Off the Rack ~ Trashy Diva Roundup

I’ve done a few reviews of dresses from Trashy Diva in the past. But since my last review, I’ve collected lots more pieces from this company. So this week I’m doing a comprehensive review of all the different cuts I’ve tried, with a focus on how boob-friendly they each are.

Let’s start with my measurements. I’m 5’6” with a looooong torso and short legs. My figure is 37”-29”-41” and I’m between sizes for bras, at 28G/GG – 30FF/G. In the photos below, I’m wearing a Freya Ada in 28G in all the pictures taken in the white hallway, or the Freya Deco Strapless in 30FF with the halter-neck dresses. All the other pictures were taken a while ago, so I’ve no idea what bra I was wearing!

These are in no particular order, except that dresses for which I’ve already done a full review are at the end of the list.

1. Maria
Print name: Peacock
Fabric: Medium-weight rayon
Size: 8
Side zipper, non-functional buttons up the front, pockets

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I would say this dress has plenty of room for boobs, but it’s not cut in such a way that is as fitted to a big bust as some other designs. There are under-bust darts, but the overall shape from the bust apex to the waist is still more of a ski-slope rather than curving under the bust. However, thankfully it does not pull the waist seam up and create a faux pregnancy belly.

Boob-score: B+

2. Loop dress
Print name: Geisha Fans
Fabric: Stretch cotton sateen
Size: 6
Side zipper, fan-back skirt, no pockets

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My measurements actually match the 8 in this dress, but I bought it used for a really good price, so I took a chance on the 6 since it has stretch. Size 6 is supposed to fit up to 27” waist and up to 38” bust, but the waist is only the tiniest bit snug and the bust is noticeably small even though it should be ample enough. Usually the size chart is spot-on, but I definitely don’t think so this time. It pretty much works out in my favor, since the waist feels good. And even though it’s squishing my boobs a little, the multiple darts make it hug my figure just beautifully. I think an 8 would have been “perfect,” but I kinda like having a snugger fit for a change.

Boob-score: A

3. Hepburn Jumpsuit
Fabric: Medium-weight rayon
Size: 8
Back zipper, pockets

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This is easily my favorite Trashy Diva piece that I own! This is the item that changed my previously very staunch anti-jumpsuit rule (anti-any clothing that requires undressing to pee, really). Unfortunately, it was long since sold out by the time I discovered it. Luckily, someone in my Trashy Diva Facebook swap/sell group listed one for sale and I was able to buy it for about the same price I would have at retail, minus the shipping!

Aside from being a really unique and incredibly comfortable article of clothing, I’m happy to report that the torso is actually long enough on me! Yet because the pants are so loose, it hides the crotch location, so I think it would still work on petite gals as well. The legs are quite long, though, so some hemming might be necessary. I’m wearing the same 3.5-inch heels here as the other photos, and my feet are still completely hidden. As for the bust, well I think that speaks for itself. The waistband is completely under my bust, and there’s plenty of room for boobies thanks to the gathering, without excess cleavage. Definitely the best-fitting TD I’ve tried so far.

Boob-score: A+

4. Sadie Ruffles
Print name: Slap & Tickle
Fabric: Lightweight rayon
Size: 8
Side zipper, matching belt, non-functional buttons up the front, no pockets

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This is a new dress to me, though it’s an old print. I just got it used from another Facebook group. The Sadie has floppy short sleeves, and comes in a variety of skirt shapes. I really love the original Sadie, which has a draped tulip skirt, but the asymmetrical ruffles here are pretty fun too. They’re only on the front, and the back looks like a plain A-line shape. Unfortunately, the belt is way small. I have to wear it on the loosest setting. It just doesn’t match the dress’s actual waist.

Aside from that, though, it’s a lovely fit on a full bust. I was expecting it to have the ski slope shape of the Maria, but this one curves under the bust pretty well, as you can really see in the third photo. I’m not sure why it fits so differently than the Maria considering they have such similar top structure and even the same dart placement, but I’ll take it! Also take note of the fact that I’m wearing a loud printed bra and dark colored underwear, but you can’t see them through the dress even though the fabric is lightly colored and very lightweight.

Boob-score: A

5. Sandy Mini
Fabric: Medium-weight rayon
Size: 8
Side zipper, embroidered daisies on the waistband, pockets

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At first glance, the Sandy seems to have a similar structure to the Hepburn. But it crosses over in back exactly the same as the front, whereas the Hepburn is a flat, non-crossover V with a zipper in back. Sandy also crosses the left side over top, while Hepburn crosses the right side over, and Sandy has a slightly deeper cut. You can actually see a tiny bit of bra gore peeking out, so this cut requires a true plunge bra.

