Off the Rack ~ Shopping for Bridesmaid Dresses

A few weeks ago, I visited my longest friend to look for bridesmaid dresses for her wedding in Chicago next fall. I’ve been a bridesmaid only once before, when I was the maid of honor at my sister’s wedding. But she selected dresses from J. Crew so we all mail-ordered our dresses separately without ever meeting up or trying anything on. So this was the first time I’ve ever really gone shopping for a bridesmaid dress.

There’s definitely a reputation for this activity being awful, but I had a total blast! The group included a variety of body shapes, sizes, and heights, so everyone was sensitive to personal comfort and lingerie needs.

The wedding is a super fancy black-tie affair in September, so we were looking for long dresses in dark colors with “something special.” We went to two local boutiques. One had more conventional dresses but excellent customer service, while the other had what I thought were nicer offerings, but our consultant wasn’t very good. Additionally, the second shop didn’t allow photography, so I only have real photos from the first place.

I’ll give an overview of some of the styles I tried on and then share my final thoughts. I think this first group was all dresses by the brand Dessy:

The rack from which we were selecting.

The rack from which we were selecting.

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Off the Rack ~ Lise Charmel “Guipure Charming” Demi Bra Review

As part of the last Curve Expo, Darlene and I were invited to a Lingerie Française meetup at Ladurée SoHo. We got to meet a bunch of fellow bloggers as well as brand ambassadors for several French lingerie brands, all while enjoying a cute French meal followed by all the sweets we could eat.

Naturally, I dressed to match the dessert (this is the Lindy Bop “Vanessa” Wiggle Dress in size UK 12/ US Medium).

Naturally, I dressed to match the dessert (this is the Lindy Bop “Vanessa” Wiggle Dress in size UK 12/ US Medium).

Om nom nom!

Om nom nom!

A bonus of the evening was the goodie bags we received, which included an invitation to try a Lise Charmel lingerie set. Since I’ve never tried French lingerie, I was really excited to have this opportunity, especially after chatting with the Lise Charmel rep at dinner, to whom I even spoke a little French. [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Cleo Piper Longline Bra Reviewed

The Cleo Piper longline bra in cobalt blue was a huge blogger favorite at the autumn/winter 2016 lingerie trade shows. I’ve certainly been waiting patiently for its release, and many online retailers are already sold out of lots of sizes, if not the entire run.

I was lucky enough to find it in my size, but after trying my regular Cleo size and two other sizes, this bra absolutely does not work for me at all…which is really unfortunate since it’s so gorgeous! I mean, look at it!


I started off with size 28GG. This is the size I wear in most Cleo bras, though occasionally I need to size down in the cup or up in the band. To compare to a few other Cleo models: the 28GG Marcie fits my bigger boob perfectly and runs big on my smaller boob, enough that I need a cookie, and the band is perfect; Meg/Lily/Erin fits both boobs perfectly in 30FF and the band is perfect; and Hettie fits both boobs perfectly in 28GG, but the band is a little loose. I also recently tried the Blake in 28GG and found it too small in the cups (I’m debating whether to try exchanging for a size up or deciding the issue is actually that it’s just too closed on top). [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Reviewing Miss Candyfloss “Gigi-Bo” Jumpsuit & “Weslyn-Hollis” Dress

My obsession with the vintage reproduction brand Miss Candyfloss continues unabated. I recently picked up a dress and a jumpsuit for fall. The dress was from last year with limited sizes left, and now it’s no longer on the MCF site at all. But I purchased the jumpsuit from ModCloth, which has it in five different colors for about the same price as MCF’s website. So if you wait for a coupon, you can actually get it for significantly less than the suggested retail (I had a 20% ModCloth code, they just finished a 25% code last week, and Black Friday is coming up next month…so it’s definitely worth waiting!).

For sizing, I’m wearing medium in both these pieces, and I measure 37”-29”-41” with a bra size of 28G – 30G (depending on the brand) and height 5’6”.

First up is the Gigi-Bo “pantskirt jumpsuit” in wine (aka ModCloth’s “Embolden Age Jumpsuit” in burgundy). I’ve seen a few reviews of this item before, but never really felt inclined to try it myself until this gorgeous wine color came out.

With my long torso and short legs, I don’t usually get along with jumpsuits. They’re often too short in the body and too long in the legs, leading to some unfortunate perma-wedgie. But since ModCloth has a good return policy, with the coupon I figured it was worth a shot. And I’m so glad I tried it, because, miraculously, the jumpsuit fits me perfectly!

img_3692 [Read more…]