Big Bust Clothing Creation: Quality Details

You know the saying "other fish in the sea"? It's totally true. After Campbell & Kate's amicable breakup with our first sewing contractor, I wondered if we could find anyone else as amazing--and we have. Of course there will be some issues to work through during this transition, but the fit and quality of our shirts will only improve as a result.

One reason for the improvements is Steve. As a parting goodwill gesture, our original contractor gave me Steve's number and said, "Steve might be able to help you."

Steve has certainly been able to help me, but not in the way I expected. Instead of sewing our shirts for us (we're negotiating with two other contractors), his help has been along the lines of  "teach a man to fish" (final fish metaphor!). In other words, he's teaching me to sew a Campbell & Kate Signature Shirt myself.

When I began Campbell & Kate, I knew that creating a perfect fit for big breasts would be difficult, and I was right. Finding an H-cup fit model, creating our sizing system and smoothing out the bust darts were just a few of the challenges. As for actually sewing the shirts, I planned to hand that off to the professionals.

Steve is handing it back to me by walking me through everything that goes into the construction of our shirts. Much of it you would never think about--unless it's done badly. Take buttonholes, for instance. Made with one machine, you won't give them a second thought as you get dressed in the morning (except to think, "I love how my Campbell & Kate shirt never strains at the buttonholes because of its spectacular fit!"). Made with another machine, the buttonholes are in danger of unraveling. And if that happens, you'll think, "I can't believe I paid so much for this piece of junk."

Steve, who for many years supervised production at Brooks Brothers and other high quality men's shirting companies, is making sure you never think that about your Campbell & Kate shirt.

It even comes down to the point on your collar.

In the photos below, Steve is using a point turner to turn the collar right-side out with the sharpest points possible.

You can see the beautiful result below.

Big Bust Power Dressing: Are You Wearing Your Black Underwear?

Who can resist a good mom story ahead of Mother's Day? After my own mother visited last week, she left behind her finished copy of Ladies Home Journal where I found a collection of stories called "The Best Conversation I've Had With My Mom."

Here's my favorite, from reader Suzanne Casamento:

"When I was 22 I had my first important work meeting and I confessed to my mother how nervous I was. She told me the story of her reentry into the workforce in the 1980s. She'd been a stay-at-home mom for years, so she was anxious when she had a big job interview. On the morning of the meeting she put on her sexiest black lace bra and panties, which made her feel powerful. During the interview she thought of the black underwear and told herself that even though she might be scared on the outside, she felt totally confident underneath. She got that job and now, whenever I have something important to do, she calls and asks, "Are you wearing your black underwear?" I always am."

What accessory or piece of clothing gives you confidence every time you wear it? If you can't think of anything, it may be time to try a white shirt from Campbell & Kate!

Double D Decision Makers in the C-Suite

Our brand's tagline is "CEO Shirts for D, E, F Women". A few years ago, a clothing store owner suggested that we change it because he felt it might alienate potential customers.

Since the store owner had an MBA and had taken his mother's business from a single store to a major internet brand, I gave his suggestion some serious thought. The problem was, I couldn't relate to his advice. Whether or not I've actually held the title of CEO, I've always felt like one, and so do a lot of other women that I know.

On the other hand, these excerpts from the first chapter of Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In made me wonder if the store owner was right:

Busty, Black and White

It's hard to miss this season's black and white trend and easy to be a part of it--especially if you already have such classics in your closet as a white Signature Shirt, black trousers, black pencil skirt, and black shoes--even a black purse. If you're missing one of these basics, this is one of those rare times when investing in a quality basic is actually on trend, and it will carry you far beyond the current season.

Once you have your base, you're ready for some fun. Check out the 54 pieces I've collected in the mini editor below when you click the "Start Styling" button to create your own work-appropriate looks! (Warning: finding ways to incorporate the cool graphic tights into your look can be highly addictive.)

Get your own Mini Editor from Polyvore


Want to feel even better about investing in this trend? Click "read more" for links to DIY instructions you'll love.

Lingerie Stores that See the Big Picture for Big Busts

What's even better than finding a great bra fitter? Finding a great bra fitter who will offer you a discount on a Campbell & Kate shirt! The stores below understand that a great-fitting bra is only half of the story--women with large busts want great-fitting clothing to wear over their bras!


A Perfect Fit Fine Lingerie (Tustin)

At Last Bras (Sacramento)

Sheer Pleasure (Covina)

Canada and North America:

Butterfly Collection (online)


Fripperies (Mystic) (You may want to place your speaker on mute before clicking this link.)