You can also see my bra strap making an appearance on the right-hand shoulder. Though there is plenty of room for boobs in this dress and the waistband sits at the correct height, this shoulder configuration tends to slide off my shoulders a lot. I have two other dresses with this front and back cross-over construction, and they do it too. Since I hate to make permanent alterations to my TD, I instead poke a safety pin through the interior shoulder seam allowance, and then close it around my bra strap. Then I can slide my straps back and forth if needed, and once they’re situated, they actually hold the shoulders in place and keep them from sliding off. Someone with broader shoulders also might not have this issue.

Boob-score: A-

6. Amaya
Print name: Chinese Opera
Fabric: Rayon crepe de chine
Size: 8
Side zipper, non-removable fabric tie-belt, pockets

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The Amaya has the same front and back cross-over as the Sandy (though it crosses over on the opposite side). However, this time it’s got a much less full skirt, and half-length kimono-esque sleeves. Additionally, the waistband comes up a fraction higher on me, just barely sitting on breast tissue. It once again requires a plunge bra—if you blow up the third photo, you can see just a touch of visible bra gore, and it tends to flap open if you move a lot or bend over. Additionally, these shoulders just absolutely will not stay up on me. I can only wear it with safety pins in the seams as I described above. That being said, as usual there is plenty of volume for boobs, though bigger gals may want to pin the front together or sew in a hook and eye.

Boob-score: B-

7. Annette
Print name: Sci-Fi Rockets
Fabric: Stretch cotton
Size: 8
Side zipper, matching belt, pockets

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Since I’ve already done a full-length review of this dress, I’ll keep this brief. Annette is not particularly boob-flattering. In my earlier review, I complained about the ski slope shape and that the sides of the top flared out around the armpit area. The arm holes were also too wide open, and I had visible strapless bra even after I shortened the straps a little. I’ve avoided the Annette cut since purchasing this dress, and in fact just traded another gal on Facebook for a different cut, which is coming up next.

Boob-score: C

8. Rockette
Print name: Sci-Fi Rockets
Fabric: Stretch cotton
Size: 10
Back zipper, matching belt, non-functional buttons up the front, patch pockets

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I absolutely adore the Sci-Fi Rockets print, and it’s become a bit of a collector’s item in the last couple years, so there was no way I would ever sell it despite the fit issues. Luckily, there’s always someone on Facebook who wants to trade sizes or cuts in the same fabric. I recently fell in love with the Rockette cut, which I wasn’t quite adventurous enough for when I first purchased the Annette (it was only my second TD order ever!), and pounced when someone wanted to trade theirs for a different cut in a smaller size.

Unfortunately, the 10 really is too big on me. The belt is huge even on the tightest setting (though I can fix that by punching in a few more grommet holes), and the back doesn’t stay up since it’s a halter top. However, I’m glad I got a 10 anyway, because the bust fits great, and the waist is the same diameter as my old Annette for some reason. I’m really pleased that it curves under my bust instead of going straight from apex to waist. And since it’s made of cotton instead of delicate rayon, I’m much more comfortable with the idea of altering it myself. I’m going to add some under-bust darts and will take in the ribs on the side seams if necessary.

Boob-score: B (It’s hard to say objectively, since it’s not my real size and requires alterations, but I’ll estimate it’s one grade up from Annette.)

9. Lena Sarong
Print name: Ruffled Feathers
Fabric: Stretch rayon
Size: 8
Back zipper, stretchy shirred side panels, no pockets

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This is the newest addition to my collection. I actually own another Lena dress and two Lena tops because I love this cut so much. It is just so flattering. Though as you can see, it definitely emphasizes the girls! This stretch rayon fabric is a dream to wear, and the stretchy shirred side panels mean you get a customized fit. Some people complain about the halter hurting their neck, but as long as you wear a good strapless bra (like my trusty Freya Deco), then the dress strap doesn’t have to take any of the weight.

I also appreciate that the neck strap opens and closes with buttons, because these straps are always too long on me, but all I have to do to shorten them is unpick the buttons and re-attach them further over. Additionally, some of the older models of this dress have a much thinner strap, but I prefer this wider one since it balances out big boobs and gives a little more coverage on the sides.

