Off the Rack ~ Review of Heartbreaker Fashion “Monique” Dress

I’ve had my eye on some dresses from Heartbreaker Fashion for a while now. But with prices even higher than Pin Up Girl Clothing and a size chart indicating slightly less boob space than my measurements require, I’ve been quite hesitant about actually making a purchase.

Heartbreaker does have a sale rack, though, where they list slightly off merchandise at a deep discount. I check it out every once in a while, but it’s hardly a part of my routine. Their newsletter last week inspired me to take another gander at the sale site, though, and much to my delight one of the items on my Heartbreaker wish list was on sale for a third off the original price.

The dress I purchased is the “Monique” dress in the “Freddie’s Bikes” print. It’s a boat neck sleeveless sheath with a moderately full skirt and a tie at the waist.

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According to the size chart, a Medium is bust 35″-36″, waist 28″-29″, and hips 37″-38″. My bust is 37″ and my hips are 41″. But since the hips of the skirt are open and my waist is 29″, I went with Medium even though the bust was likely to be small. As expected, it is just a little too small. I’m a bit squished, but if I wear a really high-profile bra like the Freya Deco, it’s somewhat better.

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I’m also rather surprised by the fabric. It just seems a little flimsy and thin for a dress that costs $90. I’m really glad I only paid $60 because I really think $90 is asking too much. I know all of Heartbreaker’s items are made by hand in the US, which is great and I want to support that manufacturing method, but for that price I guess I expect just a little higher quality.

Additionally, I have minor complaints about the construction. As you can see in the photo below, the darts are very pointy and not smooth at the apex. Further, in both of my photos, you can see a big fold on the right side of my torso leading from the dart seam toward my belly button. Since it’s only on one side, I don’t believe it’s a result of my boobs being a little too big for the dress. So I think it’s a problem with the cut of the fabric and/or the construction.

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Two more minor issues: The hem at the bottom of the skirt is wavy in some spots. This happens when you’re doing a double-folded straight-stitch hem (as opposed to using a serger) and one side of the fabric gets pulled through the sewing machine uneven with the other. Lastly, there are a lot of loose threads inside the dress. I can snip them off myself, but for $90 I shouldn’t have to.

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Ironically, the one “flaw” that caused the dress to be on sale in the first place is nearly invisible. I honestly don’t think I could have found it if there hadn’t been a little arrow sticker pointing to it on the dress. It’s a tiny, almost imperceptible single pulled thread only a few inches long on one side of the bodice. So kudos to Heartbreaker for noticing such a tiny problem, but maybe they ought to tighten up the sewing on the rest of the garment as well.

Now that the negative feedback is out of the way, I’ll get to the good stuff. How adorable is this print?? It’s even better in real life than online, because it’s only in person that you realize it’s not all the same bike. There are slightly different wheels, seats, handlebars, and frames. There are even two different shades of red and some of the bikes have a tiny red bell on the handlebars. Too cute!

I also adore the name of the print. It’s gotta be referencing Queen’s Freddie Mercury, right? He has a whole song about wanting to ride his bicycle and chants “Get on your bike and ride” in the song “Fat Bottomed Girls.”

I’m also oh-so-pleased with the placement of the waist seam and belt loops. With my extra long torso, too often a waist seam sits just a couple inches under my bust like some wonky empire waist. The belt loops are string and both ends are attached to the same spot instead of a top end and a bottom end attached an inch and a half apart. This allows the belt to sit as far north or south as you need to rest on your actual waist instead of being limited to the same height on every body. Usually I have to cut these string belt loops off because they’re too far north, but then there’s nothing to keep the belt from rotating or sliding up my ribcage.

The bateau neckline is also quite charming. High necks are always a gamble when you’re very busty, but this one is really working for me. Perhaps it’s because my narrow shoulders are pulling it into a just-barely cowl shape or because the tailoring and print are breaking up my expanse of breast, but I definitely recommend this shape. Lady V London offers a ton of dresses in this style, which they call a “Tea Dress” (though I haven’t tried one, so I can’t speak to quality or fit).

