Custom Costumes by Bow & Drape

Custom Costumes by Bow & Drape

By Lorraine Sanders


Because you should be able to pick your hemline or bedazzle your sweatshirt if you want to, dammit. Having it your way isn’t just for hamburgers any more.

By Lorraine Sanders

Style is a matter of choice. Isn’t it ironic, then, that the vast majority of clothing made today offers so very little of it? Other than brand, price, color and size, there’s very little a shopper can select as she hunts for the next addition to her wardrobe. 

Bow & Drape is none of that. Not so with Bow & Drape, a fashion company that allows shoppers to customize its playful, feminine collection of pieces, even though they easily stand up sweetly, with perfect posture, on their own. To be sure, online customization tools are nothing new — but all too often they’re clunky or complicated or require annoyingly precise details such as the measurement of your hips and waist, details that many of us really don’t want marching in to mar what otherwise would have been a perfectly pleasant shopping experience. 

A clean, simple-to-use customization engine on each product page offers options for tweaking and embellishing garments and accessories.

“Right now we’re really focused on the experience,” CEO and founder Aubrie Pagano tells me. It shows.

A clean, simple-to-use customization engine on each product page offers options for tweaking and embellishing garments and accessories. Results are rendered immediately and realistically, making it possible to see what different design choices will look like before you buy. When you do purchase, your merch arrives in two to three weeks, shipping is free and returns are accepted within 60 days. 

Aubrie wearing a white jacket sitting looking into a camera

Bow & Drape seamstresses work with a fit model in New York City’s garment district to perfect construction for an upcoming collection.

Source Scott M Lacey

Of equal importance, of course, are the clothes themselves. Along with limited edition and seasonal offerings such as the company’s forthcoming foray into swimwear due out this month, you can shop a core collection of basics ($35-$298) that range from staple pieces you’d wear out at night to items for curling up on the sofa in the morning after. What’s more, everything’s made in New York. There’s a statement-making A-line Hepburn Skirt inspired by 1950s-era Christian Dior available in three lengths and numerous colors and with a waistband and lining that are contrasting — or not, you choose. The Easy Oxford is the vanilla sort of shirt you’re likely to find in most closets, but you can make it your own with a choice of fit, collar and pocket styles, as well as sequined appliqués that go from preppy anchors to girlish bows. Deck the weekend-worthy Billie Sweatshirt with sequined designs or up to 25 sparkling letters of your choice. 

“It’s like bedazzling the way it should be,” says Pagano, a Harvard alum who worked in finance before setting her sights on fashion. 

True, unleashing sequin appliquéing powers to the masses could go horribly wrong without the right amount of guidance, something Bow & Drape gracefully manages to bestow while leaving room for displays of creativity and the ever-widening boundaries of personal style. Product suggestions and a customer gallery of images help with this, as do free at-home Fit Kits that allow shoppers to try on sample garments in up to two sizes before they order. 

So that you not only have choices — but can make the right ones.