"Pretty but playful. Naughty but nice." These are definitely dichotomies that I can live by when it comes to lingerie! Although I find myself drawn to the edgy, bondage-inspired designs that have filtered to the forefront of the current lingerie market, on discovering the delicious candy colours, girly frills, bows and delicate lace details of Arabel Lingerie, it was impossible not to develop a sweet tooth for the collection!
Arabel Lingerie was founded in April 2012 by the talented, Sarah Lister. After completing a foundation diploma in Art and Fashion Design at the University of Gloucestershire, Sarah began training in pattern drafting, corsetry and lingerie construction before taking on her long-held ambition to conquer the lingerie world with her whimsical and sugar sweet designs. Sarah advocates that "women of all sizes deserve beautiful lingerie"; an ethos that I wholeheartedly champion!
Arabel Lingerie is all about making the wearer feel special - every garment is lovingly hand made in the UK (to your measurements, if required!), using high quality satin and lace. The Arabel Lingerie collection currently includes knickers, suspenders, garter bets and more recently, a 'camidoll' and soft cup bra! The sugar sweet colours, romantic designs and girly motifs really capture the essence of femininity and playfulness, so I was delighted when Sarah offered me a sample of her pretty lingerie to review.
I chose the 'Forget Me Not' knickers (£18) and 'Sugarplum' garter belt (in black) (£32) and emailed Sarah my measurements to ensure a perfect fit. The lingerie arrived beautifully wrapped up in a compact black box. To my surprise, on undoing the bow, the box unfolded like an origami flower to reveal my new lingerie - a lovely touch indeed!
The lingerie was even prettier in the flesh than on the Arabel Lingerie website and I could not wait to try on my new underwear!
The 'Forget Me Not' knickers are a gorgeous powder blue shade with a contrasting black elastic trim and a black satin bow at the centre. The bluebell shade is not a colour that I have much of in my underwear (or outerwear) collection, but it is a great nod to Spring/Summer pastels. Although pastels can sometimes wash me out, the pale blue of these knickers really compliments my fair complexion.
I also love the 'peek-a-boo' effect of the semi-sheer lace and the floral pattern gives these knickers a slightly vintage edge. The 'pièce de résistance' of these knickers, however, is the delightfully girly tutu frill detail that goes all the way from front to back! The only down-side to the frill is that it can get a bit creased under trousers, but the stretch lace material lends to easy reshaping!
As for the sizing, Sarah has a very handy size guide on her site, which tells you how to find the perfect fit for her garments. Her knicker sizing chart includes standard clothing sizes e.g. 10-12 but it also states a high hip measurement e.g. 34". This was very helpful when picking out my size as I could see which knicker size corresponded to my high hip measurement. It is also helpful for those that are not uniformly 'one clothing size' all over. (I am generally a size 10 in clothes, but my hips are wider and the 36" 12-14 Arabel knickers fit me beautifully.)
Dual knicker sizing chart:
I am a huge fan of the stretch lace used in these knickers. The material is very soft against the skin and there is no digging in at all, making them really comfortable to wear everyday. I also think that these knickers would be ideal for bridal wear as 'something blue', paired with the 'Sugarplum' garter belt in blue.
I was also impressed by how pretty and sturdy the garter/suspender belt was in real life. I went for a plain black version of the 'Sugarplum' garter belt (which is available in blue, pink or white on the website). The garter belt is made from a thick black elastic with a smooth underside, so that it sits comfortably against your skin without rubbing.
The garter belt features six adjustable suspender straps - a nice change from the more common four strap garter belts. The belt fastens at the back with a single hook and eye closure (with three tightness settings). Having six straps does make the process of attaching them to stockings a little more time consuming, but the benefit is that when attached, you do feel as though your stockings will stay securely in place all day. The 'slider' clasps are also decorated with adorable satin bows - a beautiful finishing touch!
Once again, the 'Sugarplum' garter belt is a 'made-to-measure' garment, so I gave Sarah my measurement (a touch below my natural waist as I wanted it to sit slightly lower). It is very useful having the three rows of hooks as I can tighten or loosen it according to where I want the belt to sit. The pictures show the garter belt in two different positions, but it tends to sit slightly lower than my belly button as in the top picture.
The garter belt was surprisingly comfortable to wear, holding my stockings up with no slipping. The garter belt is really versatile in black and it looks gorgeous with the Arabel 'Forget Me Not' ruffle knickers, as well as with just about any lingerie set in my underwear drawer!
I am really thrilled with my Arabel Lingerie knickers and suspender belt and cannot praise enough how good it is to own lingerie that is exquisitely pretty, comfortable, excellent quality and made to your measurements! Sarah's bespoke service is great as you can order any of her designs to be made in a different colourway and you can even contact her directly if you fancy a made-to-measure lingerie creation of your own imagination.
Arabel Lingerie is set to introduce even more exciting lingerie pieces to its collections this year and Sarah has mentioned cup sized bras, swimwear, corsetry and even 'plus sized lingerie' (depending on the demand). Sarah recognises that "everyone has their own fit problems" when it comes to lingerie and her brand, Arabel Lingerie, seeks to cater to each unique individual with great fit, high quality and a sprinkle of sugar, pixie dust and lingerie magic!