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Custom Curves: the Etsy Series

I created this blog because I wanted a place to share my shopping struggles, write up my style successes, and find out what other curvy girls were up to. I'll have a fan girl obsession with lingerie until the day I die, but I've always been fascinated by how hourglass or full bust women pull looks together. For years, it's been so tempting to wrap myself up in the same old Urban Outfitters t-shirts and a baggy pair of jeans from my senior year of high school. It's only recently that I've realized I don't have to settle for upsizing to accommodate my bust or see what I can squeeze into from bargain stores.

With that light bulb moment, I've fallen in love with the companies -- Urkye, DD Atelier, BiuBiu to name a few -- that specialize in beautiful styles for DD+ women. I've also discovered a second sphere I've been neglecting: Etsy. Of course, cute handmade pieces pop up on my Pinterest feed all the time, but I've shied away from checking the site out myself. I suppose I assumed the categories were too difficult to sort through or I felt left out of the loop. Like Ebay, Etsy seems like a huge Internet planet onto itself. I finally registered this month and ladies, I'm addicted. Through countless hours drooling over all the gorgeousness, I've found a number of shops that offer custom options or accommodate full bust customers.

So, here's the plan: For the next several months, or as my river of cash permits, I'll be writing a new series on the Etsy stores that offer custom sized or made-to-measure apparel. I'll be ordering one garment from each of the small businesses I introduce below. I've spent a great deal of time creating this list, contacting the stores, and finding items that matched my aesthetic, lifestyle, and retail "problem areas". While not every seller I messaged was keen to participate, the boutiques below were all exceedingly helpful, enthusiastic, and quick to respond. I hope you enjoy perusing these list as much as I enjoyed making it:

Michelle Tan
I can't decide what I want to order first from Michelle Tan: the high waist pencil skirt? The polka dot blouse? The Peter Pan collar dress? I could easily spend my entire paycheck at this store! Sometimes, with retro pieces or vintage items, I struggle to steer away from a costume-y direction. Michelle Tan's designs happily solve that styling conundrum with fun colors and streamlined cuts. Her collection feels fresh and modern alongside classic inspiration from the past. Michelle Tan also offers her custom fit designs for all body shapes, there's a $10 charge for plus sizes, and she's happy to discuss sleeve length changes. {The featured item above is the Vintage Inspired Peter Pan Collar Dress in Burnt Orange, $149.} 
Lirola
Looking through the gorgeously draped items in Lirola, I intuitively knew that my mom and I could spend hours cooing over the same shirts, dresses, and skirts. We don't have the same taste at all (Don't get me started on her opinions of florals!), but in my experience, classic designs speak across generations and individual aesthetics. Liron's clothes are items I could easily wear everyday. With basic flats and a wrap cardigan, they'd be in my weekend rotation, but with heels and a blazer, I could re-purpose the same casual dress or top. This easy-to-style, own-forever collection speaks to my savvy side that firmly believes in investment pieces and calculating cost-per-wear. {Navy blue Peplum Top with Short Puff Sleeves, $65.} 
kay em kay
kayemkay's entire dress collection can be customized for fit and there are fantastic options for an everyday casual wardrobe. An added bonus? Store owner Kasey offers some of the most adorable fabric choices on her blog.  You might've seen her heart cut out bridesmaid dresses floating around on Pinterest too. Once you view her collection, it's easy to see why so many people have fallen in love with her feminine, sweet aesthetic. Her pieces are vintage inspired, but easy to personalize with cute accessories. For the Massachusetts cold, I've been eyeing the long sleeve dress and thinking about the Mustard Blossoms print. {Long sleeve dress vintage style, $93.}
 Lana Stepul Apparel
Lana Stepul Apparel has a tagline -- "clothing to fit your mood" -- and I absolutely believe them. There's something undeniably playful about their dresses, skirts, and leggings. For a print person like myself, it's a wonderland with unique paisley, abstract floral, and metallic brocade. Many of their dresses feature a low or open back design and while that may discourage full bust buyers, Kat told me that they work one-on-one with their customers to insure that their dresses are supportive and comfortable for every body type. They've added bra cups and extended the fabric, depending on customer preferences. They're also sensitive to how each individual approaches her shape. Whether you're celebrating your curves or streamlining your proportions, Lana Stepul Apparel is happy to accommodate your vision. {Metallic Brocade High Waist Pencil Skirt, $75.}
 Bow and Arrow Apparel
North Carolina-based Bow and Arrow Apparel creates bespoke denim for under $200. I'm not sure how it's possible, but I'm so glad I found this gem of a store. While I've had some success with PZI Jeans and Levi's, I've had an impossible time finding any high waist styles that fits my hip-to-waist ratio. Their Stealth Pant is a skinny, high waist cut with a cool tab detail and awesome pockets. To make it even more incredible, Bow and Arrow ships worldwide, sources their material from the United States, and was recently a featured shop on the Etsy blog. {Stealth Pant, $167.}

