Busty Blazers

Which are the best blazers if you’re small and busty?  busty blazersReader K wonders:

One of my biggest obstacles when it comes to finding business appropriate clothes are my breasts. I feel like it’s impossible to find a jacket or blouse that won’t either pull or else drown me. Either my jacket is so big that I can’t find my arms (and definitely not my waist) or I can’t close it over the girls. I’m a 32G (by nature, not by choice) and a size two everywhere except my chest. I would like to look both professional and not like a child wearing her mom’s jacket. I work in banking, so jackets are a must. (And yet, I’m young enough that I don’t have the kind of funds to have tailor made clothes.) Am I all alone in the world? Is there anyone out there who makes professional clothes for small women with large breasts?

Interesting.  We’ve talked about whether jackets must button to “fit”, how to dress professionally with curves, where to get blouses for the busty, and even how to find such clothes on a budget — but not how to find blazers that fit an hourglass frame. In our last thread on the best suits for small women, Theory seemed to be the winner, which you may want to try — but I’ve never found the brand to be particularly curve-friendly. (If you’re petite as well as small-statured, here was our more recent thread on the best workwear for petites.) I’m curious to hear what the readers say, but here are some thoughts:

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  • Get to know specialty stores for the busty such as Pepperberry, St. Bustier, and DD-Atelier The problem of a small ribcage and large cup size may seem exotic by Victoria’s Secret standards, but it’s is a really common thing.  (I was a 30F myself in my smaller days.)  (Reader K doesn’t say her height, but if you’re on the petite side AND busty, I’d look for a small bust-friendly blazer first and then have it tailored to be more petite.  Along those lines, check out this Alterations Needed post, and this Extra Petite post.)
  • Look into bespoke blazers.  This seems less common than bespoke dresses, but Sumissura (formerly known as Tailor4less) offers custom blazers (as well as suits); blazers start at $149. A UK site, MoodbyMe, seems to offer the same, as does Moi-Même.  (This list of bespoke women’s suiting is still pretty good.)
  • London calling…  You need a vacation, right? The few times I’ve been to London I’ve marveled at how almost all of the shops seems to accommodate a small ribcage/large bust situation.  (While you’re over there, consider swinging by Paris – this Reddit thread suggests a number of French brands that are great for small but bust-friendly blazers.)  Failing a trip, you may want to consider trying some British brands with small sizes, such as TopShop, Boden, Marks and Spencer, and Dorothy Perkins (all of which have petite sizes as well).
  • If all else fails: look for blazers with a hint of stretch in them.  Knit blazers, even wool/lycra blends, are going to be your friends.

Readers, if you’re busty, where do you go for a blazer? Small statured ladies, which are your favorite blazers? In general, ladies, what are your biggest challenges for finding blazers that fit?

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Comments

  1. I’m not the target audience of this post, but based on the fact that I have to have all of my Boden blazers tailored because there is too much empty space in the bust, I’m going to go ahead and suggest you try Boden :)

  2. I have the same problem and I feel good in blazers without buttons, which fortunately are really popular right now. Plus it avoids the question of whether you unbutton sitting down. Since I am short and curvy I avoid the “boyfriend” length and go for shorter ones. Here’s an example: http://us.dorothyperkins.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=34072&storeId=13065&productId=16077877&langId=-1&categoryId=&parent_category_rn=&searchTerm=DP66793517&resultCount=1&geoip=home#slide1

    Blazers like this are common, but I’ve never seen an actual matching suit like this. If anyone does, please post!

    • I am Petite (5 foot 2, size 0 or 2) and large busted (28F) and I wear Theory almost exclusively. The Gabe B blazer is my favorite because it only has one button, which in my mind, deals with the “gaping” look. As for button down shirts…I got nothing. :)

    • I am Petite (5 foot 2, size 0 or 2) and large busted (28F) and I wear Theory almost exclusively. The Gabe B blazer is my favorite because it only has one button, which in my mind, deals with the “gaping” look. As for button down shirts…I got nothing. :)

  3. Theory is my choice! Sometimes they are a little tight in the bust, so I wear the blazer unbottoned with a frillier shirt, which seems to look pretty natural.

