Find the Best Buys for Your Busty Wardrobe Using "Lifestyle Levels"

If shopping is a challenge, chances are Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner covers your specific situation in her book You Are What You Wear. One of the biggest problems women face? Overbuying . . . and yet still not having anything to wear! As Dr. Baumgartner puts it,

Closets can be filled with purchases from "I've got nothing to wear" emergences that often do not work with other items in your closet. [...] Learning to craft a cohesive wardrobe out of multifunctional pieces can cure anyone of the impulse to over-shop under pressure.

To discover the multifunctional pieces that will be you workhorses, start by naming the functions that your garments will perform. One of Dr. Baumgartner's clients realized that she needed clothing for 4 lifestyle categories:

Level 4: Formal

Level 3: Night out

Level 2: Office

Level 1: Weekend casual

Next, take one article of clothing through all four levels. If it can transition through all or most of your lifestyle levels, it's a workhorse worth investing in.

We love Dr. Baumgartner's first example in her book: a white button down! Here's how she suggests mixing and matching a white shirt with pieces that may already be in your closet. We've added pictures that we found on Pinterest to illustrate the general idea (below and above).

Can Good Fit Be Bad News for a Big Bust?

Never! You would expect that answer from a big bust shirt maker, wouldn't you? But at a private fitting two weeks ago, I discovered why some busty women have a different answer.

When my customer put the shirt on in the photos below (we'll call her Jane, and she gave permission to use these photos), I couldn't help rhapsodizing over the way it skimmed her large bust and displayed the curve of her waist. She, on the other hand, couldn't help obsessing over the number she had glimpsed on the size tag.


We busty women often size up to fit our large chests, so the size we wear is rarely our "true size". However, it’s a new experience to wear clothing designed specifically for a high bust-to-waist ratio. Jane knew she had gained weight, but until she tried the shirt, she hadn't realized how much. She decided to wait to buy a shirt until after she tries the Whole30 diet in October.

Our appointment made me realize that other women with large chests face the same dilemma: Buy something that looks amazing now, or wait to lose weight? I asked two experts for their opinions on the subject, as well as a few women on the street via Twitter.

You Love White, but It Doesn't Love You--What to Do?

Some shirt colors make busty women look vibrant and alive while others make us look like we should take a sick day. Unfortunately, white falls into the latter category for some of us. Even so, a crisp white shirt that fits a big bust is such a great look that women's coloring shouldn't stand in the way. At Campbell & Kate's recent photo shoot, I discovered three ways to make white work on any full-busted woman.

Full Bust Discretion under a White Shirt with Empreinte Erin

Last September I showed you beautiful Empreinte bras that most Americans could never get away with wearing under white shirts in the United States. This week, I discovered an Empreinte bra that can be worn under white, the Erin balconette.

Braless Lounging with a Large Bust

You can wear a button front shirt anywhere, anytime, but sometimes you want a little less structure. So if you trade your tailored top for an oversized tee, do you toss your bra as well? After all, a little structure is a good thing for women with a large chest.

Fortunately, the structure doesn't always have to come from underwires. My favorite loungewear company, PJ Harlow, creates two pieces that are perfect for the busty woman who wants a break from her bra but not its support.

Let me introduce you to the Bra:30.


Big Bust Bras You Want Everyone to See: Empreinte

At a recent dinner, I sat next to a European lingerie sales rep who has lived in America for 20 years. She told us about the disapproving looks she received from women and the leering looks from men when she first began riding the subway in New York City. She finally realized the cause: her pretty bras showing from beneath her white blouses.

I observed that visible bras now seem much more permissible, especially as a statement by younger women. My dinner companion responded indignantly that ALL ages wear pretty bras under white in Europe. "It's not a statement that you grow out of . . . it's being a woman!"

The next day I visited a French luxury lingerie booth at the trade show called Curve.  What I saw made me fervently wish that American women could feel as comfortable wearing beautiful bras beneath white blouses as their European sisters. Do these pictures of Empreinte's Spring/Summer 2016 collection have the same effect on you?

Coaching and Clothes Build Confidence for an Interview

If you’ve ever begun a new hobby that requires a special wardrobe, you know how hard it is to start from scratch. The first time I learned to ski, I panicked more about finding the right layers to wear than I did about how to keep from sliding off the bunny slope.

What-to-wear panic is even worse before a job interview, especially for the woman who hasn't had years to build her professional wardrobe. Without the right basics in her closet, she might as well be taking a chairlift to the top of the mountain in jeans and gym shoes.

New York City has a closet for the woman in this situation. Thanks to a non-profit called Bottomless Closet, an economically disadvantaged woman who has an interview lined up and an agency referral has access to the amazing boutique that you see below.

3 Tips for FINALLY Finishing that LinkedIn Profile

Only 50.5% of LinkedIn users have a complete profile. Are you one of them? I'm not, but I want to be!

If you google "how to write a linkedin profile," you'll easily find the basics. However, I needed inspiration from the trenches, so I attended a workshop by senior career coach Amy Kosh. For anyone with an incomplete or outdated profile, here are my favorite takeaways from her talk.

1. The end of the calendar year is a natural time to reflect on where you are in life. Happily, that's exactly what needs to happen to build a profile. Why not let one task serve two purposes? If you take time to answer these questions, you're well on your way to creating a foundation for the new year and your LInkedIn profile:

Gadgets and Game Plans for Laundry

If you're into gadgets but not into laundry, then you're going to love the Swash.

It's for "re-wearers", i.e., people who don't wash a garment after one wear. In just ten minutes--the time it takes to shower--it'll spray a garment with a gel, wet and then dry it. Wrinkles and odors disappear by the time you're ready to get dressed.

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