Boob-score: A+

10. Goldie
Print name: Crepe Myrtle
Fabric: Lightweight rayon
Size: 8
Back zipper, pockets

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Oh, the Goldie. I’m not usually into florals, but this more graphic floral print really spoke to me. And then it went on sale! So I got the one dress that was left in my size, the Goldie. It looks amazing from the front, but it has one huge problem…

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This is the back! I couldn’t resist a dress that shows off my back tattoo so well, and I actually did find an okay solution to the bra issue (I do not regularly wear it with this Freya Deco), but it’s just such a hassle! I started by tacking the blousey front part to the straps to hide more side-bra:

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Then I wear it with my low-back Le Mystere Soiree Bustier. But a little bit of the bustier still peeks out above the waistband, so I take a black tube top and wear it under my boobs, tucking it into the bra band in back to make sure it doesn’t fall down. It ends up looking fine, but it adds so much extra bulk that the waistband is then borderline too tight. Additionally, the bustier stops right at the bottom of the waistband, so it all squeezes me extra tightly right in my squishiest spot, which is neither comfortable nor flattering. And what’s more, the front dips down so low that my bra is only hidden because the top is so blousey and baggy. I’m actually in the process of trying to trade this dress for another cut in the same print.

Boob score: F

11. Trixie
Print name: Big Polka
Fabric: Lightweight rayon
Size: Medium
Back zipper, stretchy shirred side panels, tie-neck halter, no pockets

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A Trashy Diva classic! The Trixie is one of their oldest styles. It used to be made with wide straps like my Lena Sarong above, but ironically this time I prefer it with the thin straps. Once again the stretchy shirred panels give it a custom fit. And the detailed bust is oh-so-flattering on big boobs. The only problem is that the floppy nature of the fabric means those details don’t always hold their shape perfectly. You can see in the second photo, for example, that the left-hand side sits at a 90-degree angle in my cleavage, while the right-hand side is at a diagonal, because it flopped over while hanging in my closet and is stuck that way unless I starch it.

I used to own this dress in cotton poplin as well, but I decided I didn’t wear it enough to justify keeping, so I sold it. However, that one did maintain its bust details a little better since it was stiffer fabric, but it also wrinkled really easily and you could see the layers of fabric through one another at the bust, giving it a lumpy look, so I still prefer the rayon.

Boob-score: A

12. Lena
Print name: Green Kimono
Fabric: Rayon crepe de chine
Size: 8
Back zipper, stretchy shirred side panels, no pockets

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I only have real-life pictures of this dress because it’s currently at the cleaners after I wore it to a swing dance event on the USS Intrepid, pictured here. It’s again soooo flattering, especially with the contrast-color inner bust panel. It was also amazing for spinning in!

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Boob-score: A+

13. Doll Mini
Fabric: Medium-weight rayon
Size: 8
Side zipper, pockets

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My very first Trashy Diva piece! Read the full review for much more detail. This is still one of my favorites and I would love more of the Doll cut. It’s similar to the Sandy again, but this one stays up on my shoulders a lot better. Plenty of room for boobs here, and the waistband stays firmly under my bust.

Boob-score: A+

14. Streetcar
Print name: Cherries
Fabric: Rayon
Size: 8
Side zipper, removeable matching neck-tie, matching belt, pockets

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The first Trashy Diva I ever paid full price for (a rare happenstance!) is this Cherries Streetcar. It was a re-issue of an old print, so I knew it’d go fast and I bought it outright. You can read my full review here.

The Streetcar is definitely a less boob-friendly option. As usual, there’s enough volume, but it doesn’t curve under my bust, and it’s actually a wee bit small, so that my bigger boob pulls the fabric over to sit crookedly. However, I tried a size up at the time, and it was too big in the waist and across the back. The nice thing about the Streetcar is you can wear the neckline in several different configurations. However, it does require a strapless or T-back bra, or a Rixie clip, to keep your straps hidden.

Boob-score: B-

15. Jenny Short-Sleeve
Fabric: Heavy stretch knit
Size: 6
Side zipper, no pockets

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Here’s another one I wrote a full review of. The Jenny is exceedingly comfortable and very boob-friendly thanks to the ingenious construction. There are vertical seams leading from the skirt pleats up to the bust, where it pleats out again. There’s also gathering up on the shoulders that resembles netting, which allows for generous fabric in the bust. It’s also super stretchy. I sized down to a 6 and could have easily worn a 4 if I wanted it clingier.

I did end up selling this dress due to it not getting enough wear, but that’s no reflection on its fit or quality otherwise. It’s highly, highly recommended! It was just a little too conservative for me.

