Sleeping Busty Beauty: The Clearance Rack

There’s nothing better than a clearance rack packed with nightgowns. Here’s what I found when I visited the Lord & Taylor lingerie floor early in the summer.

First up is the one that got away. This floaty Donna Karan gown is the epitome of pretty and feminine with elements of fantasy and pretend (two of the criteria I described when I began this series). I believe it was polyester, but it felt like silk, and I loved the seam detailing in back and at the bottom as well as the decadently generous fabric allowance. Normally over $140, I bought it for $70 and then returned it because I let my head overrule my heart. For some reason, I couldn’t be satisfied with this being mere sleepwear. I wanted to wear it outside but couldn’t stand the prospect of a strapless bra or of simply using it as a swimsuit coverup. I also rigidly adhered to my no-gathers-above-the-bust rule that I told you about at the beginning of this series (for a great workaround to this issue, check out Sarah’s solution in her comment to that post). So I took it back to the store, and of course it wasn’t there the next time I checked.  It’s now available several places online in white, as well as in a pale pink at Saks, but now I’m in love with the watercolor print Aurora gown, which has gathers between the breasts instead of above them, and a great print that would group my boobs with my neckline. If the Aurora ever drops 50% from its $198 price, I’ll let my heart win this time!

dkny floaty swishy gown

Next is another Donna Karan find, the Liquid Jersey Crossover Gown that was extremely discounted that day. According to the wrap-dress dictates directed at D+ women, this should be a great gown on us, and I wanted to love it–so elegant!–but my boob droop spoiled the look. If Mr. Campbell had chosen this from the lineup I showed him, however, I would have gladly compromised and kept it. Wouldn’t it be lovely if Eveden or Midnight Grace would create this same gown using a full-bust shelf with side slings?

dkny wrap busty nightgown

Finally, here’s the chemise I bought and kept. It’s from Jonquil by In Bloom and cost around $30 on sale.

  • There is no shelf, but I look less droopy in this than in the Donna Karan crossover gown because the print groups my bosom with my neckline (or disguises it, one or the other–or both!). The vertical line down the center helps, too.
  • I also like how the racerback emphasizes my shoulders so that they look wider than my chest. When I catch a glimpse of myself wearing this chemise, I feel positively athletic!

jonquil by in bloom full bust nightgown

And I adore the back. It’s my chance to wear a fun back without worry about bra straps!

This chemise isn’t like anything else I tried on, and I think that’s part of my reason for choosing it. When I showed Mr. Campbell the collage below, I was drawn to the Jonquil. It looked more “me” and had an energy that the others lacked. Plus, the price was very right.

big bust nightgown fronts

I’ve now worn this nightgown for most of the summer, and there’s only one negative. The gorgeous slinky stretch fabric that wads up into the tiniest ball when I’m packing my suitcase is entirely unbreathable. With no internal shelf, there have been  some very sweaty underboob moments in this nightgown. This is something I’ll keep in mind the next time I’m shopping for a new nightgown.

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:



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.


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?


Full Bust Find: Ted Baker Nevia Belted Wrap Coat

Mia is out sick today, so I’m filling in with this great coat that I found at Bloomingdale’s on Monday. I preferred the way that size 3 looked on me overall (more streamlined), but it was slightly tight at the armholes. Size 4 felt comfortable at the arms, but it looked slightly baggy. However, if I were in the market for a coat this year, I would give the Ted Baker Nevia belted wrap coat serious consideration.

First, there’s an extra dart coming from the princess seams that ensures a flattering fit around the bust (although a deeper dart would likely solve the tight armholes issue). Second, the collar stands up effortlessly. If you’re short like me and find belted wrap coats tend to look fussy and cluttered compared to the way they look on 6′ models, this stand-up collar gives instant length to your stature.

Ted Baker bust friendly nevia belted wrap


There’s a seam at the waist that helps maintain your hourglass line. I couldn’t find any photos of the lining, but it’s in a beautiful print, and it has as many seams as you see in the exterior below.


ted backer bust friendly nevia belted wrap back

I just dug out my coat find from last year. For all that searching, guess what? I didn’t wear it once because I never got around to having the sleeves shortened! However, even though it is now too large, I believe I can adjust the wrap feature for a tighter fit that is still flattering and will accommodate both my bust and bulky layers. My coat was also at Bloomingdale’s on Monday, so it’s another option for those of you in the market for a coat this year.

Corporate Curves Report: Womanly Change Curve?

Note from Darlene: We all have days when we don’t give our big boobs a second thought, and sometimes Tina’s corporate report will reflect this. Today, Tina reflects on one aspect of what it means to be a woman in her field, regardless of bra size.

I had an interesting discussion with my work team’s senior project manager where he and I discussed how being a woman can actually work for you in change management. This topic was raised at a lunch discussion when we noticed that the people on our project who most successfully handle management level change resistance are pretty much all women, myself included.

This is also a cultural thing and doesn’t work in the same way in all countries (possibly not in many Asian cultures where losing face is a huge deal), but in many western cultures it does.

Change resistance is a natural phenomenon when there are big changes at ones workplace and even the top management can get very difficult over accepting the change. In Finland we do not have much hierarchy in workplaces, but there’s still some good old fashioned shouting culture present among the management–older men, that is–plus the ones who learned from them.
Emotional change adaptation curve.

Emotional change adaptation curve.

But all of those men have wives and daughters (okay, maybe not all, but as a generalization). On top of that, it’s common these days that women work in high positions even in male-dominated fields like Supply Chain or IT, at least in my home country. So there’s no Mad Men type of thinking present in workplaces anymore, nor has there been for a few decades.
Even the leaders are all just normal people with families, and I suppose many men have learned that sometimes it’s just better to give in and agree with the women in their lives. In deep change resistance where they have dug their heels in and refuse to budge, a smiling woman who just sighs at shouting and asks whether you are done with shouting and could we move on with the agenda as we’re not making progress here can be . . . disarming.
The majority will always adapt new anything late so early stages are always challenging.

The majority will always adapt to anything late, so early stages are always challenging.

She calmly explains the change over and over again as many times as is required, but if all else fails she will flash the HQ card saying that, well, we’re not really asking you to approve this, but it would go more smoothly if we’d get you on board. All with firm calmness and a smile.

Perhaps it’s less face-losing to change one’s mind and give in when it’s not to a career hungry man but instead a tough but soft woman. They won’t change their minds quietly or easily, but it seems that surrendering to a woman in the face of defeat might be a little easier to swallow than it would be to a male.
Of course there are sometimes those people who just shout and don’t listen to, well, anyone.