Off the Rack ~ Bust-Friendly Coats: The Collectif Pearl

I really should have reviewed this before Christmas, but I just couldn’t get my shit together for the past couple weeks. The holidays wiped me out (in a good way), with family gatherings, parties, and travel. I’m even late this week, as you can see!

This week I’m reviewing the Collectif Pearl coat. Collectif is a brand I’ve reviewed before with mixed results. But my last review was two and a half years ago, and I’ve had much better success since then. I’m particularly fond of their “Dolores” styles (in which I take size UK 12 / Medium) and their sweaters (in which I take UK 10 / Small because they’re stretchy and I like them fitted for tucking into high-waisted bottoms).

Collectif also makes the best vintage-style winter coats. I’ve had my eye on the Pearl coat for years, especially after my pal MissShapen came for a New York visit a few years ago and brought one along. She looked amazing in it, and it was so flattering on a busty figure. From the original beige color, in the years since they’ve released it in navy blue, dark green, and, this season, in burgundy and textured black. I was excited by the green when it was released last year, but I couldn’t really justify buying another winter coat. Then this year, Collectif re-issued the green in limited quantities, and I knew it was finally time to take the plunge before I lost my chance. So I got rid of a bunch of jackets I don’t wear much to make room in the closet, and waited until Black Friday when I knew there would be sales.

I ordered both the green from ModCloth and the burgundy from Unique Vintage, so I could try on both colors and decide which I liked better. I ended up going with the green, as I thought its warmer tone (in both the coat and the fur trim) flattered my coloring better.

Oh readers, this coat is simply glorious. I literally get compliments every time I wear it. And even better, it fits a busty figure beautifully and it’s actually very warm and practical for New York winters!


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Off the Rack ~ Miss Candyfloss Roxy & Olive Tops Reviewed

More Miss Candyfloss! My favorite brand had a 20% off coupon for Black Friday, so I placed another order. I’ve now collected several dresses and a bunch of different tops. This week, I’m reviewing two long-sleeved tops, and I’ll follow up with more of them in future posts.

In my first review of a MCF top—the Margit-Ilene—I found the size medium a little clingier than I really prefer. The “underbust” seam was also distinctively on top of breast tissue, and the fabric was stretched taut so that I lost some of the pleating details. So this time, I went with size large and crossed my fingers it wouldn’t be too large.

Well I’m so glad I did, and I’ll be buying size large in stretch jersey tops from MCF from now on! For reference, I measure 37”-29”-41”.

First up is the Roxy-Lee top with fox-print trim:

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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…]