Off the Rack ~ A Weekend in the Country with Miss Candyfloss

I spent the Fourth of July holiday weekend at my parents’ cabin in the middle of nowhere in Central New York farmland, but there was no way I would let that stop me from wearing my awesome new Miss Candyfloss items! Plus the natural surroundings were a nice backdrop for the photos.

After trying a few Miss Candyfloss pieces (read reviews here and here), I’ve become totally hooked! This brand fits me better than any off-the-rack, non full-bust-specific company I’ve ever tried. Plus, the items are really nice quality yet still easy to care for—the dress and top I’m sharing here are both machine-washable and seem pretty wrinkle-resistant so far.

This time I managed to snag the much coveted Juanita Sunset dress for an absolute steal on eBay after my size sold out on the MCF website. The dress features amazing bright colors, a super flattering neckline, and a full skirt. Made of 63% polyester, 35% viscose, and 2% lycra, the dress drapes beautifully and has a medium amount of stretch. I’m wearing a size medium with measurements 37”-29”-41”.

The dress perfectly matched my mom’s orange and red flower bed:

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My little doggy couldn’t resist making a cameo as well:

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I wore the dress around the property while my dad teased me for being a “city gal” and “not dressing for the cabin.” But Juanita is so comfy, it’s way better than old ripped jeans (his uniform of choice out there). Just look how well it fits up top:

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As with most MCF items, Juanita features strategic gathers that expand for a full bust or remain as pleats for a small bust. The bodice’s stretch and softness make it comfortable while limiting the appearance of lumps or bra bumps. And the matching belt can be used to cinch you in further, or wear on a looser setting after a full meal (something I found myself doing a lot this weekend).

I found the smallest setting of the belt to be just a touch snug early in the day and slightly too tight after eating lunch. The next setting up is a touch too loose early in the day, still a tiny bit loose after eating a lot, but perfect for the long car ride home. The grommets are rather far apart and there are only three, so I might add another in between each setting if I can find matching black ones.

After the flowerbed photoshoot, my husband and I drove to a nearby cidery and farm that we always visit when we’re in town, where we made some friends:

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These two goats had gotten out of the fenced pasture. There are gumball machines of pellets for people to feed them, so they’re very friendly and walked right over to us. Then after petting them for a few minutes, they followed us all the way up the hill to the tasting room! They were such sweeties. The bartender said this pair regularly get themselves out of the pen and then go right back in it when they’re ready. After that little adventure, we enjoyed a lengthy tasting of cider and beer:

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And when we got back home, I couldn’t resist taking a couple pinup shots with my parents’ tractor—it, too, was the perfect shade of matching orange!

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The Juanita dress is definitely going to be my uniform of the summer. Last month, MCF released it in a new “Sky” colorway, but I’m heartbroken to report it’s already sold out in all but sizes 2X and 3X. If they re-stock it, you can bet I’ll immediately be buying it at full price!

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Next up is the Margit-Ilene top in light blue. This is my first MCF top, and while I like the design it’s not quite the same success as the dresses have been.

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Made of 96% cotton and 4% spandex, the fabric is soft and stretchy and not too thin. But it definitely has a clingier fit around my midsection that isn’t the most flattering. It also isn’t long enough on me to be worn with anything other than high-waisted bottoms. It only just reaches past my belly button, and the length combined with the clingy-ness means it scrunches up a lot. A high waist is necessary to hold it in place and hide the scrunching happening below the waistband.

I’m tempted to try a large next time, but I’m nervous to do that since returning or exchanging items is so much trouble with international orders. Plus other styles may fit differently than this one. So I’ll probably continue with size medium unless a cheap large pops up on eBay.

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As for the style, well the shirt’s adorable! It features puff cap sleeves that are split and crossed over on the outer side, a keyhole in the back with a functional button, nonfunctional buttons on the front, and some creative seams around the bust.

The bust seams are a little awkward on me since they are quite high up onto breast tissue. To be honest, I might skip this style in the future unless there’s a color I absolutely must have, or I’ll stick to dark colors where the seam isn’t as visible since I still like all the shoulder details.

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Sanity Savior for Big Bust Maternity and Nursing: Decent Exposures Un-Bra

Today I am so excited to share with you the one bra that saved my sanity at the end of my second pregnancy: Decent Exposures Un-Bra.

