You may not have heard of Katherine Hamilton lingerie. It’s a relatively new brand, the creative director of which is Katherine Payne, who knows from bitter experience how a badly fitting bra can affect a woman’s confidence. Post-puberty she struggled to find a bra which combined function and elegance in a size 28F. “I used to think you had to feel your bra – now having created my own range I put mine on in the morning and feel free.” It’s a sentiment echoed by many women who have emailed the former mental health worker since discovering her fit-focused range, which offers 54 sizes from 26D – 38HH.
In the three years since setting up her business Payne has had some very honest feedback. “Some women have told me they had been contemplating breast reduction surgery and/or counselling, but are now self confident and actually a lot more petite than they previously thought.”
The secret, says Payne, is a combination of the custom underwiring used – the acute U shape of which makes for a more rounded, snug fit. Invisible tulle also enables lift and shape, French lace and silk give a luxurious feel, while also being lightweight. Bestsellers are the vintage rose Abbie bra and Abrielle in blue and nude, with the price point starting from €95. As for fitting guidelines, as a rule of thumb she advises alignment with clothing sizes. If you are size 6, start with a 26 bra, if you are a size 8 try a 28 and so on, before finalising the cup.
“I’ve often found that women wear special lingerie not just for themselves but for others to see. For me, it’s more about how I feel and I wear my bras everyday as a standard.” Payne recommends washing them in a 30 degree gentle wash inside a special lingerie bag without using conditioner.
Working with a technical expert and an all-female team of freelancers with a factory in Latvia producing the bras, Payne calls the last three years an ongoing learning experience. While she offers hope to those who know the despair of not finding a pretty bra in their size, she is also proof that thriving businesses can begin with the humblest of ideas. “Lingerie is fun again,” she says. The range takes its name from her father’s family, Hamilton, which has a history of inventiveness. Initially stocked in Harrods, Katherine Hamilton is now found in Selfridges and online at www.net-a-porter-com. It has just landed at Brown Thomas where a fitting service is offered.
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