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Retro Pinup Review: Madame X by Dita Von Teese Lingerie

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"Madam X" set from Von Follies by Dita Von Teese | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

The current collection from Dita Von Teese's Von Follies has a lot of really winning pieces, but I have to say that this set from Madam X is certainly my favorite. I had the opportunity to special order several pieces via Dark Garden, including the much-vaunted (and much-wanted) Her Sexellency Dress, but I kind of wish I could wear Madam X everyday. I got the wire-free bra and full brief, to satisfy my ongoing obsession with both bralettes and high waisted panties.

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"Madam X" set from Von Follies by Dita Von Teese | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

Fit and Sizing

I have to admit, my one major frustration with the Von Follies line is that the sizing seems to be really inconsistent, at least in the bras. I got four bra styles in my special order (including the Her Sexellency dress), and the trend seemed to be that the smaller the cup design, the smaller the cup fit. Not knowing what to expect at the time of the order, I had ordered everything in a 32B, though I was either a smidge smaller then or hadn't yet realized I had actually graduated from a 30C to a 30D. The quarter cup styles were laughably (or cry-ably, if you will) small --- I had to go up to a 32D in the one I was able to exchange. A friend and I ordered two very similar bras from the same group, in the same size. Hers was the demi-cup and mine the quarter cup, and though her demi fit her pretty well, my quarter cup was very small on her as well, so it's definitely not just me. Thankfully, one of the charms of bralette styles (there are so many!) is that they are more forgiving with cup sizes, and I am quite happy in the 32B for the Madam X soft cup bra. With no underwire, framing the breast tissue isn't a concern, and the cup depth is quite comfortable.

The panties I received were a size 12 UK, and a fairly good fit. (I have a 26" waist and 38" hips, which makes me about a 2/4 American.) At first I thought they were a little loose, but I actually prefer a bit of wearing ease in my panties because I hate the look and feel of elastic cutting in. Still, given the opportunity to try them on before purchasing, I maybe would have gone with the 10. If you're used to American sizing, I would definitely recommend going up at least three sizes.

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"Madam X" set from Von Follies by Dita Von Teese | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

Madam X Wire-Free Bra

This bra is called the wire-free, wireless, non-underwire, or soft cup bra (and so on) depending on the retailer. It does have a light piece of boning on the side of the cup but it is very unobtrusive. The wide strap detail anchors the center front a bit as well as looking amazing peeking out from a scoop neckline. The lace part of the cup is an elastic lace with subtle purple detailing, and a very narrow elastic discreetly tacked just inside the scalloped edge to help hold it flush against the top of the breast. The princess line of the cup has a faggoting detail (a peek-a-boo ladder-like stitch joining the two sides), which reveals --- on me at least --- that the princess line really is right on the apex.

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"Madam X" set from Von Follies by Dita Von Teese | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

The lower part of the cup looks like a wide satin elastic because of its tidy parallel stitching, but is actually a satin-faced lightweight bra pad. This is presumably largely responsible for the amazing support and shape provided by this bra. I am really impressed with its profile under shirts and the feeling of security provided. I will say that the band does seem to be rather stretchy --- I wear it on the tightest hook (since it's technically too large a band for me already) and it still has plenty of give, sufficient for me to hold it several inches away from my back. Aesthetically, though, I love the square-back shape designed by the intersection of strap, band, and wing. The wing (constructed from double layer mesh) is also a really great height, and sits flush against the body.

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"Madam X" set from Von Follies by Dita Von Teese | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

Madam X Full Brief

As I mentioned, I felt I could've gone either way (10 or 12) with the sizing on this piece. The strap detailing at the waist is highly adjustable, which lends a certain flexibility --- I had to tighten the straps considerably to fit my waist. The lace panels have the same narrow elastic reinforcement below the scallops featured on the bra, so this is where I would have been concerned about the smaller size dimpling my hip line. The gusset is cotton, with the seaming bagged and hidden. The back of the panty is stretch mesh, with a gathering seam down the center back. The legline elastic is pretty perfect --- I particularly loathe a constricting legline.

"Madam X" set from Von Follies by Dita Von Teese | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

"Madam X" set from Von Follies by Dita Von Teese | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

At the end of the day, I love these panties.  They have a lot of visual interest and detailing, but the overall design feels harmonious, not conflicted. The topstitched satin insets nod nicely to the bra, but both pieces are classic and versatile enough to be able to pair with other styles you may already own.  If you're a bit shy of high-waisted styles, the low-rise version is pretty cute too (and retailers seem to be less intimidated by it --- it's easier to find).

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"Madam X" set from Von Follies by Dita Von Teese | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

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Marianne Faulkner

Marianne Faulkner is the designer of Pop Antique, a clothing and corsetry line specializing in sustainable materials and comfortable curves. She is based in San Francisco where she earned her MFA in fashion design at the Academy of Art University, and has been a columnist at The Lingerie Addict since 2011.