Reader Request: Button-fronts for Ample Busts

Hi all. Once again, Disqus closed comments automatically for no reason. Looking into this. Here’s the same post, comments should be open.

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carissa rose shirts

Recently, I’ve had several readers ask about button-front options for women with bigger busts. Button-fronts make blood boil around here, I know, and although I love them for myself I am a small-busted woman with relatively average proportions so they don’t cause me many fit issues. I know from working with clients and hearing from you readers that everything from sloping shoulders to broad upper arms can make off-the-rack button-front shirts fit poorly. Bust size is a key factor, of course, since button-fronts will pull at the placket if the bust is larger than the allotted bust-room. As is the case for most garments that don’t fit off the rack, you can certainly buy a shirt that fits your bust and have it tailored everywhere else … but in the case of a woman with a large bust and smaller waist/arms/shoulders this can mean a virtual rebuild. Mall stores don’t expect us to be big in one spot. If we’re big, they expect us to be big all over. And some of us are, of course, but for those who aren’t it means that garments that fit the prominent feature are often comically oversized elsewhere. The amount of tailoring needed may surpass the cost of the shirt.

Luckily, there are a few button-front shirt options for women with large busts. I’ll share the resources that I’m aware of, and ask you to chime in with more!

Carissa Rose

Definitely my first recommendation for busty women looking for button-fronts, since the company was founded to create shirts that fit curvy women. Carissa Rose shirts aren’t cheap, but my clients love them for their quality construction and design. They’ve got a size chart that will walk you through the measurement process. Shirts are designed to fit women with larger busts and somewhat smaller waists, though all combinations of busts and waists are not available: As bust increases, so does waist though not to the extremes you’ll find in mall stores.

InStyle Essentials

Yep, brought to you by InStyle magazine. I’ve got one of these shirts in my closet and it’s a nice option. I am not the target market since I can buy my button-fronts off the rack, but I can say with certainty that these shirts are on par with a LOFT or Gap shirt. You’ll order by bra size, which can be tricky if you haven’t been professionally fitted in a while, but helpful if you are certain of your measurements. Four styles of shirts, all through 40H.

BiuBiu

Although this Polish company focuses mainly on knits, they do offer several styles of button-front shirts. Like the InStyle offerings, shirts are sized by bust/bra size. The sizing chart features UK sizing, so be sure to double-check before ordering and take your measurements in centimeters! This company also caters to women with smallish waists, and won’t fit anyone larger than a 97 cm/38 in waist.

Tom James

A friend and client uses Tom James, a custom clothing company, exclusively for her button-fronts. She’s an investment banker and relies on this style of shirt for her work wardrobe, but is also quite tall, busty with a very small waist, and has kyphosis and very long arms. There are loads of custom clothiers out there, of course, but my client loves this one. The company will connect you with a rep who will take your measurements and help you order.

My busty clients also love Ureshii for custom knits, but the company is yet to delve into wovens. Great stuff and fully custom, but no button-fronts.

None of these options will be cheap, as I’m sure you’ll notice. But if you love this style of shirt or need the option for dress code reasons, one of these vendors could be a great solution and good investment for you. And, of course, I’m dying to know if any of you have other options to share! Are you a big-busted person who wears button-front shirts? Where do you buy or order yours? By all means, share links!

Images courtesy Carissa Rose.

  • disqus_RtaCM6ElA4

    I wear a 32DDD bra and recently became obsessed with finding button front shirts that would fit. Some other options than the ones mentioned here:

    1. My favorite for people in/near Boston: custom-made shirts from 9Tailors (http://www.9tailors.com/catalogs/women). They made me a custom button front shirt and a full suit and the fit is simply awesome! Custom clothes really make a huge difference.

    2. British company Pepperberry makes clothes in 3 bust sizes for each waist size. They have classic looking button-front shirts in full, 3/4, and short sleeve lengths. http://www.bravissimo.com/pepperberry/size-guide/

    3. Russian company DDAtelier (http://dd-atelier.com). Their color options are limited and sort of ugly sometimes, but they are masterful at placing darts to make things fit really well.

    4. Polish company Urkye (http://urkye.pl/en_US/index). The button front shirts look like they don’t fit the models very well on their website pictures, but my two shirts from there fit quite well and I just followed the measurements from the size guide. Not sure why they styled their models in too-tight shirts.

    I was nervous about buying clothes from foreign retailers, so I only bought things on sale at first so that I would be ok with just eating the cost if it didn’t work out and not have to deal with the hassle of returning things. But now I would trust ordering from these companies again. Use PayPal so that your credit card company doesn’t suspect fraud due to foreign charges on your card.

  • Heather Harrell

    seconding Pepperberry. I just ordered a black lace top and white blouse today.

  • Galena

    The only place I can reliably find well-fitting button-downs for my large chest is New York & Co. The best part about these shirts is that many of them have side ruching or other gathering at the small of the back to make the shirt not appear boxy (which is a huge issue for me; when I try on button-downs at other stores, in order to get them not to gape at the boob-buttons they end up being way too big and boxy at the waist). Most of them have a double layer of fabric at the buttons which also helps stiffen them up to prevent gaping. And they’re within my price point and they don’t wrinkle or require ironing!

  • http://www.campbellandkate.com Darlene

    I LOVE button front shirts. To me, they give off an aura of power that
    knits don’t offer, which is why I started my own company for busty women
    who want button fronts in high quality fabric with menswear detailing. I hope you’ll add Campbell &
    Kate, to your list! Right now I’m addressing some issues with
    consistency in production, but I’m happy to work one-on-one with new
    customers. I send you the fit samples, you figure out which size is
    best, and we make it. We can tweak certain fit elements for a small
    additional fee (add length to the sleeves or torso, for example). For a higher fee, my
    seamstress has also worked with women in the NYC area to create custom
    patterns when none of my 24 sizes was exactly right (wider shoulders and
    princess seams, for instance). She makes muslins
    until the customer is perfectly happy with the fit. Finally, once a customer
    knows her size in my shirts, I make more colors available to her.

  • anonymous

    This is not just a problem for women with large busts. My husband has an extreme body type and switched to custom shirts from Top Shelf in Minneapolis a few years ago. He has fewer shirts now, but they all fit perfectly and the quality is excellent. I would highly recommend Top Shelf for both men and women for shirts and suiting. My sister and a coworker of hers have had shirts made at Top Shelf.

  • nsv

    It may be useful to consider fabric when looking at button-downs. I’ve worn blouses for decades and never used to have any problem with pulling at the front – until everything started including stretch fabrics. I find that 100% cotton (woven, not knit) shirts work best, because it is not expected that stretch in the fabric will substitute for proper fit. There is also the trend toward more fitted shirts, which then requires a greater difference between bust measurement and rib and waist measurement.

  • Heather Harrell

    Has anyone found a good place for t-shirts for busty women?

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com/ Sally McGraw

      Pepperberry and Biubiu both do knit tops and tees, and my clients love them. They’re not cheap, though! Any other suggestions?

  • loubeelou

    A few months ago, the Arc Personal Shopper (here in MN) happened to hand me a button front shirt that pretty much changed my life. The brand is “The Shirt by Rochelle Behrens”. It has extra hidden buttons built in that totally do away with any gapping – it’s so simple but kind of ingenious. Plus the fabric and cut is fantastic – super durable, no ironing needed, easy to wash, doesn’t wrinkle during wear, and so flattering (more of a tailored cut). Anyway, I scored it for probably $7 but they’re about $200 new. Kind of a steep price tag, but if you’re serious about button fronts it might be worth considering as I sense they last a really long time. Maybe keep an eye on ebay.

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