It was recommended to me by June of Braless in Brasil, who had a lovely review post at one point. I don’t know if I ever would have tried the Un-Bra if it weren’t for her review and encouragement/high recommendation. But I am so glad I did – this bra is worth its’ weight in gold!

What put me off at first, might you ask? Well . . .

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Front page of the Decent Exposures website

It isn’t exactly the most attractive bra I’ve ever seen. If I had drawn what came to mind when I thought of the phrase “Grandma Bra”, it probably would have looked almost exactly like the Un-Bra. But when I tried mine on and felt the comfort firsthand, and suddenly I did not care ONE BIT about how it looked!


 

Here’s a rundown of how Decent Exposures and their bras work:

You can get the general concept of the Un-Bra from the image above – it is not specifically a maternity/nursing bra. Each Un-Bra is custom made, which means it is fully adjustable to your preferences! They offer scoop back, racer back, and strapless styles. It is manufactured in 7 types of fabric and a wide variety of colors. The order form has descriptions of each fabric selection and the type of support it offers (light, medium, and firm support).

The bottom elastic is 1.25″ wide for cup sizes E+, which makes it extremely supportive. However if you would like to try their 1″ elastic in a larger cup size, or the 1.25″ elastic in an A-D cup, they can do that for you. There is also the option of adding a 2″ ribbed lycra band in lieu of elastic, which works best on A-F cup bras.

It comes with an innovative “front looper”, which you can see on all of the women’s bras above. This loop provides definition and separation, the perfect solution to the dreaded boob loaf and discomfort of having your breasts touching in the middle of your bra. The looper is usually 0.5″ wide, but you can request a 1.5″ loop (I’ve found myself wishing for the wider looper at times).

Decent Exposures offers an extremely wide size range: 30-54 bands in A-L cups is what is listed on their order form. But, since everything is custom made, they can reduce the band size down as much as you need, and they produce cup sizes up to an M! The size guide on their order form works very well, but you can always call them for fitting assistance. They have 20 years experience with long-distance fitting. If you are local to Seattle, Washington, you can even make an in-person fitting appointment via phone or email!

There are also additional options of adding a front closure, nursing flaps, or pockets for prosthesis. I have experience with the nursing flaps. They are fastened with either hook & eye or Velcro. The hook & eye option is a 2-row, 2-column clasp – so that you can adjust the fit to be looser when you are more full in the mornings (using the bottom row), and tighter when you are less full (using the top row). Great feature!

Not only are the sizes and features workable for a wide variety of women, but after you receive your bra, you can send it in for alterations. This service is free for 60 days after your purchase, and available for a nominal fee any time after that. When I called to ask if they had a “cutoff time” for when you could request paid alterations, the associate explained that they don’t have one. If the fabric is frayed or wearing out, then they would be concerned about altering it. It all depends on how often that particular bra has been used. She mentioned that if it were over 5 years old, they would be fairly worried, unless it is an old bra that was forgotten in a drawer and hardly worn. I may be sending my 18 month old bra for alterations soon!


 

I think the Un-Bra is not only a lifesaver for pregnant and lactating women, but a phenomenal “comfort bra” for any full-busted woman. If ordered in one of the medium or light support fabrics, I imagine it would make a lovely sleep bra. In the firm support fabrics, it is supportive enough to wear out and about for a full day. It is simply a superb non-wired bra.

The Un-Bra was the only bra I owned that was preferable to going braless during the final pregnancy and first postpartum months. My body was never in pain after wearing it – I always felt contained, and ironically enough, I felt less-frumpy in this than I did in other bras. It is definitely difficult to get a decent, uplifted shape while wearing a non-wired bra, but the Un-Bra does a fair job. Here are some photos I snapped in December 2014. I was 7 months pregnant and had just ordered a lined Cotton/Lycra bra in size 32J. I must warn you, the bra was still 1-2 cup sizes large for me at this point. I ordered that way on purpose so there would be room to grow when my milk came in (as always, click to enlarge!):

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The photos in the black shirt were taken the very first time I tried the Un-Bra on. You can see I needed to get used to it, I over adjusted myself and you can definitely tell my left side runs larger than my right. Hahaha. I snapped some photos in a white shirt the next day to get a clearer picture of the side shape:

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Much more accurate! It’s no Freya Deco profile, but it’s better than any other non-wired bra I’ve tried.

