Fitting In: Walking on Sunshine

Now I’m walking on sunshine
I’m walking on sunshine
I’m walking on sunshine
And it’s starting to feel good, hey
All right now
And it’s starting to feel good.

Song of the day is inspired by the longing for warm sunny weather that we’re all hoping will be here soon.

A few summers ago, I hesitated when Pepperberry introduced a cute Maxi dress and denim jacket. It seemed oh, so, perfect and I was waiting for a sale before I made my purchase. But the 18SC was quick to sell out, in both the dress and the jacket. Never again, I said to myself. Lucky for me, maxi dresses remain available with new styles and prints available from a few designers. Maxi-dresses have become my summer wardrobe staple for evenings and weekends. We’re headed to a local winery late next month for the kick-off of their summer concert series: I’ll be in a Maxi dress. I’ve got a girls-night planned with some friends to see Ringo Star in June: I’ll be in a Maxi dress. A few graduation parties: Maxi dress. Heading down the shore? I’ll be in a Maxi dress. (Other places might call it “the Beach” but if in New Jersey, it’ll always be “down the shore.”)

Here are some of my faves:
I picked up one last fall when I was checking out coats at Lee Lee’s Valise in Brooklyn NY. A convertible dress, the straps can be worn a few different ways. These are exclusive designs by Lisa Dolan, available only thru her boutique. There are pictures of a few styles on her website, but the store is worth an in-person visit for those in or near NYC.  For some perspective on sizes, I wear a 1X in most things from LeeLee’s Valise, including the Maxi Dress. By comparison, I wear an 18SC in Pepperberry or 46BBB at BiuBiu. I typically wear a 40GG or 40H bra. I’m 5’9”, and this is full length on me. Shorter women will need to hem the dress. I typically wear this over a bikini and give no thought to whether or not it shows. Depending on bust size, this may not fully cover a conventional bra, but Lisa’s designs usually provide me with adequate bust coverage.

Convertible Maxi

Convertible Maxi Dress Missioni Print

Convertible Maxi Dress Missoni Print

 

 

Next is a beautiful dress from Dream Dancer. I picked up one of these at Lions Lair in Islamorada in December. The colors are vibrant and the feel of the dress is exquisite. The twist front has high back coverage.  I can wear the twist front dress over either a bikini top or full coverage bra.  I have not tried the cross-front style, but suspect on me it would only work over a bikini top as it looks low enough that a bra would show.  Again, the length is perfect for someone tall. I could get away with wearing heels or flats. Shorter ladies will want to have it hemmed.

 

Dream Dancer Twist Front Maxi

Dream Dancer Twist Front Maxi

Dream Dancer Wrap Top Maxi in Peacock print.

Dream Dancer Wrap Top Maxi in Peacock print.

WrapTop Back view.

WrapTop Back view.

Lastly, there are a few offerings this year from Pepperberry. This one looks like a big comfy T-shirt that is still dressy enough for a backyard barbeque or Saturday errands.

 

Pepperberry Maxi

Pepperberry Maxi

Pepperberry Back view

Pepperberry Back view

What do you have planned for summer?

Another Experiment with Full Bust Alterations: All That Extra Fabric

Leila is still on hiatus, but I’ve channeled her inspiration for today’s post. I’m not going to go into too much detail, however, because the last time I triumphantly wrote about a semi-successful alteration (creating a scoopier scoop neck), no one told me that they found it helpful! If you’d like to make similar changes to what I describe below and find my instructions too vague, please let me know and I’d be thrilled to fill you in.

After I shared this Spotted Brunia Henley blouse from Anthropologie with you, I wondered if I should have bought it and found a way to make it work, but the $80+ price tag was too much for me.

henley top

Then I got another chance when I found this Joe Fresh version at JCP for only $21. I liked its cheerful floral print on a navy background, and the XL barely pulled at my bust when I buttoned it, so I bought it.

joe-fresh-joe-freshtm-high-low-print-blouse

Unfortunately, every time I wore this top, I felt disheveled and giant.  So finally this week I decided to see if I could do something about it. Here are the before pics (I’m wearing my Panache Idina in all the pictures).

full bust alteration henley before front side back

Here are the options I considered.

Option 1: Create a vertical waist dart from beneath my bust. Note the apron-like bottom that results. Later, I mention how I chose to address this.

full bust alterations joe fresh front waist darts maybe

Option 2: Take in the sides. However, since the shirt doesn’t button all the way down, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to slip it over my boobs once I’d taken the sides in.

full bust alterations joe fresh take in sides maybe

Option 3: Somehow gather everything in back (drawstring?) to create more of a waist.

full bust alteration joe fresh gather back maybe

I decided to start with Option 1. While wearing the top, I pinned the darts where I wanted them to begin, took the top off, marked it, tried it again, and re-pinned until I was satisfied that both the left and right sides would be relatively equal. Then I removed most of the pins and used a fabric marker to create lines to follow. I debated whether to go straight down to the hem (yellow line) or curve back in before the hem (dotted peach lines). I decided to go straight down so that I could make sure the hem was even on each side of the dart in order to avoid the apron-like bottom that you saw in the picture for Option 1. Perhaps the hem would have been level even if I’d curved back in, but I’m not experienced enough to be sure, and it seemed kind of flouncy when tried it on with the pins curving in.

