Off the Rack ~ Reviewing the Miss Candyfloss “Christine Kat” Dress

Oh readers, I think I may have a new favorite clothing brand—it’s Miss Candyfloss! I raved about it in my last review, and mentioned that I had ordered two more dresses and two tops. Well unfortunately, MCF took so long to fulfill the order (three months!) that they ran out of my size in both dresses and one of the tops before my order was filled. I was heartbroken.

The top wasn’t such an issue—it was a button-up style that I mostly wanted to try just so I could review it. But the dresses…oh, the dresses! These are the two I had chosen:

“Sammi Lee.” Note that the details are peach, not white.

“Sammi Lee.” Note that the details are peach, not white.

“Christine Kat.”

“Christine Kat.”

So I suppose I could live without the Sammi Lee. It isn’t as if I have a shortage of navy blue dresses, after all. But Christine! Christine is so amazing. The teal plaid, the mustard accents, the bows on the neck and sleeves… For weeks after I was informed that my order had to be cancelled, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I would’ve considered buying it at full price even, but my size (medium) and the next size up were sold out on the MCF website and I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere else.

Then I finally got the idea to post a “desperately seeking” notice in one of my Facebook groups, and an amaaaazing girl wrote me immediately. There was an online shop in The Netherlands (Succusbus.nl) that had it! And the girl even found me a 10% off coupon. And for some reason their shipping was really inexpensive (only €6.95—less than 8 bucks!) despite arriving a mere six days after it shipped.

Oh goodness, I love this dress so much! The fit feels made for me. The sleeves are slightly loose for comfort, the fabric has a lovely drape to it, and it really accents my figure. The print is slightly less vibrant in real life compared to the manufacturer photo, but otherwise it’s just perfect. I even already own mustard yellow shoes to go with it!

The fabric is 65% Polyester, 32% Viscose, 3% Spandex. Despite the spandex, it has almost no stretch, just a little bit of give.

I think a golden yellow fabric belt to match the cuffs would be ideal, but that may be a bit hard to find.

I think a golden yellow fabric belt to match the cuffs would be ideal, but that may be a bit hard to find.

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Without the belt:

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And obviously it wouldn’t be an “Off the Rack” review without some chest closeups! The seams are just perfect for big boobs. There’s a pair of seams that start out parallel to each other at the waist, but flare out as they travel upward, and then stop at the breast apex. It’s a construction I’ve never seen before, and it causes the bodice to totally mold to my shape.

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In these photos, I’m wearing an Ewa Michalak CHP bra in 30G, and my measurements are 37”-29”-41” with a height of 5’6”. The MCF size chart lists medium as being up to 36.6” bust and up to 30.3” waist. I’d say the waist is accurate (I do have a tiny bit of extra space at the waist), but most MCF pieces make ample use of pleats, princess seams, and gathering at the bust, so it’s actually quite flexible and generous. Just pay close attention to the construction, and perhaps avoid styles that are flatter on the front.

 

Off the Rack ~ Retrospec’d “Elizabeth” Dress Reviewed

I’m so excited to share a new (semi-) bust-friendly brand with Hourglassy readers: It’s Australian vintage reproduction brand Retrospec’d. I just discovered them a couple weeks ago when someone posted a pair of their dresses for sale in one of my Facebook sell/swap groups. Though they were size XS, the construction looked strikingly boob-friendly and I navigated to the brand’s website straightaway.

That’s when I laid eyes upon one of the most lovely dresses I’ve ever seen:

homepage photo

Readers, I was totally smitten. I clicked around the website until I found the dress—the Elizabeth in Gay Paris print. At first the price seemed prohibitive. $190??? But then I remembered that the American dollar is quite strong against the Australian dollar, and in US dollars that would be about $148. Still not “cheap,” to be sure, but about the same range as many other vintage repro brands such as Pinup Girl Clothing, Tatyana, and Heart of Haute.

