10 Workwear Style Tips for Busty Women

busty women style tips for workOne of our top posts of all time is one a friend suggested I write, back in the early days of the blog: how to dress professionally if you’re busty. We haven’t offered busty women style tips in a while, so I thought we’d discuss. But let me be clear at the outset: there’s nothing inherently unprofessional about being busty — women come in all shapes and sizes.  I’m not about to suggest you go buy a minimizer and try to pretend that you’re a 34B.  But: dressing well while busty can be a challenge because so many clothes are made with other body shapes in mind — and for work it can be particularly trying since so many conservative styles are rooted in menswear. Furthermore, if you wear something that obviously does not fit or has fit issues (gaping, pulling) it reflects a judgement call. So — here are some new tips and guidelines on how to dress for work if you’re busty, from someone who’s been everything from a 30F to a 38G over the years…

(Pictured: If you’re petite and busty this is yet another reason to watch Crazy Ex Girlfriend — her work outfits are mostly hits for me. The video this screenshot is from is hilarious (“Heavy Boobs”), but it is probably NSFW.)

Finding the Right Bra is Half the Battle

  1. Invest in a great bra that fits you. The right bra will lift you up and support you. It will not give you quadboob. It may have an odd size that you’ve never even heard of before (28FF, for example).  The right bra will not make you worry about falling out of it when you bend over. It will not cut into your shoulders (that’s a sign your band size is too big) or fall off your shoulders. (Note that your straps can be shortened at the tailor — and that you can check out lingerie brands just for petites, like The Little Bra Company, Lula Lu, or even the Bare Necessities special section for petites). A good bra will take work to find and may cost you some money, but it will be worth it in spades. I highly recommend going to a bra shop and getting fitted — think Nordstrom, not Victoria’s Secret (link goes to to one woman’s fitting experience at VS with lots of pictures; probably NSFW). In NYC I’ve used Bratenders over the years and La Petite Coquette — I’ve also heard great things about Linda’s Bra Shop — and in London I’ve been fitted at Rigby & Peller. Ladies who have a favorite shop in your city, please shout it out in the comments. Once you know your size you can watch for sales; I tend to get new bras at Nordstrom’s sales, Bare Necessities sales, or even sometimes Amazon.

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Deal Alert: Secret Designer Sale at Nordstrom

secret designer sale at nordstromI kind of suspected this yesterday when I first found the numerous Armani pieces for 60% off, but had to run to a PT appointment for my knee and didn’t have time to look after that: Nordstrom has a full fledged sale on designer stuff going on. Pages and pages and pages of pieces 40%-60% off. They’re not usually shy about their sales, so it’s kind of fun knowing about it — it’s like a secret sale. Just a few clothing pieces of note to give you a taste:

  • At top: I missed this gorgeous cotton pencil skirt in the roundup yesterday — but it’s now super affordable.  It was $395, but is now marked to $157. Nordstrom Signature and Caroline Issa Stretch Cotton Pencil Skirt
  • Below: There are actually a number of Max Mara and St. John suits in the mix, but lucky sizes only — this antique rose suit is only 40% off (womp womp) but has a a ton of sizes left.  The jacket (Max Mara ‘Frine’ One-Button Wool Jacket) was $1190, but is now marked to $713.98, and the pants (Max Mara ‘Calte’ Straight Leg Wool Pants) were $595, but are now marked to $357.
  • Everyone says the shirt dress is the new sheath dress, but most of the time I can’t see it for work because it either looks totally frumpy and wrinkled or totally “wearing my boyfriend’s shirt as a dress on my way home to change” — but this Max Mara dress looks great.  Crisp, chic, lovely. It was $965, but is now $578. Max Mara ‘Zircone’ Shirtdress
  • This glen plaid dress looks perfect for work by itself — I might play with adding a belt to it (skinny? obi? hmmn), or might also try it layered with a turtleneck beneath it in wintertime.  It’s 60% off — it was $1495, but is now marked to $578. ESCADA Glen Plaid Sheath Dress
  • I like the black version of this ombre knit dress the best, but I’m very tempted by the rosy pink version as well.  The dress was $1295, but is now marked to $517. St. John Collection ‘Papillons’ Ombré Knit Bateau Neck Sheath Dress

secret nordstrom designer sale

Pictured: Suit / Navy Dress / Glen Plaid Dress / Ombre Dress

The Hunt: Stylish Pencil Skirts

stylish pencil skirts for workSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Ladies, here’s something we haven’t talked about in far too long: which are the most stylish pencil skirts for work? I’ve heard the J.Crew No. 2 pencil skirt is on the upswing (reviewers note it’s more similar to older versions of the skirt), and the old reader favorite, Halogen’s pencil skirt, is still getting positive reviews even after the design change — but otherwise it seems very much to be an open field right now.  Do you prefer pencil skirts in solid neutrals or suiting fabrics — or do you find colorful pencil skirts to be an easy way to inject fun to your working wardrobe?  Do you prefer midi skirts or A-line skirts these days? Which are your favorites?

