Continuing My Fight Against Full Bust Frumpiness

If you read my experiment with skirt length and top tightness last June, you probably felt like I had a long way to go in my fight against frump. So did I, and I found the comments on that post to be super helpful. As a result, I’ve spent more time in the petites department, where I found this Lauren Ralph Lauren polka dot faux wrap top in size Petite Large. Although I liked Malica’s suggestion to change the shape at the bottom of my denim skirt, it was simpler to have my skirt taken in by two inches at the waist.

The pictures below don’t exactly compare melons to melons–the pose and shoes are different, plus I’m tanner and a few pounds lighter–but I think it’s instructive. What makes the biggest difference in fighting frump? The same answer we’re told over and over again: fit. Besides that, what else do you think helps? And what more should I do?

full bust frump fight comparison

 

Curve-Testing Two Roland Mouret Dresses at Banana Republic

Since Katy Perry’s go-to designer is Roland Mouret, I had to go to to Banana Republic to see how curve-friendly his dresses would be on me. I immediately gravitated to the “strappy sheath” in chroma pink. On the hanger, the boob room looked promising, and I knew the wide straps would conceal bra straps.

curve friendly? roland mouret pink strappy sheath on hanger

I’ve been able to fit size 8 and 10 in some brands recently, but not in this line. Good thing I’d also taken a size 12 to  the dressing room. It was super fitted and hard to zip up past the narrowest point in back, but once on, I loved how the thick, stretchy woven fabric held me in.

big bust friendly? roland mouret pink strappy sheath front

If I were serious about buying this dress, I’d also try it with a balconet or demi bra to accommodate the deep, square neckline.

I was also impressed that the darts hit exactly where they’re supposed to, and there was minimal boob-smashing. For reference, I’m wearing my Fantasie 4520 in 32G here. On the other hand, while the bodice may be curve-friendly, this view shows that the neckline isn’t necessarily work friendly.

bust friendly? roland mouret pink strappy sheath side 1Here I tried pulling the bodice up a bit, so you can see how much extra fabric would need to be trimmed from the straps. The bust dart placement is still fine. It could work.

working with cleavage in roland mouret pink strappy sheath pull up straps

Here’s what the back looks like. I like the black grosgrain ribbon detail behind the zipper, although it sometimes got caught inside the zipper.

roland mouret pink strappy sheath back zipper

Next, I gravitated to the leather-like lace sleeve sheath because it’s something I can imagine on Tina. Unfortunately, the highest size available was a 10, and a lot of other women have liked this dress because there’s nothing larger than an 8 in regular sizes online.

roland mouret lace sleeve on hanger

While a size 12 would probably have been less boob-smashing, something tells me there would still be an issue with too much cleavage for 9-5.

ultra cleavage in roland mouret lace sleeve front closeup

roland mouret lace sleeve side

Even the model shows plenty of cleavage in this dress.  I adore the way the designer treated the bust dart on this dress. Since I doubt Roland Mouret will ever make this dress with enough coverage for the DD+ woman, I’d love to see dart-smart DD Atelier do something like this for us in the future!

closeup of bust seam roland mouret lace sleeve sheath

Finally, I also gave the Sloan sheath a try while I was there. It’s the same fabric as in the Roland Mouret dresses above, and if I were in the market for a simple LBD, this would make my list.  Sweetheart necklines are made for big bosoms, and the neckline depth is more demur.

sloan sheath front

 

Perfect Cami Giveaway!

So only a lucky few of you could participate in our clothing swap raffle, but guess what? Ann Victor has made one more Perfect Cami prize available to Hourglassy readers far and wide. The winner can choose any cami she likes from the collection. I happen to own the navy one below, which you know I love.

basic_solid_navy_blue_mini_camisole_perfect_cami_grande

For one entry into the raffle, answer one of the questions below. For two entries, answer both.

1. Besides black, what color camis would you like to have for the fall/winter?

2. What is your biggest complaint about camisoles?

For those of you who wonder about the Perfect Cami sizing chart, here’s some good news: Ann is experimenting with attaching bigger fronts to smaller backs. I love how responsive she is to customer needs. This means that your answers to the two questions above will really make a difference.