The close-up photo illustrates the only “major” issue I have with the Un-Bra…It has a VERY high neckline. I was able to hide it under this Downeast Basics cap sleeve tee (the Essential Tee), but just barely. You can see the nursing clips at either side of the neckline. The top photo in the black shirt also illustrates how high the neck goes (I’m wearing a basic v-neck tee from Target in those photos). In the end, though this was annoying, it didn’t stop me from wearing the Un-Bra nearly every day. I would typically throw the Essential Tee underneath tops if I was worried about my straps poking out. But more often than not, I didn’t want the extra layer, so I just dealt with tucking the straps in or having them show (because in my honest opinion, there isn’t anything racy/offensive about showing off this bra. Haha!).

I mentioned the bra being too large at the above stage (7 months). Below is a photo of me on my due date, for comparison! I definitely filled the full 32J here, and for a few months postpartum:

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Aside from the high neckline, my only other complaint was that the Un-Bra is a bit difficult to get over your head. This is the issue with many small band/large bust clothing items that have to be pulled straight down over the head. If this isn’t your cup of tea, there is always the option to order a front-closure bra. Another minor grievance is that it takes a while to dry after being laundered – double layers of super supportive cotton will do that.

Now, let me list a couple of things that I LOVE about Decent Exposures and their Un-Bra . . .

  • The thick elastic band. It is the most supportive and comfortable band I’ve ever had on a bra.
  • Hook and eye nursing closure. It weirded me out at first – but I love that it’s always quiet and doesn’t pop open randomly or squeak like a traditional nursing clasp. Sometimes it’s a bit fiddly to re-hook, you can’t always do it one handed. But it’s not that big of a bother.
  • “Looper” in the middle front of the bra. It gives breasts separation and definition, and it even helps alleviate dreaded boob sweat!
  • Wonderful company that’s willing to work with you. I didn’t send my bra in for adjustments, but if you order and your bra isn’t perfect, you can send it back in for alterations! Adjustments are free within 60 days of ordering, and available for a nominal fee after that time frame. They can adjust the size of the band, length of straps, cut the armpits deeper, and more.
  • GENEROUS size range. They offer everything from 30-54 A-K. They define a K cup as a 15.5-17 inch difference between band and bust measurement.
  • Machine washable and dryable!!! You can wash this bra with your regular laundry!
  • Wide variety of customization options, including nursing flaps and pockets for prosthetics.
  • Made in the USA (Seattle, Washington) from organic Cotton products.

If you’re interested, I’ll give a quick walk through the ordering process after the jump. Since each and every bra is custom-made, there are many options and possibilities. I found it a bit overwhelming at first glance, so hopefully my walk through can help it be less confusing for you.

[Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Trashy Diva Roundup

I’ve done a few reviews of dresses from Trashy Diva in the past. But since my last review, I’ve collected lots more pieces from this company. So this week I’m doing a comprehensive review of all the different cuts I’ve tried, with a focus on how boob-friendly they each are.

Let’s start with my measurements. I’m 5’6” with a looooong torso and short legs. My figure is 37”-29”-41” and I’m between sizes for bras, at 28G/GG – 30FF/G. In the photos below, I’m wearing a Freya Ada in 28G in all the pictures taken in the white hallway, or the Freya Deco Strapless in 30FF with the halter-neck dresses. All the other pictures were taken a while ago, so I’ve no idea what bra I was wearing!

These are in no particular order, except that dresses for which I’ve already done a full review are at the end of the list.

1. Maria
Print name: Peacock
Fabric: Medium-weight rayon
Size: 8
Side zipper, non-functional buttons up the front, pockets

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I would say this dress has plenty of room for boobs, but it’s not cut in such a way that is as fitted to a big bust as some other designs. There are under-bust darts, but the overall shape from the bust apex to the waist is still more of a ski-slope rather than curving under the bust. However, thankfully it does not pull the waist seam up and create a faux pregnancy belly.

Boob-score: B+

2. Loop dress
Print name: Geisha Fans
Fabric: Stretch cotton sateen
Size: 6
Side zipper, fan-back skirt, no pockets

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My measurements actually match the 8 in this dress, but I bought it used for a really good price, so I took a chance on the 6 since it has stretch. Size 6 is supposed to fit up to 27” waist and up to 38” bust, but the waist is only the tiniest bit snug and the bust is noticeably small even though it should be ample enough. Usually the size chart is spot-on, but I definitely don’t think so this time. It pretty much works out in my favor, since the waist feels good. And even though it’s squishing my boobs a little, the multiple darts make it hug my figure just beautifully. I think an 8 would have been “perfect,” but I kinda like having a snugger fit for a change.

