Off the Rack ~ Project Runway Does it Again

Apologies for another nonsense post this week. I don’t think I’ll have time for any full-length ones in October. My wedding is a mere three weeks away, after all! This week you get a mini-rant…

Any readers out there watch the show Project Runway in the US? I’ve complained about their treatment of non-fashion model women twice before, and this season is following suit, unfortunately.

Last week’s episode 10 was the “street muse” challenge, wherein the designers had to wander Washington Square Park in NY and find a model/muse from among the people hanging out. A large portion of the NYU campus is just south of the park and the show was filming in the middle of the day, so I knew right off the bat they’d have a glut of young, college-age women to choose from—no middle aged ladies need apply!

I was still hopeful that the designers would choose a variety of women, but nope, they all chose white, slender, tall women—including a yoga teacher and a ballet dancer. So basically they picked women who were as close to models as they could find. So boring!

One of the designers even approached a pair of girls and asked just one of them to be his model; when the other expressed interest, he told her she was too short. So apparently he’s incapable of designing for anyone who isn’t at least 5’8”?

To be fair, this particular episode was at least absent the body snark so present in other seasons when the designers had to work with “real” women, but it was still pretty disappointing. I’m of the opinion that if you can only design clothes for models, then you’re not a very good designer.

Off the Rack

Sorry, no Off the Rack this week. I’m away for the weekend. But I’m hard at work altering my Le Mystere Soiree Low-Back Bustier so it doesn’t peek out of my wedding dress, so get ready for a nice, long alterations post in the coming weeks!

Off the Rack ~ Collectif Polly Gingham Shirt Dress Reviewed

As you may recall, I had pretty good success with two skirts from British brand Collectif earlier this year. As such, I’ve been eager to try one of their dresses. When they recently had a 50% off everything sale, I went with the Polly gingham shirt dress.

Polly Gingham Shirt Dress

I was planning on ordering a 12, which is what I took in the skirts, but on the morning of the sale that was the only size that was sold out. I debated whether to size up or down. I ended up sizing down for three reasons: 1) The waist of the two skirts I have is actually a little big; 2) the fabric is the same 97% polyester and 3% spandex blend as the Agarva skirt, which is quite stretchy; and 3) the size chart says size 10 fits bust size 36”–38”. At 37”, that should suit me just fine.

Unfortunately, the size chart is way off. I don’t know if it’s this way across the board or just with this one garment, but the bust was hopelessly small. I could just barely do up the buttons and then it was flattening me out and straining horribly:

photo 2

photo 1

I was especially frustrated because my real concern had been with the waist, which the size chart says should fit 28” and I’m 29”. But it fit perfectly there! Additionally, I had actually called Collectif before ordering, told them my measurements, and asked if they thought a size 10 might work. They expressed concern that the waist might be uncomfortably tight, but said nothing about it running small in the bust. The website also doesn’t say it runs small in the bust, so one would assume that the size chart is accurate.

When I measured the dress, though, it wasn’t even close:



Just in case the first photo wasn’t clear, here you can see it’s less than 17” wide at the bust, meaning about 33” around—5 inches shorter than the size it’s supposed to fit!

The waist, by the way, was spot on: 14” flat, or 28” around.


I don’t understand why Collectif is listing a size chart that is so far from reality. Why don’t they just be honest?? Had I known the real measurements, I would have simply ordered a size 14 and taken in the waist. And by the time I received my order, 14 was also sold out, so an exchange was not an option.

I sent a rather angry email to Collectif, complete with photos, and told them I thought they should be responsible for the return shipping, since it was their fault I ended up with a garment that doesn’t fit. They did refund me for the dress and the return shipping, but I’m still pretty pissed because they don’t refund the original shipping, so I basically threw $22 out the window trying a dress that had no hope of fitting. I will never buy another Collectif blouse or dress again unless it’s second-hand and the owner has real garment measurements. How can anyone buy from them if the size charts are wrong?


Off the Rack ~ Comparing Fantasie Rebecca & Fantasie Molded Smoothing T-Shirt Bra

I’ve read and been told so many good things about the spacer fabric Fantasie “Rebecca” bra, so when a used one came up for sale in one of my online swap groups, I jumped at the chance to try it at a discounted price.

Fantasie’s “Smoothing Molded T-Shirt” bra (aka Model 4510) has been my go-to tee shirt bra for several years, but I have to admit it is a little heavy and stiff, especially in summer. Spacer fabric, on the other hand, is a super lightweight, breathable, thin, foam-like fabric. Here’s a closeup shot (courtesy

spacer fabric

And here’s a diagram of how it stays so cool (courtesy

spacer fabric diagram

Click image to see larger.

Rebecca is a pretty standard shape: triangular, seamless cups with an average-height gore. It also has some pretty geometric embroidery on the front side of the band and the front of the straps, which keeps it from being totally boring. The wings are a double-layer of mesh where they meet the underwire, and then thick, solid fabric from that point to the ends where you find the hook and eye. Its “nude” is a bit more pink or peach-toned than the comparatively brown t-shirt bra.


The t-shirt bra has a little bit more of a balconette shape, with cups that don’t come up as high on the sides. Gore height is about the same. This time, though, the wings are completely made of the solid fabric, which I absolutely love. It doesn’t stretch out nearly as fast or as much as mesh and gives a smoother line. The bow in the gore is also smaller and flat, so it tends not to peek out if I’m wearing a top that’s a little low cut for this particular bra.


I was pretty excited when I got the Rebecca. It really is extremely light, smooth, and soft. I also enjoyed squishing the spacer fabric between my fingers. It feels cool and bounces right back.

However, its gentleness comes with a price. Rebecca gives me the worst spread-out shape. My boobs are so in front of my arms that they get in the way when I swing my arms forward and back. It’s so annoying and not something I’ve ever experienced before. Just look at the front comparison of the Rebecca (first photo) and t-shirt bra (second). Pay close attention to my arm on the left:



Both of these are size 30FF, by the way. From the side, the Rebecca shape was okay, but I still prefer my t-shirt bra. The t-shirt bra just has a little more uplift, especially from the underside of the breast:



T-shirt bra

T-shirt bra

I will definitely not be keeping the Rebecca bra and will be sticking with my t-shirt bras. Even though the t-shirt bra is a 30 band and I definitely need a 28 in Eveden brands, it still works really well. I own two of them that I’ve been wearing on the tightest setting for a little over two years, and they’re still tight enough and give amazing support. I believe it’s because the fabric wings don’t stretch out much. Plus, you can almost always find new ones on eBay for quite cheap. I paid $30 for one and $35 for the other.

Rebecca is available up to 30-34 H, 36GG, 38G, and 40FF. The molded t-shirt bra goes up to 30-34 H, 36GG, 38G, and 40F.