I’ve been waiting to write this review for a while. The Messina Dress, by BiuBiu (see the end of the post if you are unfamiliar with this fabulous company), is one of my absolute favorite spring and summer clothing pieces, and is one that nets me a chorus of compliments every time I wear it out. It’s cut perfectly for my proportions, clinging lightly to my curves from shoulder to knee, and relaxing just slightly as it meets the calves. The pattern is interesting and unique without being busy, and it doesn’t distort awkwardly as so many do in the areas where the dress stretches to meet my larger dimensions. The belt, hardly more than a ribbon, breaks the silhouette perfectly and further emphasizes my waist, not that the dress does a bad job by itself, and the wrap top allows for a close and attractive look in the bust without excessive cleavage. So why have I been holding out on you, then? I needed someplace special, somewhere that was as dear to me as the dress itself.
Nothing was really speaking to me until recently, when I discovered a new favorite downtown spot: the restaurant Park. This little bar and eatery has an ambiance unmatched in Las Vegas, with much care given to the aesthetics and something new to look at in every corner. My favorite area is the back patio. Just look here, along the back wall – what a lovely display of vintage dishes! And up there, over the bar – a collection of birdhouses!
And sneak around back with me (be careful; the entryway is very narrow, you see) – a see-saw! I could practically live back here.
So this is what I had been waiting for. My intrepid photographer and I arrived early enough in the dinner hour that we had the entire area to ourselves for the first twenty minutes or so, long enough to take quite a few pictures and to almost get swept away in the uncharacteristically strong wind that had picked up just in time for our shoot:
Whenever I go through the narrow hallway into the back area at Park, I get the feeling that I am entering a more sedate version of Wonderland (or Portland – take your pick). Dressed in the lightest of frocks and alone with all the hidden quirks, I was able to fully embrace the imaginative spirit as Dear Photographer and I explored. Our first stop was the bar that’s just to the right when you come through the door. I love the paint and the old lanterns and kettles, and happily settled in to try to capture the flattering profile of the front of the dress.
I love the way the pattern concentrates at the bottom of the dress, really bringing the view inwards and emphasizing the curve of the legs. I prefer to tie the belt in front, but it’s separate from the dress (belt loops notwithstanding) so you can choose how you feel it best flatters your figure or leave it off entirely. I really like to highlight my high waist, which is otherwise often lost, so I tie it almost at the underbust. I also really appreciate the way the wrap-style top has plenty of fabric to accommodate and cover my bust without either exposing a ton of cleavage or adding bulk with a ton of bunched fabric. It is just the right amount, which is good, as despite my visions of Wonderland there is nary a cake labeled “Eat Me” in sight.
As sophisticated as this dress can be, it’s your attitude that defines it, and I simply couldn’t help but pose with this neon sign I found on the side of the building.
I love the angled profile on this dress just as well as the front. I always love juxtapositions in style, and for me the conservative look of the dress itself contrasted with the sexy, almost second-skin-like silhouette it provides lends it a mysterious air.
One of my favorite things about the Messina is that it allows me to show off my figure while still feeling utterly classy. I feel charming enough to have tea in the countryside, and sensual enough to continue into the city with my company for the evening to indulge our vices, whatever they might be, late into the night. But for now, let’s just wander away from this glimpse at the glitz beyond the gates and venture back into Wonderland.
I would just like to take a moment to appreciate the back of this dress. Thank you, Messina, for fitting so well. It is awfully kind of you. And look, even the sun appreciates it – here it is, peeking out from the clouds to give a bit of color to the side view of the dress and the lovely little elves kissing in the garden:
“Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense.”
I’m going to be honest here. I am wearing a bit of shapewear. I don’t like to use anything on a day-to-day basis for compression, but this dress is quite clingy and while I don’t want to disguise my shape or size, I also don’t even want to think about the level of VPL I would get without something to smooth it out. I chose an inexpensive piece that I adore, a Wear Your Own Bra singlet from the SELFExpressions line by Maidenform that I found at Target. That’s what the tag says, anyway; on the Target website it appears to be listed differently. Anyway, I chose a comfortable size that doesn’t alter my shape but does makes sure seams and such stay neatly out of sight. I highly recommend some sort of smoothing undergarment with this dress, as it does cling like a 28-year old blogger holding onto her youth- Wait, what? Nothing, no, no desperate fear of aging to see here, move it along, folks, that’s right, move it along….
So yes, as Park is a restaurant and not actually a portal into a secret world of tardy rabbits and delightful men with mercury lining their hat rims, DP and I decided we ought to order a bit on which to nosh, and if any exciting things resulted, so much the better. The menu is succinct but engaging…
… and we found ourselves delighted with offerings such as impossibly thin chips of fried pickle and Philly cheesesteaks topped with Macaroni and Cheese.
After eating to satisfaction and slaking our thirst with a delightful grapefruit beer, it was time for a few more minutes of fun with our surroundings:
I do so love this chair. In it, I can imagine for a moment that I am somewhere else, somewhere a bit magical, where maybe, just maybe, times of unimaginable fun and mischief are in store, and perhaps times of quiet beauty as well, and in the Messina dress, I am ready to meet them.
BiuBiu is a wonderful Polish company specializing in clothing for full-busted women. They make a variety of clothing items, from dresses and button-down shirts to tank-tops and cardigans. Like the other specialty companies I’ve mentioned on the brog, they do sizing based on waist and bust sizes, so you can use their chart to find your main size (36 in my case) and your corresponding bust size (B, BB, or BBB in fitted items, B/BB or BB/BBB in stretchier ones). Their customer service is excellent, so you can expect good things if you contact them for help with style or size advice. Oh, and a bonus bit of goodness about their website: if you look towards the upper right corner, there is a little drop down menu that allows you to see the prices in one of five currencies! I appreciate that US dollars are included, as are British pounds and euros. I have quite a bit of clothing on the way from BiuBiu, so look for more reviews coming soon!
Item: Messina Dress
Price: On sale right now for $24.21!
Style: Fits a wide range of occasions – accessorize accordingly.
(the only point off is for the need for shape wear; otherwise it is perfect)
I take this in my normal size for BiuBiu, 36bb/bbb, which I feel corresponds as well to Urkye’s 36oo/ooo. If you are inclined to take a less drastically close fit, I definitely suggest sizing up; I tried this in a 38bb/bbb as well, and while the fit was very similar (as it’s quite stretchy), I did feel it was a little more forgiving.
My measurements at the time of the photoshoot: 40/27/38
Other Reviews of the Messina: Muscular Hourglass
Other clothing items worn:
*Ewa Michalak Cielus bra, altered.
*Aforementioned confusingly labeled shapewear.
*Taja Shoes by Jaclyn Smith, in size 8M. I often take a 7.5 in shoes, and probably could have in these, but they work just fine in the slightly larger size because of the wide strap on top. I absolutely love these for both style and comfort, and own them in three colors. I believe they are no longer being made (alas!) but they do pop up on eBay from time to time, so keep an eye out if you like them.
Photography by the ever intrepid David Eckert.
Underwhelming makeup and reasonably done hair by me, augmented by the wind, which also claimed a strip of eyelashes along the way.
Quotations from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
What say you, gentle readers?
Do you love the Messina, as I do?
Would you join me in Wonderland someday?
Or shall we make it Never-Never Land, and never quite finish growing up…?