The Best Solutions for Gaping Shirts

the best solutions for gaping shirtsSince it’s been a while since we last discussed this particular workwear issue for those of us on the bustier side, we thought it’d be a great time to talk about the best solutions for gaping shirts. Last time, we gave some DIY options for gaping blouses, including recommendations for sewing, taping, and pinning to close up the gaps — and more recently, we’ve talked about the best women’s dress shirts and dress shirts for for women with large breasts, as well as the best workwear for different body types, blazers for busty women, and clothes for the curvy professional.

Here are some suggestions from readers on the best solutions for gaping shirts (other than walking around with a folder in front of you all day like the model in the stock photo, that is):

1. Ask the store to fix the problem. This depends on whether or not they offer free alterations, of course — check out this big list from Racked. One reader reported that Brooks Brothers once sewed a hidden snap between two buttons on a shirt she bought there. One time the store did it for free, and another time she paid $5. (This was several years ago, so solutions for gaping blouses - image of a businesswoman with an ipad in front of her gaping dress shirt)

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2. Use a backup. Here are a few reader-recommended options:

  • Sew on a hidden snap (or get a tailor to do it — and let that go without saying for the rest of the sewing suggestions here!). This works especially well on a shirt with a hidden button placket.
  • Add a hook-and-eye fastener.
  • Use an “As Seen on TV!” solution: Style Snaps are $8 for 16 on Amazon [affiliate link].
  • Sew on a thin piece of velcro.
  • One reader had a suggestion that’s kind of hard to paraphrase, so it is in her words:

    Sew … a small buttonhole in reverse right between the two existing buttons where the gap happens — the button is on the top layer of the shirt going toward your body, and the hole is on the lower layer of the shirt. So when you button the shirt, the new button will actually be touching your skin. … High-end shirtmakers use this method instead because you can still wear the shirt open. Assuming it is done with thread the color of fabric, you can’t even see it.

3. Use the old standby: Try fashion tape, such as the general-purpose Fashion Tape (3 for $13) or Fearless tape ($9 for 50) — or use Braza Flash Tape ($8/roll) which, as the name suggests, is made specifically for this issue [affiliate links].

4. Repurpose an unexpected product: One reader vouched for a toupee adhesive called Topstick, which she said holds up much better than fashion tape. She bought it from Sally Beauty Supply, but (not surprisingly) it’s also at Amazon, where it’s $7 for 50 strips [affiliate link]. Another reader pointed out that Topstick holds up to many washings and doesn’t leave any residue.

5. Layer it up: Check out our some of the brands we mentioned in our last post on the best camisoles for work.

6. Hide the problem in a pretty way: Wear a loosely knotted scarf to cover the gap — and the reader who suggested this noted that you could even add fashion tape to hold the scarf in place.

7. Solve the problem for good: One reader said she permanently sews the gap closed on almost all of her blouses (in a way that’s hidden). She said that most shirts are stretchy and/or loose enough to pull over her heard with two buttons closed. Another reader offered that she: (1) removes all the shirt buttons, (2) sews down the placket on both sides (leaving enough room to pull the shirt over her head), and (3) reattaches the now solely decorative buttons.

Of course, there’s one more option: If it’s acceptable within your office’s dress code, just give up on button-front blouses altogether — and see our Guide to The Best Tops for Under Women’s Suits for options. Alternately, get some bespoke blouses, either from a high-end shop or one of the websites we mentioned in our post on custom-made clothes. You can also try Rochelle Behrens’ The Shirt, which we’ve previously featured in a roundup.

Do you have any blouses that gape between buttons? What do you think are the best solutions for gaping shirts, and have you tried any of the above? 

Image credit: Shutterstock / michaeljung.

It stinks to get to the office and realize your blouse is gaping open -- so we rounded up the best solutions for gaping shirts and gaping blouses, whether you're busty or your blouse is just gapey. Click through to see all 12 solutions, some with products for gaping shirts, some with DIY hacks for gaping shirts!


  1. Anonymous :

    My solution is to not wear button up shirts.

    • Anonymous :

      +1. Shirts that gape are just not flattering. Even if you manage to cover up the problem with tape or a cami, the shirt still doesn’t fit right.

      • Kat in VA :

        Agreed. They pull across your bustline or where your arms meet the shirt (in front of the armpits), or they ride up at the waist because there’s strain on the shoulders. I’m still planning on getting one or two custom made (or as close to custom made as I’m willing to pay for) on a rec from another Corporetter. The website is horrid, but the shirts are a reasonable price ($30 to $45).

    • +2. I have this dream that someday I’ll live the kind of life where I have a personal tailor who can make me perfect button down shirts that aren’t boxy and don’t gap, but don’t look like the secretary in a p0– movie. Until then, I’m just not wearing button downs.

    • Delta Dawn :

      +3. I thought I was “supposed” to wear these and then realized there’s no reason to wear anything that requires tape or magic tricks.

    • Anonymous :

      Yup. Haven’t worn them since I interviewed for jobs in law school. As soon as I started working, I realized a silk shell was just as professional under a suit and looked a thousand times better on me.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Yay I love that I’m not alone in finding this solution!

    • If ONLY men would not be so fixated on our boobies, this would NEVER happen! It is awful that we have to wear cami’s only to cover up so skeevey guys like Frank (and so many other men) do not stare at our boobies. I do NOT stare at their crotches, so why do they have to stare at us? FOOEY on them!

  2. Anyone have recommendations for a good therapist in DC?

  3. Ginger in Tech Support :

    Lands End no-iron shirts are the best thing for this. They have hidden buttons in the area where my shirt gapes that make them sit perfectly.

  4. Wow, I am a pretty accomplished seamstress and I’d never heard of the buttonhole in reverse idea. That’s very clever.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      Marks & Spencer sell ‘No Peep’ shirts that have two reverse buttons – they’re great!

  5. jumpingjack :

    I used to very carefully put a safety pin on the inside of the shirt, through the first layer of fabric of the outer edge between the two buttons but not going through the second layer, so it wasn’t visible. It’s a big pain (often literally, when I accidentally stab my fingers with the pin.) Now I just don’t wear button down shirts.

    • Kat, I thought I responded to this p’ost, but it went missing. This is a good idea! I am goeing to try this with Frank, b/c he has no busness peering in to see my boobies any more. FOOEY on him!

  6. Johanna Burdett :

    It makes me so sad you don’t wear button down shirts anymore. StopTheGape is a new gadget on the market exactly for this problem! It can be fitted anywhere on the shirt that your gape is, and it doesn’t require any pins so no damaged shirts, fingers or style! Check it out online.

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