I LUSTED after this dress. This dress was right up my alley: the style nods to a late-1940s silhouette while still feeling vibrant and contemporary, and thosebuttons on the sleeves! I’m getting ahead of myself, but none of the other full-bust clothing brands I saw were working with the same level of sophistication when it came to the finer details. When DD Atelier contacted me in early Fall about reviewing some pieces, I was prepared to have to decline, but I checked their size chart just in case and realized there was a chance I might fit into the largest sizes. The DD Atelier team suggested a few dresses for me to try, so let’s dive in!
I’m really excited to share today’s reviews. As I mentioned in my round-up of button-down shirts for full-bust people, DD Atelier is a full-bust clothing brand based in Russia. For a long time I didn’t fit into DD Atelier’s size range, but I really admired the pieces I saw other full-bust bloggers wear, especially the Diva Dress, as modeled here by Miss Underpinnings.
I received two dresses: the Diva in Dark Blue, a knee-length long-sleeved dress with a tightly fitted waistband and flared skirt made of a soft viscose-poly blend, and the Ornella in Bordeaux, a knee-length, long-sleeved body-con dress with a higher neckline made of a soft, warm jersey wool blend.
These colors are scrumptious: I love wearing red and navy, and they feel absolutely perfect for Fall. They’re elegant and sophisticated colors that side-step the predictable/boring black, and they work really well with other pieces in my wardrobe. The fabrics look polished and professional, although because Diva is mostly viscose, it can wrinkle easily. I’ve found the wrinkles fall out quickly while I wear the dress, but keeping a steamer handy never hurts.
Diva is a now-classic style for DD Atelier, featuring a draped, plunging neckline and billowy sleeves that fasten tightly at the wrist with 10 functional embossed buttons. Where Diva feels classic, Ornella feels oh so modern: the skirt hits at the knee or slightly below, and the silhouette hugs every curve.
I find the DD Atelier size chart a little confusing, insomuch as the the garments are alleged to be “bra sized”. The waist measurement for the largest size, 38, is 31 1/2″– my waist measurement is around 32 or 33″, but I currently wear 32 bands, not 38s. I strongly recommend ignoring your bra size and picking your DD Atelier size based on measurements alone. After consulting with Olga and Irina from DD Atelier, we settled on size 38 D-F for Ornella and 38H for Diva. For reference, I’m 5’10”, and I currently wear 32GG bras, around a US 10-12 in skirts, and usually a 14 or so in dresses to accommodate my boobs and broad shoulders.
Diva arrived next, and while it’s just as beautiful as I remembered from seeing Miss Underpinnings’, if a larger size were available, I’d exchange it in a heartbeat. As mentioned above, my waist is a little bigger than the size chart, and there really isn’t any wiggle room with this style. The fabric is non-stretch and the waist and shoulders are cut very narrow– I can just barely squeeze the side zipper up past my ribcage. I can’t lift my arms up when I’m wearing the dress, and I feel like the fabric is straining over my shoulders across my back.
Ornella arrived first, and it fits pretty darned near perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised at how long the sleeves are– too-short sleeves are a constant source of irritation for me, but these feel fantastic! The skirt length also feels great for me, even though I’m taller than the model on the website. It’s WAY more body-con than anything else in my closet, and for reasons of self-consciousness alone I’d have been interested in trying a larger size if one had been available. That’s a personal preference issue, though– Ornella fits comfortably and well in my current size. I do wear high-rise shapewear shorts underneath, because my panty lines were super-visible otherwise.
The buttons on the sleeves, while beautiful, are impossible to fasten one-handed, so I fasten them all first and then pull the dress on, and I have to really wriggle and squeeze to fit my hands through the cuffs. Diva is stunning, but I think it’s better suited to someone who has a smaller frame than I do. I have broad shoulders, big hands, and long arms, and I would really need a larger size to be able to wear the dress and comfortably maintain my full range of motion.
While sadly I might just be too big to get a truly comfortable fit in DD Atelier, if the sizes were right, I think they’d become wardrobe staples. The Ornella fabric is soft and very snuggly and warm, which makes it a great option as we in the Northern hemisphere head into colder months. I’m just not really a bodycon person (I love how it looks on other people, but it’s not my cup of tea), so I usually pair Ornella with a cardigan or a long, drapey scarf so that I don’t feel so self-conscious when I wear it.
The Diva dress feels so polished, and the waistband sits nicely at the narrowest part of my body. I do recommend wearing a plunge bra, and I had to put a little safety pin in the neckline of mine to keep my bra invisible. I should also mention here how much I appreciate the skirt length of the DD Atelier dresses. With some other full-bust brands (ahem, Pepperberry), I feel like a little girl who’s outgrown her clothes because the skirts are so short, but both DD Atelier dresses are grown-up, timeless, and elegant.
Based on my experiences, I’d advise that those with more athletic, muscular figures may want to size up in non-stretch garments. While I will probably be hesitant to order non-stretch garments in the future on account of my height and broad shoulders, I definitely have my eye on some of the stretch pieces, like this beautiful emerald dress that reminds of Ornella, but with a looser skirt.
If you are a full-bust woman with a petite or core-sized frame who is occasionally sized out of plus size or other full-bust brands, I cannot recommend DD Atelier highly enough. The quality is outstanding, the styles are unique, the fabrics are top-notch, and there are some really exceptional details in the pieces that make them feel truly special. I know sometimes Pepperberry and other full-bust brands can run generous and leave full-bust women on the smaller end of the spectrum facing lots of alterations, and I think DD Atelier will be a lifesaver! I’ll be really interested to see how the button-down shirts will fit me, after my experience with the dresses.
I know some of you have tried DD Atelier– are you as impressed as I am? What styles from the current Fall/Winter collection catch your eye?
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