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:

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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.

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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 sourcing.alibaba.com):

spacer fabric

And here’s a diagram of how it stays so cool (courtesy LookChina.com):

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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

Rebecca

Rebecca

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.

 

Off the Rack ~ Trashy Diva Doris Dress Reviewed

Yet another Trashy Diva purchase this week. I bought this on eBay some time ago. It’s called the Doris dress. Mine is made of cotton, which is no longer available on the TD website, but the Doris Middy is available in two different rayon prints (cherries and turquoise floral). I’ve been told that the Doris Middy is just a little shorter than the plain Doris, but longer than the Doll Mini.

I first saw this dress long after it was gone from the TD site and absolutely fell in love. I saved a search for it on eBay and, lo and behold, one day about a month ago it popped up in my size in a nice dark red. Since it arrived at my door, I’ve worn it numerous times. Please note that it’s darker in real life than it looks in these sunny-day photos. And since it was such a nice day, instead of my usual nighttime shot in the apartment with unflattering lighting, you actually get to see my face in these shots!

The skirt is impressively full without a petticoat, but the breeze is hiding that a bit here.

The skirt is impressively full without a petticoat, but the breeze is hiding that a bit here.

I love that the straps are thick enough to wear a regular bra.

I love that the straps are thick enough to wear a regular bra.

This back shot gives a good idea of the skirt’s natural fullness. As with the Doll Mini, the back is exactly the same as the front.

This back shot gives a good idea of the skirt’s natural fullness. As with the Doll Mini, the back is exactly the same as the front.

You gotta love a dress with pockets! These are big enough to fit my entire hand, but not deep enough that I’d feel safe carrying my phone in them without worry that it would slip out.

You gotta love a dress with pockets! These are big enough to fit my entire hand, but not deep enough that I’d feel safe carrying my phone in them without worry that it would slip out.

The skirt is fully lined with another thin layer of red cotton, which helps give it fullness.

The skirt is fully lined with another thin layer of red cotton, which helps give it fullness.

As usual, the bodice is super flattering on a big bust. However...

As usual, the bodice is super flattering on a big bust. However

Unlike the Doll Mini, the top seam of the waistband comes up a little too high. It’s resting on breast tissue instead of staying firmly under my boobs.

Unlike the Doll Mini, the top seam of the waistband comes up a little too high. It’s resting on breast tissue instead of staying firmly under my boobs.

In this photo, my fingers are right where my bra’s underwire stops. (It’s a Comexim “Eris” in 60J.) This photo is a little more color-accurate, by the way.

In this photo, my fingers are right where my bra’s underwire stops. (It’s a Comexim “Eris” in 60J.) This photo is a little more color-accurate, by the way.

Some other notes about this dress: It is 100% cotton with no stretch, so if you ever come across one, make sure you follow the size chart. It’s no longer on the TD website, but I found a cached version, so here it is:

size chart

You’ll notice it’s similar to the Doris Middy size charts, but the waist runs a touch smaller.

Additionally, the invisible zipper, as usual, is a little hard to pull past the seams. The armpit is also sewn together at the top of the zipper. This made it really hard to get on and off, so I unsewed it and added a hook and eye instead. You can just see the white hook peeking out in the last photo above.

The cotton is super light and airy, perfect for a hot day. Just be careful because a gust of wind will give you a serious Marilyn Monroe moment. I have to hold down the skirt when entering the subway because the trains tend to bring in huge gusts of hot air and I really don’t want to be flashing my underwear.

Lastly, I just have to show off my new Miss L Fire “Bel-Aire” pumps that I got on sale from ModCloth:

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I’ve read it in several places and I have to agree, it’s like Miss L Fire shoes are made for Trashy Diva dresses! They match perfectly in style and there are tons of colors to go with any TD dress. These ones are also surprisingly comfortable thanks to the chunky heel and sizable front platform. And I love the attention to detail—the buckle and the bow are the same shade of blue. There are quite a few heavily discounted pairs on Amazon.com, and Miss L Fire’s own site has a sizeable sale section.