Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Manifesto: Being the Photo Diary of a Curvy Girl

My dear Gentle Readers!

This blog is intended as an ode to my love affair with vintage fashion, thrifting, and modification of clothing. This is an affair of long standing that began some time in the early 1990s when it became evident that mine was a shape better suited to the 1950s, or even, the 1850s than anything the modern world might provide.

This affair has persisted to the current day, partly because I adore the styles themselves, and partly because my figure has only continued a ~ shall we call it? ~ exaggeration of form.

Hence the title of the blog, Retro Rack.

My intent is to provide photos from various of my public events as an Author Beast, but also to show some of what retro was, as well as some for what retro can be with a modern twist. (This post is probably the wordiest I shall ever be on this blog.)

I do hope you enjoy.

You can also follow my Yelp Account for reviews of vintage shops (be warned I also review eateries and hotels.) If you are interested in a blog with sewing focus for ladies of a more statuesque proportion than myself, you can do no better than New Vintage Lady.

A Small Note On The Subject Of Racks

I love style. I follow many fashion blogs, but sadly very few of them are run by women who are ~ shall we say? ~ blessed. Mine is a rack that has been the bane of my existence since university. Every button down shirt in my closest has the mid buttons sewn together. I rate my blouses by the magic notion of "minimization." A new bra is a quest of nigh epic proportions. I am not ashamed of my size, but I have struggled with it.

I am hoping this blog provides inspiration and perhaps hope, to those of you frustrated by a contemporary world and a visual environment that forgets those of us with ~ what my less endowed friends once described as ~ aggressive boobage.

This is not a place for leering or lewd commentary or snide remarks, so please refrain. I am trying to take the stigma out of being large chested in a safe fashionable environment, without trivializing the matter.

To that end, here are my measurements:
  • 38 ~ 28 ~ 38
  • height ~ 5'6"
  • bra size ~ 32G ~ 30H (yes, H)
  • hat size ~ small
  • modern dress size 6 ~ 8
  • vintage dress size 12 ~ 16
  • modern top size 6 ~ 10, med ~ large
  • modern bottom size 4 ~ 6, small ~ med
  • shoe size 7.5 ~ 8
  • age ~ over 30 (you can't expect me to admit to everything, now can you?)


  1. You need to check out Tuppence Ha'penny. Charlotte wears a lot of vintage, sews, and also has similar proportions. Right now, she's posting about her research on the history of nautical garments for women, but scroll down a bit, and you'll get the idea.

  2. Kudos to you! I actually got a reduction when I was 18 due to horrible back pain. I wore a 32DDD that didn't fit because it was the only size that came close to fitting both my ribcage and bountiful boobage. I still have my hips ;-)

  3. Yay from a fan who can completely sympathize. :) It's been a while since I've done full measurements, but I wear a 34GG and size 14 pants (was size 12 before a prescription mishap, but nonetheless) and completely understand the difficulty in finding new clothing that fits, let alone anything secondhand! I look forward to your postings with great pleasure.

  4. I too know the pain of living with a figure more suited to another era, having a solid chest, very broad shoulders, and hips. Responding to me weeping that I couldn't fit into skinny jeans, my father (my own father!) patted me on the head and informed me that was because I was built like I "should be painted on the side of an airplane."

    This has meant a lifetime of buying clothing one size up and having it taken in at the waist, because if it fits me in the hips it'll hula-hoop around my waist, and if it fits my waist I'll be hopping around trying to squeeze my child-bearin'-hips into it, and if it closes over my chest it'll balloon over the midriff. If it has shoulder pads, they must be removed, or I look like I'm ready to protect a quarterback or like I am secreting pastries in my sleeves in case I need a snack later.

    Looking forward to the blog!

  5. As another extremely buxom fan of vintage clothing, I'm very excited about the blog.

  6. I've nearly given up on button-up shirts. I, too, have a figure that most modern fashions simply can't accommodate. Retro fashions have always been much more interesting to me and I'm looking forward to seeing your posts.