    • I agree with Chelsea! Yay b/c I thought I was the onley one that had issue’s with my blazers and my boobie’s. Frank is alway’s trying to sneek a peek at my boobie’s even tho he is married. When will men stop stareing at boobie’s? Even Myrna get’s fed up with this and she is NOT bustey! FOOEY on men who do this. Fortunateley the manageing partner has limited his stareing at me now that I told Margie. She said he has to wait until he come’s home to get female attention, and from what I gather, she is giving him a lot of attention so he is under control at work now. YAY!!!!

      Madeline does NOT get much attention, even by Frank –evidentely they all just want to stare at the pretty girl’s even tho she has boobie’s also. She does have an older boyfriend so she is probabley getting some kind of sex from him. YAY!

  4. I have had good luck tailoring Talbots blazers.

  5. I’m a 30DD, size 00 in most brands (sometimes smaller — thanks, vanity sizing). I buy my suits at J.Crew. I’m not a petite (I’m 5’5″), but I buy a petite jacket for the suit. I like the 1035 best. I haven’t had to do any tailoring on the jacket. I buy the 1035 trouser in regular and have it tailored to fit, but its a lot less tailoring than is involved with the Hutton, or with other brands I’ve tried. I hope this helps!

  6. This is a trial and error process for me, but I’ve had success with Theory blazers and the BR wool suiting. For reference I am a 32F (per my last fitting). I think the trick is a little stretch in the wool. I’ve also read that you should buy jackets to fit your chest and then tailor down but I have never found success with those kind of alterations, the result was expensive and still frumpy.

  7. housecounsel :

    Thanks for addressing this issue! I am now checking all of the sites for a button-down chambray/denim shirt that doesn’t gape.

    • In the Pink :

      I end up taking in/tailoring every single jacket I purchase. I buy to fit my bust and then the waist, shoulders, and sleeves are tailored.

      I also do not own any button-front shirts as I can’t stand the issue of gaping and snaps just make for more, smaller gaps and the tape is unreliable for me. I also have skin reactions to the tape if it is on my skin so that prevents any “wrap dresses” which are always cited as great for hourglasses. If I find the rare faux wrap dress with the skirt flap secured (yeah!) the thought of wearing a cami or tank to deal with the wrap over the bodice makes it a no go.

      I also look for single-button jackets with a lower stance. I avoid the longer/boyfriend style ones.

      In consignment shops, I have done well with Armani. Although there is still tailoring needed, seems that the quality and cut is more forgiving in general. And hey, it’s Armani. :)

    • hoola hoopa :

      I got one at Pendleton for my 30DD self. No gap! Overall, I find them to work pretty well for my upper half.

    • Red Beagle :

      I’ve had some success with in the past with LL Bean and Lands End for button downs although not lately. 32 G bra size here, 5 foot 4 on a good day but usually about 5 – 3. LL Bean has a tapered fit – forget what they call it – that is less baggy than their more relaxed fits. And bonus – practically wrinkle-free! Just ordered a couple of short-sleeve ones from LE and will let you know the fit.

  8. I’m going to agree with the UK suggestion, for the reason that I’m not particularly well endowed and I find that UK brands tend to be gappy in the front on me if they fit my shoulders and waist, whereas American brands tend to fit a bit better

  9. I have a similar figure issue. I have done well with Liz Claiborne blazers, but have the most luck with styles that have a belt or tie at the waist… for some reason, those are cut with enough room in the body to accommodate my bust.

    On a related note, does anyone have recommendations on good (not insanely expensive or hideous) minimizing bras?

    • I have this problem, but unfortunately no real solution to offer. I can’t stand wearing blazers and only wear them to court. Otherwise, I’m uncomfortable all day long with a nasty head/neck ache by the end of the day. Anyone else have this problem?

      Flounder, I live in the fantasie smoothing full cup bra. It’s not the prettiest, but not horrible, and it’s $50 at bare necessities (and I can often use a coupon code).

      • Anon Worker Bee :

        My neck and shoulders are usually sore if I wear a blazer/suit coat all day. I have a ponte blazer from Jones New York which results in less pain…

    • Red Beagle :

      I’ve had good luck with zu li ly dot com who sometimes feature curvy bras from Natori or Wacoal at a fraction of retail, e.g. $29 versus $60+ for a 32G size. Also, search her room by size and you’ll get some options although I can’t speak to all brands. Natori and Wacoal have been most comfortable for me.
      For jackets, I have a couple of CK ones that seem to fit well without tailoring.

