Best Breasts Forward ~ You choose, I buy

Every time Pepperberry comes out with a new line I struggle considering whether or not to buy before there are a substantial amount of reviews. Unfortunately once those reviews are out many sizes are taken. Recently it occurred to me that I’m not helping out fully unless I’m also trying out these clothes early. After all, I’m supposed to be helping y’all right?

So after much consideration I’ve decided that you all will get to decide what dress I purchase and review from Pepperberry’s summer collection. Here are your optionsimage image image image image

 

So here we go! You all get to weigh in on what dress you’d like me to buy and review.

Let the games begin!

 

Playing with Accessories Soon

Will this finally be my Year of the Accessory? I love accessories, especially on others, but when it comes to buying them for myself, I’m either overwhelmed or under-confident. However, since I’m preparing to give my “D+ Dressing without Stressing” workshop to Bottomless Closet clients in May, it’s time to face my fear, so I’ve enlisted my stylish friend Carol to help me. It’s incredible how Carol always finds the just-right piece to amp up her style. Tomorrow, I’m shadowing her to find out firsthand how she shops for jewelry and scarves. Later, she’ll use my purchases to answer questions like

  • if you have to cover all cleavage in the workplace, how can you use accessories to soften a severe neckline?
  • how do you choose the best basics for you?
  • do watches, bracelets and rings make any difference when it comes to distracting from the bustline?
  • what’s too small and what’s too big on me?
  • what are the logistics of the balance point?
  • how do I compensate for my neckline metal allergy?

If you have any questions, ask away!

Of course I’m going to be grilling Carol about scarves, but Imogen Lamport provides a head start with her newly posted video, How to Wear Scarves When You’re Busty. I’m thrilled that Imogen still writes for D+ cups even though she herself recently had a reduction.

 

 

Full Bust Fashion Find: Meet Miriam Baker

When I read Refinery 29‘s recent post, “How to Dress When You’ve Got Big Boobs“, I thought, “Do we seriously need another advice-giver telling us to size up in dresses and shirts?” So I kind of enjoyed the indignant comments. But even more, I enjoyed finding Canadian full-bust clothing designer Miriam Baker’s links to her website sprinkled in some of the responses.

That's Miriam Baker in black, showing one of her pieces after her Fall 2015 show last month.

Miriam Baker, in black, holding her Charlotte dress following last month’s FW2015 show.

I clicked Miriam’s Fall 2014 lookbook and fell in love–not because I would wear everything in it (there sure are a lot of crewnecks in there)–but because finally we have a formally trained North American designer creating complete collections that take the sophisticated full bust customer seriously.

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Dress and cape from FW2014

It’s reassuring that the technical requirements for large bust clothing construction aren’t mere afterthoughts for Miriam. She’s been considering–and experiencing the need for–darts, princess seams and extra fabric at the bust for a long time. Her clothing line emerged from her fascination with corsets and bras during her design training, as well as her inability to find the styles she wanted to wear in sizes that would fit her chest. Miriam herself wears a 32F in Prima Donna, or a 32G when she gains a little weight.

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Rather than rely upon stretchy knit fabric to make room for the bust, this closeup shows Miriam’s use of seams to create a form-fitting dress in woven material.

Miriam’s particular vision is not conceptual, cool or edgy. She doesn’t consider herself to be a trendsetter. Instead, she allows herself to be influenced by trends to create a look that will always be pretty, feminine and elegant. She sees her customer as classic, well put-together, polished and professional.

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The eyelet blouse is one of Miriam’s favorite pieces from her SS2015 collection.

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Of course the white shirt dress with a twist is my favorite piece from FW2014.

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Miriam Baker coats and jackets from FW2014 are warm enough for a Canadian October.

Interestingly, she breaks a lot of the full bust “rules” with her collections. There are those high necklines I mentioned.

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High necklines or not, aren’t you thrilled that someone has finally created full-bust-friendly dresses for our inner Audrey Hepburn?

And there is no way to “Show off your hourglass waist!” in this trapeze dress.

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miriam baker ss15 sleeveless graphic print coat

But if you saw these styles in a boutique and knew that they would fit your boobs, I bet you’d take them back to the dressing room. I know I would. Edgy or not, Miriam Baker is giving full-busted women the edge when it comes to choosing for themselves whether to follow certain rules.  When you can’t try a style because it won’t fit around your chest, you can’t analyze whether a style will work for you. But if a line of clothing is specifically constructed to fit you, you’re more likely to take risks and try something new just because you can. Finding Miriam Baker clothing in a store would definitely put the fun back into shopping.

Unfortunately, finding a store that carries Miriam Baker isn’t going to be easy. She won the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s New Labels competition last year, but some of the judges wanted her to abandon her busty business model. Now she’s working to win over store buyers. Given that the average bra size is supposedly a 34DD, you wouldn’t think it would be that hard, but clothing stores are even slower to accommodate larger cups than lingerie stores.

