These Red Carpet Looks Will Make Any Busty Woman Want to Dress Up

Two things are sure to make a big-busted woman gasp, "I could never wear that!"

A dress with no back . . .

and a dress with almost no front.


After a buttondown shirt that won't gap, women with large chests tell us that finding an evening gown to fit is one of their biggest challenges. Fortunately, not all glittering gowns are off limits to D cups and higher, and we've culled looks from full-busted celebrities on this season's red carpets to inspire you. Some are custom-made wonders, but many work with a simple strapless or even a regular full-bust bra.


Reading Recs for the Year Ahead

We asked a few of the women who wear our bust-friendly shirts what books they would recommend to other women setting goals in 2018. Read their thoughtful replies, plus a review of our own book recommendation, below.

The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan. "A wonderfully inspiring book that helps us focus on the small details that we overlook when evaluating our lives." Candy Gould, Personal Color and Style Consultant, House of Colour Manhattan

The On-Purpose Business Person: Doing More of What You Do Best More Profitably by Kevin McCarthy.  "It shows you how to blend the professional and personal lives, especially since they overlap at times." Sandi Webster, Managing Director and Co-Founder, C2G Partners

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. "I've been using [this book] in my classes for years. How to speak so that people will remember what you’ve said. Very accessible, useful." Barbara Mink, Communications Professor and Artist

The Nightingale of Mosul by Susan Luz. "A memoir based on a life of dedication, sacrifice and adventure that really struck a chord for me." Barbara Graveline, Co-Founder and Designer, Nodding Bur Originals

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi. "It has the most profound meaning and helped me understand the point of life is not happiness, but striving." Danna R., medical professional


If some of your goals are a little too familiar to the ones you've set before, then we highly recommend Tasha Eurich's book Insight: Why We're Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life.



In a book dense with suggestions, here are two tools that jumpstarted my (founder Darlene Campbell's) new year:

Fitted Fun for Fuller Busts with Creative Customizing

We were wrong when we thought life couldn't get any better than a classic white shirt. This spring we discovered that our mill makes stretch cotton shirting in stripes! It took a corporate chef to get things cooking. After we sized her into a 12M at our July pop up shop, she created this combination to wear when dignitaries visit her company.

An elementary school principal came up with this playful yet authoritative look.


Full Bust Bra Fit for Our Online Shoppers with My Bra Concierge

When you send us your measurements and bra size, we love sending you a bust-friendly shirt to fit. But when your waist measures 33" or less and you tell us you're wearing a bra with a 36 band, we wish we could send you a new bra, too!

That’s because your band is probably too loose, and in this post, we explain why a loose band is a bad deal for a big bust. We run into this so often that we bring a range of bra sizes to in-person fittings for our button down shirts for busty women.

Here’s the difference that the right bra made for a recent full-busted customer with a 31" waist and a 40" bust. In both photos she's wearing a size 8L shirt. The only difference is the bra. By switching from a 36DD to a 32G, she didn’t have to go up a shirt size!

Victoria’s Secret and most department stores don’t carry the small-band-large-cup combination that fuller busts need, so if we can find a reputable lingerie store in your area, we’ll tell you about it. Unfortunately, sometimes the closest store with a good bra fitter for a big bust is hours away.

UPDATE: Originally, this post recommended My Bra Concierge, which has since closed its doors. Keep watching this space for our new go-to for best remote bra fittings. SEE THIS POST for why we now recommend Lion's Lair Boutique!

That’s why we’re thrilled that My Bra Concierge, the online bra startup that we wrote about in May, is now live. We recently tested their service and came away with great-fitting bras we never would have tried otherwise. Here's why we're happy to recommend My Bra Concierge to our customers:

Bust-Friendly Fittings in Midtown this #WhiteShirtWednesday (and Thursday!)

We're excited to get back to where it all started. Nine years ago, founder Darlene Campbell was working as a corporate attorney in Midtown Manhattan, dreaming of creating button front shirts for busty women who wanted all the power markers of a classic white shirt without the power detractors of baggy shoulders or a safety pin. This Wednesday and Thursday, she returns to Midtown with dream shirts in hand.

You'll find her at Gabrielle Carlson Studio, where designer Gabrielle Carlson has a singular mission: "Beautiful clothes, in your size." Using exquisite fabrics, Gabrielle creates elegant garments for women of all shapes, and we are thrilled to be part of her mission this week.