You can also help make a difference to Hourglassy. After our writer’s brunch before the swap on August 2, we are brimming with ideas for future events, one being, what if we were to organize something in YOUR area of the country? To do so, we  need to know the geographic pockets of the United States where our readers live, so for a third entry into the raffle, please answer question #3:

3. What major city is closest to your home, and how far away is it? (Feel free to expound if you live in different parts of the country for different periods of the year!)

Send your answers to giveaway [at] hourglassy [dot] com, and put “Perfect Cami” in the subject line. We’ll draw the winner via a random number generator after 11:59 PM EDT next Tuesday, August 26, and we’ll send an email to the winner.

A Better Class of Bikini for the Big Bust: Miss Mandalay

Like many of us, Lorraine Morton grew up with a dearth of fashionable swimwear options, but she’s one of the few who decided to do something about it. Nine year ago, she created her own company, Miss Mandalay, to offer fashionable big bust swimwear without sacrificing fit and function. Along the way, she has become a strong and steady pioneering force in the full bust market.

Rather than create a wire for a smaller size and then grade it to fit larger cups, Lorraine begins with super firm underwires created specifically for large cup sizes (her sizes range from 30D to 38HH*).  In 2007, she created an underwire plunge shape that gives large-busted women a version of a triangle top. Bravissimo had a 90% sell-through rate in the first five weeks that they began selling it. No wonder companies like Eveden soon followed her lead with a similar shape.

miss mandalay 2014 2 underwire

Miss Mandalay has also offered a balcony shape with 2 mm foam padding and fully adjustable straps, such as the one below that I saw at the 2013 Swim Show. I didn’t see any balconies in her Spring/Summer 2015 lineup at Curve, but I hope she’ll reintroduce this shape in a future collection.

miss mandalay 2014 3

Here’s another look from last year’s show.

miss mandalay 2014 1

Here’s my favorite look from Curve earlier this month. It’s called the Bardot and is scheduled for delivery in February 2015. The top will come in 30-38 D, DD, E, F, FF, G and GG.

miss mandalay 2015 1

The Boudoir Beach is one of her most popular styles, and with its elegant hardware, I can see why. It comes in both “ice white” and “mocha”. It’s also scheduled for February delivery and comes in the same sizes as the Bardot.

miss mandalay 2015 2

miss mandalay 2015 3

miss mandalay 2015 4

L to R, Bohemia (April), Los Angeles (December in black or magenta; April in fluoro yellow) and Venom (March). Same band and cup size offerings as the others.

Miss Mandalay suits are manufactured in Morocco of European fabrics, and you can find a good selection of them at Linda’s Online, Asos and the Miss Mandalay website itself.

Reviews, however, are harder to come by! Bravissimo customers love the Los Angeles, and Amy raved about her red gingham set on FussyBusty last year. In 2011, Undercover Lingerista told us great things about her Boudoir Beach bikini. If you’ve tried a Miss Mandalay swimsuit or can point me in the direction of more reviews, I’d love to hear from you.

And if you’d like to try Miss Mandalay at your own local boutique in 2015, now is the time to urge the boutique owners to place their order!

——

*Although I’ve heard in the past that Miss Mandalay goes to HH, the highest cup size I can find in the S/S 2015 line sheets is for an H cup in the Amelie bra in powder (bands 30-38), due for delivery in February 2015. (True & Co. also carries Miss Mandalay bras, but do you think they’ll ever offer them in an H cup? If they do, I’ll have to revise my low opinion of them.)

h cup amelie powder

You can find a picture of the model wearing this bra in Miss Underpinnings‘ recent excellent review of Miss Mandalay’s lingerie showing at Curve. I am infatuated with the Amelie bra because of its satin one-way stretch outer sling that is meant to center our boobs.  Lorraine herself is wearing the Amelie in 30G in the photo below.

amelie centers big boobs with side sling

30G amelie on miss mandalay founder

As you’ve probably realized, in her mission to provide fashion for big boobs, Lorraine is committed to technical expertise. She isn’t rushing to bring the next new thing to the full bust market. In fact, when I asked her at Curve if she had anything new, she told me that there have been no changes except the prints “because what we’re doing is still working.” (Sorry, Leah!)