Toru & Naoko Juana Wrap Bra + Sharon High-Waisted Knickers in XL from Bluestockings Boutique

For this review, I'm going to reviewing multiple facets of my purchase--The lingerie itself by Chile-based designer Toru & Naoko and the shop I purchased it from, Bluestockings Boutique.

Let's start with a quick look at Toru & Naoko. From their website:
"Toru & Naoko is a handmade lingerie label founded by argentinean designer Camila Leguizamón, now based in santiago, Chile. We produce high quality garments designed and sewn from our small studio."
I personally have been intrigued by trying out independent designers for a while. It seems that most lingerie bloggers tend to wade out into the world of indie lingerie for various reasons, whether it be an interest in new and fresh designs and/or to support ethically made products. Personally I was struck by the innovative design of T&N's work and the delight of owning something a bit more boutique and special.

Juana Wrap Bra and Sharon High-Waisted Knickers XS-XXL + Custom Sizing

Yet there are always risks when buying indie lingerie, many of them being practical concerns. For one, most are not widely reviewed in the same way that massive brands are (with the hundreds of bratabase entries, to match). They are typically more expensive and take several weeks to make-to-order, along with being non-returnable, which raises the stakes immensely. I am a woefully impatient person, and was delighted when I discovered that retailer Bluestockings Boutique could alleviate many of my concerns.

Bluestockings Boutique's motto is "Underthings for Everyone". The boutique was created when "...queer-identified founder Jeanna Kadlec realized there was no lingerie boutique in the United States geared to the LGBTQIA+ community. "

I don't really talk much about my life outside of lingerie on this blog, as it often doesn't seem relevant. Maybe you noticed me quietly changed my bio to include the descriptor "queer" a little while ago (which I have identified with for a long time). Lingerie and lingerie blogging is certainly wrapped up in my enjoyment and passion for body- and sex-positivity,  feminism, and queerness. So when I discovered Bluestockings Boutique I was thrilled to see what Kadlec had created--a space for people of all genders and sizes to see themselves reflected with a commitment to ethical and sustainable brands and designers.

When buying from Bluestockings, I was able to avoid many of the issues I had previously worried about when buying indie lingerie. They were in stock in the USA, so I didn't have to wait for the items to be made and deal with international shipping. I could return the bra within 14 days of purchase (the underwear was not returnable--reasonable in my opinion). I was able to shoot a quick question to @bluestockingbo on twitter about sizing. Basically, it was an all-around easy-breezy shopping experience.

In addition, Bluestockings offers the service Affirm as a way to be more accessible to people who cannot drop a huge chunk of change all at once. It is basically a small loan you can take out and pay off, so essentially a form of layaway payments in-practice. I decided to use Affirm to buy this set, mostly out of curiosity and my aforementioned impatience. It went smoothly, and because I paid it off quickly, I ran into no problems. I will say that there is some controversy around using loans as a way to pay for products. I would never try to tell someone how to use their money, (especially given I used the service myself), I just think considering all the options is best. I could see Affirm being extra useful when you need something very last minute and are able to pay it off readily afterwards.

On to the review!

I was immediately drawn to Juana and Sharon for the unique art deco-inspired design. It's strappy without being immediately visually linked to fetish-wear (not a bad thing in and of itself, just rare it seems with strappy lingerie), and is made with a delicate sheer-pink stretch fabric and a sharp black trim. It's delightfully feminine while relying on a more constructed, graphic look. I love the way the design plays with the sheer overlapping panels. The silver hardware is included on the adjustable straps (both on the bra and the briefs), which make the sliders seem integrated with the design and not just an afterthought for utility. Possibly my favorite part is the large cut-out section on the side of the briefs, which I think is an underutilized area to bare skin. The sewing and craftsmanship is impeccable.

After a brief twitter consult with Bluestockings, I bought bought pieces in XL. I think this was a good call, though as you can see with the bra the band was too large and riding up--which is common for me in non-bra-sized pieces, since I need space for the bust. As with most soft bralette-type items, I was not expecting much support. In truth, these types of items are more like attractive wrapping for my breasts rather than anything that might give any lift. That said, there was more than enough coverage to nicely encompass my breasts, and I think people with larger breasts than me could easily wear this bra if they're okay with slightly less coverage. My main gripe with Juana, and why I did end up returning it in the end, was that the lower part which wraps so beautifully flat around the model curled and bunched up on me. I do not think this is a design flaw so much as the way that my body moves--it creases and folds, therefore this type of design is just not feasible. I tried very hard to keep it flat in the photos to no avail.

I decided to return Juana with hopes that I could get my hands on their Janice bra someday, which I think will be a better fit for me based on my positive experience with my Asos Anya bralette.
Janice by T&N

The briefs are amazing though, which is why I was perfectly happy to keep them in my collection. My only complaint about them, which extends to the bra as well, is that the fabric seems to pull and wrinkle in a few places of tension. Normal, yes, but it does detract from the flat graphic appearance. The center panel near my butt crack (for lack of a better term...) also bunched up a bit, which isn't the most attractive sight, though one I'm willing to live with. It might just be a quirk of the design.

The fabric for these items is a very fine pink mesh, which is quite soft and comfortable. The briefs include a cotton gusset which is always appreciated (it's healthy for your bits!). Given the entire set lacks wires and is fairly minimal, I have few complaints. I will add that putting the bra on for the first time was a bit of a struggle, since the wrapping band completely unravels when you take it off. I found it easiest to put one arm through and proceed to wrap the set around myself as it was a bit confusing otherwise, haha.

Whew! That was a lot of info, but I had a lot to talk about this time around! Hope the review is helpful and I also hope to be reviewing more indie designers in the future :) If you would like a different perspective on this set, The Petite Collegiate did a review of it just this past week.

1 comment:

  1. Very pretty and intricate! ❤️
    The NK iMODE Team