Visit us for a fitting this Wednesday and Thursday, July 20 and 21, between 10 am and 6 pm. Gabrielle Carlson Studio is located at 501 Lexington Avenue at 47th Street.

Large Bust Finds on the Bra Spectrum

Here’s a guilty secret: we asked lingerie store Bra Spectrum to host our June pop up shop because we have been wanting to try their hard-to-find brands for years. So between bust-friendly shirt fittings for our large-chested customers, we had our own fittings into the amazing bras of Corin and Nikol Djumon. Manufactured in Poland and Latvia respectively, these two brands are worth a trip to any store that carries them.

You can tell that Corin is serious about bras for large busts because they provide their very own busty mannequin to display them. Of course we’re super proud that our size 12M fits her!



Both companies produce their version of a spacer bra that is slightly minimizing and produces a seamless look under our classic dress shirts for large busts. If you’re looking for the security of fuller coverage, we recommend the Corin Virginia (on the bottom).

Book Review: Earning It (and Executive Presence)

When Joann Lublin’s book Earning It launched last fall, I couldn’t wait to read it—and not just because it pictures a woman wearing a classic white shirt on its cover. Lublin interviewed 50 female executives for her book, and I wanted to know everything about their rise to the top.

The book covers such a wide range of real issues that any reader is sure to relate to at least one woman's story. Perhaps most refreshing is Lublin's own admission of mistakes she has made in her career. My only frustration with the book was that I wanted more from each storyteller. Reading it felt like attending a panel discussion where one panelist captured my attention, but the moderator had to give equal time to everyone on stage. It raised mulitple questions without the benefit of a Q&A session afterward! Fortunately, many of the women interviewed have written their own books, which Lublin lists in a helpful bibliography.

As a company that helps busty women dress for leadership, Campbell & Kate's review wouldn't be complete without highlights from the chapter on executive presence. Here are our favorite pointers.

Power Up or Power Down? Large Bust Dressing with Purpose

As you might imagine from a company inspired by the powerful look of men's crisp white dress shirts, we're all about the authority that our shirts impart to large-chested women. However, sometimes you may want to go in a softer direction.
Take, for example, the executive who let us sit in on her speed styling session with preeminent style strategist Carol Davidson at our pop up shop in April. The executive told us that during contract negotiation sessions in Japan, she was asked to sit in the same chair every time she entered the conference room. What was so special about that chair? It wasn't at the head of the table. It wasn't more comfortable than the others. No, it had been altered to a lower height than every other chair in the room! 
You see, the shorter chair gave this very tall executive the same seated height as everyone else around the table. In a culture that values conformity, a simple furniture adjustment helped her blend in. Because her goal was to close the deal rather than stand out, she went along with it.
Clothing can be used to the same effect. To amp up her presence in a Campbell & Kate shirt, Carol suggested that the executive pop the collar. To dial it down, she could wear it flat and roll up the sleeves.
Carol pointed out that accessories such as glasses can change our effect on others. For instance, the executive might want to wear more bold statement glasses to make an impact in front of a large group but selected more undertated frames to convey a more approachable message in a one-on-one coaching session.
Intrigued, we asked Carol for examples of other pieces that work this way.

Coffee Cups and D+ Cups at Bras & Brunch

If there's one thing near and dear to a busty woman's heart, it's the garment that she wears closest to her large chest. So it was only natural to host a Bras & Brunch event at our pop up shop last month!

Velaire Elliott and Jen Baker, co-founders of the exciting new startup My Bra Concierge, flew in from opposite coasts just to help each guest discover her best size and style. If you'd like to help Velaire and Jen prepare for their launch, please complete this survey!

Of course the guests of honor were the gorgeous bras. The Soraya by Elomi was a big hit, especially since it comes in 32-40 DD-JJ.

Longline lovers were big fans of this Freya Fancies version that goes up to an H cup in 30-36 bands.

From Desk to Dinner and Down Again

We have BIG news for women with big busts: Campbell & Kate is having its first Manhattan pop up shop at the Of Mercer flagship store from April 6-9. To celebrate, we've styled our shirts with a few key pieces from Of Mercer's desk-to-dinner collection.

Sheath Dresses that Flatter a Busty Figure

Of Mercer has great sheaths that look amazing on women with large chests. Some of them, like the Bryant and Bedford dresses below, can easily accommodate a G cup.


(Wonder what our model is reading below? You'll definitely want to read our review of it in our next blog post!)

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