This is not ASOS or Nordstrom or Modcloth, this is a small independent UK-based lingerie brand who have listened to the demand of those of us sized out of core collections and have responded with some of the most impressive new plus size designs I’ve seen in ages. I especially adore how the bold sophistication and daring, graphic shapes of the core collections continue into their larger sizes. So often plus and full-bust pieces get watered-down and lose their edge, but Playful Promises’ Curve and DD-G collections look unmistakably like their core-sized counterparts.Playful Promises are doing some of the most exciting work in the independent lingerie world right now, and I don’t just mean their quarter-cup cage bras. There is not a single indie brand on the market (that I know of) that offers a collection that includes custom prints, strapping, metallics, fringing, loungewear, lingerie, AND clothing, in nuanced, bold designs, and who have also launched back-to-back size expansions, first into DD-G bras and then into plus sizes.
The sleeves and body are constructed of a high quality slightly sheer mesh that offers stretch in multiple directions, so it can fit people of varying heights and shapes. Golden beaded embellishments spill symmetrically down the arms and front, and lighter beaded embellishments continue onto the back. The bodice is lined in front and back for a little modesty and extra support; depending on your shape the lining will sit differently. On me it fully covers my bust (hallelujah!) and stops a little higher than my natural waist; on someone with a less full bust the lining might cover more of their torso.I loved pretty much the whole Curve collection, but I knew at first glance which piece I was going to order for myself. There’s something a little bit retro/1980s, a little bit futuristic, and a little bit badass about this piece, and for someone whose work wardrobe falls pretty firmly on the ‘square’ side, this bodysuit feels like it belongs to my superhero secret identity. The Kylie bodysuit features a slightly high neckline, long sleeves, and a full-coverage seat with a snap crotch. This opaque lining is brilliant: it functions a little like the “shelf bras” of those spaghetti-strap cotton camis, but it offers more coverage (perfect for larger, curvier figures). The lining also covers a bra if you choose (as I did) to layer one under the bodysuit, and it helps the piece transition from boudoir-wear to outerwear.
I usually wear a US 14 in dresses and tops, so I ordered a UK 18 in the bodysuit without checking the Playful Promises size chart. Oops. Only later did I realize that I might be between a UK 14-16 according to the chart, so I worried when the piece arrived that it would be too big. While I think I could comfortably wear a size 16 UK in this bodysuit, because of the multiway-stretch fabric it’s very forgiving of size variations. The arms are a bit loose and a bit short on me, but the length through the torso is excellent (and I’d hesitate to size down in case that changed, as I’m tall), and I’ve never been much of a body-con person anyway. I actually prefer that it’s not skin-tight on me, as I think I’ll feel a little more comfortable wearing it out and about.
This bodysuit really does feel like a dream to wear. The stretch fabric is SO comfortable, I’m never worried about the crotch coming unsnapped, the sleeves are neither constricting nor restricting, and the lining sort of gently smooths out lumps and bumps near my bra band, so I don’t feel self-conscious. I do have slim arms for my build, but I appreciate that there’s plenty of fabric, with plenty of stretch, to fit those with fuller arms and broader backs and shoulders, and also to allow for a wide range of movement. I wondered if the beads would poke or dig in to my skin, but they don’t! The bodysuit feels light and easy, with no sense of constriction or strain.
So, there’s one drawback, and it’s a bit of a doozy: the beading is extremely fragile. I have lost 5-15 beads every single time I’ve put my bodysuit on. Playful Promises include a small bag of extra beads, as many brands do with beaded items, and I’ve sewn about a dozen back on already, but I currently have about 25 more beads sitting in my jewelry case that have dropped off during try-ons and photoshoots and are waiting for the next time I have a free window to do some sewing. That’s…a lot. It’s more than I would anticipate, even considering that most beaded garments eventually lose some beads. I suspect the Jessica bodysuit, which has a wider neckline and no sleeves to wrangle, might be a bit sturdier, but I cringe every time I have to take the Kylie bodysuit off, knowing that no matter whether I try to step out of it through the neckline or unsnap the crotch and take it off over my head, I will assuredly hear the clatter of beads falling to the ground. It might be a good thing in the end, as I will probably treat this piece more gently and not wear it out as fast, but I do find myself reaching for other outfits when I’m getting ready to go out, because I’m worried about how well the beading will hold up over the course of an evening.
Playful Promises have set the bar so incredibly high for brands looking to expand their signature styles into new size ranges. Not only has the same sense of, well, playfulness– and of teasing sophistication– carried over in the aesthetics of the Curve collection, but an enormous amount of care has been taken to ensure that fit and comfort considerations shared by many larger and plus size people have been accommodated. This bodysuit is stylish as hell, incredibly comfortably, and beautifully flexible to suit the varying shapes and weight distributions of plus size bodies. While I’m sad the piece has turned out to be so fragile, so I may not wear it as much as I’d initially imagined, I know that when I do wear it I will feel comfortable and beautiful.