Next I checked out the size chart—and couldn’t believe my eyes! The Australian 10 matched my measurements almost perfectly. But…I’m always a 12 in Australian and UK sizes (which is the same as a US 8 / Medium). Size 10 couldn’t be right, could it? Especially since all the other dresses’ size charts put me in a 12 (or none at all, depending on that garment’s particular measurements).

Feeling conflicted about sizing, I was wary of ordering. Shipping from Australia is pricey and slow, and I knew it wouldn’t be worth it to attempt an exchange. Luckily, a lovely gal in one of my Facebook groups pointed me toward a stockist in the US, Bygones Vintage in Richmond, VA. Since it’s a brick-and-mortar store, I called and asked them to measure the actual waist of the dress in size US 6 and 8. The 6 was 29.5 inches—a quarter-inch over my exact waist size! So I placed the order through them and the dress was in my hands a mere 3 days later.

Readers, this dress fits like a dream. With my waist measuring just over 29 inches, and most size charts usually listing medium at 28-29 and large at 30-31, I always have to choose between slightly too small or slightly too big. But this dress is perfect. And it actually has room for boobs! Further, the straps are wide enough and in the ideal placement to cover my bra straps (I’m wearing a Comexim plunge in Polish size 60J [about a UK 28GG] in these photos).

Additionally, the cotton is a fantastic weight. It has enough heft that it doesn’t feel cheap (*cough* Bernie Dexter *cough*), but is still light and airy enough for a hot summer day. And while most of my poofy skirts are gathered, this one is pleated, giving it lots of volume without blowing up and flashing my underwear with every gust of wind.

The print is a gorgeous lavender base with peach and red details, featuring a scene of a painter sitting along the water’s edge in Paris, trees in the foreground and the Eiffel Tower in the distance. It’s an unexpected color combination that works so well—and perfectly matches my lavender heels!

So let’s get to some photos, shall we??

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Now, while the Elizabeth has up to nearly an 8-inch difference between the waist and bust, many of the brand’s other styles do not. In fact, some are downright tiny in the bust. There are a lot of different styles, so I’ve compiled a list here of each style and its waist-to-bust difference in inches (in size Aus 12 / Medium), with the biggest difference at the top. With my 8-inch difference, I’d probably avoid anything with less than 7 inches. So I guess there aren’t really that many big-bust options here…but the Elizabeth is so lovely and has enough prints to tide me over!

Avita – 11
Josie – 9
Kathy – 7.9
Kelly – 5.9-7.9 (this one lists a range for the bust due to stretch)
Norma Jean – 5.9-7.9 (stretch)
Elizabeth – 5.9-7.9 (this one’s range is due to fabric gathering at the bust, no stretch)
Ruby – 3.5-7.5 (stretchy shirred back panel)
Sandi – 3.5-7.5 (stretchy shirred back panel)
Sarong – 3.5-7.5 (stretchy shirred back panel)
Bella – 7.1
Kathleen – 7.1
Wendy – 5.1-7.1 (stretch)
1943 – 6.7
Betty – 6.7
Connie – 6.7
Gidget – 6.7
Suzie – 6.7
Lori – 6.3
Audrey – 5.9
Peggy – 5.9
Sophia – 5.9
Tammy – 5.9
Betty Rose – 3.9-5.9 (stretch)
Lilli – 5.5
Dyann – 5.1
Sun Dress – 5.1
Valerie – 5.1
Ella – 4.7
Laura – 4.7
Sammy – 4.7
Empire – 4.3
Vivian – 4.3
Ingrid – No size chart

 

Off the Rack ~ Reviewing Kris Line Bras

Kris Line is a Polish bra brand that has the largest size range that I’m aware of, going from A cups to O cups and 28 bands to 50 bands. It follows the UK letter schema from A to HH, then has an I before moving to J (most UK brands skip I), JJ, K, KK, and single letters L – O. So their O, I think, is approximately a UK N. There are 197 sizes in total. Pretty amazing!

