One of the joys of running a small business has been connecting to inspiring women who do the same. Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Elizabeth Kestle at Clementine Divine who hand makes and sells her own gorgeous, delicate lingerie using the prettiest pastel laces and tulles. If you are looking to ditch your padded bras for something lighter over the summer, or if you are after something exquisitely pretty and feminine for your honeymoon or romantic holiday, then you will love Elizabeth’s creations! I asked her about the background to her business, the history of the wedding garter and about what she is looking forward to this summer…
What inspired you to start your business?
Well I have always had a passion and love for anything creative but especially for art and textiles. Even when I left school and went on to college to study science I continued with sewing. From making cushion covers to embroidered Christmas decorations and patchwork quilts, I always had something on the go.
I was out shopping for bras, back when our main choices on the highstreet were M&S and La Senza, and I couldn’t find any bras my size that didn’t have foam cups. The larger sized bras had such beautiful laces and I personally wanted that option for myself, just not over a foam cup! I also felt like those of us with smaller busts were being made to think our natural size wasn’t good enough and had to be made to look bigger, hence all the additional padding that we couldn’t always remove.
So I went home and googled how to make a bra. After a lot of researching via videos and books I slowly documented my bra making until someone asked me where they could buy them from. And that is when I first set up my Etsy shop.
Tell us about the first piece of underwear you ever made?
The first piece I ever made was a bralette. It was made from black scrap lace with a daisy print. I didn’t put any elastic in it so there was absolutely no stretch and the band was actually too small. It wasn’t a success but it was a start. The first successful set I made was called Barcelona and was in a hot pink lace.
What piece would you recommend for brides to be?
Of course white is always a popular choice for brides so I would recommend the Cleo set. She’s been a firm favourite amongst customers and has the added sparkle of sequins for an additional glamorous flair. Cleo is made from soft clear tulle which has sequins sewn across it and is trimmed in white satin.
It also comes with a suspender belt which makes any lingerie set look extra special.
One of the things that attracted me to your brand was that you just use the most beautiful pastel colour combinations! Do you have a favourite?
I love the Iris bralette which is a pale blue/green rose lace trimmed with pastel pink. It’s just a very feminine combination and it makes me think of Spring. This is closely followed by a newer design called Freya. This is a pale blue floral lace trimmed with lilac picot elastic, it is wonderfully pretty but also delightfully comfortable at the same time due to its cropped top shaped bralette.
I know that your beautiful wedding garters are one of your best sellers, but I must admit that I didn’t actually know why people wear wedding garters! Please tell us about the tradition!
The tradition of the wedding garter is said to date back to the middle ages. It was tradition for guests to rip off parts of the bride's dress to give them good luck. To avoid the dresses being ruined this tradition evolved into the garter being given to the guests. In those days garters were worn to keep the bride's stockings up and were often given as proof that the marriage had been consummated.
Slowly this formed into the tossing of the garter to the groomsmen for luck but is said to have been changed to the bouquet being thrown instead. However in America it is still popular to have a Toss Garter which is specifically used to be thrown towards guests by the groom.
Nowadays a bride tends to wear only one garter and is often kept as a keepsake of the day and can also be used for their “Something Blue”.
Finally, as you know, I am doing a series in my stories about the Magic of Summer. What is the most magical thing about summer for you?
For me it has to be balmy evening walks during golden hour. I grew up in the countryside and spent many evenings as a child running through fields and woodlands in the evenings with friends. The heat and the golden tone of that time of day just brings back so many good memories and is probably one of my favourite things about summer.