The Best Blouses for the Busty

The Best Blouses for the Busty | CorporetteWhich are the best blouses for those of us who are on the busty/hourglass side? We’ve talked about how to dress professionally if you’re busty and how to fix your own gaping shirts, as well as where to get bespoke dresses for work, but we haven’t totally talked about the best blouses for bustier women. Reader A wonders:

I am an older woman who wears a 44 DD bra. The blouses in the larger women’s department are sized with armholes and sleeves that are too big. I would like to find a silk professional button down shirt, or have one tailored to fit. We live in Montana so I have to shop online. Any suggestions as to where I can find this blouse?

There are a ton of places that make shirts like this, and I’m also going to refer you to the blog Hourglassy, which I enjoy as a reader.  I was particularly intrigued when one of the bloggers there tried to get an off-the-rack shirt tailored for her (which is what I’ve always heard people recommend). (Pictured: The Signature Silk Shirt, available in four colors at The-Shirt.com for $138.) Readers with bust issues — which are your favorite stores for blouses? Has anyone had custom shirts made from scratch?

That list of stores that I know of in this space:

  • Campbell & Kate – “classic white shirts for the large busted woman who cares about fit and quality”
  • Carissa Rose – blouses, dresses, and more designed with an hourglass shape in mind
  • eShakti – I mostly think of them as making bespoke dresses, but they do offer some blouses and other tops that can be customized to your fit
  • Modern Tailor – they make both men’s and women’s shirts; get $20 off your first purchase by clicking this referral link.
  • Pepperberry – the sister store to Bravissimo, this UK site (which does ship to the US) has the cheeky tagline: “clothes designed with your boobs in mind.”
  • Saint Bustier – “Saint Bustier is the first destination designer fashion boutique specialising in gorgeous clothing for women with bigger busts which both fits and flatters larger cup sizes.”
  • The Shirt by Rochelle Berens – Now with silk blouses, too (pictured above).  “The shirt reimagined for the perfect fit.”

Readers who are on the busty side — which are your go-to shops, stores and brands for professional clothing? 

Comments

  1. Thank you very much for this piece. I spent most of my younger years as a 34B, and after the age of 25 shot up to a 36C. After having my daughter, I’m at 38D, and if I have a second child I’m likely looking at 40C and above, even if/when I lose the baby weight and stay in shape. I love wearing blouses but have a lot of problems finding one that fits (I’m rather petite aside from my bust). This is a great resource!

    • I don’t want to intrude or sound rude but it looks like you could find better looking and fitting blouses if you got measured for a new bra size, especially if you’ve had a child recently. Cup sizes vary a lot through the course of our lives but the number is supposed to be the size of your ribcage, which remains more or less constant. Does your band (in the back) stay in a straight line across your back or does in make an arch?

      I’d recomend you look into these guides to make sure your bra is properly fitted, which would make it easier for any blouse to look good (a C cup shouldn’t cause blouse issues)

      * http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/wiki/beginners_guide
      * http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/wiki/fit_guide

  2. Thank you for this post – SO helpful!

  3. Anonymous :

    Q: People who have either/both, would you recommend the Michael Kors Jet Set Tote (laptop edition) or Lo and Sons OMG or OG as an everyday bag to tote a laptop and papers/files? I like the MK one, but it seems very label-y and the Lo and Sons one is very cute, but it seems like a LOT to pay for a nylon bag.

    • Belle at Caphillstyle is giving away Lo and Sons Bags today!

      • backgrounder :

        just got the Lo&Sons OG in plum literally yesterday. while i’m still feeling it out i think it would make a good everyday tote+laptop bag as long as your laptop isn’t too large. i am using it as a gym, lunch and all purpose tote and it’s (somehow?) stuffed to the gills. i apparently schlepp a ridiculous amount of stuff. can’t speak on the MK one

        nylon on the OG is light (not sure if it’s as light as the ubiquitous longchamp pliages) but it’s a bigger bag overall. i like it so far!

    • I have a Lo & Sons TT and an OG and love them both. Seriously can’t say enough good things about the bags and the customer service I’ve received. You can almost always find a 30% off sale if you can hold out for a few weeks.

