*Products reviewed in this post were provided by Impish Lee for my review. All opinions are my own.
Social media is an incredible tool. With just a touch of a button, the entire world is at your fingertips! Whether you’re keeping your musings under 150 characters, or double tapping to show your love, social media is a fantastic way to discover what’s what in the world, all from the comfort of your own home. And while Instagram or Facebook are in no way a replacement for actual going and doing, it is a lovely peek into things you otherwise may have not discovered!
And that, ladies and gentleman, is how it all began.
There I was, sick as a dog and pinned to my pillows on a Tuesday afternoon. I had taken the day off, after begrudgingly admitting to myself that I needed the R&R, and was aimlessly scrolling through Instagram–barely registering the pictures I was skimming past.
“Very cute 😉 ”
As someone who uses Instagram for promotion of both my blog and business, I make a point to check out each and every person who likes or comments on one of my photos. This helps me to A) Cull out and block the creeps and B)Keep up on what’s what and who’s who amongst my followers! (Guys, seriously, thank you for following. You’re all amazing!)
My commenter at this moment went by the handle @ImpishLee, and one click onto their profile sent me twirling down the proverbial rabbit hole and into a wonderland of beautiful, handmade, fully customizable underwear! Feeling bold (and probably riding a NyQuil high), I penned an email and sent it off. It was pretty straightforward: “I LOVE YOU AND EVERYTHING YOU’RE DOING.”
If there is anything I love in the world, it’s uniqueness. Creativity. Spark. And right from the start, Impish Lee positively oozes all of that and more. You see, Impish Lee is the brainchild of sisters/Super-duo Kali and Noelle. The road the Impish Lee of today has had many a twist and turn, beginning humbly (yet beautifully) on Etsy, pitstopping in wholesale for just a moment, before taking a rest stop, revamping, and becoming what it is now: designed by you, fully customizable, and completely luxurious.
I’m a self-described lingerie addict, and while I adore luxury items, my budget doesn’t always allow for spontaneous purchase! I completely believe that each and every woman deserves to treat themselves. (Even if it requires a little extra planning!) Sometimes, the prices of high end lingerie can give women pause, but it’s important to remember that when you shop from a small business, you aren’t lining the pockets from some CEO at a lingerie conglomerate–you’re supporting a person just like you and I, who’s trying to do something extraordinary! I was already rearranging my budget and tucking pennies into my savings account when Kali responded to my email. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and responded to me with an offer to not only feature the brand, but use the design tool for myself to create a set for review. “Over the moon” doesn’t even begin to cover it!
The idea behind Impish Lee is simple: you, as the consumer, take the reins. Noelle and Kali provide the patterns; 30 different variations of bras, bralettes, panties and loungewear. They source the fabric: beautiful laces, vibrant meshes, lush velvets and limited edition wildcards. And you? Pick your poison! Keep in mind that as each piece is made-to-order, there is a 2-3 week turnaround on your orders. And as a company that truly embodies “Waste Not, Want Not”, they even sell off their pre-made return/exchange items and donate the proceeds to charity!
The Customizer tool puts you entirely in control of what you’re making! From the color of your model’s skin to the finishing touches on your set (or robe, or negligee, or bodysuit or…), you as the consumer are capable of bringing your dreams into reality. As I lay there in my sore-throated stupor, I mixed and matched until I came out with something that set my heart aflutter.
The tool’s interface was user friendly, and quite fun! There is something wonderful in knowing you are creating something completely unique to your own tastes. Because of the vast array of fabrics and colors, the design possibilities are almost endless. After a few hours plugging away at the design tool, I placed my order and the wait began. Two weeks later, my set arrived at my door…
And the results
Longline Classic Bra: $148.00 High Waist Panty: $78.00
One of the major things that left me squealing for joy over Impish Lee was their size range. Their loungewear and bottoms come in sizes 0-24, and both wired bras and bralettes are offered in sizes 28A-40J. Even when keeping in mind that US sizes–as Impish Lee employs–and UK sizes are different, (the US does not utilize multi-letter cups past a DD/DDD. UK sizing runs A,B,C,D,DD,E,F,FF and so on.) the range is impressive. The fact that a small business even acknowledges the existence of sub-32 bands is incredible enough on it’s own. Add the fact that they recognize that their plus-sized customers deserve the same beautiful luxury items as their slimmer counterparts, and it becomes downright astounding.
To make figuring out your size a bit easier, Impish Lee has an on-site calculator. Their clear-cut guides make it easy for you to whip out that tape measure, plug in your results, and choose the size best suited for your body.
According to Impish Lee’s calculator, I fell somewhere between a US 34F and 34G. As someone who takes a UK 32G/34FF, I opted for the 34G–the relative equivalent to my UK size. When my set arrived, I was not disappointed in my choice!
I’ll admit, I am not usually one for an unlined bra. I wear my Freya Deco bras almost religiously, and I love a bra that will push my otherwise shallow, wide-set breast tissue “up and in”. Even as a lingerie veteran of sorts, I still yearn for that pushed-up cleavage look and tend to reach for bras that give me that result. I hesitated in placing my order, unsure if I would feel confident in a bra that didn’t have those proverbial “safety nets” in place. And oh, how wrong I was!
