Off the Rack ~ Pin-Up Tops from The Oblong Box Shop

This week I’m reviewing an item from a super cute online store I just discovered called “The Oblong Box.” I really like the shop’s message, and their house brand clothes are very reasonably priced and come in a wide range of sizes. From their “About Me” section:

Named after the vintage horror film featuring a story by Edgar Allen Poe . . . my love of horror films spawned my shop but my love for all women and their beautiful shapes is what was ultimately born from it. The Oblong Box Shop means coffin . . . but it also means odd shaped box . . . no two girls are the same size so why only make clothes in 3 sizes?

So great! The discovery started when I stumbled across a Heart of Haute dress on the site for 30% off and only my size left in stock (lucky!). I’ve had my eye on the Midnight Peacock Monique dress (review to come) ever since it was released but have been reticent to pay $99 for it. I additionally had a 10% coupon for the shop, so I looked around to see what else they offered and found their section of “pin-up tops”—stretchy, strappy, ruched sweetheart tops that come in tons of bright colors and sizes from Small to 2X.

Most of the tops feature criss-cross straps in the front, but some have regular straps, which I much prefer. I think the crossed ones look like they’re choking the models! (Actually, I just now read the full description, and it turns out you can wear them crossed in front or back. In back sounds nice!)

The criss-crossed tops are ruched in front and back, while the regular straps are ruched just on the front panel. I ended up buying the regular-strapped bright cobalt blue and the teal-like peacock:

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The bust has light foam padding inside it (the criss-cross ones do not, though), which for smaller-chested ladies will probably serve as an okay bra replacement. In my case, it’s hardly enough support, but it does maintain a nice, round profile and means there’s no visible nipple and you can wear textured bras (lace or significant seams) without it showing through. The sweetheart neckline and twisted top are also supremely flattering.

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It’s quite boobalicious. In these photos, I’m wearing an Ewa Michalak CHP-style bra, but when I wore it with my Ewa S-style, which gives more push-up both upward and toward the center, it was practically indecent.

Made of a swimsuit-like 96% polyester / 4% spandex blend, it’s also very tight and clingy. Since my measurements (37”-29”-41”) fall exactly in the size Medium, it’s obviously supposed to fit this way. But you can really see where my bra is pinching in and I’m not crazy about how my tummy looks. So I might size up to a Large if I buy more of these.

The other issue is that the straps are set very wide. My Ewa has the widest straps of all my bras, and it’s still visible, especially in back. If you click on the photos to view them full-size, you’ll be able to see it. I guess it’s minor enough that I don’t really care, but I wish the straps were just a tiny bit further in or were a bit thicker. I can’t even imagine trying to match up a bra to the criss-cross straps! I guess it’d have to be a strapless.

Of course, my favorite way to wear these tops is with high-waisted bottoms. Here it is in peacock paired with my Freddie’s 1940s Button Pants:

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So perfect! I guess that’s one bonus of the top being so tight—it slides under high-waisted garments super smoothly.

 

Off the Rack ~ Heart of Haute Separates

I’m finally back! The wedding was amazing. Everything that could have possibly gone right went really right, from the weather to the food…to my dress, of course! Here’s a little sneak peek at two photos from our amaaaazing photographer Marylou, from All Bliss Photography:

10653733_815418081834444_7950988120988891737_n10599212_815418061834446_7687430695961492829_nI’ll have a more in-depth post about the dress and its undergarments in a few weeks once we get the rest of the images. I can’t wait to see them all!!

As for this week’s post, well I have just about had a revelation with Heart of Haute (in a good way)! I’ve written about several dresses from the brand (here, here, and here), and have always walked away with more or less a mixed opinion. But I’ve finally found an item that works amazingly well (and also one that again receives an “eh” review).

Of all things, the piece that works so well is a button-up blouse. Can you believe it?? I always avoid these because, unless they’re specifically designed for big boobs (hello, Campbell & Kate!), if you buy to fit your waist then the buttons pull open or there’s massive gaping at the bust, or if you buy to fit your boobs then the waist is humongous.