      Can’t compare to the Michael Kors tote.

    • Blair Waldorf :

      I have Lo and Sons OMG and I love it. The nylon makes it really light and I use it every day.

      If you don’t win the Caphillstyle giveaway, there is also a promo code for 15% off through her site. It’s CAPITOLHILLSTYLESUMMER and is good through the end of August.

    • A lot of the colors were waitlisted for a long time, so people who were waitlisted got a 25% discount code with the return mail. If you’d like a 25% discount, try the code below
      This is valid through August. I second that their customer service is stellar and the email reply is swift and personal.

      WAIT4[COLOR]
      for Army Green for example this was WAIT4GREEN

      I finally took the plunge on the Lo and Sons after comparing for ages between the MK Travel Jet Set, Knomo Riley and Banana Republic Dianne tote. I’ll let you know once I have it.

  4. Senior Attorney :

    I’m a 34DD with a broad back, and I have been pleased as punch with my button-fronts from Costco, of all places. Kirkland brand. Super inexpensive, washable, permanent press, come in several nice colors and stripes. Love.

    Also happy with my Perfect Fit shirt from J Crew.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m a 34DD as well and I was pleasantly surprised by the Jcrew Perfect Fit shirt from Jcrew. I really have trouble with button downs but I wear the perfect fit shirts all the time now.

  5. gablesgirl :

    I can absolutely vouch for The Shirt. I am a 34DD and a size 8. The L size fits perfectly.

  6. This is a wonderful resource, Kat. Thank you. As a 38D, I’ve tended to avoid button downs, but I’ve had some luck with JCrew and Banana Republic in the past.

  7. Anon large-busted reader :

    32F, moderate income.
    Express button-up shirts (the long-sleeved “essential” ones) work well for me. There’s enough room in the bust, and the shirt nips in at the waist without tailoring.

    My latest shirts even arrived with a snap sewn where shirts might be inclined to gape (though I’ve not had that problem)!

    Word of warning: You will need an iron. I can’t beat it for the price, though. And please someone correct me if I wrong about that. ;-)

    • Anon large-busted reader :

      Oh, and I have narrow shoulders. So, I’m guessing no Kirkland brand shirts for me.

    • Seconding the shirts from Express. I HATE that they get so wrinkled, but as a (pre-nursing) 34E, they were the best fit I could find. I’ve found the J Crew Perfect Fit to be hit and miss. I think the sizing changes slightly depending on the season.

      As a pretty extreme hourglass, I hate button down shirts in general. Tucked in, they over-emphasize my huge chest. Left out, they destroy any semblance of a waist and I just look dumpy.

  8. I’ve a double hit – I’m petite and busty. I like the Kohls 212 button downs (& a lot of their other blouses, I have several of their print shells) – I’m a 38DD & the petite large is big enough in the bust (& small enough in the shoulders) to fit me without any tailoring (they are marginally large in the waist, but not excessive because of the vertical seaming).

  9. In-House Optimist :

    TJ (and bit of an icky one at that) — has anyone figured out a good way to get their work-out clothes clean? My husband and I are both working out a lot more than we used to, and I’ve noticed that I can’t seem to get the sweat stink out of them (delicious, I know). I’ve tried washing in hot water, cold water, with bleach, without bleach, with lots of detergent, extra fabric softener, less fabric softener, isolating them by themselves, airing them out before we throw them in … it feels like I’ve tried everything!! Do any of you runners/gym rats have any suggestions? I can’t handle the stink anymore!! :) TIA!!

    • Anonymous :

      Sports Suds. Buy on Amazon. Pricey but effective, and more effective as you use it more often.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      A half a cup of vinegar in the wash. Gets the smell right out (your clothes don’t end up smelling like vinegar either!)

    • And no fabric softener!

    • In-House Optimist :

      Thank you thank you!!! Vinegar first, then I’ll try Sports Suds (and ditch the fabric softener). I appreciate the help!

    • Penguin Sport Wash (orange bottle, can buy at Amazon or any running store). It is the only thing that get my husband and my sopping wet running clothes smelling like nothing.

