Full Bust Fashion Finds for Fall

What a great long weekend for reading September issues of fashion magazines. If you’ve been reading them, too, then you’ve seen military coats everywhere. Incredibly, full bust fashion website DD Atelier alerted me to the military coat trend before anyone else. I love how the coat traces the curve of the model’s back . . . and the rest of her figure. For those of us who don’t look good in blacks and greys–or want a break from them–the navy and burgundy options are a gift. Update: you can now read Leah’s review of this “absolutely stunning military coat”.

big bust fashion coat military dd atelier

Of course, if you’re in the market for a 3-season essential that transcends all trends, then you need DD Atelier’s denim jacket for busty women that I reviewed in May. It’s currently 15% off and still available in several sizes. [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Busty Biker Jackets

Since fall is in full swing here in New York, this week I’m going to discuss my favorite bust-friendly jacket option, the biker (or the motorcycle, or the moto). Some of the features of this style include a wide collar, epaulets, zips on the wrists, a built-in belt, and studs. But the most important feature that all biker jackets must have in order to be classified as such is an asymmetrical zipper up the front. And this, my friends, is what makes the style so bust-friendly, even from non-booby brands and in unforgiving fabrics.

The asymmetric zipper and the wide, decorative collar mean that with most of these jackets, you can stop the zipper just under your bust. In fact, many are designed to be worn this way. This means you can buy a size to fit your waist without worrying about fitting your chest. Below are some photos of several biker-style jackets I’ve purchased over the years, with notes about their particular details.

First up is a knit, biker-style hoodie from Forever21:

Please excuse the old haircut; this photo was taken a year ago.

Please excuse the old haircut; this photo was taken a year ago.

In this case, I actually do zip it up partway over my bustline. But it’s a stretchy knit and I could stop the zipper lower if I needed to accommodate even more boob. Additionally, since this jacket is cropped and has the built-in belt, if it wasn’t stretchy, I could adjust the belt to be smaller and it would still show off my waist.

Next up is a studded denim jacket from Romeo & Juliet Couture:

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This brand is ordinarily way expensive, but I found this piece heavily discounted at a Burlington Coat Factory. The brand also pops up on US flash sale site Hautelook.com pretty regularly, and their affiliate site NordstromRack.com.

I got this jacket in a size medium. It’s 99% cotton and 1% spandex, so it has just enough stretch to accommodate my curves while maintaining its structure. I think it fits well whether open, zipped to the bust, and even zipped all the way up. It has a hidden snap in each corner of the collar, so that when I zip it all the way the collar stays in place and doesn’t crumple up or slide around. The princess seams, a serious rarity among biker jackets, also help make it fit well. I really love how nipped in it is at my waist while still accommodating my chest, and frequently wear it with poofy skirts.

I can’t seem to find this jacket for sale with any conventional retailers, but there are plenty of people selling it on eBay and Poshmark. It also comes in light blue denim.

This particular jacket is what’s called a “collarless” style. It still has lapels, but no collar around the neck. The next two options have a conventional motorcycle-style double-collar.

For the third look, I have another Romeo & Juliet Couture piece (also purchased at a major discount), this time in a soft and floppy rayon-polyester-spandex blend with polyester lining:

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This one lacks the princess seams, the structure, and the stretch of the previous choice. It fits quite differently even though it’s the same brand and the same size. The zipper is also on the opposite side.

I would not wear this one zipped all the way, as it squishes my chest that way. (It would also hide the blue denim lapels, which I like the look of.) However, by stopping the zipper at the base of my bust, it leaves me with plenty of room. This jacket is also long enough that as bust size increases, one could stop the zipper lower and lower. With this very floppy fabric, the lapels don’t stick out or float away from my body the way they did with the Express striped blazer Mia tried earlier this year.

Finally, we arrive at my favorite fall clothing item out of my entire wardrobe, a real leather motorcycle jacket with all the trimmings! I bought this coat from WilsonsLeather.com last year with major trepidation. The size chart is useless and the reviews weren’t really helpful. Even with extra coupons that dropped the price to $160, that was a lot to invest in something that might not fit. But then I saw a girl in my apartment building’s elevator in an amazing leather jacket, and when I asked her where it came from, it was the very same one! So I went for it.

The jacket features the double-collar, stud snaps, epaulets, a built-in belt, several pockets, wrist zips, lace-up sides, and—best of all—a zip-out quilted poly-fill liner.

