Disclaimer: I purchased this lingerie with my own money and Toru and Naoko did not request a review.
Toru and Naoko is a relatively new indie lingerie brand based in Chile that was set up by designer Camila Leguizamón earlier this year. Camila specialises in soft bra sets in mostly sheer fabrics, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the sheer, black polkadot mesh and wrap-around style of the Kelly bra.
The matching Kelly knickers are great too but I really liked the strappy Cora ones, and the great thing about independent designers is that many of them are happy to take on custom orders – I asked for the Cora knickers made in the polkadot fabric from the Kelly set. (Camila must have liked the idea too because she then released the Daria set with knickers almost identical to the ones I ordered!).
Unfortunately the first thing I noticed when I opened my parcel was a strong chemical-like smell. All Toru and Naoko lingerie comes in a cute little branded bag which is great for storage but I think the scent from the stamped logo’s ink permeated the lingerie inside on its trip here from Chile. It doesn’t bother me all that much because it came out after three washes, but it’s something to bear in mind if you’re considering buying as a gift.
I love black polkadot mesh – second only to black lace on my favourite fabrics list – and I love strappy stuff, so I think these knickers are pretty awesome! The wrap-around style of the bra is really unusual – I’ve seen it on bikinis before but not bras as far as I remember. The whole set is a very simple but very unique design.
Verdict: 7 / 10
The mesh is nice and stretchy, the ruffled trim is pretty and the strappy bits are made from a nice, satin-sheen elastic. The rings and sliders are made from plastic and I would have preferred metal (it looks nicer and is far more durable, and these types of components aren’t expensive to buy) but overall it’s made from good quality materials. The gusset is lined too.
However, the overall construction is a little rough around the edges – one of the bra straps is half coming off at the front and the ends of the elastic knicker straps and ruffled trim are fraying, which was disappointing. The knickers look better-constructed than the bra.
Update 21/07/14 – It turns out my sister bought the same custom set as me and says that her two pieces are perfectly constructed, so it’s possible my bra was one faulty piece rather than the norm.
Verdict: 5 / 10
Both pieces were offered as made-to-measure items. I didn’t send over measurements for the knickers because they sit high on the waist and I was 8 months pregnant when I made the purchase, so considering I just told the designer I usually wear a UK 8 / size small they fit very well. The adjustable waist straps help of course.
I sent my underbust and overbust measurements for the bra – 28″ and 36″ at the time – and the ‘cups’ fit fine and are actually a lot more supportive than you’d expect a soft mesh bra to be! The wraparound style helps the bra to stay in place.
However the band size is really, really tight. My underbust measurement has gone down to 26″ since giving birth and it’s still much too tight to wear. I bought a bra extender that makes the band a couple of inches longer and now it just fits (it’s comfortable, but I wouldn’t mind it being an inch or two longer), but that means the band was a good 4 to 6 inches too short for the measurements I gave!
Verdict: 5 / 10
The set is hand-wash only and the mesh isn’t a delicate one so it’s easy to wash without too much risk of damage. The set does leak a very little dye but that isn’t uncommon for black lingerie – so long as you wash it alone or with other black lingerie it won’t be a problem.
Verdict: 7 / 10
Value for Money
I paid $76 for the set (a slight discount on buying the bra and knickers separately) which is roughly £45. I understand that indie designers have higher production costs than bigger brands, and I don’t mind paying more for this reason, but for this price I would have liked to have seen better construction on the bra especially.
Verdict: 6 / 10
Would I recommend it?
I really want to because I love the design and the brand, but the only piece I can recommend is the knickers. The bra was let down partly by construction but mainly by fit because the band size was just so off, especially given that it was made to measure. As I mentioned Toru and Naoko is a new brand (currently on hiatus for two months) and probably still working out sizing, so I think this is a brand to watch and I’d like to try them again when they return with new designs and hopefully improved sizing and construction in September.
What do you think of Toru and Naoko? Have you bought anything by this brand?