    • Cordelia Chase :

      Wash with either vinegar (just cup of plain old cheapo white vinegar) or baking soda!

    • If things are really smelly you can try soaking in vinegar and then washing. Put everything in one of those huge ziplocs and dump in a bunch of vinegar and soak away. It really works.

      Also, most running/gym gear has “no fabric softener” on the washing instructions. I think it interferes with the moisture-wicking quality of the fabric. I hang all our shirts and my sports bras to dry for that reason.

      Good luck and congrats on working out so much you have this problem!

    • another vote for vinegar. I will spritz the offending areas with a vinegar solution, then launder with vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser.

      I think an enzyme-based detergent helps, too. At 8, my daughter is finally able to tolerate Tide Ultra (instead of All Free & Clear), and my clothes are much fresher than before.

      You might also try Nature’s Miracle. It is for pet stains, but no reason it wouldn’t work on human sweat (which also has urea / uric acid, I believe).

  10. Annonny nonny :

    Sort of a thread jack, I am rather large of bust (and body) and have been getting calls from a Tom James representative. Has anyone worked with them and felt it was worth it? Right now my suits are all either 1) Eloquii :’( or 2) Nordstrom plus size Sejor. So, presumably these would be a step up in quality, since they are a big step up in price.

    Have you used Tom James? Was it worth it? Can you suggest an alternative for “custom/ semi-custom” plus size suiting?

    • I know we’ve had previous posts about Tom James, so I’d try searching the past links. IIRC, the opinion I heard most often is that they were “meh” with women’s clothing.

    • In-House Optimist :

      I worked with them and definitely didn’t find it worth it. I actually had three suits made before I finally called it quits because I really wanted it to work out! The quality is only so-so for the price and I actually ended up not really liking the fit — I am big of bust and the jackets all ended up being really boxy. If I had to buy a new suit, I’d go for one with very nice quality and take it to a tailor — it would be a far better use of the funds. HTH!

    • Hated them. Bad quality, bad service (after stalking me for months to get me to order something), bad everything. Dallas, TX location, FWIW.

  11. Anonymous :

    I’m a 34G and I have yet to find any button-downs that work well- even if they button up properly, they’re simply not flattering on my bust and make me look bigger thanI am.

  12. Ugh. After an incredibly long and drawn out process, I negotiated a job offer from Large Company. What must have been moments before the HR rep sent me the written offer and info packet to start the background check, the hiring manager was fired (he wasn’t the only one.) I heard through the grapevine, as it has been radio silence from the HR rep. This all happened last Wednesday. I left HR rep 1 voicemail on Monday, just stating that I was following up on our prior conversations and asking that he call me back.

    Has anyone been in a similar situation? I’ll add that I have a job now and am ok in it; new job would be a great opportunity. I’m thinking of calling HR rep again tomorrow letting him know that I’ve heard there have been a few changes and asking what this means.

  13. Sort of related, Uniqlo has a new line of silk blouses in the $50 range. Has anyone tried these yet? I love silk shirts and fwiw have much less issues with gaping, etc., with silk than with traditional button downs.

  14. I am a 38D and wear the classic fit no-iron shirts from Brooks Brothers. The only thing I had to do was move the button on the sleeves to make them fit tightly. The fabric is truly no-iron and the shirts don’t look like you have slept in them by the end of the day.

  15. midwest mom :

    While we have all the big busted girls in the house… any suggestions on Bikini tops? My daughter is a 32DD and really struggles to find something that has a tad bit of modesty left. Don’t suggest Victoria Secret please… who puts a push up in a DD swim top… she doesn’t need any more help. Either that or they plunge so deep that she isn’t comfortable. We tried Canvas last year.. but not enough support. Surprisingly we bought her a top at H&M that worked this year but it’s a one season wear for sure. We have look at Athena but were unimpressed with the styles they had. Please advise… thanks.

    • lucy stone :

      Did she try regular Lands’ End? I was that size when I was a teenager and some of their tops worked really well for me. J. Crew’s bra-style tops also worked well.

    • I’m about the same proportions and I’ve had really good luck with Freya swimsuits. They’ve got cute styles an bra top sizing.

