Large Bust Wedding Dress Dreams with Curvy Custom Bride

Scrolling through Instagram recently, I stumbled across Curvy Custom Bride and was excited to recognize its founder, Leila Breton, the columnist who gave us incredibly helpful instructions for big bust alterations for coats, armholes, waists and more. I link to all ten of her posts at the bottom of today’s interview. Leila had to scale back her extracurricular activities in 2014, but she didn’t scale back her sewing trajectory. Instead, it moved from hobby to full time profession, and you’re going to love reading about it today.

Darlene: We are super excited to hear from you again after your last column in 2014. Tell us what you’ve been up to!

Leila: It’s so great to be back on Hourglassy. You know I’ve been obsessed with fit for some time now, starting with my own closet, and now helping women get a perfect fit! I recently rebranded from Three Dresses Project to Curvy Custom Bride. While I still do TDP social media-ing, my energy is focused on reaching out to curvy women who are tired of shopping for a wedding dress that exists only in their imaginations! You know, that dress that is the exact look and the perfect fit? For a lot of us with fuller chests, that just doesn’t exist.

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Darlene: You describe hiding behind your bouquet on your wedding day. What else led you to wanting to serve the busty niche?

Leila: I’d have to say being busty myself, and feeling the pain of trying to buy clothes that made me look and feel worse than I already did. Shopping made me feel like I didn’t belong. Wearing clothes that don’t fit affects your daily life. The most frustrating thing is that I don’t fit in “standard” sizes or plus-sizes. It’s the in-between gripe. I know I’m not the only one feeling this way, and now I have the skill to provide a valuable service that I think goes beyond just fitting or just creating an awesome gown. Sometimes I feel like an Alterations Therapist. There are a lot of emotions that come up with what I do and I believe in holding space for my clients.

Darlene: Can you share some of your clients’ pre-Leila horror stories with us? [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Bust-Friendly Coats: The Collectif Molly

Fall is well upon us, and it’s already starting to feel like winter here in New York City. That means it’s one of my favorite times of year—jacket season!

Last year, I reviewed the Collectif Pearl Coat as a good bust-friendly option. This year, I’ve been hankering for a 1940s-style short jacket, but really wanted one that would be warm enough to wear as a proper coat, not just a fashion blazer.

Naturally, I looked to Collectif again, and they did not disappoint! I went with the dark olive green “Molly” jacket because it’s part wool and has a big (faux) fur collar. It’s nearly sold out on Collectif’s site, but can be purchased from several other retailers, including TopVintage.net and ModCloth.com (where it’s listed as the “Sentimental Twist Belted Jacket”).

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The jacket is 20% wool and 80% polyester, and it’s fully lined in 97% polyester/ 3% spandex. The outer fabric feels super soft, and so far the lining is perfectly comfortable and doesn’t make me sweat any extra. It features belt loops and matching belt, four buttons up the front, and a removable faux fur collar (over a curved lapel). The fur is ultra silky and shiny with a deep pile. It certainly wouldn’t fool anyone into thinking it’s real, but it feels nice against the skin and really does add a lot of extra warmth, even with the deep, open neckline.

I measure 37”-29”-41” and wear UK 28GG. Ordinarily I take a UK 12 (US Medium) in Collectif, though I occasionally size down to a 10. The description of this jacket says it’s cut slim, but so does the Pearl Coat’s description, and that in size 12 fits me perfectly. But size 12 was sold out when I was ready to purchase, so I went up to a 14 anyway—and I’m glad I did!

The shoulders, arms, and bust all fit perfectly. There’s enough room for a thick sweater or sweatshirt beneath it without being bulky or baggy when worn over a thinner top. The waist is a little big, to be honest, but the wide belt means I can cinch it in if I want an extra hourglassy shape.

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Now, I have to note that I actually moved the belt loops a whole inch and a half lower than where they were originally placed. You can see in the manufacturer photo that the belt is located right under the boobs. That’s great if you have a short torso or your underbust is the narrowest part of your ribcage. But it did not play nice with my super-long torso and smaller waist.

