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Heads up: This post revolves around my recent weight gain and how I’m trying to approach it. Emotionally, it’s easy. I just want to feel good about myself. Practically, it’s challenging. Do I buy an entirely new wardrobe?

In a nutshell, I (mostly) went from a Bravissimo 8C/RC to a 10RC, and I purchased just one item, the drawstring Midi Shirt Dress in 10RC. You can read why I chose it and how it’s worked out for me at the end of this post.

From Bigger Bras to Bigger Clothes

On March 1, I bought the Fantasie Fusion in UK32GG because I could no longer ignore my left breast pillowing above the cups of my 32G’s. Judy from Levana Bratique had highly recommended the Fusion before, and it was perfect for my needs: a nice basic beige bra with seams that don’t show too much under a tee shirt, and stretchy edges at the top of the cups. The 32 band was VERY tight, but I thought it would only be temporary while I worked to reduce the lingering weight gain from Christmas.

It was temporary because my weight went up as my activity level went down due to quarantine disruptions. When I kept bubbling over the Fusion’s stretchy edges, I sized up to an amazing navy UK 34G Prima Donna that I found on sale, and my old standby, the Fantasie 4510 in 34FF that surprisingly contained everything. I planned to wear these for a while. Accepting my larger size and buying new bras to fit was an act of self care, and I was proud of myself.

Then in August I started bubbling over the Prima Donna bra, and none of my dresses fit. I scrambled to find anything stretchy and presentable enough to wear out of the house. I felt frumpy.

Fortunately, the Fantasie 4510 still fit, so this time, instead of new bras, it was time to look at new clothes. I didn’t want to punish myself for my weight gain. I wanted to dress myself in clothing that fit me as I am right now. If I lose weight, great. If I don’t, I can still look great.

Shopping for Dresses in My New Size

I didn’t want to waste any time on brands that would make me size up everywhere in order to fit my large chest. Instead, I went straight to Bravissimo, where I could go up different sizes in dress and chest.

After a little trial and error, I generally went from an 8 to a 10 in dress size and from an C to a RC in chest size.

I’d tried the Tuxedo Wrap Dress before, but I liked it even more this time. The neckline is perfect, and different bottoms could smooth out the bulges below my waist.
I did NOT expect to fall in love with the Jersey Shirt Dress, but I really wanted to add this to my wardrobe. Update: it’s 20% off on the Bravissimo website, so I just ordered it!
Folded up sleeves take care of the “too much fabric” effect.
Here’s a closeup to show the princess seams that run beneath the chest pockets. I thought I’d hate the chest pockets, but they’re proportional and blend in with the rest of the body.
This Broderie Shift Dress surprised me as well. I think I’m wearing it in 8RC or 10C here, so I could use a higher chest size, but it’s a playfully elegant option with a lot of accessorizing potential. The textured fabric can also offer some zoom interest.
The Flo Wrap Dress is just a little too sexy for the office or I’d snatch it up. I believe I’m wearing it in 12RC here.
I could slip the size 10RC Robyn Linen Mix Dress over my head without even unbuttoning it. Even too big, I wanted to wear it home. This dress and the Jersey Shirt Dress felt like “me.”
Next I tried it in 8C, and it pulled slightly at the chest.
Fabulous bust darts.
There’s an internal button between the external buttons to guard against gaping.
Just right in 8RC. Unfortunately, I tried this right before Labor Day, and I knew my cost per wear would be too high for the remainder of the year.
Surprise snug fit in 8RC in the Denim Button Front Pinafore.
Side zipper.
The Alex Zip Front Dress is super roomy. I can’t remember if I’m wearing a 10 or 12 here. But pockets! And 3/4 sleeves! And a V-neck that’s not too cleavage-y! And it’s currently included in the 20% sale!
I sooo wanted the Lydia Jumpsuit to work, but I’m just not into plunging necklines for zoom calls, and it was LOT of fabric on my frame.

How I Like My Midi Shirt Dress

I tied the drawstring when I wore it out on Sunday. Basically, the “waist” is about 1-2 inches below my bra band.

It’s great, not perfect. My biggest complaint is that it’s too short-waisted. I’m not sure how Bravissimo was able to give me enough room for my chest horizontally but not vertically, but that’s what they’ve done. The drawstring hits well above my waist, and there’s no hiding it with a belt. Instead, I leave it completely undrawn and treat it as a shift dress.

Actually, studying this photo, I think I know what the problem is: they didn’t rebalance the pattern. This isn’t supposed to be a hi-lo dress.

Other than the strange short waist, this is perfect for working from home. I feel put together in it because it’s tailored, and I feel super comfortable in it because it’s flowy.

The viscose fabric has an elegant crepe texture that I like. However, it is definitely wrinkly and thin, as some of the website reviewers have noted. I’ve machine washed it in cold water, but I air dry it because I’m afraid of shrinkage.

Besides feeling classy in this dress, it felt like the most practical choice for cost per wear:

  1. I can wear it multiple times in a week, and it’s unlikely my co-workers will notice, and I can easily accessorize it with different necklaces.
  2. It’s good both for summer (thin fabric) and fall/winter (black color and indoors). However, note that the rolled sleeves don’t actually unroll to wrist length; the buttons unfasten, but it’s purely decorative.
  3. If I lose weight, I can tighten the drawstring (if I can bear how high it is on me), and it’s not going to be obviously too big.
I’ve only been wearing this dress barefoot at home, so I was pleased to see how well it worked with booties (and I’m shocked at how pale my legs are!).