tested that. The stitching is neat and the cotton elastic and metal fittings used on the straps are high-quality.
I really love the way it fits. The bralette is softly supportive and comfortable for all-day wear, and the underwear are truly high-waisted and full-coverage. The cut of the pieces is deceptively simple. Elastic ruching and princess seams in the front of the bralette give shaping and allow the patterns to be adapted for a wide range of breast sizes. Ready to wear tank-style bralettes rarely work this well for full busts but working with my measurements means the bottom band sits snugly while the bralette still has enough volume for my breasts.
The underwear are cut very cleverly, with only a single seam up the center back. This allows for both excellent shaping on the butt and an uninterrupted space for printed design. That design is where Serpent and Bow shines: elements are carefully placed to follow the curves of my body, with ferns gently curling around my hips, gracefully arching over my breasts, and cupping my belly. There’s a quiet elegance to these pieces that speaks to the care the Serpent and Bow team puts in.
The designs currently offered by Serpent and Bow differ from the botanical motifs of my indigo set. Focusing more on block-printing in multiple colors, the current offerings feature ritual symbols such as moons, vases, and candles. However, they remain imbued with a spiritual care that reminds us to treat our bodies, our relationships, and our earth well.