When it comes to clothing, I don’t follow trends.
Or, rather, I can’t follow trends, because they look terrible on me.
The ’90s are back in full force, and with them, the oversized silhouettes that look good on a very select group of people.
So when I see clothing like this —
— I can appreciate the design, artistry, and attention to detail that went into creating these looks, even if they aren’t necessarily my thing. I can see why people would buy them, wear them, and rock them.
But from a structural standpoint, they are not designed for a curvy figure. The oversized sleeves in the first image would add unnecessary bulk to the top. The “oversized top/slim-cut pants” combination in the second picture would do the same. And the third set would bury the mere suggestion of curvature beneath its capacious folds.
The result? I think Paige “Rampaige” Halsey Warren put it best.
Most mainstream clothing will not account for different body shapes. And though our society seems completely obsessed with breasts, the mainstream fashion industry neglects busty women entirely.
I’m currently 41-30-40. Based on the chart above, I’d need to buy an XL for my bust, an M for my waist, and an L for my hips.
Certainly, I could buy an XL and just have it taken in, but if the original piece isn’t designed for my body shape in the first place, this would be of minimal help. Besides, I have a very honest seamstress who will straight-up refuse to tailor a piece if she knows it won’t work.
As a result, I almost never buy shirts or dresses when I go shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. Certain brands, like T. Tahari (I couldn’t possibly afford Elie Tahari), will work for me on occasion, but in general I get so frustrated by the the process of loving something on the rack and hating it on me that I just give up.
I may not always feel this way. There may come a time when mainstream designers start to design for more diverse body types.
Celebrities like Sofia Vergara have similarly noted that tailoring can cost more than the original piece of clothing.
So we may be on the precipice of change.
But until I am able to walk into a department store and buy a dress that fits me off the rack, I have plenty of options to tide me over.
The mainstream clothing industry didn’t respond to a clear gap in the market, but independent designers — who are often busty women themselves — have risen to the challenge.
And if you are concerned about up-to-the-second fashion, you’ll have no trouble finding bust-friendly iterations of current trends, like DD-Atelier’s gorgeous interpretation of the pussy bow shirt.
While their model is still quite slim, note that the shirt is tailored to follow the lines of the body rather than drop straight down from the bustline. The result is classy as FF.
Independent designers have made trends accessible to the busty community. They saw that the fashion industry was doing little-to-nothing to address their needs, so they took matters into their own hands.
I am not one of those women. I am attempting to learn how to sew, and may document some of my progress in following the Jailyn-Apparel Mandarin Collar Shirt pattern at some point.
I am a woman who loves clothing, and a woman who appreciates the interconnectivity of apparel. I want clothing that reflects my personality, true — even the boring and gross parts of my personality — but I also understand that fashion reflects all aspects of humanity. Every fiber and every fold is a result of the complex interplay of trade, art, politics, economics, and more.
Just as an example, Lingerie Addict detailed the ways in which Brexit would impact the production of quality bras. As many busty women rely British and European lingerie companies, some spent the day after the Brexit vote shopping — not because they wanted to shop, but because they were afraid they would be priced out of decent bras when the UK leaves the EU.
Currency is also a huge factor in purchases. I couldn’t justify buying DD-Atelier purchases for years because of the USD exchange rate with the Euro. Now, the dollar is worth slightly more and I can shop to my heart’s content. (Just kidding. I got married this year and I’m totally broke.)
So this blog isn’t just going to be about me putting on a new outfit and looking in the mirror. It’s going to be a mirror in its own right — a symbolic, verbose mirror that is detailed and smart and ultimately Classy as FF.