Why I Don’t Buy Things From Pepperberry

I’ve been a little reluctant to post this, because I don’t like saying bad things about companies that serve an underserved market.  But I can’t recommend that people buy from Pepperberry.  I’ve personally experienced clothing quality and fit issues, though Hourglassy says specific items I review in this post have gotten better over the years. I might be willing to give them a try again if it weren’t for their policies towards plus-sized women.

Despite catering to a curvier market, they really don’t like plus-sized women.  They adjusted their sizing in 2011 and larger women who previously fit into their clothes complained; their campaign for ‘real women’ to serve as models somehow only found skinny women; people complain that their less-skinny models have disappeared; and most tellingly, their affiliate program policies repeatedly state that they are not to be associated with sites for plus-sized women and literally treat sites for plus-sized women the same way they treat porn.  Pepperberry did not return my May 18 request for comment on this policy.

Longer version of this story and pictures are below.

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Monthly Roundup: Useful Links

Hi, everyone!  Back from a surprise vitamin deficiency hiatus.

Crop Top Sweaters Make Me So, So Mad: a webcomic!  I started blogging because too much women’s clothing is like this, and I wanted to help people find the few things that weren’t.

Full Bust Finds: MM.LaFleur Dresses .  Hourglassy is a great blog for anyone busty, and it seems that Darlene had a more positive experience with the fit of several MM.LaFleur dresses than I did.  Absolutely worth checking out if you want a second opinion!

Plus Size Could Save Retailers: a business case for, you know, not ignoring most women’s shopping needs.

Dear Retailer: suggestions people in the plus size fashion community have for retailers.

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Secret Blankets: Staying Warm

Warm sweaters are on sale because for some reason people don’t want to buy them right now!  And offices are often extra-freezing in the summer!  Serendipity?

Slightly embarrassing story: in college, I had a fuzzy purple bathrobe I liked so much I wore it outside, as if it were a coat instead of obviously a bathrobe.  Now that I am doing a better job pretending to be an adult I do not wear my bathrobe outside, but as I get cold a lot, I still look for things that are as cozy as that bathrobe.  Outdoors, this means I have an excuse for fancy coats.  Indoors is harder, because I resist wearing: button-up cardigans (too fussy-looking), pullover sweaters (too hard to take off), blazers (too stiff and corporate).  If you do want those things, I make recommendations near the end of the post.  Otherwise, here is a sampling of the secret blankets of various weights I have left available to myself.

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Bust-Friendly Dress Shirts, Part 2: DD Atelier

DD Atelier is a Russia-based company that makes way more interesting and structured clothing than most bust-friendly retailers do.  I don’t always agree with their choice of fabrics, but that’s a matter of personal preference: everything they make looks youthful and fun even if I’m not personally a fan of gingham.  Also, their clothing fits me really well, once I figured out what my size was.  (This shirt is an 80F, and I originally thought I was an 85D).  For the price, it’s ridiculously well-constructed, and the fabrics and fit are both way nicer than the Pepperberry shirt I bought 8 years ago.  Also, my friends implied that I looked like Neo from The Matrix, which I consider a compliment.

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Ethical Fashion Supporting Actual Native American Artists

I was upset last week to hear that the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico does not think that the Navajo Nation, the second-largest Native American tribe in the United States, is famous enough for Urban Outfitters “Navajo”-branded stuff to legally qualify as trademark dilution.  Not a total loss for the Navajo, since they have a pretty compelling case (nonsense language like ‘tribal print’ exists because it’s illegal to pretend that you are selling the products of a particular Native American tribe unless you actually are).   But it’s certainly a blow to, you know, basically any tribe that trademarks their name to prevent exactly this kind of thing from happening, because if the Navajo can’t win that argument about their name, then who can?

