Hello darling readers! It’s Sunday, and you know what THAT means. Review time! One of the things I have heard most often from readers is that they want me to include reviews of things that don’t fit so well along with the things that do. For them, then here is a dress that almost works, but just doesn’t quite hit the mark. I actually had planned on doing two reviews in one tonight, and I had already written them both when I discovered I didn’t get pictures of a crucial element of one of them. So you know what that means… Bonus post tomorrow! Be on the lookout. :)
This first dress is by Pepperberry, the clothing division of England’s Bravissimo brand, a company that specializes in lingerie and clothing for women with large busts. In the lingerie division (Bravissimo), they stock both their own branded lines and a variety from other companies: ***check on this*** Panache (Cleo and otherwise), Freya, etc. In the clothing department, though, they exclusively carry Pepperberry items, which range from dresses for all occasions to suits, outerwear, adn accessories. Pepperberry does graded sizing for levels of bustiness; in addition to a number for the standard UK size of the body of the item (8-16 ***check on this***), the clothing is listed as Curvy, Really Curvy, Super Curvy, and in an extremely limited number of styles, Really Super Curvy (listed as abbreviations: xC, xRC, xSC, xSDC). Stretchier items like jersey knits often have combined sizes, such as xR/SC. Unfortunately for me, the best fit I would get would almost certainly be in 8SDC, but I haven’t had a chance to try it, as none of the items they have offered in that size have been worth paying the international shipping and the relatively high cost (given the exchange rate from pounds to dollars). I do like a number of Pepperberry items a great deal, though, so I either stick to stretchy things, which I would say are still a significant improvent over the fit of stretchy items from regular shops, or, if I truly love a fitted item (one coming up soon – I’m so excited about it!), I buy 10SC and have it taken in at the waist. Obviously this latter option is far from ideal, but for really special pieces, it is worth it to me, especially as the alteration is significanly less arduous than it would be in something made without even an attempt to accommodate hourglass proportions.
This blue dress (apologies for the lack of name – I wasn’t aware that this dress is no longer made) was loaned to me by a friend of very similar shape, and I have to admit, I like it. If I found it at a thrift shop or something, I would probably buy it. Unfortunately, it’s just not quite a good enough fit to be worth ordering for me.
As you can see in this first picture, it does have enough room for my bust, which is enough to make me like it some right off the bat. I’m generally a fan of the wrap/crossed over bust look ****wording here***, and, while this is an item of debate in the curvy community, I appreciate a nice empire waist now and again ***reference blog entries about this***. Unfortunately, there’s something about the bust line right above the tie that just isn’t sitting correctly. It almost makes me look droopy, which is not something that happens to me often. In addition, while it isn’t clear in the picture, only ****measure**** inches of the tie at the waist are actually loose; beyond that , it is entirely sewn onto the dress. This means that you can’t tighten it to your actual underbust size unless you are very close in size to what the dress measures there. My mutant ribcage really does not approve of this feature, which I assume was implemented to keep the smooth, flat look of the ribbon around the outer front and sides of the dress (which I concede is nice). As we move on to the side view, those of you who have seen me in other entries will recognize that my underbust and waist size are simply not being highlighted fully, although the dress does fall flat(ish) from its somewhat nipped in position, which is good.
The side view is where the real size issues become apparent. First of all, I feel like it makes my boobs like somewhat smaller and wider, a lot like minimizer bras do (I despize minimizer bras, by the way; my boobs don’t belong in my armpits, thankyouverymuch). It also flares slightly from the underbust down, which was enough to create a flattering silhouette from the front but doesn’t quite make it in the hip and thigh area from the side. Anything other than standing completely straight-legged caused the dress to bunch a bit at the hip area, almost creasing as I moved my leg further out from my body (and not necessarily more than I would when, say, walking). The stiffness of the fabric also caused the lower stomach area to pooch out a bit as a result of this same movement. My own pooch does quite well on its own, and does not need help in achieving prominence. Grrr.
I actually quite like the view from the back, overall (the beauty of the sewn down band shows most clearly here), and if only people mostly viewed me from the back, this dress would be great. You can see here too, though, the stiff fabric bunching a bit above my bum from my jutting my hip out a bit. I can understand and even approve of a fitted dress like this being made out of fabric that holds its shape, but I think in this case either a fabric with slightly more give or a lightly increased flare would improve the fit of this dress. Standing about looking pretty is all well and good, but most of us have to move now and again, even when wearing a dress in a lovely shade of blue.
I wouldn’t say this dress is a complete loss, by any means; for someone with an inverted triangle shape, a smaller bust-to-waist differencial, or even someone wanting to keep things a little loose in the tummy for some reason, this might be a great choice. The color is quite nice, and the overall shape and design are simple but pleasing. I could see wearing this to a picnic or spring wedding, or even on a casual date, if it were just slightly better suited to my figure. I will go ahead and say I downright recommend it if your shape differs from mine in one of the wayslisted above; the pretty color and style and good quality of the dress make it a solid choice to add to the warm-weather section of your closet, and if I had actually bought this, I would probably be keeping it myself, fit isues and all, is it is comfortable and I don’t feel like every dress I own needs to show my curves in all their glory. Having borrowed it, though, I probably won’t be aquiring one of my own unless it pops up cheaply on eBay. It’s not that it’s not nice. It’s that other dresses are fabulous, and I’m saving myself for them.