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):

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

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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:

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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.

Off the Rack ~ Trashy Diva Streetcar Dress in Cherries Reviewed

Here comes another Trashy Diva review! This is actually my first full-price item from the vintage reproduction brand. All the other garments I’ve purchased have been with a coupon, a sale, or a great eBay deal. It’s the Streetcar dress in the new cherry print. Since this print is expected to sell out rather quickly, I decided to jump on it right away before my size was gone, even though it meant paying full price, because I love the print sooooo much.

This cherries pattern is a reissue of a rare 2010 print. Normally I shy away from cherries even though I like novelty prints in general, and fruit prints in particular (I own more banana items than any human has a right to). But I find that most cherry prints from pinup-y brands are cartoon-style and seem . . . too obvious, I guess?

Pinup Girl Clothing’s Daisy dress in black cherries print.

Pinup Girl Clothing’s Daisy dress in black cherries print.

Heart of Haute’s Sweetie dress in classic cherry.

Heart of Haute’s Sweetie dress in classic cherry.

Meanwhile, this Trashy Diva cherry print is more subdued, in a painterly style reminiscent of watercolors, with heavy emphasis on white, and red used almost as an accent.

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Some details: The dress is 100% rayon and comes with a matching belt and fat length of fabric to use as a bow around the neck. It has a full gathered skirt with pockets, and closes with an invisible zipper on the left side. I took a size 8 (my usual TD size). My measurements are 37”-29”-41”.

So here I am in the dress. It has a mandarin collar with a hook and eye at the top. The optional neck bow just ties around your neck with no hooks or other closures. There are several ways to wear the neckline, but I like it unbuttoned with no bow the best. I’m wearing it with a red belt instead of the fabric belt it came with.

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A closeup of the bust.

A closeup of the bust.

Wearing it buttoned with no bow.

Wearing it buttoned with no bow.

Wearing it buttoned with the bow and the belt.

Wearing it buttoned with the bow and the belt.

Full view of the bow and belt. As you can see, in such dark fabric they both basically disappear into the dress.

Full view of the bow and belt. As you can see, in such dark fabric they both basically disappear into the dress.

Wearing it with the collar folded out.

Wearing it with the collar folded out.

Like the Annette dress, the Streetcar is not quite the most bust-friendly option of the TD offerings. Once again it has enough room for boobs, but does not curve under them despite a pair of darts under the bust. It also tends to pull toward my bigger boob (lefty) and sit crookedly.

You can’t wear a conventional bra with the Streetcar because the straps stick out. I’m wearing a strapless Deco in 30FF with the straps attached in the crossback position. I think you could get away with a regular bra if you used a Rixie Clip or similar device to pull the straps together in the back.

One other little complaint is that the belt is too big. I don’t think TD uses a different belt length for each dress size because even the smallest setting on this belt is bigger than the dress’s waist measurement by about an inch. Additionally, I actually ordered an 8 and a 10 to assess fit, and the belt with the size 10 was the exact same length as the 8.

As for comparing the 8 and 10, I had read that this particular dress runs small. In fact, it is a little bit smaller on the size chart. Streetcar’s size 8 says up to 29” in the waist and 37” in the bust, while most other non-stretch 8’s are up to 29.5” and 38”. I did slightly prefer the size 10’s bust, and thought its waist might be preferable in the long term in case I gain weight or have a bloaty day, but the armholes and the fabric above and below the bust were far too loose. The size chart is definitely accurate, so pick the one that closest matches your measurements. If you’re between sizes, go up because there is no stretch.

Even though the bust is a little wonky on me, I am once again very happy with this dress. The skirt is super full and feminine, but the weight keeps it from blowing up in the wind. I love all the different options for wearing the collar. And even though the bow seems a little superfluous, it can be worn other ways too, as a belt or headband or a neck bow on a different dress where it’ll stand out more. I think wearing the belt and bow on a solid black, white, or red dress would look really cute!

I also have to repeat how much I love the pattern. Plus, if you’re not crazy about the Streetcar style, the cherries print is available on four other dresses. I had a really hard time choosing between the Streetcar and the Doris Middy, as I own another Doris dress in solid red and loooooooove it. It is so flattering on a big bust. I ended up choosing the Streetcar because I wanted a different style than what I already own.

Off the Rack ~ Hell Bunny Alexa Cardigan and Pinup Girl Clothing Luscious Dress Reviewed

Throughout the year, I’ve picked up some great bust-friendly clothes and never got around to writing about them, so unless something more pressing pops up in the next few weeks, I’ll be catching up on some reviews. This week it’s the Hell Bunny Alexa cardigan and the Pinup Girl Clothing Luscious dress.