Boob-score: A++

16. Doris
Fabric: Cotton voile
Size: 8
Side zipper, pockets

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Finally we come to the last dress, Doris in cotton voile, another that I previously reviewed. The cotton voile is so light and cool for summer. TD currently has one cotton voile offering, and that’s the new Mahjong print collection. They should definitely release more in this amazing fabric!

As for fit, it’s pretty darn good, though I must admit the waistband does not remain under my bust. It’s well above my underwires, but I’m okay with that because the boob room is still pretty generous and very flattering—and you can wear it with a normal bra. Plus I think the dress looks really good on me!

Boob-score: B+

Oh, I just remembered one more that I don’t have any photos of—the Norma Jean dress. And the reason I have no photos is that I got it cheap on eBay, but it didn’t fit right at all, so I re-sold it without ever wearing it out.

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It looks deceptively boob-friendly thanks to wide straps and gathering with elastic at the top of the neckline. But it swooped scandalously low to show too much cleavage for comfort. I’m talking visible areola. And the waistband came up way high above my underwires. And this was with sizing up to a 10 from my usual 8. Stay away!

Boob-score: F

 

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Off the Rack ~ Partying with Eveden

It’s another Eveden post this week! A couple weeks ago, Darlene and I attended a “70s dance party” thrown by Eveden for bloggers and other members of the press. We got to see models try on anything we requested from the latest season, got fitted (I’m happy to report that I’m already in the correct size), and even enjoyed some muffins and other breakfast goodies.

It wasn’t really a dance party, but I guess some of the collection is inspired by the 1970s, and the lovely PR ladies wore ’70s-inspired outfits. In fact, that’s one of the things I love about the Eveden brands and is part of why I like supporting them—they are very accommodating and welcoming to press!

Most of what I was interested in was the trendy swimwear cuts I shared in my coverage of the last Curve show. It really makes a difference to see these things on a real person in front of me. But I also have a few other tidbits to share…

First up, what I last referred to as the “standout” of the show, the “Pinup” set. I’m surprised to see how long it looks on a real body. With my long torso, I pretty much always expect long items to actually be a conservative length on me. This one’s definitely worth trying!

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Moving on to swimwear:

[Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Reviewing Freya Fancies Bralette & Hipster Short

Bralettes are a huge trend right now. Even Victoria’s Secret is advertising them (it’s quite a shock considering their usual marketing strategy of overly Photoshopped push-up padded bras). For some, I’m sure this comes as a relief. Shoppers can finally find a range of wire-free, comfy bras in fun colors and styles.

However, for the most part these are not suited to the big bust market. Many feature cups that are too small, fabric too flimsy, support absolutely laughable. Luckily, though, good ol’ Freya has us bigger-boob’ed gals covered with their “Fancies” collection of bralettes.

I first introduced these cute items in my March Curve show coverage. At the time, I was more intrigued by the other items in the Fancies collection (like the Minx and the longline bras), but after reading some recent blogger reviews, my interest was piqued.

Then I was offered a Fancies bralette set when I attended Eveden’s “70s Dance Party” event this week (more on that in an upcoming post). With my 37” bust and 29” underbust, I have the bralette in a medium. Here’s a chart to figure out your size:

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Disclosure: These items were received as review samples. All opinions are my own and based entirely on my experience.

The Fancies bralette features fully adjustable straps, stretch lace trim, and a double layer of semi-sheer fabric across the bust and around the back. It does not have any closure mechanism, which means you pull it over your head. There is gathering under the bust to offer more volume in the “cup” area.

This bralette does not provide lift. So you have to go into trying it with your expectations in the right place. Don’t expect the same support you get from a wired bra, or even a structured non-wired bra. It’s a different beast. I would say the manufacturer’s photo on the Freya site is actually a very accurate portrayal of how it looks on the body:

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When I first tried the bralette on, I swooped and scooped my boobs up and then let them settle into the bralette. The band rose up a little to rest in my infra-mammary fold. The resulting shape is very close to what I look like in no bra, except that my boobs are being held in front of my body instead of splaying into the east-west position.

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Closeup of the gathering along the band.

I suppose one could tighten the straps further to attempt just a little bit more lift, but the non-adjustable band was already riding up slightly in back, so I just left the straps alone.

I wore the bralette for a few evenings and slept in it a few nights, and I’m pleasantly surprised to report that the lace band does not roll up like the Freya longline bras I’ve tried in the past.

It’s a comfortable, cute piece to lounge around in (especially in summer heat!), and I get less underboob-sweat than I would with no bra (though the underboob-sweat is definitely still present). Plus, it offers just enough support that I can throw on a tank or tee shirt in the morning to walk the dog instead of having to deal with a real bra (I refuse to walk around my neighbors totally braless).

