Review: Department Of Curiosities Silk Longline Bra and High Waist Briefs
Disclosure: this set was purchased by The Lingerie Addict for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.
Department Of Curiosities is a lingerie and loungewear brand founded by two fashion industry veterans: corsetiere Gerry Quinton of Morúa, and Jamie Hayes of Production Mode. The label specialises in luscious, vintage inspired loungewear, glamorous without sacrificing comfort.
Many of the silhouettes directly reference the decadence of the 1920s and 30s. Think beach pajamas, full sweeping dressing gowns, tap pants and camiknickers. The line also has selection of structured lingerie, including a longline bra, underbust corset, suspender belts, and briefs.
About Department of Curiosities
A key tenet of the label is the concept of ‘Slow Fashion.' The Slow Fashion Movement emphasizes clothing that is made to last, with transparent manufacturing, responsibly sourced materials, and a commitment to making garments that are both beautiful and ethical.
All Department Of Curiosities' garments are handmade to order in the label’s Chicago-based atelier. Alongside gorgeous silhouettes, the range uses one of the most stunning floral prints I’ve seen in lingerie. The ‘Dark Tropical’ print was created exclusively for the label by tattoo artist Esther Garcia. The colours are luscious, and the print works equally well on large scale loungewear and smaller lingerie pieces.
I practically screamed with excitement when one of the label's lingerie sets showed up on a resale site! The pieces in questions were samples rather than "full" products, and so lack brand or sizing labels. I’m not sure what the exact intended sizes of these pieces are, and so will not be commenting on fit in this review.
Whilst I ordinarily wouldn’t review a brand sample (samples are usually created by brands to test new designs and are often flawed), these pieces are near impeccably made. Rather than focusing on fit, this review will focus on the quality, workmanship and fabrics used in these designs.
The high waisted knickers are $98 and available in sizes XXS-XXXL, covering hip measurements 34-47”. The longline brassiere is $250 and available in a size range of US 30C-H, 32B-G, 34A-F, 36A-F. Both styles are made to order and shipped within 4-6 weeks.
Both pieces are available in four colourways: the dark tropical print, a monochrome ‘noir’ tropical, green, and black. The printed fabric is a silk/cotton blend, whilst the block colours are 100% silk.
The designs appear relatively simple from a distance, with the block panelling allowing for the beautiful print to shine. The brief has a centre panel of satin, with a main body of soft, stretch nylon mesh. The elastic trims are incredibly soft and don’t cut into the body. The gusset is lined in cotton, with the seams ‘bagged out’ so that they are enclosed within the panel.
Up close, there are some lovely unexpected details that really elevate the pieces. The keyhole mesh cutout on the knickers must have been challenging to stitch, but is a gorgeous feature of the design. The printed satin is beautifully soft and high quality. The print quality is excellent and holds up well to washing, with no colour fading. I imagine the 50% cotton blend will make this fabric a little harder wearing than pure silk.
The underwire bra is impressively well stitched for a hand made and made to order garment. It has a longline cradle, with cut-and-sew foam cups. In layperson's terms, that means rather than a molded foam, the cup pieces are cut out and butted together with a sewing machine. This technique is much more time consuming but arguably gives a more supportive shape.
The foam cup seams are taped over with nylon mesh. The cradle is lined with nylon mesh, while the wings made of a sturdy powernet. The underwire and bone channels are made of a plush casing, and the fastening has three rows of hooks and eyes. The shoulder straps are made of satin elastic and can be adjusted with black enamelled components.
Unusually for lingerie, the bones used in this bra are steel rather than plastic. The material has its pros and cons. It used to be very prevalent in lingerie but fell out of popularity due to the cost. Although the plastic equivalent is much cheaper and easier to wash, it just doesn’t perform as well (most bra wearers will be familiar with plastic bones bending out of shape permanently and digging in uncomfortably).
Spiral steel bones are much sturdier so this isn’t a concern. Consequently, this bra holds its structure a lot better than any other longline style I’ve tried. However, steel does require you to be a bit more careful with washing. Although most spiral bones are galvanized, I wouldn’t leave the bra damp or soaking in water for an extended period of time, as rust is just not worth the risk.
The shoulder straps on this piece are detachable with enameled metal hooks, but I remain a little bit skeptical over how well this piece would hold up to long term strapless wear. For this sample, there is no silicone grip on the plush elastic as most strapless styles use now (though that’s a plus for anyone with silicone allergies). Instead, the bra relies on the tension of the powernet wings and the bones in the cradle to maintain its position on your body.
I can’t comment on the fit of these pieces relative to their sizes, as I have no idea if these are the correct sizes for my body. However, I can comment about the relative comfort of these designs. The fabrics are all high quality and soft. Although they pieces don't have a good 'technical' fit on my body, they are still comfortable to wear.
Even though these samples aren’t the ‘correct’ size for my body, the experience of wearing these designs has left me all the more smitten with the brand. I adore the philosophy of slow fashion and this label’s actual commitment to it. So many fashion brands today treat sustainability and ethical manufacturing as purely a marketing trend, rather than a long-term commitment. It’s refreshing to see designers who actually practice what they preach.
There’s also the fact that the designs are beautiful, with a novel interpretation of one of my favourite vintage fashion eras. I’m left incredibly impressed at the quality of the garments at this price point. Making garments one by one to order is incredibly time consuming, particularly with structured pieces like the underwired bra.
I’m in awe of the machinist’s skills and would have easily expected double the prices that the brand charges. Although my lingerie budget these days is near nonexistent, there is a great temptation to start pinching pennies and invest in a pair of beach pyjamas next!