I am beginning to have doubts about Zulily’s sizing advice.
This has been going on more-or-less since I made the mistake of clicking on their bra sizing chart. They had the same antiquated-yet-stubbornly-conventional advice that plagues the U.S. lingerie industry.
Size charts like this are the reason that 80% of American woman are wearing the wrong bra size. I can just imagine some bra-illiterate person dictating this outdated and harmful advice:
“Add 4 inches to your underbust measurement, even though this will result in an ill-fitting band that will concentrate all that boob-weight on your shoulders.”
“Forget about the fact that most European brands determine cup size by centimeters, meaning an inch-based fit guide will inevitably result in quadboob.”
It feels worse coming from Zulily precisely because they have done so much to cater to underserved busty American shoppers. They sell bra sizes that straight-up do not exist in most brick-and-mortar stores here. More importantly, they usually chop at least $20 off the price.
Still, posting an age-old sizing guide isn’t the worst misstep. I had a lot more faith in their sizing guides for clothing.
The Naoko dress was not a perfect fit, but it did match their size guide and sizing tips. Though not perfect, the fit was decidedly Good Enough. I also ordered a steampunky Hearts and Roses London coat based on their size chart and was not disappointed. Given how many bust-friendly companies they work with, I trust them to get it right most of the time.
When I saw the Coeur de Vague dress, I was blown away by the print and, above all, the fit.
This is the quintessential sheath dress. It is serving up all kinds of modern Joan Holloway realness.
I was a big fan of the modern updates Coeur de Vague made to this classic pattern, particularly the shorter sleeves (long enough to cover arm fat and sideboob, but short enough not to be matronly), the waistband, and the higher neckline.
But the biggest appeal was the combination of a colorful, paint-inspired floral print with all that negative space. The silhouette may be Joan Holloway, but that pattern is all about Tahani Al-Jamil.
Most importantly, though, the color looked more like a magenta than a true purple. This was the deciding factor, really. Purple can make me look green, but magenta makes my skin come to life.
I had to have this dress.
So I checked the size chart:
My waist is typically around 29-30″, my bust and hips are both usually 40-41″. And, frankly, in the winter, I can add an extra inch anywhere without freaking out about it too much. Since I injured my back in January and haven’t really moved much since, I figured I could order the 14, hope the bust fit, and have the waist and hips taken in if it did.
It didn’t occur to me to try a smaller size. I didn’t want to deal with the discomfort of squeezing my boobs into a too-tight dress. We’ve all been there and it sucks.
I knew the 16 would fit the bust, but I worried taking 4″ off the waist would be a little too much. And since I usually take a while to get alterations, I knew it would be way too loose elsewhere to work. Sheaths are supposed to be form-fitting.
I clicked back to the order page and saw this:
Since their sizing advice had been so spot-on with other items I ordered, I took them at their word. I have never taken a size 16 even in the most generously-proportioned U.S. sizes, but I trusted Zulily and I had a merchandise credit.
I took the plunge.
And just look where I landed!
It’s SO BIG.
That’s what she said.
But seriously, look at this thing!
On the plus side, it’s really, really well-made. I had my concerns when I saw the label:
The factory sewed in its own label, which doesn’t match the Coeur de Vague tag. That’s an unexpected-but-somewhat-understandable affect of outsourcing labor.
But still, this is thick, silky, quality fabric. The lining stays in place. The seams are perfect. The visible zipper zips and unzips without a problem. Seriously, it’s the Tesla to the Pinto that is eShakti’s crappy side-zipper.
Sadly, all of these strengths turn into weaknesses really quickly when the dress is too big.
Because the fabric is thick and lined, it holds its shape. This means it doesn’t wrinkle easily, which is amazing.
It also means this dress WILL NOT drape over my body or even hint that I’m not the same size as the dress. I might as well be wearing a hoop skirt.
I mean, on the plus side, this kind of makes my skullcrusher legs look like they belong on the rest of my body, but that’s the only benefit I can see to non-drapey fabric.
Could it be altered to fit? I imagine so, but it would take more steps than I’m comfortable paying for. The shoulders are much too large for me, as are the sleeves, as is the waist, as is the skirt, as is the neckline.
Altering it would be a whole THING. I don’t really want to spend more altering this dress than I did in three rounds of wedding gown fittings.
Nor do I want to size down. It does fit me in the bust, with a little room to spare. Sizing down would mean a snugger bust, but given how poorly this dress fits, I feel like I would still need to alter it. I really don’t like shelling out more than $20 to alter a $40 dress. I’m too used to purchasing dresses that are either perfect or “good enough.”
The sizing advice is just SO far off. The photos picture a model in a traditionally form-fitting sheath dress.
The 16 does not fit according to the 14’s size chart. If anything, I’d say it’s slightly bigger than a standard U.S. size 16.
Which is great in a way. It can be very difficult for ladies who fall outside of the standard sizing range to find the gorgeous dresses they deserve.
And this is a gorgeous dress, make no mistake. It doesn’t cater to my body shape, but an accurate size chart and interpretation thereof would have let me know that before I ordered it.
It would look absolutely amazing on someone who is not me.
Final note: Zulily’s customer service department really is superb. They responded to my complaint immediately and thanked me for letting them know about the size chart issue.
I would imagine that there is a lot of room for miscommunication between the vendor, the designer, the manufacturer, and the distributor. It’s an inevitable side effect of shopping online.
So I’m not mad, Zulily. Just disappointed.
Needless to say, I would not order this particular brand again. Once they credit my account, I will probably try something from Nife or Peperuna. They look similar to Naoko and I have high hopes they will fit me properly. I’ve had a lot of luck with Polish brands in the past
I only wish I were as lucky with French brands, because this dress is so, so beautiful.