full bust alteration marking waist dart

Normally I would try to begin the dart at a gradual point beneath the bust, which is what we do with Campbell & Kate shirts, but here I simply took in an abrupt 3/4″ at the base of the chest pockets, making sure to match the seams at the bottom of the pockets. This resulted in an inverted poufiness at my breasts, which was great for keeping enough room for my breasts but looked just a tad strange. So instead of ironing the darts to one side, I ironed them down the center and tacked the top of the dart with a short seam perpendicular to the rest of the dart. You’ll still see some of the poufiness in the right side after picture below, but it doesn’t bother me. If I were really ambitious, I could have removed the pockets, made the darts, and either re-attached the pockets over them or left them off entirely.

full bust alterations ironing waist dart open

I also cut the sleeves off to my elbows and trimmed the back bottom to match the front. No hi-low for me! Here are the final results.

full bust alteration henley top before and after front

full bust alteration henley side before and after

Even though I’m pretty happy with the results, I’m not positive that a Henley top is ever going to look as good on a short, full-busted woman as it will on someone who is taller or smaller-busted. I need to experiment with proportions and accessories. If I learn anything, I’ll let you know.

Finally, I also tried Option 3. There were tabs on the sleeves that were meant to keep them rolled. I cut the tabs off and sewed one end of one tab to the right back of the shirt, and I planned to button the other end onto the left (this way I would be sure to have enough fabric width to slip the whole thing over my boobs). Once I safety-pinned the button-end to where I would have put the button, however, I didn’t like the result. It seems to be a curious case of both over- and under-fitting at the same time. Instead, one of my future experiments will be with belts.

full bust alteration back gathers henley top

(You can see from the middle image that I was only halfway successful with my hem. I accidentally created a lo-hi on my left side!)

Corporate Curves Report: White Tops

The reason I’ve been so very fond of wearing dresses has been because of my fitness. They simply have been the most comfortable thing to wear. However, I’ve been working out with the Fustra method for a few months now (will write a more detailed post about it sometime soon!), and it has resulted in lost inches around my waist. Now skirts and jeans fit me better, and I am finally getting a lot of wear out of my tops I haven’t been able to wear as much in the past.

First is my Campbell & Kate classic white shirt that has been great in smartening up my sneaker looks. I’ve had some knee issues with the workout regime so there are days when I need to wear flats, and it’s been too chilly for ballerinas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tahari jacket, Campbell&Kate shirt, Lindex skirt and Vagabond sneakers. Bracelet by Marimekko and frames Prada.

I’ve also started wearing white now that it’s spring time and I have wanted to lighten up my looks so this easy-to-wear white knit peplum top has also been a favorite. (The scarf had to be re tied after I saw how it looked on this photo but I did wear it together with this combo.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nine West jacket, Joseph A peplum top, VeryNice strech jeans and Ecco boots. Frames Gucci.

All in all I am now very pleased that during my huge wardrobe overhaul I kept some of my nicer tops and shirts despite their failing the rule “if you haven’t worn this in the past two months, it’s gone”.

 

My Everyday Black Balconette: Panache Idina

If Suzette’s had had a 34GG in latte, the Idina would be my everyday beige balconette, too, because even in a skin tone, it’s fresh and pretty. In either color, it’s that hard-to-find combination of supportive and sexy (although strangely, I don’t think any of the sexiness comes across in its photos).

When I like a bra this much, I sometimes pretend I don’t care about seams showing under tee shirts.

Here’s what I love about this bra on me:

  • a lifted, rounded shape that reminds me of a Cleo
  • absolutely no extra space between the base of my breasts and the underwires
  • no underwires poking under my arms
  • perfect tacking

Some reviews have said that the Idina runs small, and I would tend to agree. Although I fit other 34G’s on the day I visited Suzette’s, I almost spilled out of the Idina cups in that size. As for the band, the underwires occasionally pressed painfully into my rib cage. An extender helped, and after two weeks the 34 fit me perfectly on the loosest hook.

idina stretch

One of my favorite features is the stretchy top edge of the cups.

idina sling

A no-stretch half-sling contributes to stability and forward projection.

idina sheer wing

Even though the wings are lined with beige power mesh, I like how they look lacy and sheer on the outside.

full bust bra unfinished seams idina

I’m not a fan of the unfinished seams, but if they help keep the cost to $62 and I get at least 6 months of heavy wear out of the bra, then I’ll put up with it.

full bust bra rolling under underwire

Now that I’ve been wearing this bra for over a month, I wish the band beneath the underwire would lie flat as it does when I press it (top) instead of rolling up under the underwire as it does when I leave it alone (bottom). Fortunately, this doesn’t cause any discomfort.

I still haven’t been able to try the Panache Envy, which was my shopping goal when I discovered the Idina, but you can read Holly’s review of the Envy on The Full Figured Chest. I’ll be curious to compare the two once I’ve tried them both (or to read her review once she has). If plunges are more your thing, then be sure to check out Wide Curves’ review of the Idina plunge.