      • Anonymous :

        Seconded on Freya. I got two before my beach vacation and they are super super cute.

      • Anon full-busted woman from above :

        Thirded for Freya.
        As a 32F, my problem with Lands End was that while there is cup sizing in LE (D, DD, DDD), there isn’t band sizing, so there is not real support to speak of. I have a halter from Freya that I like, and their South Pacific tankini (probably not a style she is interested in) actually has a bra-like (hook and eye) closure.

    • Mermaid in Heels :

      Try herroom dot com; several of their lingerie brands offer swimsuits as well. Most of them are sold by bra size. I’ve had great luck with the Fantasie bikini tops personally (I’m a 38ff). Bonus – lots on sale right now.

    • I’ve had great success with Freya and Panache. 30F. Victoria’s Secret is terrible for 32′s (which I thought I was until I got properly sized). Unless you have a great bra store near you, you’re going to have order on-line.

    • Lyra Silvertongue :

      I wear Freya and Pureda. Panache and Fantasie are good too, though Fantasie isn’t likely to your daughter’s taste/age range. Great online selection of bra-sized swimwear on bravissimo, herroom, bare necessities, and fig leaves dot com.

      I don’t fit in their bras/swimwear anyway, but big thumbs down to Victoria’s Secret. Their sizing associates always tried to put me in a 38DD (I’m a 32G, so I obviously looked ridiculous).

    • Anonymous :

      Try exelnt.com – custom swimwear by bra size – tops and bottoms sold separately

    • Try looking for swimsuits from brands that make bras for large-busted women, like Panache, Freya, etc. Her bikini tops should have the same support, including underwire, as regular bras, and they should come in bra sizes, not small/medium/large. Good sites for bras and swimsuits include figleaves and brastop.

    • Every spring in high school and college, my mom and I did “swim suit day”. We have completely different body types – she is thin and straight as a board, I am busty and hourglass. We ordered a TON of suits online from 4-5 places (including Venus, Freya, Lands End, etc) and spent the day trying them on in her bedroom, snacking on fun foods, and being brutally honest about what looked the best. We’d usually find 2-3 each that we liked, and then returned the rest. That night we would go out to eat to celebrate the victory and forget about the unflattering ones.

      Totally turned the frustrating body changes into a more positive “let’s find the best cut for us THIS year” exercise. It’s an awesome memory with my mom, and one I want to replicate with my daughter someday.

  16. Lyra Silvertongue :

    I’ve had pretty good luck with the blouses from White House Black Market, particularly the ones with princess seams. The blouses from pepperberry dot com fit my bust/waist well, but the quality is generally lacking. They also seem to be quite short in the torso, which is odd for me since my height is in my legs. For reference, I’m a 32G, size 10/12 and 5’9”.

  17. The only place to buy button-down shirts for large boobs: Biu Biu
    http://biubiu.pl/category/en/koszule-koszule-z-dlugim-rekawem

    Online reviews abound, and their customer service is excellent.

    • Anonymous :

      I disagree about Biu Biu being “the only place” for button-down shirts for large boobs.
      I have a couple Campbell and Kate shirts and love love love them.
      In fact I’m wearing one right now.
      I just wish they came in more colors.

  18. NutellaNutterson :

    I’m surprised more people aren’t mentioning the importance of fist getting properly fitted for your bra. Victoria’s Secret isn’t the place to do it! And even Nordstrom is invested in making sure you “fit” into a bra they have in stock. Since their selection is better, your chances of getting a good fit are higher.

    It’s well worth the effort to read up on how to properly fit a bra and get the “underpinnings” in place before investing in new blouses.

  19. I’m a 40G up top. Any ideas?
    After the CPA exams went up to a 16 on bottoms. About to start at a big 4 and just cant find button down tops that work well.
    The tops that fit are terrible in the bust. Otherwise they are TERRIBLE everywhere else.
    Ladies of huge busts and huge brains – what shirts do you wear??

  20. In the UK we have a fabulous brand called Pepperberry, they produce clothing ‘to fit and flatter your boobs’. Affordable & great quality -www.bravissimo.com/pepperberry.

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