So final thoughts: This dress fits exactly as the size chart says and has no stretch, so I wouldn’t recommend it for measurements more than an inch outside the listed range. I also have to recommend against paying full price. Sign up for Heartbreaker’s mailing list and wait for a 15% or 20% off coupon, which they offer four or five times a year. Or stick to the sale rack.

 

Big Boobs in Sarasota

These are the two towers we see every time we cross the causeway. My camera angle doesn’t do them justice.

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We’re having a lovely time, and I’ve developed a bona fide tan. Usually we take summer breaks when it’s too late to build a tan before bundling up for the fall, so taking time off in June feels like we have endless weeks of warm weather to enjoy. What do you want to be sure to do before it gets cold again?

There’s one part of my body that’s almost as white as it was before we came to the beach–my stomach. I did purchase a sort-of bikini that I’m going to tell you about next week, but I didn’t buy it in time to build a tan on my tummy. (I’m actually wearing the bikini top under my tee shirt right now and feeling super supported and comfortable.)

Even though I’ve spent most of our vacation in my saggy Panache Geneva, we’ve made happy swimsuit memories. Below is my mom and me in our swimsuits and cover-ups after watching the sunset during a thunderstorm on Monday. Below that is a picture of the two of us in our swimsuits 41 years earlier.

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Big Boobs: Sense of Humor Required

It’s time for a little big bust humor to get us over the mid-week hurdle (although personally I don’t WANT Wednesday to end because that means our vacation is closer to ending as well). Here are some of my favorite funny stories submitted during our last Parfait giveaway. Have you had any similar experiences?

  • Funny boob story: I bought a shirt with one of those long strips on the front indicating the size at Target or somewhere, and totally forgot to take it off, and walked around ALL DAY with it on, because it was below my Boob Shelf and I couldn’t see it. I don’t know if no one noticed, or was just too embarrassed to tell me – because I got home and it was still there!
  • When I go out with friends, I usually don’t have pockets, so I just keep everything in my bra and just be sneaky when I get it out. Well, one time, I thought that no one was looking, but a group of guys saw me grab my ID out of my bra! One of them said something like “So that’s why they’re so big!!!!” and I almost died. It was really hilarious after the fact, but at the time it was super embarrassing.
  • One of my funniest personal anecdotes is actually a prime example of my favorite thing about being a busty woman. I hit up the mall shortly after an exam to look for a new facial cleanser – tests and the stress associated with them always bring out the worst in my skin. I was wearing a basic black v-neck and a pair of old blue jeans, so I definitely wasn’t looking my best. One of those mall stands caught my eye, but I was a little bit wary about approaching, since the people manning them tend to be persistent to a fault in trying to get you to buy. Before I could decide whether or not I wanted to approach and look at their skin care products, I was practically pounced on by a young, attractive Middle Eastern man. He started off with his pitch, with that unnaturally happy tone that sales people often have, and eventually his eyes drifted downward to my cleavage. He quickly caught himself, but it happened two or three more times before he finally stopped talking, looked pointedly at my chest and said “I’m sorry, but those are so distracting.” He then continued to engage me in conversation about my breasts in a manner too charming for me to be offended. He flirtatiously made a sales pitch, but wanted over $60 for the scrub that I was interested in and there was no way I was paying that. We chatted some more, he kept stopping me from just walking away and finally he showed me how the scrub worked. I was really impressed, but there was still no way that I was going to be paying that much. In the end, however, I did end up buying a facial scrub – for 75% off what he was selling it for despite the fact that it was already “50% off” (you know, that pretend discount that stalls like that sometimes have to make you think that you’re getting a great deal) – and he threw in a couple of freebies (plus his number on the receipt). While I’m aware that it’s just his job to sell things, I definitely think that I came out winning – I got a bunch of products that I was already looking for at a great price, and a confidence boost along with it!
  • Unexpected Big-Boob Problems are what makes the world go ’round. Mine came when I started working full-time as a nanny.I’ve been working with my charges since the day they came home from the hospital, and in the nine months I’ve been around, I’ve done lots of diaper changes, played lots of peek-a-boo, and administered lots of bottles. These babies started off nursing, and that’s when my troubles (albeit hilarious troubles) began.You see, babies don’t discriminate. They don’t care whose boob’s they’re going after, they just want milk. If you have mammaries attached to you, gosh darn it, they are going to try. And I am being completely serious when I tell you that you haven’t experienced anything until you’ve been on the receiving end of a reproachful glare from a hungry 3-month old.
  • Short but sweet funny story:  There’s a cute guy on my train ride home most days.  The other day I thought I caught him looking at my awesome rack but turns out he was just noticing my awesome ketchup stain! 🙂
  • Probably the funniest, but perhaps also most terrifying, story I have to tell about my breasts is about a meeting I had at work. I was wearing a “button-down” style shirt (which happened to have snaps instead of buttons). About halfway through the meeting, I was getting a little bored and fidgeted a bit in my chair. My breasts took this as a sign that I wanted to  take my shirt off, because three of the snaps immediately came undone. Fortunately, this did not seem to make any sound and the people near me at the table seemed absorbed in the content of the meeting, so I do not believe anyone else noticed. (And if they did, they did not say anything.) In retrospect, I would think it was a fairly humorous incident, although it was mortifying at the time.
  • As a high schooler I met a friend’s grandmother who was visiting from out of town. As she was leaving she realized she could not find her car keys. She described them as a big set the size of her fist with charms, car and house keys. We looked everywhere for what felt like eternity to no avail. Poor grandma started to cry and reached into her cleavage for a tissue. Lo and behold her keys appeared as well. 🙂 My high school size C cup couldn’t believe she had lost her keys in her boobs! Now my size I cup completely understands.

