My BiuBiu Buys Part 3: The Shopping and Shipping Experience

Today I returned all three of the BiuBiu dresses that I wrote about on Monday and Tuesday.  I know from your comments that you can understand my returning the Town and Ponti dresses, but what about the plum Madison?


Sadly, it was the Madison’s polyester lining that sealed its fate in the box I mailed today.  You can’t tell from Monday’s and Tuesday’s photos, but sweat was trickling down my back, and that one detail would undermine any sense of confidence that a perfectly fitting garment could give me.

It’s a major challenge for a clothing manufacturer to find breathable, affordable lining.  My favorite silk dress from Ann Taylor drives me crazy for the same reason I returned the BiuBiu Madison–polyester lining that makes me feel wilted.  So until a better lining becomes available, I’ll stick with BiuBiu garments that don’t have any.  Because I definitely plan to order from BiuBiu again, especially

  • after seeing how great Holly looks in her new Porto top over at The Full Figured Chest; and
  • learning how to order from BiuBiu.

Keep reading for what I learned about the process of ordering from and returning these dresses to Poland.  (This is basically user feedback on what BiuBiu’s website is doing right and how it can improve, so hopefully some of these tips will be irrelevant by the time you place your order.)

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My BiuBiu Buys Part 2: Accessorizing My Dresses

This is my fabulous mother who gave birth to me 46 years ago today.  And this is the outfit she put together last Friday–a combination  that I love but would never have come up with if her closet were mine.  That’s why I persuaded her to come to the mall with me last week to help accessorize the dresses I posted yesterday.

She helped me shop, but I wore her out at the mall, so it was up to me to put them together.  See how I fared after the jump. [Read more…]

My BiuBiu Buys Part 1: Fit

There’s a lot to tell you about my BiuBiu purchasing experience, but today I’ll start with the detail that matters most to us: FIT. The good news is that in terms of fit at bust, shoulders and waist–where it really matters–BiuBiu’s fit is almost impeccable.

I’ll let the photos and captions below speak for themselves.  I’m going the purist route today and showing the plum Madison (size 44BB), green Ponti (size 44B/BB) and red Town (44BB) dresses as they looked out of the package without any extra accessories.  Tomorrow, I’ll post different looks for the Madison and Town.

This dress fit the best of the three. It could probably use hemming at the sleeves and bottom to de-frumpify it on me, but overall I really like it. I wouldn't mind a deeper neckline as well, but there's no danger of cleavage showing in it as it is.

Try to ignore the shadow behind me that makes me look even larger. The Madison fit me at the bust almost as well as the bra I wore underneath it!

My fear that the dress wouldn't work well with my petite height was unfounded. There were no extra folds down my back. Any folds you do see are from my skin, and shapewear will take care of that.

 

Love this little pleat detail in the sleeves. There's a similar kick pleat in back of the dress.

This dress looks amazing in this photo . . . makes me wonder if I'm too picky, but see the details below for why it was my least favorite.

This closeup shows the color and front pleat detail better. I'm not a fan of the way the pleats draped on me, although I love the way they camouflage my tummy bulge.

There's some rumpling in the back that can probably be altered by tucking the excess fabric into the waist--I'm not sure because of the side zipper. However, notice once again the great fit at the bust. My main issue with this dress is the standup collar--it stands up too far behind my neck. That's a tough detail to get right on everyone, and the fact that it wasn't right on me would have annoyed me each time I wore it.

 

I LOVE this red dress. Unfortunately, it was slightly too snug. I could fit it, but I noticed the tightness of the cap sleeves whenever I moved my arms.

 

I may have been slightly smashed in at the bust, but you might agree with me that it's hard to see any boob-flattening going on in this photo.

Ultimately, I probably need this dress in a 16BB. I couldn't zip it by myself, partly because the zipper was stiff, but partly because there is no extra room to play in the 14BB on me. There was some fabric folding in the back waist that I didn't have in the Madison. It's probably because the Madison didn't have a waist seam. Again, it would be great to be able to tuck the extra fabric into the waist seam if the zipper didn't present an issue.