Ureshii
Ureshii is easily the most flexible retailer I've ever come across. In addition to a custom fit, Ureshii offers personal color and fabric choices. They sew with silk, bamboo, and cozy merino. If you're expecting, their website has a very chic maternity section. Additionally, if you're not taken with a specific feature of the garment offered, they invite you to contact them and inquire with your preferences. They cautioned me that they're designs aren't bust minimizing, but rather work perfectly for a confident and curvy woman who knows what she's looking for. Amen to that. Side note: While they began on Etsy, they now run their own fantastic website and you can peruse their fan page for more individual product details. {Patricia Top, $80.}
Has anyone ordered a custom item before? I'm so curious...what was your experience like?
If you're an Etsy regular, have I left any seller off my list that I should include in the project?
Finally, any suggestions for which store you'd like to see a profile of first? Haha, I want to order everything at once! I can't decide who to begin the series with.

10 Comments

  1. Since I took the Ureshii plunge I've never looked back. I even tried going to the West Edmonton Mall, the biggest mall in Canada (North America?) and I couldn't find clothing I loved as much as Ureshii).

    Great post with some fantastic links :)

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  2. Not every seller keen to participate? They wouldn't let you buy from them? Huh?

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  3. (sorry if that was a double comment!)

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  4. Since I took the Ureshii plunge I've never looked back. I have TRIED to buy off the rack since, and haven't been able to find something as flattering or well made as their clothes. I am truly a ureshii addict.

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  5. My Ureshii skirts have changed the way I dress - and my little Ureshii shrug is maybe the best item of clothing I have EVER owned.

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  6. Found your blog through Ureshii's FB page. :) I fit into the weird no-woman's land between "standard" sizes and "plus" sizes, with the added issues of having a tiny waist and Thighs of Doom (I mean that in an awesome way). Shopping at regular retailers is basically impossible for me. It drives me mad! I've placed three orders through Ureshii so far and have been thrilled with all of it. I don't know that regular clothing retailers are going to get my money any more. (Now, if only Ureshii carried jeans...) I am going to follow this with interest and will check out the other retailers you've mentioned!

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  7. Oh gosh no, that would be such terrible business sense! Of all the stores I contacted, a few didn't respond to my messages and a few felt that while they hand make their clothes, they wanted to make straight sizes or were just starting out. Hope that clarifies.

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  8. I am an Ureshii fanatic, as well. I'm that woman with the most photos on their fan page. Once you find that clothes can fit, flatter, and be comfortable... it's a magical epiphany. Thank you for this blog post. I was not aware that there were custom jeans that are not prohibitively expensive. I'm jumping on that.

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  9. Great post, and so many fantastic shops! Ureshii's website is one I frequent often, they have a peplum top that I've got to get my hands on.

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  10. Did you,by any chance, run across anyone who makes custom dress pants similar in price range to the Bow and Arrow Apparel jeans? Hoping against hope...

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