Saxon Kent Lingerie (Orange)


Lion's Lair Designs (Islamorada Key)

Sea Cup and Up (Sarasota)

Unique Lingerie (Ocala)


Livi Rae Lingerie (Kennesaw)

(Click "Read more" below for stores in Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Carolina.)

Four Steps to Finding the Best Big Bust Bra Fitter for You

If you've read my last two posts (about the effect of bra fit on clothing fit and how to tell if your bra fits) and can relate to the need of the woman in this photo for a well-fitting bra, you may be wondering, "Where can I find a good bra fitter?" I can't tell you exactly where your best bra fitter is, but I can tell you how to find her.

1. First, click through to the store locator pages of these established full bust brands.




Prima Donna

If a store has at least one of these brands, there's a good chance their fitters aren't putting every large-busted customer into a 36DD. However, you should call ahead to make sure they carry the full range of bands and cup sizes. It's also a good sign if a store sells any of the following brands in addition to those listed above: Chantelle, Curvy Kate, Conturelle, Elle Macpherson, Empreinte, Fauve, Fraulein Annie, Kris Line, Love Claudette, Parfait by Affinitas, Simone Perele, and Wacoal.

What if there's no brick and mortar store near you and you're not traveling to a city with one soon?

Getting the Best Big Bust Fit Beneath Your Clothing

You're going to look great in a Campbell & Kate, but as I mentioned in my last post, you'll look even better if your bra fitsHow can you tell if you have the best possible fit? I suggest that you begin with these two resources:

1. Video,"The Three Points of Fit"

Freddy Zappe is the fit expert for Eveden, the respected producer of full bust bra brands Fantasie, Freya and Elomi. Every time I talk to her, I learn something new. You can learn from her, too, by watching this video on the Bare Necessities website. The rest of the advice on the page is also very good.

2. Bra Naked Truth

Erica Windle, co-owner of the North Carolina lingerie store, A Sophisticated Pair, has created a great series about fit. Before you go for a fitting, be sure to check out another of her excellent articles, How to Prepare for a Bra Fitting.

Intrigued by the subject? Then visit Sweet Nothings NYC's passionate post, On Sizing. Click the links to the other blogs she mentions for even more resources.

A Bad Deal for the Big Bust: Bra Bands that Are Too Large

If you wear a size 12 or lower in Campbell & Kate, chances are you do NOT belong in a 36 bra band. Yet there are countless women with waists measuring 31 inches or less wandering around in 36D and 36DD bras.

For the longest time, I didn't understand why this was such a travesty. I'd heard repeatedly that 90% of a bra's support comes from its band, but the concept made no sense until I saw the photo below from a blog by Don McCunn. When a band is snug, large breasts stay up.

On the other hand, when a band is loose, there's nothing to stop the breasts from falling, and the weight of the drooping breasts drags the band up even further in back (illustrations from BabyCenter).


It makes sense that if your bust is higher, more of your waist shows, and you look slimmer. You can see this in the before-and-after photo below.

Not Just Made in the U.S.A.

Meet Maria, one of the stitchers at the sewing factory that produces Campbell & Kate shirts. She's been sewing shirts at this factory since she moved to the United States from Portugal 45 years ago.

Below, Nelly and Alda have "only" been working at the factory for 10 and 20 years respectively. In this photo, they're sewing one of the most difficult parts of a dress shirt, the collar.

How the Best Shirt for Busty Women is Like a Great Vacation Destination

What would you do if, at the beginning of October, your husband announced that he had three weeks of vacation to use before December 31? What I did was go a little crazy with Groupon Getaways and TripAdvisor. For someone who loves to travel, it doesn't get much better than having to schedule three weeks off in a period that includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Since my husband's sister had rhapsodically described to him her inexpensive all-inclusive vacations in the Dominican Republic, my husband suggested Punta Cana. He doesn't usually have a destination preference, so I was happy to click on every DR travel package I could find.

Each hotel's photos of white beaches and blue waters mesmerized me until I studied its TripAdvisor reviews. There, each getaway seemed like a mass-produced vacation experience for thousands of guests at a time.

An example of one of the mega-vacation experiences I discovered.

Many of the packages that I looked at outside the DR were similar. I became obsessed with travel sites and hotel reviews until I clicked on this one. (Click "Read more" to continue.)

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