Here are three shots with the liner in it:

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And without the liner:

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I guess you can’t really see a difference in the photos, but the liner, while warm, makes the jacket feel a lot tighter and more restrictive, so I really prefer to wear it without the liner when I can.

This jacket is obviously not as bust-friendly as the other options above, but it’s still a vast improvement over other leather jackets I’ve tried on in stores. Most of them completely flatten me and make me look like the Michelin Man. Even if it isn’t the most flattering coat ever, I still feel really comfortable in it and I think you can see my shape pretty well. One thing that helps a lot is the lacing on the side (visible in the third liner photo). I tightened it so that it’s looser at the bottom of the placket and as tight as possible at the top, so that it cinches my waist in further right at the base of my bust.

As for sizing, I tried a medium first and it was way too bulky. The shoulders were wide, the sleeves practically reached my fingertips, and the waist had inches to spare. So I exchanged for a small. The more I wear this jacket, the more flexible it becomes—and the more it molds to my body! When I first got it, it was definitely more boxy-looking than it is here. But real leather is known for molding to your body with heat, so over time this jacket will fit better and better as I keep wearing it.

A note about this particular item: Wilson’s Leather lists it as $400 but on sale for $269. Don’t believe it! This is an exclusive item they always carry year in and year out, and it’s always marked at $269. However, they have 30% or 40% off sales all the time, and as far as I can tell, this jacket is always part of that deal. So keep an eye out for their next big sale (Black Friday, perhaps?) before you make a purchase.

Finally, here are some biker jackets from boob-friendly brands that you can buy right now:

Manchester jacket [http://biubiu.pl/en/manchester-black.html] from BiuBiu, available in black or grey.

Manchester jacket from BiuBiu, available in black and grey.

Zipper jacket [http://dd-atelier.com/Zipper-Jacket-in-Brown.html] from DD-Atelier, available in brown (shown here), green, and bordeaux.

Zipper jacket from DD-Atelier, available in brown (shown here), green, and bordeaux.

Ponte biker blazer [http://www.bravissimo.com/pepperberry/products/coats/jackets/ponte-biker-jacket/plum/pc160plu/?level=2] from Pepperberry.

Ponte biker blazer from Pepperberry.

For cheap options, Forever21 has tons of faux leather “moto” jackets, and H&M frequently offers them too.

If you know of any others, please share in the comments!

 

Off the Rack ~ Trying a Custom-Made Coat from Etsy

I’ve long been an Etsy lurker, saving tons of items to my favorites list but never actually buying any of them. Most of the time it’s because it’s out of my price range. Custom, handmade clothing tends to cost quite a bit, and rightfully so. But I recently found a few China-based sellers that have the most amazing coats at a slightly more affordable price point.

I’m usually a little hesitant about ordering from China because I’ve been burned by China-based eBay sellers before and, more importantly, I’m concerned about contributing to sweatshop conditions. But the couple of stores I was looking at on Etsy have pretty extensive and legitimate-sounding shop descriptions, complete with names and photos of the employees. Can it be trusted? I don’t really know. I hope so . . . because these coats are so awesome I want to buy them all! It helps that the pricing is not exactly sweatshop-level. Most of the coats are around $130–$170, which is inexpensive for custom-made, but not at all what I consider “cheap.”

After trying on a full-skirted coat from Guess in a random store, I decided I needed a similar one. The skirt was so feminine and fun and it balanced my chest really well. But I did not want the Guess one, because it was mostly acrylic and was so itchy. All the Etsy coats I found were instead wool-polyester blends, which is exactly what I wanted. I know that blend is very warm and not scratchy because I’ve had coats in that material in the past.

After searching around, I found two shops that had a ton of coats I loved, including plenty with full skirts. The first is YL1dress and the second is Xiaolizi. I had such a hard time choosing from all their offerings, but I eventually settled on an asymmetrical collared one from YL1.

YL1dress black coat

The best part about ordering clothes through Etsy is that most sellers are happy to customize the sizing or design for you. So I requested to have plain straight sleeves instead of the “lantern” ones pictured, and I asked for houndstooth fabric that was in another listing in the same shop.

YL1dress houndstooth coat

YL1 offers customization for a flat $30 fee, so I got the sleeve alteration, the new fabric, and I provided my measurements (noting my long waist, especially) even though I’m right in the range of what they list as a size “medium.”

The shop had excellent communication, usually writing me back within hours of anything I sent them. They also included charts with instructions on how to properly measure yourself and requested additional measurements beyond the usual chest/waist to ensure the best possible fit (specifically, length from shoulder to waist, height, and weight).