Boob-score: A

3. Hepburn Jumpsuit
Fabric: Medium-weight rayon
Size: 8
Back zipper, pockets

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This is easily my favorite Trashy Diva piece that I own! This is the item that changed my previously very staunch anti-jumpsuit rule (anti-any clothing that requires undressing to pee, really). Unfortunately, it was long since sold out by the time I discovered it. Luckily, someone in my Trashy Diva Facebook swap/sell group listed one for sale and I was able to buy it for about the same price I would have at retail, minus the shipping!

Aside from being a really unique and incredibly comfortable article of clothing, I’m happy to report that the torso is actually long enough on me! Yet because the pants are so loose, it hides the crotch location, so I think it would still work on petite gals as well. The legs are quite long, though, so some hemming might be necessary. I’m wearing the same 3.5-inch heels here as the other photos, and my feet are still completely hidden. As for the bust, well I think that speaks for itself. The waistband is completely under my bust, and there’s plenty of room for boobies thanks to the gathering, without excess cleavage. Definitely the best-fitting TD I’ve tried so far.

Boob-score: A+

4. Sadie Ruffles
Print name: Slap & Tickle
Fabric: Lightweight rayon
Size: 8
Side zipper, matching belt, non-functional buttons up the front, no pockets

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This is a new dress to me, though it’s an old print. I just got it used from another Facebook group. The Sadie has floppy short sleeves, and comes in a variety of skirt shapes. I really love the original Sadie, which has a draped tulip skirt, but the asymmetrical ruffles here are pretty fun too. They’re only on the front, and the back looks like a plain A-line shape. Unfortunately, the belt is way small. I have to wear it on the loosest setting. It just doesn’t match the dress’s actual waist.

Aside from that, though, it’s a lovely fit on a full bust. I was expecting it to have the ski slope shape of the Maria, but this one curves under the bust pretty well, as you can really see in the third photo. I’m not sure why it fits so differently than the Maria considering they have such similar top structure and even the same dart placement, but I’ll take it! Also take note of the fact that I’m wearing a loud printed bra and dark colored underwear, but you can’t see them through the dress even though the fabric is lightly colored and very lightweight.

Boob-score: A

5. Sandy Mini
Fabric: Medium-weight rayon
Size: 8
Side zipper, embroidered daisies on the waistband, pockets

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At first glance, the Sandy seems to have a similar structure to the Hepburn. But it crosses over in back exactly the same as the front, whereas the Hepburn is a flat, non-crossover V with a zipper in back. Sandy also crosses the left side over top, while Hepburn crosses the right side over, and Sandy has a slightly deeper cut. You can actually see a tiny bit of bra gore peeking out, so this cut requires a true plunge bra.

You can also see my bra strap making an appearance on the right-hand shoulder. Though there is plenty of room for boobs in this dress and the waistband sits at the correct height, this shoulder configuration tends to slide off my shoulders a lot. I have two other dresses with this front and back cross-over construction, and they do it too. Since I hate to make permanent alterations to my TD, I instead poke a safety pin through the interior shoulder seam allowance, and then close it around my bra strap. Then I can slide my straps back and forth if needed, and once they’re situated, they actually hold the shoulders in place and keep them from sliding off. Someone with broader shoulders also might not have this issue.

Boob-score: A-

6. Amaya
Print name: Chinese Opera
Fabric: Rayon crepe de chine
Size: 8
Side zipper, non-removable fabric tie-belt, pockets

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The Amaya has the same front and back cross-over as the Sandy (though it crosses over on the opposite side). However, this time it’s got a much less full skirt, and half-length kimono-esque sleeves. Additionally, the waistband comes up a fraction higher on me, just barely sitting on breast tissue. It once again requires a plunge bra—if you blow up the third photo, you can see just a touch of visible bra gore, and it tends to flap open if you move a lot or bend over. Additionally, these shoulders just absolutely will not stay up on me. I can only wear it with safety pins in the seams as I described above. That being said, as usual there is plenty of volume for boobs, though bigger gals may want to pin the front together or sew in a hook and eye.

