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How to Order Custom Lingerie

Purchasing custom lingerie can be one of the most exciting and rewarding shopping experiences of your life. A new lingerie set can completely change how you feel in your body, so imagine what it feels like to get an ensemble of intimates made just for you, exactly to your specifications!

But the prospect of true custom lingerie can feel a bit overwhelming. Maybe you have an idea for one-of-a-kind wedding night lingerie, or you’re looking for a custom bra for your particular breast shape.

When the whole world of intimates is at your fingertips, where do you start?

Step 1: Decide What You Want

Even if you don’t know exactly how you want your pieces to look, be sure you have a strong general idea of what you’re looking for before seeking out a designer.

Are you looking for a loungewear set in your favorite color combinations? A full bridal trousseau? Something one-of-a-kind from your favorite designer? Knowing what you’re looking to buy will help you pick the right designer to work with.

You’ll also want to consider what things are most important to you for this particular order. One designer can’t specialize in everything, but they likely have a few areas they focus on and excel in.

Are you looking for a bra with a rare size and specific amount of support? Is there a certain type of fabric you’re looking for? Or is the general style the most important aspect to you? Maybe you’re working on a tight timeframe? Or you have all the time in the world for an heirloom-quality garment you can pass down to your kids?

When you decide what aspects are most important, you can seek out someone with the proper skills.

Step 2: Pick The Right Designer

Not every lingerie designer does custom work, but quite a few indie and handmade brands do. I recommend looking through TLA’s archives to find designers you like, then checking out the brand's website or FAQ section for information on custom orders. You could even send a polite email to ask if a designer is taking custom orders. (Pro tip: All of the images used in this article come from lingerie brands that make custom styles!)

As you’re doing this research, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be sure they make your size. If you’re a fuller bust or plus size person, I highly recommend ordering custom lingerie from someone who already makes your size, or advertises that they can make your size

Next, remember the important aspects you decided on in the first place? Make sure those are things the designer excels at. Do they offer the type of fit you’re looking for? Do you love their aesthetic? Are they loungewear champions?

Silk & lace appliqué lingerie by Fréolic London. Photography by K. Laskowska

Silk & lace appliqué lingerie by Fréolic London. Photography by K. Laskowska

Step 3: Set Reasonable Expectations

Imagine ordering a custom lingerie set. It arrives in just a few days, perfectly sewn without any long-distance fittings, and it costs the same as a set from your local shop.

Unfortunately…that scenario isn't really possible.

First, custom lingerie takes time. If you’re ordering for an event or occasion, communicate the date with your designer so they can give you an accurate quote and timeline. I highly recommend leaving some buffer time, in case any issues pop up.

Second, while excellent fit is one benefit of custom lingerie, it doesn’t always come easily - especially if your designer isn’t based in your area. Even with the most careful of measurements, you may need multiple fittings for something like a custom bra.

And finally, there’s no way around it: custom lingerie is expensive. Think about the emails back and forth with the designer. The custom patterns, personalized fittings, and multiple adjustments. The fabrics that must be ordered for your single item, or the hand finished embellishments.

Even if the designer already has a pattern and fabric for your order, making a one-off piece of lingerie costs far more to make than even a small batch at a factory. Your custom set will undoubtedly be more expensive than the lingerie you’ll find at your local shop.

Understanding these core aspects of the custom lingerie journey will make the process more pleasant from the beginning.

Step 4: Embrace the Collaboration

Maybe you’ve designed your perfect lingerie set, all the way down to the fabric content, the shape of the metal findings, and the shape of the lace trim. Or maybe you’re looking for something you can’t find anywhere else, like a bra with two different cup sizes for your asymmetrical breasts, or a quarter cup bra that gives your HH cups the perfect lift.

In either situation, your designer may suggest changes that will go against what you’ve said you want. If something is non-negotiable for you, let them know as early as possible. Otherwise, I highly recommend trusting their seasoned knowledge. They’ve likely been doing this for a while.

In other words, don’t be afraid to let go a little. If you pick a designer whose work aligns with what you’re looking for, their changes and suggestions will likely improve your order in the end.

Trust their experience. In the end, you might get a custom lingerie set so fabulous, you couldn’t even dream it up.

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Quinne Myers

Quinne Myers is a lingerie expert living in Brooklyn, NY, where she creates quippy written content, crafts dreamy illustrations, and runs the ethically-made loungewear line, she and reverie.