Busty Women and "Nothing to Wear!"

"When a woman says, 'I have nothing to wear!' what she really means is, 'There's nothing here for who I'm supposed to be today.'" Can you relate to Caitlin Moran's statement in her book How to Be a Woman? I sure can.

Busty Women and the Power to Be Ourselves


What two things do Angela Merkel and Sofia Vergara have in common?


Sometimes Your Busty Button Down Needs that Extra Something

There's only one thing I'm looking forward to about the end of summer: we can soon wear blazers and cardigans over our classic white shirts again. A blazer or cardigan makes an excellent Third Piece. According to one of my favorite image consultants, a Third Piece is what adds "excitement and personality to your outfit when everything else you’re wearing are basics". Worn open, their vertical lines also have a great minimizing effect on big boobs.

When temperatures climb to the nineties and above, however, a blazer or cardigan becomes oppressive. That's when an eye-catching necklace can complete your look. This Soho shopper that I ran into last week demonstrates this beautifully.

I only have one necklace that I can rely upon for a similar effect--a multi-strand coral necklace close to the one pictured below. This is why I've been on the lookout for new necklaces to give my classic white shirts a summer boost.

Big Bust Button Placement--How Low Can You Go?

I know you've faced these two unappealing choices before: fasten the higher button and look like an uptight librarian, or unfasten it and look like you're ready for happy hour. If only there were one more button between the two!

In a Campbell & Kate shirt, there sort of is. Remember how the button-spacing in our shirts prevents three-dimensional gapping? Well, having more buttons closer together also gives you more options in the amount of cleavage you want to reveal. Just last week a customer told me, "I didn't think of this before, but since you have decreased the distance between buttons, I have more options about how deep I want the neckline to go--great for making it more versatile."

Here's a look at the range of options that our button spacing gives you:

Big Busts and the Frumpy Factor

“We don’t say 'frumpy', we say 'classic'.” 

These words were meant to console another forum member in a recent online discussion, but they struck terror into my heart. After all, I sell CLASSIC white shirts to women with large breasts. Are "classic" and "frumpy" now synonyms?

No. Take a look at Ann Hathaway's outfit from Dark Knight Rising and tell me you disagree.

This classic also looks fabulous on women with large breasts.

Ann Hathaway's costume demonstrates the most important way to keep classic from equalling frumpy: PERFECT FIT. (See my recent Pinterest pin for three reasons this outfit would also look GREAT on a full-busted woman.) If her jacket were just a little bit looser and boxier, she would be Frumpy Cat Lady instead of Classy Catwoman.

This is one reason that those of us with big boobs stray so easily into the dark shadows of frumpiness. It's difficult to find something that fits our large busts and the rest of us perfectly. It's easier to buy something loose and boxy and never get around to having it altered.

Classic White Shirts for the Big Bust: Not Just for Interviews Anymore

If you have a large bust and want to feel confident during a job interview, a Campbell & Kate shirt is the way to go. But if you have to wear one under a suit jacket in this summer's 90+ degree heat, I wish a giant bubble of air-conditioning around you.

However, this heat shouldn't relegate your classic white shirt to the closet on non-interview days. That's the beauty of this wardrobe staple for the full bust--its versatility.

The photo above is one of my favorite summer looks for a classic white shirt. Roll up the sleeves (of course!), then pair it with a khaki or denim skirt, nice sandals and bag, a statement necklace, and you're good to go.

Good to go where? Anywhere--except for that corporate interview.

Here are two nice summer bonuses of a shirt that fits your large bust AND your small waist:

Making a Big Bust Look Better with Narrow Sleeves and High Armholes

As Kate and I studied my fit model wearing a Campbell & Kate prototype back in 2009, Kate had the brilliant idea of adding a seam down the sleeve to take up the "fabric arm flab" that makes a woman with a large bust look sloppy and larger than she really is.

The shirt I'm wearing in the photo below is a classic example of fabric arm flab. (Of course, this shirt is also too large everywhere except over the bust, despite the waist darts that I had my seamstress add.)

When we narrowed the sleeves, I called the design my "dream shirt" because we took care of an issue I had never dreamed of addressing. It turns out that because a narrower sleeve means a narrower and therefore higher armhole, this single design decision also addressed other important issues described below!

Shirt Gap Choices for D Cups and Higher: 2D, 3D or None of the Above

"Oh I get get it--you put the buttons closer together to get rid of the gap!" That's what most people say when I introduce them to Campbell & Kate shirts, but they're only seeing part of the story. Until I began designing the Campbell & Kate Signature Shirt, I didn't realize that there are two types of gap: the two-dimensional gap, and the three-dimensional gap.

Below is a classic example of the 2D gap. A 2D gap goes East/West or Left/Right, and it occurs when there isn't enough fabric for the bust. When there isn't enough fabric to cover a large bust, it doesn't matter how close together the buttons are. You're going to get a 2D gap--or, at the very least, 2D pulling.

That's why I love the current image on the Campbell & Kate shop page. My 32F model's pose almost always results in a 2D gap for women who wear a D cup or higher, but here there is none. We didn't use any photoshopping or pinning to reach this result. Neither did we put the model into a larger size. Her measurements call for an 8M shirt, and that is what she is wearing. There is simply enough fabric allocated for the bust.


A 3D gap, on the other hand, can be addressed with closer buttons. A 3D gap results when the top fabric panel--the one with the button holes--separates from the bottom panel to which the buttons are sewn. As you can see from the photos below, this is a universal issue for all women, not simply those with large busts.

Large Bust Cleavage Control with a Classic White Shirt

For many of us, a camisole is the classic solution for cleavage control, but when my standby camis recently went missing, I discovered that a classic Campbell & Kate shirt is an excellent alternative. Below, I get even more mileage from an extremely deep V-neck J.Crew tissue tee by layering it over my 14L Campbell & Kate shirt.

After the jump, read three reasons a Campbell & Kate shirt is perfect for cleavage duty:

Big Busts Don't Lie: How Will New Technology Help Women Who Wear D Cups and Up Order the Proper Size Online?

The greatest challenge in shopping online is getting the right fit. I'm not going to advertise that buying a Campbell & Kate shirt online is easy, but I'm proud to say that the longer we're in business, the more we find that our customers are getting their sizes right on the first try. It helps that we actually offer shirts made specifically to fit a large bust and slim waist.

Companies like True Fit, described in this Wall Street Journal article, are trying to streamline the process. Unfortunately, they have replaced the tape measure with other complicated questions, like "Where does your tummy sit on your belly--high, medium or low?"

I'm not convinced that they've made the process simpler, but I agree that even a tape measure can be subjective. I ran into an example of this last week. One of my favorite customers has been waiting for over a year for Campbell & Kate to offer size 2. When I emailed to ask for her measurements, here's what she sent me:

waist: 29"
bust: 38"

According to those numbers, she should be a size 8S, but even a 4L was too large in her shoulders. Fortunately, she hasn't gained any weight, and I still had her measurements from the last time we met:

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