Boob-score: B-

7. Annette
Print name: Sci-Fi Rockets
Fabric: Stretch cotton
Size: 8
Side zipper, matching belt, pockets

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Since I’ve already done a full-length review of this dress, I’ll keep this brief. Annette is not particularly boob-flattering. In my earlier review, I complained about the ski slope shape and that the sides of the top flared out around the armpit area. The arm holes were also too wide open, and I had visible strapless bra even after I shortened the straps a little. I’ve avoided the Annette cut since purchasing this dress, and in fact just traded another gal on Facebook for a different cut, which is coming up next.

Boob-score: C

8. Rockette
Print name: Sci-Fi Rockets
Fabric: Stretch cotton
Size: 10
Back zipper, matching belt, non-functional buttons up the front, patch pockets

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I absolutely adore the Sci-Fi Rockets print, and it’s become a bit of a collector’s item in the last couple years, so there was no way I would ever sell it despite the fit issues. Luckily, there’s always someone on Facebook who wants to trade sizes or cuts in the same fabric. I recently fell in love with the Rockette cut, which I wasn’t quite adventurous enough for when I first purchased the Annette (it was only my second TD order ever!), and pounced when someone wanted to trade theirs for a different cut in a smaller size.

Unfortunately, the 10 really is too big on me. The belt is huge even on the tightest setting (though I can fix that by punching in a few more grommet holes), and the back doesn’t stay up since it’s a halter top. However, I’m glad I got a 10 anyway, because the bust fits great, and the waist is the same diameter as my old Annette for some reason. I’m really pleased that it curves under my bust instead of going straight from apex to waist. And since it’s made of cotton instead of delicate rayon, I’m much more comfortable with the idea of altering it myself. I’m going to add some under-bust darts and will take in the ribs on the side seams if necessary.

Boob-score: B (It’s hard to say objectively, since it’s not my real size and requires alterations, but I’ll estimate it’s one grade up from Annette.)

9. Lena Sarong
Print name: Ruffled Feathers
Fabric: Stretch rayon
Size: 8
Back zipper, stretchy shirred side panels, no pockets

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This is the newest addition to my collection. I actually own another Lena dress and two Lena tops because I love this cut so much. It is just so flattering. Though as you can see, it definitely emphasizes the girls! This stretch rayon fabric is a dream to wear, and the stretchy shirred side panels mean you get a customized fit. Some people complain about the halter hurting their neck, but as long as you wear a good strapless bra (like my trusty Freya Deco), then the dress strap doesn’t have to take any of the weight.

I also appreciate that the neck strap opens and closes with buttons, because these straps are always too long on me, but all I have to do to shorten them is unpick the buttons and re-attach them further over. Additionally, some of the older models of this dress have a much thinner strap, but I prefer this wider one since it balances out big boobs and gives a little more coverage on the sides.

Boob-score: A+

10. Goldie
Print name: Crepe Myrtle
Fabric: Lightweight rayon
Size: 8
Back zipper, pockets

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Oh, the Goldie. I’m not usually into florals, but this more graphic floral print really spoke to me. And then it went on sale! So I got the one dress that was left in my size, the Goldie. It looks amazing from the front, but it has one huge problem…

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This is the back! I couldn’t resist a dress that shows off my back tattoo so well, and I actually did find an okay solution to the bra issue (I do not regularly wear it with this Freya Deco), but it’s just such a hassle! I started by tacking the blousey front part to the straps to hide more side-bra:

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Then I wear it with my low-back Le Mystere Soiree Bustier. But a little bit of the bustier still peeks out above the waistband, so I take a black tube top and wear it under my boobs, tucking it into the bra band in back to make sure it doesn’t fall down. It ends up looking fine, but it adds so much extra bulk that the waistband is then borderline too tight. Additionally, the bustier stops right at the bottom of the waistband, so it all squeezes me extra tightly right in my squishiest spot, which is neither comfortable nor flattering. And what’s more, the front dips down so low that my bra is only hidden because the top is so blousey and baggy. I’m actually in the process of trying to trade this dress for another cut in the same print.

Boob score: F

11. Trixie
Print name: Big Polka
Fabric: Lightweight rayon
Size: Medium
Back zipper, stretchy shirred side panels, tie-neck halter, no pockets

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A Trashy Diva classic! The Trixie is one of their oldest styles. It used to be made with wide straps like my Lena Sarong above, but ironically this time I prefer it with the thin straps. Once again the stretchy shirred panels give it a custom fit. And the detailed bust is oh-so-flattering on big boobs. The only problem is that the floppy nature of the fabric means those details don’t always hold their shape perfectly. You can see in the second photo, for example, that the left-hand side sits at a 90-degree angle in my cleavage, while the right-hand side is at a diagonal, because it flopped over while hanging in my closet and is stuck that way unless I starch it.

