Every so often, a new company or brand pops up in the lingerie sphere to really appeals to me. I mean, a lot of lingerie brands really appeal to me, but some more so than others. So every so often, we like to give those brands a little bit of time in the spotlight, focusing in on what they do and what they’re producing.
Impish Lee started out as many do – a small handmade lingerie boutique on Etsy created by two sisters, Noelle Lee Ventresca and Kali Taylor Ventresca. As they explain on the site, they were inspired by the comfort of Sunday lounging and want all women to have the lingerie and lounge wear that they want no matter what shape or size. This is where the idea for underwear that is fully customizable came in. Yes, you read that right – fully customizable!
We at BCLC try hard to support independent, ethical and local designers, so while Impish Lee aren’t local to us, they’re still independent and trying their hardest to support ethical labour practices and the local economy. They’re based in New York and made the decision to keep all their manufacture there in house. The model of the business also eliminates a huge amount of waste as product is only made to order and pre-purchased. And here’s a good bit: the pieces that do get returned are resold on a secondary shop then the profits passed on to charity.
There’s one big thing that appeals to me about Impish Lee, and I’m sure you’ve figured it out – the handmade and customizable side. If you read my other blog, you’ll probably know that I’ve recently fallen in love with sewing my own lingerie. It’s addictive and fun, but also a lot of hard work. You can tell this from the fact that I’ve now sewn about 10 bras, a couple of bodysuits, several briefs and a swimsuit, and I’m still not there yet. So basically, I’m in awe of these ladies who have got it so down, with such a fab idea behind it all and are striving to do it ethically too. I’m in love with this video that shows how your bralette is made on their site – I love seeing a bit behind the scenes of things like this, and I’m super envious of the tools they must have!
What’s even better is that the fully customizable elements of creating your own underwear and lounge wear at Impish Lee are really fun to play with – it’s not just a matter of stating what you want and having it arrive once it’s been manufactured, but creating your own design using the tool on the site so you can see what you like the look of, and playing around creating combinations you never would have thought of before. As you can probably see, I had a little too much fun with this – note the pictures dotted around this post of the design tool, some of these are examples of my playing around with it! You start off with a basic image like this:
Then choose your skin tone, styles, fabrics, colour choices, design and more, ending up with something like this:
There’s a large choice of fabrics that can be mixed and matched in so many different combinations, along with a few suggestions for designs, plus added details such as how many bows you would like, if any.
You have a choice of various bralette and bra options, including non-wired, wired, longline, triangle cups, darted cups, seamed cups and more. There are few different briefs – high waisted, normal waist, short-style, and a garter belt. Then you’ve also got the lounge wear: shorts, a fitted skirt and lounge pants; flutter tops, cropped or normal length, with or without sleeves; a couple of bodysuits; nightgowns, long or short; robes, long or short, with and without sleeves; and finally a jumpsuit and a playsuit. Whew! See how much choice you’ve got for mixing and matching to create your ideal underwear! And can you also see why I found it so hard to just create one example for this post?!
Impish Lee also have a pretty awesome size range, especially for a small independent, handmade line – . It can be difficult for smaller companies to create large size ranges, especially as it gets more difficult to get a bra, particularly a wired one, to fit properly as sizes get larger so it’s understandable that they don’t have a “full” range yet, but starting at a 28 band and going up to a 40 band, then going up to a US J cup (which equates to a GG in UK sizing) and including lesser seen sizes like 28-30 A-C, it’s really impressive. Their apparel sizing runs from a size 0 to 24 (US), approximately a 4 to 28 in UK sizing, but make sure you check against the size chart. I can’t personally comment on how well the sizing fits as I haven’t yet tried them, but they do have a bra size calculator here which will help and a few bloggers have reviewed items from them including Cupcake’s Clothes (in a US 24), Warning: Curves Ahead (34G and size 12), and it looks like we may have an upcoming one from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust too.
And a final awesome thing about Impish Lee? They’re designing with skin tone in mind (as you can see above) – you get to choose the colour that matches your skin tone the best so that you can see your design on a woman with a similar tone, and the lining will also be provided in this colour. They’ve really thought of everything!
I’m looking forward to seeing more and more from Impish Lee in future, and I’d love to know if you’ve tried it too. I’m a little addicted to their Instagram where they publish photos of finished pieces – keep an eye out there for more.
Photos in this post are all examples of pieces created by Impish Lee – how gorgeous!