From first try on, I was very pleased with the fit and construction of this longline bra! I felt that the fit was spot on, the band snug and comfortable without squeezing, and the center gore tacked to my sternum without digging in. As they say, no news is good news: and I’m happy to report I experienced no spillage or “quad-boob” while wearing this beauty! The straps of the bra are not only fully adjustable (so important for us smaller-shouldered ladies!), but also convertible! It was a lovely surprise to find that the straps could not only be worn standard, but also criss-crossed in the back. The band features two rows of seven hooks-and-eyes, and was one of the very few longline bras that do not roll up on my ribcage! (Here’s lookin’ at you, ribcage flare.) As far as sizing, I was spot on in my ordering of a 34G!. The bra supports beautifully, while lending itself to a lovely natural shape.
According to the Apparel and Lingerie size chart on Impish Lee’s site, my measurements put me somewhere between a size 12 and a size 14 in their panties and loungewear. I opted for a size 12, though my hips/butt are technically 1″ outside of the range, and I’m so so glad that I did! The velvet and lace used in creating these beautiful (TRULY!) high-waisted briefs is wonderfully soft and stretchy, and does not dig, pinch or itch in any way. If your measurements fall slightly beyond the size chart, I think going with the smaller of the two is a safe bet!
Pretty lingerie isn’t the only reason I felt so strongly about Impish Lee. Because what are pretty outer-things without also being pretty on the inside? Aesthetics aside, one of the biggest draws of the brand was their moral compass. I had the opportunity to have a bit of a chat with the ladies behind the brand, and was able to dig a little deeper into who they are, why they do what they do, and what keeps them going!
Warning:Curves Ahead: You two are women to be admired! Strong female entrepreneurs with an eye for business, a heart for diversity and inclusion, and a love for lingerie. And the fact that you are sisters makes it even more special! What inspired you to go into business together as a dynamic duo?
Impish Lee: Well it just kind of happened… You know the expression “if the shoe fits”? Well, the lingerie just fit, so we went with it. About 3-4 years ago Noelle started sewing as a hobby, making some very simple lingerie pieces. These were very beautiful and ephemeral, but very crude. I say that really just to emphasis how far we’ve come and to stress how Noelle has always been the visionary and I the perfectionist. We started an Etsy shop with the images that I would shoot and we pretty did well. It was really just something we did for fun until we got a few wholesale orders from stores like Urban Outfitters. We realized after trying our hand at wholesale and mass production that it wasn’t really the direction that resonated with us, and after A LOT of research we started to plan out how to transition Impish Lee into a mass customization business model instead. It was all a very natural progression from there.
WCA:. It isn’t often that I (as a consumer) stumble upon a retailer that is getting SO much right–all at once. I mean, beautiful diversity? An incredible size range? Customizable options? Made in the USA? Check, check, check, and check! Doing it all can’t be easy, and is clearly a labor of love! What inspired you ladies to stand apart from the crowd and do so many things right–right from the start?
IL: Compassion is definitely at the heart of our company. We are inherently each very thoughtful individuals, constantly brainstorming ways to heal the gaps in our society and our planet, not just the lingerie and mass production industries. We feel deeply for individuals that suffer in any way whether it’s frustration at not finding garments that fit properly which may lead to body image struggles, or whether is people, often very young people, suffering due to unethical labor practices. We wanted to build a company that does as much as possible to adhere to our values while being something we love to do as well.
WCA: While I can imagine spending your days surrounded by lacy underthings is wonderful, it must also be hard work! What would you say your biggest challenges have been, and what keeps you motivated to keep going strong?
IL: Some of our biggest challenges since launching in November have been getting our name out there. It’s such a big world and we’re still a little fish. If I didn’t have Noelle, my sister, business partner and best friend, I probably would not have the motivation to keep going. We are an incredible duo, if I might say so myself. In areas that I am lacking she keeps me on track with staying positive and pressing on and vice versa. We’re a power couple because we bring very different skills and strengths to the table.
And one, just for fun! (Because even business owners can choose favorites!)
WCA: Do you ladies have a favorite piece/pieces from your collection? Why is it your favorite?
IL: Personally, I just love our bralettes. We size them just like our underwire bras, 28A-40J, which I think is something you don’t see very often. Bralettes are often size XS-LX, if that. I think women of all shapes and sizes should have bra options that are cute and comfy while offering the right kind of support for their unique body. Pair one of our bralettes with our highways panty and you’re set. I also really love anything cream and dusty rose these days!
And there you have it, folks! I was, and continue to be impressed by the dynamo that is Impish Lee.
Those of you who have followed me since the beginning know that I have a very strong sense of loyalty to the brands that I pitch here on the blog: meaning, I won’t pitch something if I don’t truly believe in it to it’s core! And quite frankly, what’s not to love about a small, by-women-for-women business dedicated to bringing beautiful, luxury lingerie to as many sizes and shapes as they can?!
I’ll definitely be making room in my lingerie drawer (and my budget) for more lovelies from Impish Lee!
Come on, ladies. We work hard, we play hard, and we deserve to treat ourselves once in a while. 😉