For the third week in a row, I’m talking about weddings! But this time, I’ll be a bridesmaid instead of the bride, for my younger sister’s July wedding in Massachusetts. Both she and I went straight for J. Crew when we were looking for bridesmaid dresses because they offer multiple cuts in the same fabrics. I ultimately went with David’s Bridal because I wasn’t crazy about J. Crew’s colors at the time, and David’s was cheaper and had more cuts to choose from.
But my sister’s style errs on the preppy side, and J. Crew is totally her style, so when they offered a 25% off deal, she went for it (and there was another 25% off coupon this past week, so if you’re interested in these dresses, definitely sign up for the mailing list!).
The two dresses she offered the maids were the strapless, sweetheart neckline Marlie or the deep-V Sophie, in sea spray faille. They’re the exact same silhouette aside from the straps.
Since I never shop at J. Crew, and it takes months to get an appointment in their bridal shops, I went by the size chart and ordered online. Unfortunately, the size chart turned out to be completely incorrect. At 37”-29”-41”, I’m between their size 8 (36.5” bust and 29” waist) and 10 (37.5” bust and 30” waist). I ordered the 8, but when it arrived, I was completely swimming in it. It was just hanging off me and I could make a fist out of all the extra fabric:
Next I went to a J. Crew store to re-order it. I was hoping to just look at a smaller size on the floor to figure out if I needed a 4 or a 6, but they wouldn’t even let me in the bridal suite without an appointment. I asked if there was someone working who could advise me on sizing, and the cashier said the only people who know anything about the bridal merchandise are the bridal consultants and they were all busy.
I even tried just asking the cashier if he could advise on J. Crew’s normal dress sizes, explaining that I had technically sized slightly down with the 8 based on the chart, and it was humongous. But he didn’t know anything either! This was really aggravating. I ended up just going with the 4 and figuring I could come back and exchange it again if necessary. Two dress exchanges would literally take less time than the wait for a bridal appointment.
A few days later, the 4 arrived and it was a big improvement…but to be honest this is not a boob-friendly dress, and after trying it on again this week I don’t think it’s very flattering on me overall. It’s pretty obvious that it was designed with a straighter figure in mind, but I don’t think I could have sized up and gotten it tailored because the arm-holes are already too big and showing off my bra.
First up, the measurement discrepancies: Size 4 is supposed to fit a 34.5” bust and 27” waist, but when laid flat the waist actually measures 15.5” for a total of 31”. As for the bust, it does have three-dimensional cups, so if I allow my measuring tape to follow the boob curve while the dress is laid out, it’s about 19”, and measuring flat across the back is 17”, for a total of 36”.
So overall, the size 4 is an inch and a half bigger in the bust and four inches bigger in the waist. What the hell is J. Crew thinking?? Not only are the measurements off significantly, but the bust-to-waist ratio is also wildly off. The listed measurements have a difference of 7.5 inches (and this applies to most of the sizes), but the actual garment has a difference of only 5 inches.
Here are photos of the dress on me:
As you can see, it fits okay, but as usual the dress is not curving under my bust. Additionally, it’s a bit small in the bust, just enough to squish my boobs together and make some cleavage. I don’t particularly mind this, but it’s something to keep in mind if you need to look conservative.
I thought the dress would look cuter if I belted it, and my sister wants me to wear a sash or something anyway, to differentiate myself as the maid of honor, so I got a couple different wide ribbons to try out. The one I like best is a 2.5-inch wide slightly stiff grosgrain. It really helps define my waist better, and to lower the waist to where mine is actually located (my long torso strikes again!).
Unfortunately, though, the poof of the skirt in front, the shape of my tummy, and the slippery fabric of both the dress and the ribbon mean that it instantly slides up to a very unflattering position and basically outlines the roundness of my belly:
From the side, it practically looks like a maternity dress:
So what’s the solution? I’m hoping I can figure out some non-permanent way to make the ribbon stay in place in front. I might have to just sew a tiny stitch right in the center of my tummy and then remove it later.
Aside from all the negative comments about fit, there are some positives. The quality is really lovely. The fabric is heavy and feels nice, and the garment is fully lined. It also has pockets! And these pockets are actually big enough to hold a good amount of stuff, but thanks to the full, stiff skirt, you can’t see whatever’s in them. So I’ll be able to slip lipstick, a compact mirror, cash, and ID in the pockets, at minimum. Maybe my digital camera too . . . .
One other excellent design feature is that the straps have little loops to hold your bra straps in place. Why don’t all dresses have this??
I do have to note, however, that the loops are under an inch wide, so if you wear GG+ bras (which tend to have thicker straps), these may not work for you.
Overall impression: The dress is nice, but J. Crew really needs to sort out its sizing issues. And this design is definitely not what I would describe as “boob-friendly.”