Considering that I get my best fit in Polish brands Ewa Michalak and Comexim, I’ve been wanting to try Kris Line for quite some time. They offer cut-and-sew, semi-soft, and molded-cup bras in luxurious, sometimes over-the-top designs. They’re also frequently on US flash sale site Zulily.com, so I recently took the plunge and bought two different styles in two different sizes to try them out.

I’d been advised that the cut-and-sew bras are inconsistent in fit, that the semi-softs run small in the cups, and that the molded ones run really small. Since I generally consider myself a 28G (though really I’m between sizes in both band and cup), I got a semi-soft in 30G and a molded push-up in 30GG. Either Zulily offers few 28 bands, or they’re actually quite rare among Kris Line’s offerings, because the smallest band available on any design, except one or two, was a 30. Here are the manufacturer’s photos and descriptions of my choices:

Merlot Floral Sheer Bra
(Semi-soft, size 30G)

Decorated in feminine floral embroidery, this delicate peekaboo mesh panel, full-fit bra will light up any boudoir. Adjustable straps and a modifiable back closure create a custom fit, while the underwire offers extra support.

zu red

Emerald Cleopatra Push-Up Bra
(Molded, size 30GG)

Luxe lace lends allure to this top-drawer staple, while molded, underwire cups and adjustable straps create supportive comfort.

zu blue

They’re both really gorgeous with plenty of effort put into the details. Unfortunately, neither one fits me right.

First up, the Merlot. It features a padded bottom half of the cup with removable pads and a sheer, embroidered top half. The gore is lace with a bow and small crystal charm, while the wings are a solid, smooth fabric.

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Even though it’s a 30-band, it runs tiny, like a small 28. It stretches from 22” to just barely 29”. The cups are small on me, though not by much. However, they’re such a weird shape that even in a size up, there’s no way this bra would suit me.

The cups are not tall enough, and the sheer lace top half is way too restrictive, especially considering how much space and projection there is in the bottom half. In fact, the bottom, padded portion seems to fit just fine. But the sheer portion is insane. Observe:

Smaller boob.

Smaller boob.

Bigger boob.

Bigger boob.

What is that?? Why is the sheer section at such a sharp angle? It’s a nice change not to have bra cutting into my armpit, but these cups are not the right shape or height to hold all my tissue in, as such:

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At least the gore tacks and the band is made of a decent fabric (unlike the Emerald, as you’ll read below). The band feels silky and is opaque and not too stretchy, just the way I like it:

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As for the Emerald…Ugh, you guys this bra is so pretty. It’s a tone-on-tone leopard-esque splatter print in the loveliest shade of petrol blue:

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It also has a navy and petrol lace gore:

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And removable, fully-adjustable straps, so you could wear it cross-back, halter, etc:

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The cups have that Victoria’s Secret-style graduated padding where it’s thickest at the underwire and fades into light padding at the cup edge, to give incredible Y-cleavage. Unfortunately for me, though, the fit again is all wrong.

This time the cups are a little too tall, so there’s empty space in the outer corners:

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But if I throw my shoulders back to force it to sit flush, then I get major pillowing. The bra has a slightly east-west shape to it, and my boobs are more front-and-center, so I’d say that’s what’s causing both these issues, as I do think this is the “correct” cup size for me.

Next, the cups eat my armpits. It’s not so bad that it’s painful, but there’d be major visible side-bra under any sleeveless top or dress:

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This also contributes to the issue of the straps being way too wide-set for me. They’re really on the verge of sliding off:

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Finally, I am not impressed with the band. It’s made of a very soft jersey fabric with no lining. While this may be really comfortable, I can’t imagine it would last very well, and would likely stretch right out:

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Additionally, the band is a completely different length than the Merlot even though they’re both size 30. It starts at 24” and stretches to 33”. Um, what??