Off The Rack ~ Bra Books Reviewed

Off the Rack comes to you early this week.  With so much going on before the holidays, we don’t want you to miss Leah’s great book reviews in all the excitement leading up to the weekend.

This week, I got my hands on two different books about bras. I discovered Jené Luciani’s The Bra Book: The Fashion Formula to Finding the Perfect Bra through the unlikely source of the Bravo television show “Mad Fashion.” Chris March (best known for his stint on Project Runway season 4) designed a dress for her made almost entirely out of bras, for her to wear to an event celebrating her book. The dress was fabulous of course, but I was more intrigued by the book.

Then Darlene suggested I also check out the Ali Cudby (“Amerca’s #1 Bra Coach”) title, Busted! The Fab Foundations Guide to Bras that Fit, Flatter, and Feel Fantastic. Fab Foundations is Ali’s website (and blog, and Twitter, and publications…) devoted to teaching women how to find their perfect bra.

Between the two, Busted! definitely has a more educational tone. Though readers who’ve long been part of the big-busted online community probably won’t learn anything they don’t already know, it’s got to be the best bra-fitting resource in the published realm. I think it should be mandatory reading (for girls, anyways) in high school sex ed classes. If I had had this book when I was a teen, it would have saved me a lot of annoyance. This book could also serve as a great jumping off point for mothers taking their daughters on early bra-shopping expeditions.

As for the nitty gritty, Busted! is written in a refreshingly straightforward tone that keeps the cheerleadering to a minimum. It’s also full of useful, easily digestible info, like a glossary and multiple sizing guides based on brands and different body measurements. The one I will definitely be photocopying and saving forever is a chart listing approximate cup sizes based on the difference between bust and band measurement across over three dozen manufacturers. While I find the difference-measuring part less than helpful, the comparison of all the brands is immeasurably useful! When you buy all your bras online, it can be hard to know what size to order from which brand, especially when you start considering brands from different countries, which use different scales. How do you even know which country your selected manufacturer is from?? So this chart is fantastic. (If you want to print one yourself, you can find it at fabfoundations.com/busted.)

As for The Bra Book, this one was more of a fun read than a truly educational resource. While it includes basic fitting instructions, it also features chapters on bra history, bras and men, and the “future of bras.” It’s a really cute book, full of fun illustrations and the color pink, and is perhaps more appropriate for younger readers than Busted! would be.

However, there are some incorrect statements in the book with regards to fitting instructions. For example, for the problems “underwire isn’t flush with your ribcage” and “the bridge of the bra doesn’t lie flat against your body,” the solution is that you need a bigger band or cup. But this is wrong! If the wire or bridge aren’t flush with your body, it usually indicates that you’re wearing a band that’s too big. Further, one page after the explanation that bra cup size varies based on band size (i.e. 34A is the same cup volume as 32B as 30C, etc), there is a statement highlighted in a pink box that says the secret to a strapless bra is to go down a band size…and then it states “If you are a 34B you would purchase a 32B.” Wrong! You would purchase a 32C. Later, it states that you should fit your bra band on the middle hook when you first purchase it. Wrong again! It’s generally accepted logic that you should choose the loosest hook, because the band is going to stretch out over the course of its life.

Lastly, there’s a lot of “should” advice, like types of bras that large- and small-busted women should avoid, as well as an entire chapter on bra “faux pas,” which includes such things as visible bra straps and going braless. The going braless faux pas, especially, reads as judgmental. Women shouldn’t be shamed into wearing a bra if they’re simply more comfortable without. Busted!, on the other hand, avoids hard and fast rules, and repeats over and over that every woman is different and may have different requirements based on her personal preferences, not based on her bust size. (Though I also have to note that Busted! repeatedly references Fab Foundations, to excess. At times, it seems like one giant press release for the website.)

Overall, I really enjoyed both these books, but anyone who’s already aware that cup size varies based on band, has been professionally fitted a few times, and/or reads any of the myriad big- and small-busted blogs out there probably won’t learn anything new. But they’re both fabulous resources for newcomers. I hope enough women in the U.S. read these, because the only way mainstream American bra manufacturers will ever vary their sizes is if consumers demand it. But they can only demand what they’re aware of!

Review copies of both books were provided by the publisher.