I used to own this dress in cotton poplin as well, but I decided I didn’t wear it enough to justify keeping, so I sold it. However, that one did maintain its bust details a little better since it was stiffer fabric, but it also wrinkled really easily and you could see the layers of fabric through one another at the bust, giving it a lumpy look, so I still prefer the rayon.

Boob-score: A

12. Lena
Print name: Green Kimono
Fabric: Rayon crepe de chine
Size: 8
Back zipper, stretchy shirred side panels, no pockets

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I only have real-life pictures of this dress because it’s currently at the cleaners after I wore it to a swing dance event on the USS Intrepid, pictured here. It’s again soooo flattering, especially with the contrast-color inner bust panel. It was also amazing for spinning in!

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Boob-score: A+

13. Doll Mini
Fabric: Medium-weight rayon
Size: 8
Side zipper, pockets

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My very first Trashy Diva piece! Read the full review for much more detail. This is still one of my favorites and I would love more of the Doll cut. It’s similar to the Sandy again, but this one stays up on my shoulders a lot better. Plenty of room for boobs here, and the waistband stays firmly under my bust.

Boob-score: A+

14. Streetcar
Print name: Cherries
Fabric: Rayon
Size: 8
Side zipper, removeable matching neck-tie, matching belt, pockets

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The first Trashy Diva I ever paid full price for (a rare happenstance!) is this Cherries Streetcar. It was a re-issue of an old print, so I knew it’d go fast and I bought it outright. You can read my full review here.

The Streetcar is definitely a less boob-friendly option. As usual, there’s enough volume, but it doesn’t curve under my bust, and it’s actually a wee bit small, so that my bigger boob pulls the fabric over to sit crookedly. However, I tried a size up at the time, and it was too big in the waist and across the back. The nice thing about the Streetcar is you can wear the neckline in several different configurations. However, it does require a strapless or T-back bra, or a Rixie clip, to keep your straps hidden.

Boob-score: B-

15. Jenny Short-Sleeve
Fabric: Heavy stretch knit
Size: 6
Side zipper, no pockets

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Here’s another one I wrote a full review of. The Jenny is exceedingly comfortable and very boob-friendly thanks to the ingenious construction. There are vertical seams leading from the skirt pleats up to the bust, where it pleats out again. There’s also gathering up on the shoulders that resembles netting, which allows for generous fabric in the bust. It’s also super stretchy. I sized down to a 6 and could have easily worn a 4 if I wanted it clingier.

I did end up selling this dress due to it not getting enough wear, but that’s no reflection on its fit or quality otherwise. It’s highly, highly recommended! It was just a little too conservative for me.

Boob-score: A++

16. Doris
Fabric: Cotton voile
Size: 8
Side zipper, pockets

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Finally we come to the last dress, Doris in cotton voile, another that I previously reviewed. The cotton voile is so light and cool for summer. TD currently has one cotton voile offering, and that’s the new Mahjong print collection. They should definitely release more in this amazing fabric!

As for fit, it’s pretty darn good, though I must admit the waistband does not remain under my bust. It’s well above my underwires, but I’m okay with that because the boob room is still pretty generous and very flattering—and you can wear it with a normal bra. Plus I think the dress looks really good on me!

Boob-score: B+

Oh, I just remembered one more that I don’t have any photos of—the Norma Jean dress. And the reason I have no photos is that I got it cheap on eBay, but it didn’t fit right at all, so I re-sold it without ever wearing it out.

norma-jean

It looks deceptively boob-friendly thanks to wide straps and gathering with elastic at the top of the neckline. But it swooped scandalously low to show too much cleavage for comfort. I’m talking visible areola. And the waistband came up way high above my underwires. And this was with sizing up to a 10 from my usual 8. Stay away!

Boob-score: F

 

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Bending the Rules, Part 1

Guess what unexpected bonus I found while I was looking for a fit model? Another writer!  Kimberly is a recent college graduate looking to begin a career in social media.  When we met, she was wearing an old Target bra and had never heard of any of the large bust friendly clothing brands that we love on this blog.  We immediately got her enrolled in Ali Cudby’s one-hour bra course and set up a fitting with the famous Freddy from Eveden. Now she’s ready to write for Hourglassy. Some day she’ll tell you all about her fitting experiences, but you’re going to love the topic she’s decided to begin with.