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Here’s me wearing the jacket with the belt fastened in its original location. You can clearly see how far down I moved the belt loops.

One thing I do appreciate about the belt loops is that there are four of them—two in the front and two in back. It drives me nuts when clothes only have two loops, one on each side. Inevitably, my rounded tummy causes the front of the belt to curve upward, and the sway of my lower spine causes the back of the balt to slide downward, and I end up looking pregnant. Here, that is no issue!

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So not only do I have the belt to cinch in my waist, but the tailoring of the jacket is also very bust-friendly. It features classic princess seams, which always help clothing contour nicely to bigger breasts. It also flares out just a bit on the hip, helping to balance my volume up top.

Sadly, there are no pockets, but even if there were, they probably would have interfered with my placement of the belt loops, so I can live without them.

Today’s temperature was in the upper 40s and low 50s (Fahrenheit), and the coat was more than warm enough over a long-sleeved tee. I think it might be a little cool at sub-freezing temperatures, but even then, I could probably be okay if I added a warmer layer underneath and a good scarf.

I originally took this next photo to show off the collar without the fur, but was too lazy to remove the fur (which is attached with little buttons all along the inside of the neck), but then I realized that if I get chilly, I can flip the fur collar up like so for extra warmth. In fact, I’m tempted to add a hook and eye so that I can do that without needing to hold it closed.

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Collectif really is the best for vintage-style winter coats and jackets. At this rate, I’m going to need a bigger closet!

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Off the Rack ~ Curve Expo Spring/Summer 2018 Part IV: Curvy Kate & Parfait

Whew! Finally made it to the last Curve post, this one focusing on Curvy Kate and Parfait.

First, some Curvy Kate news. Charlotte Davies, the senior designer, will be leaving the company after the next season, to pursue a new project. Charlotte is the face of CK at the New York Curve show, so Darlene and I will be sad not to see her any more!

Some other news is that “Star in a Bra,” CK’s annual search for a new lingerie model, was US-only this year. In fact, you can go vote on your favorite of the seven finalists right now, at starinabra.com/finalists. The CK rep told us the reason for this is that the US represents 60% of the brand’s social media engagement. We are really leading the charge for this British brand!

Now on to my favorite pieces from the show. As usual, there were lots of pink and purple pieces, but I was happy to see that CK added some new colors to their repertoire, such as blue and yellow.

I can’t resist cobalt blue any more than I can resist a good cutout, so I love this season’s fashion colorway for Victory.

I can’t resist cobalt blue any more than I can resist a good cutout, so I love this season’s fashion colorway for Victory.

The new Dragonfly style. Now this is a pink and purple design I can get behind! Love it.

The new Dragonfly style. Now this is a pink and purple design I can get behind! Love it.

Dragonfly also comes in a longline sheer babydoll.

Dragonfly also comes in a longline sheer babydoll.

I’m drawn to neons like a moth to flame. This searing red Lifestyle bra calls to me.

I’m drawn to neons like a moth to flame. This searing red Lifestyle bra calls to me.

Note the double-loop strap ring on Lifestyle. I love little details like this.

Note the double-loop strap ring on Lifestyle. I love little details like this.

Another great blue! This time on the best-selling Smoothie Soul.

Another great blue! This time on the best-selling Smoothie Soul.

A closeup of the art deco print on Smoothie Soul. Love it!

A closeup of the art deco print on Smoothie Soul. Love it!

New cage bra Jinx is super cute.

New cage bra Jinx is super cute.

The pastel yellow Princess (also available in a plunge version) is soooo summery sweet.

The pastel yellow Princess (also available in a plunge version) is soooo summery sweet.

And finally, a third blue! The new Tease color features subtle light pink underlay and details.

And finally, a third blue! The new Tease color features subtle light pink underlay and details.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t super thrilled with the swimwear designs. There were some nice nauticals, but nothing that truly excited me the way past collections have. But all the bikini tops are based on either the Smoothie or the Luxe strapless models, so if those fit you well, you know the swimwear will be a hit for you as well.