  • The funniest/ most ironic thing, I guess, is when it comes to my birthday. EVERYTIME I bent over to blow out the candles, I have a chest full of frosting!! The ironic part is that now I bake for a living. Boob indents are an extra fee….
  • My 34G breasts great to 34K with my pregnancy.  No one noticed my pregnant stomach since my boobs were bigger than my belly!  After she was born, I was sitting in my 6 week post-delivery appointment waiting for my OB, I look down and my boobs are basically sitting on my lap and my entire lap is wet and my legs are dripping with breast milk.  The shocked look on my OB’s face when she came in to find me holding a boob in each hand trying to stop the flow was priceless.

Corporate Curves Report: Color Season Fascination

I’ve known a few people for a while who are into color analysis, so I have gotten to know a little about the topic. Last weekend I bumped into the idea that a cohesive style may have to do with one’s personal coloring.

So I started browsing the internet to find out what my season is. I know there seem to be several methods,  but for a novice like me, the seasonal analysis–self-performed–was easiest to grasp. I was keen to see if my wardrobe overhaul in the past years is a hit or a miss from the color analysis perspective and do people, and in particular do I, gravitate naturally toward colors that suit us?

After doing some reading, I discovered I’m a cool winter. *picture link to original site of the seasonal color palettes*

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I used to like certain autumnal oranges and greens, but in my wardrobe they somehow seemed off on me. So even though I  like those colors, in my overhaul they had to go.

The biggest relief was that my beloved khaki was on the list! It’s often deemed as boring and to be avoided, but I just love it on me and don’t find it boring at all. Phew–I don’t need to give that up! 😀

Also I used to hate pink, but after I had to wear a pink shirt for a work event some years ago, I fell in love with magenta and deep rose. It just seemed to complement my reddish pale skin.

Then there’s navy. I’ve been eyeing a lot of classic navy dresses and thought it was very elegant, but I always agonized over what to wear with navy. This summer I’ve fallen head over heels in love with navy and wow–the compliments I’ve gotten at work. It really does work well. I’ve now got navy shorts, tops, dress, swimsuit, long dress and the casual dress I posted last week. Oh, and a navy blazer that works with all the items I listed. 🙂 Royal blue has been a hit in my latest dress purchases too.

So I think people can gravitate naturally towards their complementary colors. However, we each probably like some colors that can throw us off a bit! I will definitely look more into color analysis in the future and possibly go to an expert for a professional analysis.

For anyone interested in following my style journey, here’s the link to my novice cool wintert Pineterest page.