We’ve rounded up some of our favorites on the market right now — and ooh boy are there some good sales. First, some specialty groups:

Curious for our last discussion on the best pencil skirts? Check it out here.

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Professional Hairstyles: Do Ponytails Count?

Professional Hairstyles - Ponytails at Work | CorporetteDo ponytails count as professional hairstyles? Which are the best ponytails for the office?  Do you think 50s/cheerleader ponytails are no-gos for the office, or is any neat, easy hairstyle inherently professional? 

Have you guys been watching AMC’s Better Call Saul? It’s the prequel story to Breaking Bad, chronicling the path that small-time con-man/lawyer Jimmy McGill took to become everyone’s favorite drug lawyer (later known as Saul Goodman). One of the story lines involves Jimmy working at his brother’s BigLaw-esque law firm, and one of his main friends is Kim Wexler, played by Rhea Seehorn. Kim’s story is similar to Jimmy’s — she started in the mailroom, went through law school later in life, and is now working as an associate — but unlike Jimmy she’s squeaky clean. Without giving away too many spoilers, it’s so inspiring to see her efforts to make partner, including a long montage where she calls every single person she knows to try to bring on her own client. In another scene, she does so well on her first court appearance that the opposing counsel tries to hire her. In general, she’s a rockstar lawyer. She dresses professionally, too — but something I’ve been pondering is her hair: her most frequent look is a ponytail. Not just the low, harried ponytail many of us throw our hair into when we’re working in our office and want to keep our hair out of our faces — hers is curled, and part of her all-day look.  And while it isn’t super-high, it isn’t super-low, either. (In general, I think a lower ponytail is vastly better for being taken seriously.) Part of her character is that she’s earnest and kind of new to this world of BigLaw — so is her hair supposed to convey that as well? (Ah, here’s a picture of her ponytail from the back, below. And apparently the same actress wore the same hairstyle on another show where she also played a lawyer, but I’m not familiar with that show.) Maybe I’m biased against ponytails that feel too pageant/cheerleader as professional hairstyles? 

professional hairstyles ponytails

In the past, we’ve collected easy office updos (which included some ponytail looks), as well as discussed how to style long hair for interviews, but let’s discuss ponytails, ladies — what makes them appropriate (or inappropriate?) for the office or other big meetings? Are there different rules for women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s? 

Some thoughts from poking around the Internet: The Muse gives ponytails an enthusiastic thumbs up for professional hairstyles, and Buzzfeed has this niceish twisted ponytail for work, which I like so much I’m adding it to our Work-Appropriate Hair board on Pinterest. [Read more…]

Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Neiman Marcus Sale Alert!

neiman marcus sale
Pictured: Skirt / Ankle Pants / Flare Pants / Dress
There’s a pretty epic sale going on over at Neiman Marcus — lots of lucky sizes, but the deals are approaching the “crazy” stage.  Good workwear selection (particularly if you like Lafayette 148 New York), as well as great cashmere.  I wouldn’t wear them to work, but there are a ton of nice crop tops for casual/going out type clothes.  Details on what’s pictured above, as examples of the sale:

That’s just from the price range for today’s morning post, under $150 — Akris comes down to $95-$600 in the sale, Donna Karan is on crazy sale, etc, etc. Filter by your size first, then sort either by discount (to find the best deals) or by low price.  Happy hunting, ladies!

On the plus side, this sweater looks lovely, and someone needs to buy this neon yellow rain coat (even though it’s still, uh, $500).

P.S. The Beauty.com Friends & Family 20% off sale is on, as well — great time to stock up on old favorites or try new ones.  I’m loading up on my beloved Caudalie lip conditioner, and pondering whether to try this “cult favorite” cleanser. Here’s one of our previous discussions on what to get at the Beauty.com sale. (Ooh, and sister site Drugstore.com also has some sales going on — trying to find a link to the 15% off sitewide sale I think is going on; try this link for 20% off all haircare.)

(L-all)

Suiting Brands for Women: Plus Size Suits, Petite Suits, Tall Suits and More

plus size suitsIn case you missed it, we did a major round up of the best suiting brands for women a few weeks ago, from the budget brands to the boss brands. As promised, we’re back with a focus on specialty suiting brands for women — if you’re looking for plus size suits, petite suits, tall suits, or even suits from independent/specialty boutiques, this round-up is for you.

Ladies, if you’re on the hunt for one of these types of suits, which are your favorite brands and styles? Where do you shop the most, and what kind of sales have you found? 

Plus Size Suits

plus size suits

Tall Suits

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