Additionally, I have to sing the praises of the best-selling Luxe strapless. The model was gushing about how great it was, and—I really wish I’d gotten a video of this—she even did two cartwheels in it without falling out and requiring barely any readjustment. I have got to get one of those for myself!

[Darlene here: I got a video if it that I posted to the C&K Instagram feed. It made me a believer!]

Lastly, we end with Parfait. I haven’t worn Parfait much since bumping up from 28G/30FF to 28GG/30G, but I always find things I like aesthetically. News-wise, “Parfait by Affinitas,” the full-bust branch of the company, is now branded just “Parfait,” while the core size branch is now called “Mod by Parfait.”

Parfait is introducing its first sports bra, which they recommend for medium-impact sports. It features breathable mesh inserts, underwire for breast separation, and detachable straps in back so you can wear leotard or cross-back.

Parfait is introducing its first sports bra, which they recommend for medium-impact sports. It features breathable mesh inserts, underwire for breast separation, and detachable straps in back so you can wear leotard or cross-back.

Check out the strap adjuster. You simply place the wide hook into the fabric loop you need. No extra plastic bits to dig into you.

Check out the strap adjuster. You simply place the wide hook into the fabric loop you need. No extra plastic bits to dig into you.

Everyone’s favorite, the Charlotte bra, is being offered in monochrome tan and black.

Everyone’s favorite, the Charlotte bra, is being offered in monochrome tan and black.

But I’m much more impressed with the Estelle bra, based on the Charlotte style but with tan underlay and black lace and trim.

But I’m much more impressed with the Estelle bra, based on the Charlotte style but with tan underlay and black lace and trim.

The Romina comes in this gorgeous “Mediterranean blue.” The black trim and straps give it a sporty flair that I just love, and they’re made of microfiber elastic for comfort. Plus, this design goes up to UK H-cups rather than Parfait’s usual G. I really need to try this one.

The Romina comes in this gorgeous “Mediterranean blue.” The black trim and straps give it a sporty flair that I just love, and they’re made of microfiber elastic for comfort. Plus, this design goes up to UK H-cups rather than Parfait’s usual G. I really need to try this one.

Here’s the Romina in “Quartz Pink” on a model. Looks promising!

Here’s the Romina in “Quartz Pink” on a model. Looks promising!

Parfait has embraced the wire-free trend with the padded Aline bra that goes up to G-cups (but inexplicably starts at 32-band instead of 30).

Parfait has embraced the wire-free trend with the padded Aline bra that goes up to G-cups (but inexplicably starts at 32-band instead of 30).

The interior structure of Aline. The fabric here was also suuuuuuuuuper soft. Definitely worth trying if you fit in the size range.

The interior structure of Aline. The fabric here was also suuuuuuuuuper soft. Definitely worth trying if you fit in the size range.

Another keyhole. I can’t resist! This is the Irene, which comes in sheer white or black lace.

Another keyhole. I can’t resist! This is the Irene, which comes in sheer white or black lace.

I will never, ever tire of the longline trend. Or neon knickers. This plunge Sandrine bra is on point.

I will never, ever tire of the longline trend. Or neon knickers. This plunge Sandrine bra is on point.

And now for something a little more subtle, I was really attracted to the Wendy bra’s geometric lace and smooth trim.

And now for something a little more subtle, I was really attracted to the Wendy bra’s geometric lace and smooth trim.

Wendy also comes in a pinkish tan Parfait calls “Victorian Rose” (great name!). This would be a good option for ladies who can’t wear the more common yellow-toned “nude” color.

Wendy also comes in a pinkish tan Parfait calls “Victorian Rose” (great name!). This would be a good option for ladies who can’t wear the more common yellow-toned “nude” color.

The molded Lydie may not look that exciting from the front…

The molded Lydie may not look that exciting from the front…

…but that art deco lace band gives me LIFE.

…but that art deco lace band gives me LIFE.

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