2020 Update: We still think this post has a ton of great DIY options for gaping blouses (the comments as well!) — you may also want to check out our most recent round-up of the best solutions for gaping shirts and our recent roundup of companies making dress shirts for for women with large breasts.
Button-down blouses can be great — if they fit you and don’t gape in the bust. Some companies specialize in creating non-gaping versions for larger-busted women (e.g., Carissa Rose, Rebecca & Drew) but sometimes you just want a DIY fix for a shirt you’ve already got.
Guest poster Kathryn Rubino — one of my good friends — is a plus-sized fashionable overachieving chick who has some crafty suggestions for fixing the problem. (She also posted a few weeks ago about how to get a great-fitting blazer.) – Kat
We’ve all been there. You’re getting ready for that big interview/meeting/presentation and as you look yourself dead-on in the mirror you are the image of professionalism. As you reach for the straightener to put the finishing touch on your perfectly coiffed hair there it is.
It’s your bra. Peeking out from that infuriating gap in your button-down shirt.
It almost seems like it is mocking you, “maybe you aren’t as put together as you think you are.” It is maddening.
So, how do you deal with this problem? I’ve tried all the work-arounds. The camisole under an unbuttoned button-down. A wrap-style dress shirt. A button-down that is deliberately ruched at the bust. And these are all pretty good solutions, but sometimes I yearn for the simplicity of the classic button down.
So this plus size writer test drove three potential solutions to the problem. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but here’s how they worked for me.
(Pictured: Mind the Gap, originally uploaded to Flickr by toastbrot81.)
DIY Option #1 to Fix a Gaping Blouse: Sewing
This seemed like the most professional option. It was easy enough to find matching thread in a travel sewing kit I had from my last stay at a fancy-pants hotel.
Okay, it was a white shirt so that wasn’t too difficult a task, but Amazon has some options that seem pretty comprehensive at under $10. I found it pretty straight forward to lightly tack the gap closed with a small x-shaped stitch, though more time consuming than other options.
I found I didn’t have to worry about it too much throughout the day and I felt super strong ripping out the stitches with my bare hands at the end of the day.
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How to Fix a Gaping Blouse, DIY Try #2: Taping
This seemed like the easiest option. Just use Hollywood Fashion Tape (or other pre-cut double-sided tape) to lock down the gap.
And it was easy! I just worried over the tape peeling away throughout the day. While I never had any major mishaps I did have to subtly press down on the gap to re-stick my shirt together several times throughout the day.
I would probably continue to use this for finer fabrics I worry about putting holes in, but it would not be my first choice for cotton shirts.
One tip that I haven’t tried, but I received from a few friends in the costume industry is toupee tape. It may sound silly but I am assured that it holds better and is generally cheaper then the other options.
Gaping Blouse Fix #3: Pinning.
This seemed like the most familiar option. It feels like I am forever pinning closed low cut dresses or gaping shirts. And I know it works, I just hate the tell-tale glint of silver at my chest.
For me, this is the perfect combination of lazy and effective. I didn’t worry over the gap throughout the day, and I loved that I could re-use the pins. But if you can’t locate these little gems, or your gap emergency happens before the two day shipping arrives I still prefer the pinning option.
Usually button-downs will have an extra fold down of fabric along the button line and you can use this underside of material to keep your shirt closed without a pin showing through. I also prefer smaller pins, and I attach them upside down (so that the closure points toward my feet) as that helps to disguise the usage of the pin.
Readers, do you consider gaping blouses one of your big problems? What has your solution been?
Psst: some of the best dress shirts for women with large breasts: black / white / blue / orange
Picture credit on Pin: Deposit Photos / AILA_IMAGES.