Hi, readers! My name is Kimberly, and I’m thrilled to announce my guest series on Hourglassy. With Bending The Rules, I’ll attempt to dissect the various “rules” that have been sartorially imposed on big-busted women. I’ll also try to provide examples of ways to stick to the rules — or break them, if you’re so inclined.

Because I’ve been considered “busty” for over ten years (I was a 34C in the seventh grade and my boobs never looked back), I’ve had plenty of time to figure out the ways society dictates that busty women should dress. Along the way, I’ve thrown caution to the wind and gone against the rules when I felt like it, but I’ve also gone along with them at my own discretion. I’ve been reprimanded for showing “too much” cleavage and praised for being able to “hide” my boobs well. Basically, my closet is full of busty dos and don’ts, and this is my chance to share that with you.

One thing I tend to hold conflicting opinions about is showing my bra straps — it seems like one of those things that’s taboo, ugly, or tacky for no particular reason, and I’ve always resented that. Friends have pointedly told me that my bra was “out” when straps were showing, as if I hadn’t noticed. Family members have shaken their heads at the sight of a bra peeking out the side of my dress. Just because you never see bra straps on the red carpet, people have treated them as something to be hidden.

Living through countless New York summers has presented me with many opportunities to be jealous of the smaller-busted women who can seemingly wear whatever they want, especially in the sweltering heat. They don’t have to wear bras with those halter crop tops or flowing strapless blouses or backless dresses. They can even wear cute, underwire-free bralettes under them if they want to, and since those are lacy and delicate, they’re not considered a fashion don’t. Meanwhile, I’m stuck with huge, sweat-inducing bras, and according to the rules, I have to make sure to cover. those. straps.

It’s a bit ridiculous. If I need to show those straps in order to wear a cute outfit, who cares? I don’t really ever have the luxury of going braless, and plus, if I pay so much money for these special bras, why not show them off?

I do try to buy clothes that cover my bra and its straps, but sometimes that means giving up on a beautiful dress or cute summer shirt. If I want to wear a crop top, I’ll get one in more of a t-shirt style, like this black one:

image1

(shirt by Bershka)

Plenty of the (numerous) dresses in my closet have thicker straps and fuller coverage, in order to pander to the “no straps” rule and hide the bra. These are more for the occasions when playing by the rules is necessary, like in professional environments. I got this pink dress to wear to a work event:

(dress by Ann Taylor Loft)

(dress by Ann Taylor Loft)

But then there are times when I just don’t care about the scandal my visible bra straps will apparently cause, and I buy a tank top like this because I want to be able to wear what other people wear during the summer, even if my boobs are fully out, along with my bra. If someone with a 32A bra size can wear the tank top without any hypersexualized commentary and opinions, I can too:

(tank top by Project Social T)

(tank top by Project Social T)

Or backless dresses like this:

(dress by Kimchi Blue)

(dress by Kimchi Blue)

image5

And I deal with whatever negative comments I get. Bra straps may be considered unsightly to some, but they support me so that I’m able to wear those cute outfits in the first place.

On that note, if I know I’m going to wear an outfit where my bra straps or band will be visible, I try to match my bra in some way. I once wore the green dress pictured above with a neon purple and pink bra, and my mother (rightfully) told me how ridiculous I looked. Also, I wore it to work earlier that day— not my best choice, but thankfully, no one said anything. I bought this light-blue Claudette Dessous bra specifically to wear under a grey dress, and ended up loving it! The straps are delicately detailed, and the bra is supportive without any extra padding — perfect for summer.

claudette-periwinkle-dessous-mesh-bra-product-0-405193457-normal

The straps on lots of Simone Perele bras like the Amour are also pretty enough to show, and in a color like black, they go with a lot of different outfits:

SIM13R330_anthracite_PD

So go forth and wear whatever you want, readers. If you need a bra, wear one. If you need to show that bra in some way in order to wear something you like wearing, don’t think twice. Anyone who will criticize you over the sight of a strap obviously doesn’t understand the heavy lifting you have to do on a daily basis, and for that — you are strong.

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For more on visible bra straps, see Leah’s post from our hot September last year.