      • Thanks y’all. These days, Chantelle’s minimizer is my best bet and Whimsy by Wacoal for days that I want to feel pretty.

        I’m not sure if its a compliment when people see me outside of the office and tell me that they never realized that I had a rack like that (yes, my coworkers talk like that… “rack” is an office term for a unit of our product, so it is a little less awkward)

  10. Tailors are your friend. For busty girls, single-button girls are easier to take in than double-buttoned (at least according to my tailor). Make sure the blazer you buy fits you properly in the shoulders and sleeves-that will give you a much better fit when they take in the blazer at your waist to accommodate your chest.

    J.Crew, Banana, and Tahari all make great, tailor-friendly jackets.

    You may also want to explore custom made jackets. They don’t have to be prohibitively expensive. A local seamstress or tailor can make you a custom jacket for 150-400 (depending on their demand and the materials you request).

  11. Blonde Lawyer :

    I buy a size 8 blazer. I’m a 32DDD and size 4ish otherwise. The 8 is still tight in the chest and I just leave the top button open. The 8 is also still a little big in the other areas but not big enough that I’m swimming in it. I have found Loft, Banana, Talbots and Express to all work in the 8.

  12. All my blazers are from Jigsaw in the UK, so that’s a good place to try. Not cheap, though they have excellent sales.

  13. I’m a 28F, which only gets worse while pregnant, but that’s a whole other issue. I agree with the comment above about buttonless jackets. If you can get away with them, they are awesome. When I must button my jackets, I’ve found Banana Republic jackets sized up but in petites help to get the shoulders right (which is key to not looking like you’re in your mom’s jacket). It’s a sad fact, but I’m also very good friends with my tailor, so I might look into these British designers.

  14. hoola hoopa :

    If a trip to Europe isn’t in your future, then I suggest trying Zara. I haven’t shopped their US stores (they may recut for the US market?) but I’ve had luck with Zara in France.

    I’m 30DD and petite, so French clothing stores were great.

    Thankfully I don’t have to wear jacket routinely. Generally I wear the blazer unbuttoned. Not ideal, but it looks better than most blazers on my body type. I also find that a jacket with a wide “waist band” can be more flattering, but YMMV.

  15. I know it has been offered up before on thiss!te so I am tempting fate, and hopefully won’t get rejected for moderation or something.

    I have a bunch of [email protected] in these sizes that are now too big that I am looking to offload. I have a bunch of 30DD, 32D and similar/sister-like sizes. I don’t know exactly what or how many off the top of my head, but if anyone is interested in purchasing (I even have some that are new with tags, and unreturnable to merchant), I am happy to share. Please comment and we can figure out how to proceed.

  16. I used to go for Pepperberry jackets as I require their Super Curvy size. I just don’t like the quality of their jackets nor shirts worth the money tbh. So I instead opt for one button jackets which quite often fit nicely. Or the kind without buttons that still creates the v shape. My trusted items are by Ivanka Trump, Nine West and Tahari. Today I just wrote a style post on www.hourglassy.com with my classic white shirt on it by the unbeatable Campbell & Kate.

  17. I’m so excited about this post–and to know that I’m not alone! I’m super excited about some of the new ideas. I agree about the Brits, most of my bras come from the UK, so it makes sense that business clothes should, too…I guess American designers just don’t believe in curves! As an FYI-I’m 5’3″ but almost never think to buy petite in tops—since they usually have a couple obstacles before they come close to reaching my pants,…

    Thanks!

    • This is so surprising to hear that Americans find that UK clothes fit bigger bust better when personally I’ve noticed that it’s the other way around. Kors, Klein, Camuto, Tahari, Jones New York all make clothes which often accomodate bust quite well. Nordic brands like Vila, Gina Tricot and H&M are fairly bust friendly too but quality might not be great. Filippa K coats are great too but haven’t tried their blazers.

  18. SA-litagor :

    I’m a 34F and it’s not about the brand – it’s about the number of buttons on your blazer. I can never wear blazers with only one button, too much gaping. Stick with 2-3 buttons and you’ll be good. Learned this from watching What Not To Wear, and as Stacy and Clinton would say, if you’re busty make sure you “lock and load” those puppies with at least 2 buttons on your blazer.

    • Cream Tea :

      I enjoyed this.

