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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Off the Rack ~ I Skipped CurvExpo (By Choice!)

Last weekend was the CurvExpo NY for the spring and summer 2015 season. I had initially planned on going, was all registered and everything, but at the last minute I decided to skip it.

Thanks to Darlene’s reader survey a while back, we learned that the Curve show is the content on Hourglassy that readers like the least. So it was hard to get up the motivation to bother going, especially since I haven’t had a free weekend in literally months thanks to an unexpected glut of work and planning my October wedding.

But additionally, there’s so much of the same stuff there season after season that it’s losing its value for me. Every Curve (which is twice a year), I see Eveden, Panache, Curvy Kate, Parfait, and Claudette. It’s rare that I discover something new. In looking over my previous Curve posts, only Claudette has come out with some totally different items instead of strictly variations on the same old stuff. Even the new brands I’ve written about usually aren’t really part of the full-bust market. I’m lucky if they go up to a British G-cup. And then you have brands like Mimi Holliday, whose product I always adore, but can’t do anything more than ooh and aah over it since they don’t offer my size.

Come on, guys, where is the innovation?? And if doing something truly different is too risky, how about doing something totally basic yet missing from the full-bust market? Can someone please make a full-bust racerback bra that opens in the front already? How about getting with the program and using laser-cut fabric for the bra bands? And how many times do we have to ask for different shades of “nude” before a company makes a dark brown continuity bra?

I’m just over it when it comes to new prints on the same bra season after season. Plus, even when a company makes a print that I absolutely love, I can often see them online before I show up at Curve, to say nothing of the excellent coverage that my bra-blogging contemporaries are writing.

So, will I never attend Curve again? That’s doubtful. I still find some fun stuff there, but it’s more and more becoming non-bra items (see Bordelle, PSD, and Empowered by You at last winter’s Curve). Plus, it’s a good way to maintain professional relationships between Hourglassy and the brands we regularly cover. But this time? I don’t feel like I missed much.

If you want to see what was on offer at Curve this year, I invite you to check out my fellow bloggers’ coverage:

Off the Rack ~ Comparing the New Freya Deco to the Original

I’ve been thinking about investing in some new Freya Decos to replace my existing ones, which are very worn out at this point. So when Bare Necessities was having a sale, I ordered the Deco Honey in Topaz, a pretty mint green color.

The original Deco is great, but has met with complaints that the edge of the cup rolls out ever so slightly and is visible through clothes. I experience this issue myself, and it’s worse on my smaller side so it looks particularly wonky. This Honey model is one of the new ones that have trim along the cup edges to ameliorate this edge rolling issue.

Here’s a photo of the trim:

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It’s the same color and fabric as the rest of the bra, and is sewn nice and flat. Unfortunately, though, it still fails its intended purpose and is actually more visible—a lot more, in fact—than my old Deco.

I first tried the bra under a dress I own that is the worst offender at visible cup edge out of all my clothes. This exact dress is what I had in mind when I selected the Deco with trim. Here is a mirror shot of it over the original Deco (click to see full size):

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And here it is with the new Deco:

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Aaaaah! Before it was only slightly noticeable, but now it looks totally ridiculous. And it’s definitely the right size because I ordered a couple to compare and this, the same size as my original (28G), was the best fit.

Since I know this dress is notorious for visible bra lines, I also tried a comparison under a smooth jersey dress to see if it would be better under a different neckline. Here’s the original:

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Barely noticeable, but still a tiny bit of visible edge, especially on the right side.

And here’s that same dress with the new Deco:

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Definitely more visible. Looks rather silly, in my opinion.

I ended up returning the new Deco. I’m not sure what it is about its edge that makes it so visible, because I also own the Fantasie Smoothing Tee Shirt bra, which has similar trim on its edge, and it’s not visible at all.

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This has become my go-to tee shirt bra for slinky things since the Deco’s edges don’t work, but I really prefer the oomph you get from the Deco. They’re even both from the same parent company (Eveden). Freya, have a chat with Fantasie and figure this out, please!