It seems they forgot to mark the parcel as sent when they first shipped it, because I received a shipping confirmation that day after it arrived, so I have no idea how fast it was made or how fast it shipped. But the final communication occurred on November 14 and I received the package on December 10, so I’m pretty happy with that timeline.

So! How’s the final product? Here, have a photo essay (in front of our little Christmas tree that we just started decorating!):

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Love it love it love it love it!!

The quality is so far beyond what I was even expecting. The first thing I noticed is it is really heavy. Also, the lining is high quality and sewn perfectly; the fabric is nice and soft; and the care that went into the details is truly impressive.

The fit is just the tiniest bit off. I wish the chest was just a little roomier. You can see it pulling a tiny bit in the closeups below. And the armpits are attached a little low or at a weird angle or something, because when I lift my arms up high, the rest of the coat goes with them.

But there’s definitely room for layers under the coat and it certainly fits better than my old boxy wool peacoat I replaced it with. Plus the asymmetrical collar and high-low skirt are so fun! And considering that it kept me totally toasty in Thursday’s mid-30s (Fahrenheit) weather (and I was outside for most of the day), it’s practical even though it looks more “fashion-y.”

Here are some of those details I mentioned:

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The torso. Note the princess seams—a busty gal’s best friend. You can see here that the chest is pulling just a touch. Also please note the matching covered buttons. My old houndstooth peacoat just had black plastic. It even came with a spare button tucked into one of the pockets.

Princess seams from the side. Pretty good contouring, no?

Princess seams from the side. Pretty good contouring, no?

I just love this collar. There’s even a little hidden button that holds the larger side of the collar in place under the smaller piece.

I just love this collar. There’s even a little hidden button that holds the larger side of the collar in place under the smaller piece.

Fun, full skirt! I also appreciate that there’s a button on the lower side of the waist seam. The old peacoat (again) only had buttons across the bust, so it would fly open with a big gust of wind. That’s not an issue here.

Fun, full skirt! I also appreciate that there’s a button on the lower side of the waist seam. The old peacoat (again) only had buttons across the bust, so it would fly open with a big gust of wind. That’s not an issue here.

The pockets! They are a little high up, which I really like because it’s a perfect height for keeping my hands in them. And the inner panel is made of the wool, with just the outer panel made of lining fabric. Not only is this warmer for my hands, but all my coats that have pockets made of just lining end up shredding where it’s sewn together, so presumably that won’t be an issue either. They're also quite deep. I have no worries about my phone or Metrocard or gloves falling out. And the full skirt hides that I have all that crap in there too!

The pockets! They are a little high up, which I really like because it’s a perfect height for keeping my hands in them. And the inner panel is made of the wool, with just the outer panel made of lining fabric. Not only is this warmer for my hands, but all my coats that have pockets made of just lining end up shredding where it’s sewn together, so presumably that won’t be an issue either. They’re also quite deep. I have no worries about my phone or Metrocard or gloves falling out. And the full skirt hides that I have all that crap in there too!

Even with the minor fit issues, I am really happy with this coat and heartily recommend this Etsy seller.

 

Full Bust Find: Ted Baker Nevia Belted Wrap Coat

Mia is out sick today, so I’m filling in with this great coat that I found at Bloomingdale’s on Monday. I preferred the way that size 3 looked on me overall (more streamlined), but it was slightly tight at the armholes. Size 4 felt comfortable at the arms, but it looked slightly baggy. However, if I were in the market for a coat this year, I would give the Ted Baker Nevia belted wrap coat serious consideration.

First, there’s an extra dart coming from the princess seams that ensures a flattering fit around the bust (although a deeper dart would likely solve the tight armholes issue). Second, the collar stands up effortlessly. If you’re short like me and find belted wrap coats tend to look fussy and cluttered compared to the way they look on 6′ models, this stand-up collar gives instant length to your stature.

Ted Baker bust friendly nevia belted wrap

 

There’s a seam at the waist that helps maintain your hourglass line. I couldn’t find any photos of the lining, but it’s in a beautiful print, and it has as many seams as you see in the exterior below.

 

ted backer bust friendly nevia belted wrap back

I just dug out my coat find from last year. For all that searching, guess what? I didn’t wear it once because I never got around to having the sleeves shortened! However, even though it is now too large, I believe I can adjust the wrap feature for a tighter fit that is still flattering and will accommodate both my bust and bulky layers. My coat was also at Bloomingdale’s on Monday, so it’s another option for those of you in the market for a coat this year.