Designer Dossier: The Giving Bride

The Giving Bride

What to do after a decade teaching in the Chicago public schools system, followed by a run in non-profits? Start a philanthropy-fueled lingerie line, of course.

Calling all brides: you now have a go-to destination for lacy little things (and other lovely essentials) designed to be worn on wedding day, night and long (ever) after. Meet The Giving Bride: exquisite lingerie for the discerning bride with a generous spirit. Fueled by a charitable mission, a percentage of all giving bride sales go towards a chosen women’s not-profit, year-round. Presently sales proceeds go to A Safe Place, the sole provider of services exclusively addressing domestic violence in Lake County, Illinois.

Growing up outside Chicago, Maggie Gillette always had an affinity for the creative – but this wasn’t her first career. A master’s degree in education was parlayed into nearly a decade of teaching in the Chicago public schools system while subsequently working in the non-profit sector, before a summer at the London College of Fashion changed everything.

We caught up with the talented designer & philanthropist on giving back, how to master the leg garter, and calling out bridal rules – or rules meant to be broken.

Maggie Gillette, Designer, The Giving Bride
Maggie Gillette of The Giving Bride, seen here at Lingerie Fashion Week SS15

What led you to become a lingerie designer?

I’ve always wanted to be in the fashion industry and I had the opportunity to help someone else out with a project in the lingerie sector and I loved it! I decided that I wanted to create my own company in this niche.

What drew you to bridal in particular?

I love that bridal lingerie is “special occasion” lingerie and that gives me a little more leeway to use really luxurious fabric and delicate details that might not be as practical in everyday lingerie. Plus, a wedding is such a joyful occasion it’s wonderful to be a part of someone’s wedding even if its just in a small way.

I also really felt like there was a gap in the market for luxury lingerie for 20 and 30 something women looking for something to reflect a bit more of their personal style.

We love that you donate a portion of your sales to womens related non-profits (year round!) – what led you to this decision and why is this important to you?

After spending the beginning of my career working in education and non profits I saw how important the

Would you consider the below bridal rules, or rules meant to be broken?

1. The bride & groom shouldn’t see each other before the wedding: Made to be broken!

2. Wearing a wedding veil: Stick with your personal style but I love a wedding veil because when else are you going to wear one? It’s a unique accessory opportunity!

3. Wearing a leg garter: Again, this is up to the individual bride but they’re such a classic wedding piece.

4. The bride must wear white lingerie on wedding night: Made to be broken!

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The Giving Bride at Lingerie Fashion Week SS15. View additional runway images by clicking photo.

Top 3 tips brides should know about buying, and wearing, a leg garter:

  1. Think about how you’re going to wear it – are you wearing it under the dress or is this strictly a boudoir piece?
  1. If you’re wearing the garter under your dress then dress shape should be taken into consideration. A large lace garter would be perfect under a ball gown but is going to show under a fitted sheath dress.
  1. Don’t feel like you have to do a garter toss. You can absolutely wear it and keep it!

What are your top 3 bridal lingerie DO’S for wedding night?

  1. Wear something comfortable. You’ve already spent all day in a beautiful but likely very restrictive dress, now’s the time to wear something you can relax and enjoy your night in.
  1. Wear something that relates to your personal style. This is about comfort too but more on the emotional side. If you don’t feel like yourself you won’t enjoy yourself.
  1. Treat yourself to something special that you love.

What are your top 3 bridal lingerie DONT’S for wedding night?

  1. Don’t feel like you have to wear white!
  1. Don’t wear something that’s too hard to put on…or take off. After a long day you want something more fun than fussy!
  1. Don’t stress about it too much! Lingerie should be fun and you have a whole lifetime ahead of you to wear beautiful lingerie with your partner.

What 5 under-essentials MUST a bride bring on the honeymoon?

  1. A great robe – nothing will make you feel more instantly glamorous than slipping into a fabulous robe.
  1. A silk cami that can go from underwear to outerwear.
  1. Tap shorts
  1. A great nightgown
  1. A soft bralette

What’s next for The Giving Bride? Any new colorways, silhouettes or collaborations we should be on the lookout for?

We’re continuing to introduce more colors every season as well as new styles. We’ve had requests to do more robes and more nightgowns so those will be incorporated into upcoming collections. The line is really growing!

The Giving Bride
The Giving Bride backstage at Lingerie Fashion Week. View additional backstage images by clicking photo.

If I weren’t designing lingerie, I would be: Probably teaching or working at a non profit.

If I could have any 1 person in the world (past or present) wear The Giving Bride, it would be: I think Jackie Kennedy would really have enjoyed some of our pieces.

My favorite lingerie moment in film is: Not one particular moment, but the lingerie in W.E (the film Madonna did about Wallis Simpson) has some seriously stunning lingerie.

On a typical night, I can be found sleeping in: A nightgown. You will never find me sleeping in pants.

If I could pack up and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, I’d go to: Paris, it’s one of my favorite cities.

Brief or Thong? Thong.

Underwire or No Underwire? Depends on the outfit – but lounging at home no underwire.

Stay-up Thigh Highs or Stockings & Garter Belt? Garter belt!

Early Riser or Night Owl? Night owl, left to my own devices I could be completely nocturnal! I IG @thegivingbride I Twitter @thegivingbride

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