So now that I’ve got all the gushing out of the way, I do have some critiques. As I mentioned earlier, the band is riding up in back. But there’s no way I could size down, because I wouldn’t be able to get it over my shoulders. In fact, getting it on and off is actually quite difficult. Putting in on, it rolls up around my armpits and I have the hardest time getting it unrolled. Taking it off, it’s simply not very stretchy, so it’s a real beast to pull over my shoulders.

Even though it’s really comfy not to have any hooks, I would trade this feature for the practicality of being able to unhook the bralette to take it on and off.

As for the underwear, well I’m not a huge fan to be honest. The all-lace hipster shorts are adorable, of course. But the second I take a step, they ride right up my butt. In fact, you can see it happening to Freya’s model!

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My 29” waist falls into medium on most size charts, and my 41” hips into large. So I went with large this time. Due to the stretch lace, I could have gotten away with a medium. Maybe that would solve the riding up issue? Or maybe I just need a flatter butt for this particular style!

 

 

Off the Rack ~ Reviewing Bolero Beachwear’s Summer 2016 Offerings

It’s finally starting to feel like spring in New York City, and my thoughts are turning to warm-weather dresses and swimwear. So it’s a perfect opportunity to introduce readers to Bolero Beachwear’s latest styles, the Halter Retro Dress with matching shrug and chiffon shawl, and the three-quarter sleeve Staple Shirt.

Disclosure: These items were received as review samples. All opinions are my own and based entirely on my experience.

You may recall from my last Bolero review that this made-in-USA brand specializes in soft and stretchy boob-friendly clothes that are anti-wrinkle, anti-pill, and washing machine-safe.

Every season, Bolero founder Patricia McCaw introduces new cuts and prints, and I just love the two prints she sent me to test out this time.

First up is the Halter Retro Dress. I think you all know how much I love vintage style, so this Marilyn Monro-esque style is right up my alley. However, truly the first thing I thought of when I saw the beautiful watercolor-like blue print was the ocean. And with its easy-on, easy-off tied halter neck, it would be a perfect beach cover-up. Yet it’s still cute and appropriate to wear to lunch or dinner at a restaurant after a day at the beach. I was so taken with the idea of wearing it to the beach that I photographed it over a bikini:

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The bust cups are lined in the same print fabric, and the front waist panel is lined in soft mesh. The dress features a full skirt (with pockets, of course!) and a small bit of elastic at the top of the back to keep it held up. As usual, the waistband remains fully under my bust:

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Additionally, since the fabric is so stretchy, I found that I could tuck in the top half and wear it like a skirt:

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And thanks to the full skirt, after swimming you could change from swim bottoms into regular underwear under the skirt, and you could pull the dress all the way up to change from bikini to bra:

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For those cooler nights, Bolero offers a three-quarter sleeve shrug that perfectly matches the cerulean blue of the dress’s print:

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I appreciate the little design detail of a bit of gathering at the ends of the sleeves:

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And while I found the chiffon shawl with the dress to be a little too much of the same print for one outfit, I was really into the fringe on the ends of it, which helps weigh it down and drape nicely. I would certainly consider wearing it with a white or pale blue dress:

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Finally, we come to the three-quarter sleeve Staple Shirt, this time in a pinup-friendly cherry and pindot print. This super cute top features a flattering wide neckline without visible cleavage and gathered fabric at the bust for contouring. The front is fully lined in white mesh, so there’s no worry of visible bra showing through.

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I found the shirt a little loose under my bust compared to the perfect fit I get from Bolero dresses, but I think it’s also exacerbated by the fact that I’m wearing shorts that are, to be honest, too small. (I actually tore them a little in the back when trying to get them on!) However, I would not want to size down from this small to extra-small because I’m afraid the arms would be too tight. They don’t feel too tight right now, but the black trim is more restrictive and not as stretchy as the rest of the arm, so it could be uncomfortable in a size down.

Additionally, when this top first arrived, I couldn’t tell if it was a true white or a very, very, very pale pink. Ultimately I determined that it is white, but some of the cherries bled just the smallest bit while the shirt was folded up in the package, leaving the barest pink spots mirroring the cherries here and there. It’s really hard to see (and exceedingly difficult for me to capture in a photo), but it is there if you look very closely in bright light. As such, I might recommend that shoppers wash this top with color-catchers when it first arrives, and then do a vinegar soak to really set the colors.

Looks like it’s going to be another great season for Bolero, and I’m looking forward to what they introduce next!