    Will you be incorporating steampunk fashion here?

  7. Very excited about this as, another poster commented, I have a figure that makes me look like I should "be painted on the side of an airplane." I love vintage styles, especially 1940's, 50's and turn of the (last) century. I'm really tired of modern styles that either don't fit properly, make me look pregnant (curse you, empire waistlines), or make me look like I'm wearing a potato sack (what is with all the dresses that fall straight down from the shoulder... you can't possibly look good in those if you have any boobs or hips at all).

  8. I definitely feel your pains regarding the rack - I also have a hard time with button down shirts. Even in giant or plus sizes, they just don't want to close properly. I'm very excited for this blog!

  9. I'm not a woman, so I can't really sympathize, but I do understand where you're coming from. Super boobs have always just looked plain uncomfortable and a little awkward. "How in God's name are you not falling over, lady?"

    Besides, anything vintage is fantastic.

  10. Wow, dorkavecunespork's story could be mine, right down to the size I used to wear before the reduction at 18. And at 5'1", those DDDs were not what you'd call inconspicuous. Sadly, after many years as a happy C, I grew some of the boobage back after two kids and I'm a D or DD again. And still just as short.

    Once in a bra store a little 20-something B-cup salesgirl asked why I wanted a minimizing bra when a good, supportive bra would serve the same purpose. I looked at her for about five seconds and then just turned around and walked out. At least I resisted the urge to deck her.

  11. Aggressive boobage. I like the term. I am a 38 H (she flinchingly typed) and generally call myself, "tittacular."

    I've gotten sick of having to get button down shirts 2 sizes larger than knit tops just so they'll fasten. Of course, then they don't fit anywhere else.

  12. Hey there chick, found you through my recent referrals! (and many thanks to Gaidig for adding the link)

    I totally sympathise (or is it empathise, I can never remember the difference) with the difficulties of too-tight bodices and gaping buttons, having to pass on gorgeous vintage dresses that would fit perfectly fine on the waist but have a 34" bust.... But hey, at least we can sew our own (I can't recommend highly enough the benefits of learning to do a full bust adjustment), and we can do a convincing Bardot :)

    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha'penny Vintage

  13. It is so nice to hear others complain about a lifelong (at least since I grew boobs at age 10) problem. It only got worse once I had kids. I don't know who said that after breast feeding your boobs will end up being smaller than pre-pregnancy but they lied. I am still a 38DD to 40D 13 years later. Thank goodness I can sew. I am really looking forward to new ideas and any sewing tips offered so I can stop looking like I am wearing nursing tops. :-)

  14. You may b curvy up top, but I think your measurements and photos make you look quite svelte!

  15. Oh my goodness, Charlotte from Tuppence Ha'penny Vintage just commented in my blog. I may do a fan girl squee!

  16. What a fascinating and fashion informative blog. And so much fun. I am going to love following your vintage fashion sense and sensibility.

  17. Being well endowed with large tracts of land (38DD-40DD depending on what day) and a short frame (4'11")plus broad across the shoulders has not helped. But it has fostered a love for looking at vintage clothes to see what shapes and forms work both now vs then. I do rail against the new "ladies cut" shirts. They only work if you are a stick and don't have a chest unless you go all the way up to an XL or XXL. Button downs? Forget it, usually, though I did find a cute victorian inspired dressy shirt awhile back at Target of all places, which I wore with a vest, gloves, flight hat, goggles and other accessories to an Abney Park concert. I can not wait to read more of this blog. :)

  18. I too am... blessed. It makes shopping interesting (both in the support department as well as every day wear). I'm smallish in the ribcage, but large in the boobage. Nothing fits, thus I make most of my own clothes and do a full bust adjustment! Hip-hip-hooray for us busty ladies!

  19. Hooray and I love this blog and you!! I to have a big rack - aggressive boobage indeed!!! Thanks and I look forward to more of your posts. :)


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