The hands down highlight of our 4th Annual Big Bust Clothing Swap was getting to try DD Atelier in person with founder Olga Promptova. I’ve already rhapsodized over DD Atelier’s incorporation of full bust technical details into its designs, but to be able to experience them in multiple sizes and styles in one afternoon without worrying about return shipping was simply awesome. It was also great to see different styles on different busty bodies.
Olga was her own best advertisement for the faux leather dress she wore to our event. Not surprisingly, the dark blue is almost completely sold out, but several sizes remain in black. (Good news–if you fall in love with anything in today’s post or on the DD Atelier website, you can get 15% off plus free shipping on orders over €200 until midnight this Sunday!)
This dress illustrates one of the reasons I’ve hesitated to order from DD Atelier in the past. Its online pictures connote bodycon for me, placing it squarely within the domain of busty bloggers with amazing bodies who have already reviewed DD Atelier, like Thin and Curvy and Weirdly Shaped and Well Photographed. The tight styles that are popular with Eastern Europeans, plus reviews by American women with much higher bust-to-waist ratios than mine, made DD Atelier feel like a niche within a niche that didn’t cater to me.
But seeing this dress in person on Olga (she paired it with sneakers and a cardigan!) and on swap attendee Donna (below), removed the barriers for me. DD Atelier isn’t only for extreme busty figures, and it doesn’t have to cling to every curve. Olga herself is the perfect example–she wears bra size 30F (I know it doesn’t look like it in the pictures below, but I’ll confirm and edit if I’m wrong). We’re so used to fighting battles for H+ sizes in the full bust blogosphere that we sometimes minimize the challenges for women who wear D-G cups. Thankfully, Olga keeps the complete spectrum of cup sizes in mind with her creations.
Olga actually took off her own dress for Donna to try and changed into the technical design masterpiece that is the Cayenne top and skirt. I’m thrilled that this style has reappeared on the DD Atelier website.
The amazing Kimmay fell in love with the plaid dress because it suited her retro style. (Several attendees were brokenhearted to find that the blue plaid dress is already sold out in their size. However, after the swap, the blue and yellow plaid Scotland dress appeared on the website–not exactly retro, but definitely amazing.)
One reason I wish DD Atelier were permanently available in a brick and mortar boutique setting is for the opportunity to handle the fabrics. Olga takes great pride in her fabric choices, and most come from Italy. The wool blend jersey for the Ornella, for example, has great weight yet remains fluid. I’m looking forward to Sweets’ upcoming review of this dress in Bordeaux, which is, of course, practically sold out–but several sizes remain in beige and grey.
I’ve posted the turquoise and cocoa Samantha dresses side by side so that you can see the difference in size. I’m wearing the turquoise in 36H and the cocoa in 36D, with a 32FF Panache Hepburn bra underneath. Once we determined that 36D is my ideal DD Atelier size, Olga offered to send the 36D turquoise as a gift. Lucky me! It just arrived yesterday, so I’ll be posting more pictures of it soon.
Finally, I just had to try the Francesca maxi dress. I overheard someone say I looked like I belonged on Little House on the Prairie in it, and I can’t argue, but this was a really fun dress to wear. In the first picture, I’m pointing at the folded design detail that I like.
This is a major swirly dress!
Besides hemming, Olga suggested raising the waist band for a better fit on me.
Her suggestions to me and others are hard won from experience. It was fascinating to hear about lessons that she has learned since beginning in 2007. For instance, larger busts require longer zippers, and the zippers must be sewn into the garments in a special way so that the fabric doesn’t pull. This limits production to a few sewing contractors who are willing to work with non-standard features, and it requires constant vigilance over quality. Otherwise, stitchers tend to revert to default production standards, which results in returns to DD Atelier when customers miss their customary fit and quality.
Speaking of customary fit, some of you may be confused by recent changes to the DD Atelier size chart. If you’re used to the old sizes, here are the equivalents in the new chart:
65 = 30
70 = 32
75 = 34
80 = 36
85 = 38
If you have any doubts about your size, Olga is extremely helpful. I thought that my 31″ waist and 39″ bust placed me in a 38D, but even before meeting me at our swap, she told me she thought I could wear a 36D.
Finally, all the pictures for today’s post are of dresses, but the Sicilia blouse was also a big hit at the swap, and you can read a review of it on Plain Jane Vanilla, a new blog about bustiness that I just discovered today. She’s also going to write about the Norway coat when it gets cold enough!