It’s not as if Miriam’s inaugural sizes are ultra-busty. She’s beginning with American dress sizes 2-12 for D cups. (However, I’m hoping they’re more generous in real life. Her sample size 4 fits a waist slightly larger than 26″, and the models in her size 4 clothing on the runway and in her photoshoots wore stuffed 34D Victoria’s Secret bras. Since a 34 is usually much “more band” than a size 4 needs, I would love to learn that her clothes can be sister-sized to fit at least an F cup in UK sizes.) Ultimately, Miriam hopes to expand her sizing up to a Prima Donna G cup.

Even though you can’t yet find her clothing in stores, you can contact Miriam through the email address on her website to make a purchase. And here’s some spectacular news: she can still make pieces from her FW2014 collection for you.

All fabrics for Miriam Baker garments come from Europe, including this season’s cream silk gown covered in sequins.

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miriam baker sequins on silk

Everything is sewn in Canada. As you would expect, the average retail price for a Miriam Baker dress is around CDN $430.

Have questions about a specific garment? Ask away in the comments!

 

Off the Rack ~ Review of Passionata Starlight Tee Shirt Bra

I’m really excited to share a review this week that I had wanted to write ages ago, but then the Curve Expo came along and it got bumped. This bra was announced around the time of the previous Curve, which I didn’t attend, and was released this past winter. I first saw it when someone else shared its photo in a Facebook group, and then spent several months scouring the brand’s website until it was finally released. It’s the Starlight tee shirt bra by Passionata (which you may remember from this year’s Curve coverage).

First up, the photo from Bare Necessities (from whom I bought it):

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Nothing special, right? Well check out the back:

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What?? A T-back bra for large cups? With glittery little stars? Yes please!

I freaking love this thing! Technically the fit could be better on me, but the back is just so awesome and the bra is so useful that I really do not care. Here’s a shot of the back on me:

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So often, I find bra straps way too wide. They stick out of sleeveless tops, feel like they’re perpetually falling off my shoulder unless I wear them super tight, and cut into my armpits. This construction is an excellent solution. It’s also a great option for wearing under racerback tops. It’s perfect under my Trashy Diva Streetcar dress and my Heart of Haute Ella tops.

Some other aesthetic details before I discuss fit: The band has glitter dots in a criss-cross pattern, and there are more glitter stars on the center gore. The base of the band is also trimmed in the same lace-like fabric as the outer edge of the back piece. The cups are molded foam (non-padded) with an outer layer of mesh, and feature a tiny trim of darker pink mesh on the inside edge.

Sizing is a little tricky in this bra because the brand uses European sizes, which means no double letters, from C to H (and bands 30 to 34). In UK sizing, that translates to a maximum cup of FF. As such, I sister sized from my usual 28G into 30FF. The band has two rows of four columns of hooks and eyes, so there’s lots of possible band adjustment.

As for fit, well let’s start with the good: Overall, the bra achieves a nice, round profile. Not too up-front, but also not minimizing. As a tee shirt bra, it completely disappears under clothing.

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Further, since the straps point toward the neck instead of going straight back over the shoulder, there’s plenty of space under my armpit, so that there’s no digging in or scraping against the arm:

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While the wires are only a little wider than I need, the base of the cup is quite shallow right in the center, so it’s folding over on me significantly and pushing the underwire down my ribcage:

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Due to this fact, the cups are running a little small on me. But if I weren’t so full-on-bottom, I would say that it runs true to size. The band runs true to size as well. I’m wearing it on the tightest hook in size 30. But since the straps aren’t pulling on the band, I could probably wear it on a looser hook to avoid stretching it out too fast, and still achieve good support with no riding up in back.

I appreciate the fact that the strap adjusters are in the front, because it’s a little tough to figure out the right length the first time you put it on, and this way you can adjust the cups and then adjust the straps while it’s on your body.

The reason it’s difficult to get on is because while the band opens and closes like normal at the bottom, it stays closed permanently up near the neck. So you have to pull it on over your head and wrangle your boobs up into the cups instead of letting them settle down into the cups as you normally would. But it’s only a minor inconvenience, really.

Some of you may be wondering why Passionata didn’t just make the bra a front closure—a true racerback. But I actually spoke with them at Curve, and they said that while it’s something customers are demanding, the support just isn’t there with front-closure in larger cup sizes. It would have to be a super plunge with basically no gore height at all for a front closure, so I guess I understand. Plus you can’t have an adjustable band if it’s a front closure either, and to me that’s unacceptable.

I’m really pleased with the Passionata Starlight, which also comes in “Cappuccino” with neon yellow glitter and mesh trimmed cup edge. I’m definitely interested in trying more from the brand, although it’s rather difficult to find, or at least to find in the complete size range. Some of the few American websites that carry it stop at F or G-cup even in styles that I know end at H, or if they carry H it’s all sold out (Bare Necessities, I’m looking at you!).