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.)

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!

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