When I walked you through my strategy for finding a great bust-friendly wedding guest dress last week, I suggested browsing our Bridal and Evening Wear category or searching Leah’s reviews of pinup brands, but I should have reminded you about our Dress Reviews category, too!
That’s what helped me find my exact size in this Shoshanna watermelon lace dress on Rent the Runway.
It turns out my very first dress reviews on this blog were “I Tried Shoshanna (Part 1)”, “I Tried Shoshanna (Part 2)” and “I Tried Shoshanna (Part 3)“. Back then, my weight was in the high 150’s; today I’m in the high 140’s. Several RTR reviewers who weigh more than I do look great wearing sizes 6, 8 and 10 on the site, but my 2009 posts reminded me that I could barely get the size 12 to close, so I bet that this time a size 12 would zip all the way up, and I was right.
For reference, I have a 33″ waist and 41″ bust in these photos, and the Shoshanna size chart says that size 12 fits a 31″ waist and 39″ bust. This means that Shoshanna dresses could possibly have enough ease for someone with a higher bust-to-waist ratio than mine.
Size 12 wasn’t available from RTR for the dates I needed, but it WAS available on eBay for $30, including shipping. At that price, I could afford to get it wrong–and I could afford to make it right. Based on RTR reviews, I already knew the shoulder straps would be far too long.
When my seamstress eliminated the extra fabric there, it bagged at the armhole . . .
so she pinched a deeper dart into the princess seam coming from the armhole.
It also required re-attaching the internal bustier to within just an inch of the armhole.
She remembered to do it on the left but forgot to do it on the right, so here’s the weird bump I got before she fixed it. The photo below also shows how pulling the straps up resulted in a higher waist line than I like, but I decided I could live with it.
Regarding the internal bustier, I tried the dress without wearing a bra, and I looked exactly like I wasn’t wearing a bra. The six strips of boning (two down the front, four down the sides) didn’t serve any function on me. Maybe this feature would be useful to someone who completely fills the bustier and also finds the band snug?
Even if I couldn’t go braless in this dress, at least I didn’t have to go strapless! This dress completely covered my 34G Ewa Michalek bra on the day of the wedding–except for an occasional glimpse of my bra strap due to the armholes being cut in too deeply.
As you know, this dress wasn’t my first choice, but I loved the color, and for $30, plus $25 for alterations, plus $13 for thrift store shoes, plus earrings that I borrowed from my friend, my back-up dress became the front runner. Once I added the accessories, I liked the look a lot more!
If you’re in the market for a special dress, I highly recommend looking into Shoshanna. The brand regularly seems to re-issue successful styles in new colors and slight design variations, so if a style works for you once, it’ll likely work for you again. Here are more Shoshanna lace options from RTR that I think would fit me based on what I know about my watermelon dress (L to R: Cindy midi, perriwinkle Sierra, red Sierra).
And the Giana gown is a completely different dress with good reviews from busty women that make me wish I had another black tie event to attend!
P.S. The Giana gown reminds me of Holly Jackson’s amazing ruffle trim jersey dress (Laundry by Shelli Segal) that she wore for her wedding reception!
It’s no longer available in stores, but I just found a size 12 on Poshmark for $40.