As for the famous narrow Polish wires, these are more narrow than most British brands, but still wider than my Ewas and Comexims. Overall, I don’t think these are inherently “bad” bras, but they’re definitely not for me, and I won’t be spending any more money experimenting with the brand.

 

 

Off the Rack ~ Kix’ies Thigh High Tights Reviewed

Technically this post is still related to Curve even though it’s now 5 weeks past. Kix’ies, the hosiery brand beloved by the pinup community, was there for the first time, and I got to chat with a rep. She also gave me a sample pair of tights to try!

Kix’ies are thigh-high tights with a special no-slip, no-sink triple band at the top of the thigh so you can wear them without garters and they stay in place. I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously my ban on clothing that makes you get undressed in order to use the toilet (though I’ve since broken that vow with the Trashy Diva Hepburn jumpsuit and my Freddies of Pinewood Chain Gang jumpsuit), so tights that don’t have to be pulled down in order to pee are right up my alley! Plus they come in a wide range of styles, and the triple-band just looks cool.

The Kix’ies display at Curve.

The Kix’ies display at Curve.

I ended up selecting the sheer black tights with a seam up the back, to go with all my vintage reproduction dresses. I literally don’t own any sheer stockings, so I’m always stuck with freezing bare legs or opaque black tights.

The Kix’ies rep showed me the size chart and measured my thigh at the point where I expected to wear the tights. Since there’s no threat of a mis-fitting crotch, you only need to consider your height and thigh circumference. The sizes are as follows:

A = height 4’11” – 5’5”, thigh up to 20”
B = height 5’5” – 6”, thigh up to 25”
C = height 4’11” – 5’5”, thigh up to 30”
D = height 5’5” – 6”, thigh up to 35”

I fall right in size B at 5’6” and 23”. If you’re on the border of two sizes, consider the material of your selected tights. I was told that fishnets are stretchier, and sheer and thinner materials are less stretchy.

You may be wondering how those three bands give the appearance of floating on your skin. Well they have tiny parallel lines of fishing line-like threads between each layer. They practically disappear on your leg, and they keep each opaque band from digging in. The way the tights stay up so well is by first selecting the correct size, and second each opaque band is lined with a flat strip of clear silicon.

So let’s get to some photos, shall we?

I only dressed up for work so that my outfit would match the tights!

I only dressed up for work so that my outfit would match the tights!

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Getting those seam lines straight was no easy feat! But at least they didn’t shift around once in place.

Getting those seam lines straight was no easy feat! But at least they didn’t shift around once in place.

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You can see that the bands aren’t digging in, and the fishing line is totally invisible. Success! However, I did have one minor complaint…

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That tag!! The little white care tag on the inner thigh was really itchy. I think they should just do away with it, and put all the care instructions on the packaging. Plus, who doesn’t already know that tights are supposed to be hand-washed? (Though I’m lazy, so I just throw them in a lingerie bag and use the washing machine’s delicate/hand-wash settings.)

Also, if you click on the tag photo above, you’ll be able to see that I drew two little lines on the top of my thighs with permanent marker so I could see if the tights slid down at all throughout the day. I drew the lines on at about 1pm, and here’s how the tights looked at 7pm when I got home (after sitting down and getting up from my desk several times, walking up and down a flight of stairs twice, and riding the subway home):

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My left leg did pretty well, only sliding down about a centimeter—but my right leg! It slid down like 4 inches! This is especially unexpected because if anything my right leg would be bigger (since that’s the one I favor, the muscle gets used more and could conceivably be slightly more developed). Maybe it has to do with the fact that I have short legs. Or it could be that this side was more stretched out due to having the cardboard square stuck inside of it to keep the tights flat in the package. I guess next time I’ll pull the bands up even higher, and see if that’s an improvement.

Despite not entirely living up to the claim that they never fall down, I would definitely buy more of these. In fact, the Kix’ies rep told me there’s a new vintage-friendly style in development—sheer tan with a black Cuban heel. Can’t wait!