There’s not much I can do as a private citizen, but I decided I can do these three things:

  1. Suggest that you do not buy stuff from Urban Outfitters or their other brands, Free People and Anthropologie, if you care about human beings.  Urban Outfitters has a long history of doing this sort of thing and also not making clothes in ethical conditions.
  2. Tell you a little about the Navajo and why they should be famous, even if the U.S. District Court does not believe this;
  3. Share with you some actual Native American / First Nations artists whose cool clothing and accessories you can buy

For a more comprehensive list of Native American fashion and accessory designers, check out Beyond Buckskin Boutique’s Buy Native list.  This list is just a curated version of the ones I like the most: I personally tend to like simple things, and a lot of Native art is too intricate for my taste. If you have different taste than me, please do check out Beyond Buckskin’s Buy Native list.

I’ve tried to include options at a variety of price points.


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Bust-Friendly Dress Shirts, Part 1: Front Room

A few weeks ago I rounded up the best silk blouses I could find through research– and now I’ve actually tried one of them!

Full disclaimer:  I got this blouse as a gift from the lovely owner of Front Room, Melanie Love.  She did not give this to me for review, although she was aware of the existence of this blog at the time that she gave it to me, and it being a gift from her does not affect the honesty of this review.

This bust-friendly shirt review comes first because apparently, Front Room is closing their web storefront for the summer starting mid-June!  They started a semi-annual sale for their mailing list subscribers on 5/15, and they’ll be extending it to the general public on 5/17.

Front Room, as far as I know, is unique among specifically bust-friendly clothing companies.  Everything they make is not just office-appropriate, but appropriate for a very formal office.  Melanie Love comes from a finance background, so she’s got experience standing uncomfortably next to men in $10,000 suits while “praying the double-sided tape on [her] shirt-front [was] going to hold until the end of the presentation.”  Her clothing is designed for that environment.

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Awesome, Extremely Expensive Coats: The Nerdy Edition

Have you ever wanted to look like Dante from Devil May Cry?  Rey from Force Awakens?  Link from Zelda?  The entire cast of Assassin’s Creed?  Then you are my people.  Also, there is a company that makes the perfect clothing for you.  It’s nerdy while still somehow looking sophisticated and sharp, and they design stuff that’s super-durable, much of which you can also move around in easily.

…if you have the right figure for it, and/or if you can afford the stuff they make to measure.  I bought one stupendously amazing vest from Volante Design, and the process of trying to get it altered has convinced me I cannot buy any of their stuff unless they make it to my measurements.

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Overly-Comprehensive Reviews: MM LaFleur

I have intensely conflicted feelings about MM.LaFleur.  The idea of looking sharp and professional but having someone else do all the actual work is great; MM.LaFleur’s customer service is excellent; their branding and marketing is brilliant; their clothing is sturdy and conservative enough for any workplace and has a good balance of personality and versatility.  Also, most of their stuff magically looks way better in photographs than I think it actually looks on me.

However, even though I did end up buying some of their stuff, I think I’m too hard to fit and too picky to be their audience.  You’re best off with MM.LaFleur if you feel overwhelmed by the idea of picking work clothes, you’re not especially picky about color, and you have no emotional problem dropping $155-$295 on an article of clothing.

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Awesome, Extremely Expensive Coats: The Ethics Edition

Sorry for the lack of new content lately.  Contract work has been taking up a lot of my time!

But I do have a few things lined up.  Namely: I have a hobby of Internets-staring at beautiful, expensive coats.  There’s something so expressive and dramatic about them.   Through this hobby, obviously I’ve come up with a few different favorite coats for different reasons!  Today I’m going to introduce you to one: the most universally ethical fancy coat maker on the market.  Vaute Couture is a manufacturer and designer of vegan, eco-friendly, made-in-the-USA dress coats.

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Who Makes The Best Silk Blouses?

Good news if you like silk: if you can pay $29, you can afford a top made of reasonable-quality silk.

But that top won’t work for everyone!  Online reviews say Grana (the company that makes said $29 silk tanks) generally has a petite-friendly boxy fit, so if either of those don’t work for you, you’re likely out of luck.  Also, Grana’s silk is the most affordable decent-quality silk on the market, but not the best silk at any price point.

So whose silks are the best on the market (in terms of quality, fit, ethics, and affordability)?  Join me as I delve into esoteric topics that I might be the only one interested in!

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