Posts Categorized: reader requests

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.

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Reader Request: Work Badge and Cell Phone Solutions

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Sarah sent me this question:

I was wondering if you had ever written anything on being stylish and having to wear a work badge. I work in an office (business casual, more business than casual). I like to be stylish. Or if you have written anything on having to keep a work phone with you at all times. I don’t have to keep a work phone, but know that others may have to. How do you keep a work phone with you if you are wearing a dress that has no pockets or place to clip a phone?

The men in the office have it much easier. Most of the time they have a belt loop they can clip their badge to. I’m lucky if I am wearing pants that have belt loops or pockets. I prefer dresses and skirts. So there are many times there is no where to clip my badge, so I have to wear it on a lanyard around my neck like a necklace. So then I cannot wear a necklace. Any ideas on how to keep badges/cellphones with you and stylish?

SUCH a great question. I’ve used a variety of keycards and entry passes for my various jobs, but have never been required to keep one on my person at all times … so I’m going to offer a few possible options and ask all of you to contribute more ideas! I’m sure many of you face this same challenge and have creative work-arounds to share.

First, my ideas:

Track down a stylish lanyard

If you’ve got a keycard or ID badge that needs to be on your person at all times and you’re allowed to do a lanyard, grab one from Etsy that looks more like a necklace. (There are some cute clips in there, too!) This may limit your necklace-wearing, though my guess is that environments where keycard lanyards are commonplace mean that the keycard/lanyard combo is oftenlost to familiarity. So you could try wearing a shorter strand or bib higher on your frame and the long lanyard further down. It might even be worthwhile to pick out a few lanyards that align with your personal style, especially in neutrals and metals so they’ll be as versatile as possible.

Experiment with wrist options

Plastic coils are typically used for keys, but a keycard might work in some cases. Since most folks can’t type while wearing a coil and card combo, this is something you’d need to remember to take with you when leaving your workstation. But it would certainly free you up to wear any clothing and necklace combinations you liked while also helping to keep your card on your person.

Explore belting

As Sarah points out, the fellas have one up on us when it comes to this type of work gear because they’re typically in pants. Belted pants. But dresses and skirts can be belted, too, and phones or badges can be clipped to belts. And, of course, adding a belt to your trouser outfits will help. Naturally, this won’t work every day since belts don’t belong in every outfit … but when it does work, it’ll be slick and easy.

Try a phone case with a strap

If a phone is required and clipping it to belts or clothing won’t work, keep your eyes peeled for one of the tiny crossbody bags that’s been designed to hold a phone and nothing more. Some mobile carriers might have these in their stores among the phone cases, but you can also try eBay and Amazon as well as local boutiques. Wristlet purses might work for this purpose, too. Not as sleek as a clip on your belt or pants, but definitely do-able.

Not much, but that’s all I’ve got. Help Sarah out with some other suggestions, won’t you? If you are required to keep a keycard, badge, or phone with you at all times, how do you do so stylishly?

Image courtesy Katy Warner

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Reader Request: Long Over Lean for Summer

long over lean for summer

Emily e-mailed me this question:

I’m fairly new (2 years) to this whole style thing and I’m encountering a problem. The long and lean look looks great on me (I’m 5’3 and a size 20ish) but I can’t figure out how to do it in the summer. I’d love your help with how to do this so I can be stylish and comfortable this summer.

The long over lean dressing formula can feel a little covered-up for hot weather, but it is possible to make this look work for summer! Here are some ideas:

Short-sleeved or sleeveless tunic, slim bottom, open footwear

sleeveless tunic and legggings

Eileen Fisher | Macy’s | Garnet Hill

The quickest route to comfortable long-over-lean looks for summer is to lighten up your tunic. In addition to considering fibers and weight, lop off some sleeve length. Short-sleeved and sleeveless tunics still look elegant and edgy with leggings and skinnies. You can do booties or other closed shoes if you prefer – my toes freeze all summer, so I sometimes do – but sandals or ballet flats that expose a bit more foot real estate will help make your look feel seasonal.

Lightweight tunic, cuffed or cropped denim, sandals or booties

tunic and jeans

Nordstrom | Torrid | Nordstrom

As you’ve likely guessed, how summery you want to make this look is directly related to how much skin you feel like showing. In this variation, a lightweight sleeveless tunic and sandals paired with cuffed skinny denim will give you the most ventilation and may feel the best during the true Dog Days. But ankle boots (show an inch or two of lower calf between boot and jean) worn with half or 3/4-length sleeves can work just as well. Ballet flats are always a comfy, cute option for summery long-over-lean, too.

Lightweight tunic, clamdiggers or capris, flats or sandals

tunic_cropped_leggings

Nordstrom | Garnet Hill | J.Jill

This is definitely the trickiest of the three options, as a slim bottom that hits mid-calf or higher will divide your leg line. Add a tunic that hits mid-thigh and you’ve created another division. If you’re concerned about breaking up your figure or creating odd proportions here’s my main tip for making clamdiggers and capri-length leggings/pants work with tunics: Shoes that are nude to your skin tone will soften the break at your ankle, and a tunic and leggings that are similar in tone will soften the break at your thigh. So the blue tunic and black leggings outfit is totally adorable, but does create some very hard lines along the legs and lower body. Something to think about if those breaks concern you. (And yes, I know that middle image doesn’t feature terribly “lean” or slim-fitting bottoms, but it shows a wonderfully summery way to style a light-colored linen tunic.)

A few other considerations:

  • Palette: There’s a lot of black in these example images, but lighter colors, pastels, and white will help your long-over-lean looks feel seasonal.
  • Asymmetry: Jagged hemlines have a lot of movement to them, which aligns nicely with breezy summer weather. Asymmetrical hems also look fabulous on sleeveless tunics, so they’re a natural for hot-weather tunic wearing.
  • Fibers and footwear: OK, these have already been mentioned. But I’m calling them out again! Linen, cotton voile, and other summer-weight fabrics are great choices. And consider sandals and open footwear to lighten your look.

Are you a fan of long-over-lean looks for summer? How do you create yours so you don’t overheat? Any other tips for making proportions work?

Top images courtesy Nordstrom (left) and Nordstrom (right)

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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