I’ve been on a bit of a nautical kick lately. I own several garments that have sailor collars or anchors on them. Recently I picked up the Hell Bunny Alexa cardigan, which has an actual collar that flaps around on the back instead of simply being embroidered on.

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So cute! I was a little unsure of sizing since cardigans can be tricky for big-bust ladies. But after searching the internet for reviews and photos of Hell Bunny cardigans, I decided to go with my usual medium instead of sizing up to a large for the sake of potential button gaping.

The fabric (81% viscose and 19% nylon) is super stretchy and the medium is definitely appropriate for my 29” waist. There is some pulling on my 37” bust, but luckily there’s a nice, thick strip of grosgrain ribbon lining the inside of the button placket and the button holes, so the potential for button gaping is minimal. You can see that the line isn’t quite perfectly straight, but I think the only way to achieve that would be to size up and I really wanted it to be figure-hugging, so this is fine.

I love the bow at the neck. It’s so precious. And obviously the sailor collar round back is perfect. The anchors are embroidered around their edges and then there’s polka dot fabric inside the anchor providing those little spots.

I do think the arm length is rather odd. It just covers my elbows and it feels weird. I keep wanting to push it above my elbows or pull it down to be true three-quarters length. I think it looks perfectly fine, but it feels strange to have all this fabric bunched up in my elbow, especially since it’s cuffed here so it’s really two layers.

I bought this sweater from a UK-based store on Amazon.com, but it can also be found on several US websites such as SourpussClothing.com and Unique-Vintage.com, among others.

As for the Luscious dress (also size medium), I actually bought this lovely two years ago! I never reviewed it for some reason—yet it’s my favorite item I’ve ever ordered from PUG. I even own it in another color, the navy with red trim.

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I’m wearing it with an old Freya Deco in 28G. It’s not quite work-appropriate, but the cleavage isn’t too excessive (though bigger ladies may beg to differ).

This dress is so comfortable! It’s a rather thick 97% cotton and 3% spandex blend that feels like light, stretchy sweatshirt material. It pulls on over the head so there are no scratchy fasteners. It’s also got the “double-dip” neckline that is ever so flattering on busty women.

Even though I adore it, there are some issues. For one thing, even though that lack of fasteners makes it very cozy once on, it’s difficult to get over your head and boobs since the waist doesn’t open up—and even harder to get off! I have to bend way over and pull it by the skirt and shimmy out of it. Make sure you take your glasses or hair accessories off first too, or else they’ll be pulled off with the dress.

Additionally, the sizing is a little inconsistent. The navy version of this dress that I have is significantly tighter. It’s not visible to other people, but I can feel a real difference. As such, the navy is even more of a struggle to get on and off. I know black dye tends to make fabric less stretchy, so perhaps the dark blue color is to blame. I wouldn’t really know for sure unless I tried other colors to compare.

The worst thing about this dress, though, is that the first time I washed it, the black trim bled all over the skirt. I even washed it in cold water! When I pulled it out of the machine, I was shocked to see all these dark blue blotches. I threw it back in with Oxy-Clean (a non-chlorine color-safe stain lifter)—twice!—but the blotches wouldn’t go anywhere.

Disregard the small darker dot near the bottom. It’s a grease spot from my pizza dinner tonight (oops!).

Disregard the small darker dot near the bottom. It’s a grease spot from my pizza dinner tonight (oops!).

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The worst offender. The big triangle on the right is an inch and a half wide.

The worst offender. These are not grease spots. The big triangle on the right is an inch and a half wide.

These photos were taken with no flash and no filter. The blotches are color accurate. This also happened with the light pink Natalie dress (with black trim) I used to own. So I guess I should have known better, but usually cold water staves off bleeding! PUG really needs to start pre-washing their dark trims. I’ve since read that a vinegar-water soak should set fabric dye so it doesn’t bleed, so I would definitely recommend trying that before washing the first time.

PUG offers these dresses in six colors now, each with a different item embroidered on the shoulders: mint with black trim (mermaid embroidery), navy with red (pirate octopus), black with baby pink (drunk elephant), red with black (pinup girl), sky blue with black (Neverland pirate skull), and bubblegum pink with black (swans).

While I love the two I own, I’m really not into any of the other colors or embroideries. I hope they make more in darker colors like teal, plum, or rust, and I really want one with tattoo-style swallows embroidered on it. There’s a leopard print coming soon as well, but I’m so not a fan of the weird two-tone print.

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