10 Workwear Style Tips for Busty Women

busty women style tips for work2018 Update: We still stand by this advice on workwear style tips for busty women, but you may also want to check out our most recent discussion on how to buy a bra!  

One 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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Clothes for the Curvy Professional

Workwear Brands for the Curvy Professional | CorporetteAre there any workwear brands that cater to the professional curvy woman? Reader V wonders…

I’m not plus size – but I am curvy. As in, I hate most clothing stores as I actually can’t fit one size across my boobs but look matronly the next size up. I live in the UK and have recently discovered Pepperberry as a revelation (extra size options for boobs!), but the stuff does veer on the casual side (and the fabrics aren’t always the best). Any other brands catering for the professional curvy girl or is it just getting tailoring?

Interesting question, V! As someone who’s always been large of chest, we’ve talked a lot about workwear for the curvy woman — from curve-friendly blazers to bespoke dresses to blouses for the busty.  We haven’t done a roundup recently, though, so let’s take a look.  (And Reader V, consider yourself lucky to be in the UK — I’ve always found there to be a ton of great options there!) Pictured: an eShakti dress with tons of customizable options; it starts at $69.95. 

Some great brands and online shops to note:

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Thursday’s TPS Report: Bratique Helene’s 3/4 Sleeve Wrap Shirt

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. We begin the week in splurge mode, with our most expensive suggestions, and wind our way to Friday, where a less expensive item of clothing might be just what you need to make it to the weekend.

Today’s TPS report is written by City Girl — you can read her full experience with Carisssa here!

Bratique Helene 3-4 sleeve wrapThanks so much for inviting me to guest review on Corporette! I love my shirts from Bratique Helene — their creator, Carissa Brown, gifted me with a couple of their shirts, and they have quickly become wardrobe staples. The blue wrap shirt is just beautiful. The design is genius — there is just enough extra material to give room on the bust-line, but it is darted in such a way as to be very flattering and fitted. I really love the wrap design as it provides plenty of coverage to be work-appropriate (and my law firm is as conservative as they get), yet is great to wear on weekends or out to dinner. The blue color is even more gorgeous in person than on the picture, and the material is great quality. I was impressed at how well it holds up after drycleaning — the quality of the material and the tailoring is very apparent in that after a couple of dry cleanings, it has retained its structure and shape. Finally, I also wanted to mention that Carissa is a master at sizing — I am between sizes, and based on my measurements she recommended different sizes for different shirt styles and everything fit perfectly. Overall, it’s been a great experience, and I look forward to shopping at Bratique Helene many more times.

The 3/4 Sleeve Wrap Shirt is $80, and available at Bratique Helene.

Ten Things About… Dressing Professionally if You’re Busty

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice about dressing professionally if you’re busty (and links have been updated below!), but you can also check out our latest workwear style tips for busty women

What are your best tips for dressing professionally if you’re busty, ladies?

A lot of times for our daily workwear recommendations, people will note that they couldn’t get away with that, as they’re too well-endowed to wear a certain dress.  It’s one of the sad facts of clothes that most “professional” outfits seem to be intended for women shaped more like Jackie rather than Marilyn (or Betty rather than Joan, in today’s parlance).  But well-endowed women have to dress professionally also!  Below, some tips… Please chime in and let us know if you have any others.

1. Know your bra size. If the girls are multiplying throughout the day (and your bra is giving you the dreaded quadra-boob effect) then your cup size is too small.  Alternatively, if your straps are digging into your shoulders, your band size is probably too big.  Take our advice — go and get fitted at a reputable place like Nordstrom’s.  (The absolute best place to get fitted, in our experience?  Department stores in London —  they have the best range of sizes and the most knowledgeable fitters.)  You may find that you’re a 30F instead of a 34D. [Read more…]