Boob Taming or Boob Shaming?

When someone suggests that you downplay your décolletage or minimize your large chest, are they boob shaming you? I suspect “yes” would be the answer from Ella Alexander, who wrote, “Is the Décolletage Really Out of Fashion Again?

Not all of us fall into the industry’s beloved androgynous mould. […] So what are the unfortunate few of us still with unfashionable boobs supposed to do or wear?

Well, the resounding answer is hide them. Don’t let anyone catch a glimpse lest you be labelled “inappropriate”, “tacky” and “brazen”. Forget what you read about displaying your female sexuality; if you are over a C cup it makes the dinosaurs uncomfortable so the best thing for everyone is just to conceal them.

I found Alexander’s article through an Amanda de Cadenet tweet. Given that both Alexander and de Cadenet work in media and were responding to criticism of a red carpet gown for a major media event, I’m not surprised at their perspectives. Given the context, I share it!

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The more surprising “yes” comes from a Wall Street veteran– [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Reviewing the Miss Candyfloss “Sia-Katalin” Tuxedo Dress

Just time for a quick dress review this week. It’s another Miss Candyfloss frock, this time with a very different neckline than any I’ve reviewed before.

As usual, my measurements are 37”-29”-41” and height 5’6”, with bra size 28G – 30G (UK) depending on brand. I bought my usual Medium here.

This is the “Sia-Katalin” dress. MCF produced several of these tuxedo-style dresses this season, including navy/red, red/red stripe, navy/white/navy pinstripe, navy pinstripe/pale blue, and black pinstripe/white. To be honest, I wasn’t really into the look until I saw this bright teal/light pink colorway, and then I was smitten. Teal and pink is one of my favorite color combinations and it’s rare to find them in one garment.

In this case, my photos are a little dull, but MCF’s photos are more saturated than the fabric is in reality. So imagine the color is somewhere in between. Additionally, while the manufacturer photo shows a pink belt, it actually comes with a teal one. I personally prefer the pink one, but it’s not really a big deal. Plus, how hard can it be to find a pink belt if I really want one?

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IMG_4996 [Read more…]

Full-Bust Find: The Nora Gardner Evelyn Dress

Three heavy-hitter startups have emerged on the NYC professional clothing scene, and you’ve already read my impressions of two of them, MM.LaFleur and Of Mercer. Last week I got to try the Evelyn Dress from Nora Gardner, who happens to be a neighbor at my latest pop up shop (where I’d love to meet you if you’re in New York City this month).

This Instagram post put the Evelyn at the top of my try-on list. Besides the clever neckline details, I could see bust-friendly princess seams!

nora gardner screenshot

Here is what the navy size 8 looked like on me–plenty of room for my 32G-ish boobs without any smashing or strum-strum factor, and the perfect length for my 5’3″ height. [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Reviewing the Pinup Girl Clothing “Jenny” Dress

This week, I’m writing a long overdue review of the Pinup Girl Clothing Jenny dress. I bought this beauty a year ago and only wore it a couple times for some reason. I’ve been hankering to wear it again for ages now, but the cold weather kept me from doing so. But then I picked up a perfectly coordinating bolero, and finally made it comfortable enough for the unusually cold spring we’ve been having in New York City. I completely forgot how much I loved it, and it seems to fit even better now, after sitting in my closet for several months, than it did when it was new!

Though I usually buy PUG in size medium, this time I went with a large. My measurements are 37”-29”-41” and height 5’6”.

When the dress first arrived, I posted a photo and described its fit in one of my Facebook pinup groups, and I managed to dig the picture back up to compare fit when it was new to fit now:

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Here’s what I wrote at the time:

“I got a large. I’m normally a medium in PUG. My waist is just over 29” and my bust is 37″. The waist is slightly snug and the bust is perfect. Since the size chart says large is supposed to fit waist 29.5”-30.5” and bust 38”-40”, I’d say the size chart is running small, at least for this size. I think a 30.5” waist would be rather uncomfortable and a 40” bust would be squashed. Works well for me, though! My only complaint is it makes me look smaller-busted than I am since it doesn’t really curve under my boobs. But maybe it will flex closer to my shape as I wear it more.”

The founder of Pinup Girl Clothing, Laura Byrnes, later commented on the post: “Take into account that the sateen is similar to jeans fabric in that it loosens up considerably with wear. So you should expect snugness at first zip, if you wish your fit to be “comfortably form fitting.’”

I still tend to agree with my initial assessment that it runs on the small side. I measured the waist tonight, and it’s 14.5” flat—so 29” total. That’s perfect for me, since I like a slightly snug fit at the waist, but I still have a hard time believing a 30.5” waist would feel comfortable in it. While the sateen may have give, it’s fully lined in a satiny fabric, so there’s not substantial stretch by any means.

As for the bust, I was also correct in assuming the boning would conform to my shape after a few wears. The couple of times I wore it last year were weekdays, so I was sitting at my desk at work all day, and the boning really did conform to my curves. And even after being squished in my closet for 6 months, the curve is still present. Let’s get to some photos, and then I’ll give more details and fit advice below.

Here’s how I styled it on a cool day—Trashy Diva “Bonnie” bolero in magenta stretch satin (purchased on eBay for only $18!), belt, and a pair of low boots.

Here’s how I styled it on a cool day—Trashy Diva “Bonnie” bolero in magenta stretch satin (purchased on eBay for only $18!), belt, and a pair of ankle boots.

Here’s how it looks on its own.

Here’s how it looks on its own.

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Compared to the first photo, I think my boobs are substantially more visible here, with none of the sports bra flatness of the first look. Additionally, whereas I was initially skeptical that a 40” bust would fit well in this dress, now that it’s got a permanent curve, I think it looks like there’s plenty of room to spare. Moreover, I expect the boning to curve deeper under my bust the more I wear it.

Many women remove the boning from these dresses, but I would definitely recommend against doing that, at least until you give the boning a chance to meld to your shape.

So let’s talk about some of the other great features. First up, there are fabulously generous pockets in this dress. I can confidently carry my iPhone around without worrying that it’ll slip out. Even better, the pockets are slightly toward the front of the skirt instead of exactly at the sides of my hips, making them much easier to find within all that gathered fabric.

And speaking of the gathered skirt, it looks pretty limp in these shots since it was crushed between other garments in my closet for so long. But if you hang it upside down and fold the skirt over, it poofs back up. Or you can wear a petticoat, which this skirt is just made for. I was actually a little relieved to see it had lost so much volume, since a giant poofy skirt is a bit much for work.

Another great thing about this dress is that the straps are fully adjustable. This was excellent news for me, because I have rather high-set boobs, and most strappy tops and dresses need to have the straps shortened in order to fully cover my side-bra and not have indecent levels of cleavage.

Even better, the strap placement amost perfectly lines up with bra straps! In these photos, I’m wearing a Cleo Lily bra in 30FF. The straps of the dress are the exact width of the bra straps. Ordinarily I would have worn this dress with a strapless bra, but I skipped it this time because I knew I’d be wearing the bolero all day. But seeing as the Cleo Lily matches so closely, and the straps are a coordinating shade of pink, I may skip the strapless altogether!

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All in all, I would say that the Jenny dress is a surprise big-boob option. The waist runs smaller than the size chart would suggest and the bust runs accurate.

 

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