But when I saw this blouse on the lovely June from Junebugs & Georgia Peaches (one of my favorite fashion blogs, since my body is basically a mashup of June’s top half and Amelia’s bottom half), it fit her bust so well and looked so darn cute that I wanted to try one too. And when HoH released it in a scottie dog print, I just had to have it! (Scotties are almost the same shape as westies, which is what I have, so I have a habit of buying scottie merchandise and just pretending it’s a westie).

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I was nervous to order a medium because it’s only supposed to fit up to 36” bust and I’m 37”, but since I found a couple photos of bigger ladies than I wearing a medium, I went with it and hoped for the best.

And thank goodness I did, because it fits almost perfectly!

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And untucked from my super high-waisted Freddies jeans:

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There is no gaping at all! Yet my breasts aren’t being squashed into a boobloaf. It’s a miracle.

There are princess seams all the way up the front that give it visible contouring, and seams up the back so it’s not all one panel there either. It cinches in at the waist when looked at straight on and from the side. It also helps that the buttons are closer together and placed in such a way that there isn’t a lack of closure right over the fullest point of the breasts. The panel of fabric behind the button panel is also quite wide, aiding in the panel’s stability.

As for those little nitpicks that make it almost perfect and not straight-up perfect…well it’s a little short on me. Even in my super high-waist jeans, when I sit down the back of the shirt comes completely untucked. In the front, it’s only 2.5 inches past my belly button. There’s no way I could wear this with your standard “low-rise” (or in my case even “mid-rise”) pants. And since it’s short on me, the area below the waist flares out much higher than where my hips are actually located.

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I recognize that this is not a universal problem. I just have a really long torso. So it would not be an issue for petite or short-waisted gals. And I think it looks really good with high-waisted bottoms anyway, so I’m perfectly happy to only pair it with that particular style.

Next nitpick: The shoulders are just narrow enough that my bra straps peek out. In these photos, I’ve shoved it over so it’s not visible, but they don’t stay that way throughout the day. Do I care enough to wear a strapless or use a Rixie clip to turn my bra into a racerback? Absolutely not! I just stick with black bra straps so it blends in.

Finally, the last little thing I have to mention is that the armholes are awfully small. It’s really great that there’s no visible side bra, and I feel perfectly comfortable, but if someone has bigger or more muscular arms than me, it could be a problem. On me, the holes are the exact circumference of my upper arm. If this had sleeves of the same circumference, I don’t think I’d be able to life my elbows above my waist.

Moving on, the piece I have with the mixed review is the Circle Skirt in Constellation print. Don’t get me wrong, ultimately I luuuuuuurve this skirt. But the fit is not as advertised. I ordered size medium as I always do, which is supposed to fit a waist of 28–29 inches. My waist is 29 inches. So medium should be perfect, right? Not so much…

I could barely zip the thing! I ended up exchanging it for a large, which is just loose enough to have room to tuck in a shirt and still be comfortable, not binding. I measured my large, and laid flat it’s 15 inches wide (so 30 total). I forgot to measure the medium, but I’m assuming it was 28 inches, but 28 inches of double-layered non-stretch cotton is not going to fit someone who is 29 inches. All the size medium HoH dresses I’ve tried have been perfectly fine in the waist, so I guess this particular item just runs a little small. Just by an inch or inch and a half, but enough that you should size up one.

Now that my complaint is out of the way, this skirt is freaking adorable! It has actual constellations printed all over it, against tiny dots for the rest of the stars, over splotchy shades of dark blue. And—hello!—it glows in the dark! Seriously. It’s also full enough that it has volume without a petticoat, though I’m sure a petticoat would look really cute under it too.

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I also like that the length is just above my knee, since most vintage-style skirts are mid-calf, which tends to make my short legs look extra stumpy. I would definitely buy this skirt again. I’m particularly fond of the blue chambray dot, which has contrasting paneled pockets. It’s about time HoH start adding pockets to their designs!

 

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!