    • I love Stacy and Clinton. So much great advice. I wish I had cable still. Are they even still on??

      • In the Pink :

        Sadly, no. Not even in “reruns.” Clinton is busy on “The Chew” on abc and I have no idea about Stacy. Maybe her stylist/consultant biz has taken off at last?

  19. I have the opposite problem, being a 36A or 38A. I picked this up at the NAS:

    http://nordstrom.com/Product/Details/3733072

    It looks like a button down but has a button-less placket which means it goes on overhead and zips up the side. Genius! No gaping!

    • Anonymous :

      Link isn’t working – and I really want to know what item you’re describing, if you see this…

  20. Since Rebecca and Drew stopped making their wide range of blouses, I haven’t been able to find a button down. Has anyone found anything that fits as well/is as well made as Rebecca and Drew? I’m a 32DDD and have short arms and a short torso.

    • Instyle Essentials :

      Instyle Essentials bought Rebecca & Drew, so you may want to see if you like them. And Tina is wearing her Campbell & Kate shirt in her Hourglassy post today.

      • Pretty sure Rebecca & Drew still owns TrioFit, which Instyle essentials uses. My credit card statement still read Rebecca & Drew and some of the same people work there, and it explains that on the instyle essentials website. I’ve been able to get shirts from instyle that fit great. You should reach out to them if you used to like Rebecca & Drew. They’re the only shirts that really work for me.

  21. nordstrom blazer :

    I have this problem- try the Halogen Ela in petite (even if you aren’t a petite!). It’s on sale now for around $75.

  22. My lone suit is Theory. I would have done better with a petite proportioned jacket but lacking that option we shortened the sleeves (note the buttonholes are pre-opened so there is a limit to how short they can go). I went through Nordstrom so I could get it tailored in house and caught the anniversary sale so I got the jacket, trousers, and skirt for the price of just the jacket and skirt. Tailoring prices were on par with outside vendors. I would avoid Ann Taylor as they tend to be a bit linebacker in the shoulders on a busty petite frame when they fit in the front.
    I do find that DD Atelier and Pepperberry both fit the normal proportion better than petite, they just tend to be a little long in the torso. I personally like DD better and their button-front shirts are serviceable un-tailored, I just find they would be better shortened from the shoulder 1-2″(definitely doable with a good tailor.) I wish I had tried DD’s suits before they sold out. I do like Campbell and Kate as well for white button-fronts, I just never wear white shirts to work.

  23. I would suggest tailoring. Tailors charge 50 or less to take in the sides of a suit jacket and shorten the arms. You don’t have to get it tailor made, just tailored which is a lot cheaper. It is your best bet because of your unusual proportions why are you trying to make yourself fit into off the rack sizing?
    If you have a few solid colored jackets tailored you are good to go

    The woman asking the question says she can’t afford tailor made clothing but it is suggested she check out London and Paris which doesn’t make sense.

  24. I have tried so many different blazers (I have wide shoulders, 32DD bust, and a small, high waist), and I keep going back to Tahari! Their size 6 or size 8 (depending on my weight) always fit me and button perfectly, no tailoring required.

  25. Carol Ezrati :

    Check out Pepperberry. They are noted for designing clothes for women with boobs. Although they are based in the UK, they ship to the US.

  26. As a person who fits the dimensions of the reader who posed the original question, I have to disagree with feedback that French brands work for this sort of frame. I my experience, they are TERRIBLE for busty, curvy frames. The French are a boyishly-shaped bunch, in general, and the high-street, RTW offerings most definitely reflect that. I’ve been to Sandro and the Kooples and, while the stuff is lovely, it is really not designed for those with notable discrepancies between shoulder circumference, full bust circumference and waist circumference. I completely concur that the UK has it going on for petite women with proportionately large busts, but France – I can’t find a t-shirt to fit me there. Note: I’m a US 6-8.

    Oh, and I recently wrote a post that speaks to this… http://line4line.blogspot.ca/2014/07/the-chic-french-woman-primer.html

  27. I’m 5ft3, 17 and wear a 32G (UK size) It’s an absolute nightmare trying to find any clothes that fit. If not for my boobs I’d wear a UK size 6, with them I need at least a 10, often a 12, which just don’t fit the rest of my body… Any advice would be so so appreciated especially with job and university interviews coming up..

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