Help me find a shirt
January 31, 2008 5:53 PM   Subscribe

Ladies - how to find white dress shirts that button flat across the front and aren't sheer? If possible, wrinkle-resistant so I'm not ironing my shirt in the morning and yet still showing up to work all wrinkled up with everything popping out and showing through.

I have a problem finding white dress blouses that do what I need them to do. I don't think I have unusual proportions. I'm usually a size 10 or a 12, or a medium or a large and I don't have a big chest compared to the rest of me. But I'm having no luck finding shirts that do these things:
1. Buttons nicely across the front and stays buttoned, without drowning in fabric elsewhere (like around the arms and the stomach)
2. White but NOT see-through
3. No frills or lace or those tie-wrap-things or tie things around the neck.
4. Wrinkle-resistant would be fabulous, but I know this is a tall order.

I need these for work, but I can't ask the other ladies there because I don't think they have all the fitting issues that I seem to have.
I've already checked out every store in the mall but if you can think of something I'm missing. Online shopping is also ok - just tell me where you have found luck so I know where to start. Please tell me this isn't impossible.
posted by amethysts to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried Lands End? Nothing exciting or fancy, but they've got lots of decent basics -- and a whole lot of them are no-iron. Ones with a bit of stretch may do better at not having too much fabric elsewhere.
They've got a great return policy, so you can try things out without committing.
posted by katemonster at 6:18 PM on January 31, 2008

Wrinkles are a cotton thing. 100% cotton = wrinkle city.
More Poly/ less cotton = less wrinkles.

A camisole is good for both modesty AND wrinkles :)
(Well those stupid back crinkles at least.)

And... the fit of a shirt is a funny thing. I don't know what shape you are but for me it starts across the shoulder seams. Everything else can limp along provided the tip of the shoulder to collar bone is all good. Otherwise forget it! (The next thing is length, but that's me. May or may not help you at all??)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 6:29 PM on January 31, 2008

Seconding Lands End. Check out the Overstocks section too. They usually do not have white, but you can get some other fun colors, stripes, etc on the cheap. Make sure to look for the wrinkle resistant!
posted by psususe at 6:32 PM on January 31, 2008

If the problem is too much fabric around the stomach, arms, and shoulders, than it's really that the shirt is too big, but your size is cut too small for your bust. Most modern clothing is cut for a B cup, regardless of size.
Check or another shop catering to large busted women, they sell clothes that are cut more generously across the bust without being huge everywhere else.
posted by Kellydamnit at 6:40 PM on January 31, 2008

I was on a similar shirt shopping mission recently and was surprised to find some great shirts at Express. In their "Design Studio" section, they have some dress shirts that are nicely cut, fitted, in basic colors like white, gray and black...but have this tiny strip of elastic in the center of the back that magically makes the shirt fit well across the chest without any gaping. I like the fit of this shirt so much that I bought one in each color.
posted by pluckysparrow at 6:46 PM on January 31, 2008

Land's end, at least, claims to have 100% cotton shirts that are also wrinkle resistant. One advantage of cotton is that it doesn't have the same odor problems that synthetic shirts can have.
posted by amtho at 7:01 PM on January 31, 2008

Fox shirts are great, followed by Eddie Bauer (they make a "wrinkle-free" that just needs to be shaken straight out of the drier), and finally land's end.
posted by arnicae at 7:15 PM on January 31, 2008

Kellydamnit, not to be contrarian, but I am a (very modest) A cup (as in: damn near flat-chested) and I have the same trouble as the OP.

The issue may be that she's broad-shouldered with a narrow waist. Off-the rack stuff doesn't seem to do a good job with that.

for the record, I don't have a good online source for tailored women's blouses. What I *can* recommend is looking for blouses with 'darts' or seams.

Me, I have to get stuff taken in. Actually I've gotten a sewing machine and some courage and started taking in stuff on my own. Usually men's broadcloth oxfords, actually. They look really cute when they've been properly 'fit'.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:19 PM on January 31, 2008

How about LL Bean?
posted by govtdrone at 7:20 PM on January 31, 2008

2nd Eddie Bauer's wrinkle-free, which is, and which has less of an artificial-fibre look than some 100% cotton wrinkle-free stuff. Also try Talbots. I suspect Talbots of making things mostly for women quite a bit older than myself, which is sometimes an irritation -- weird colours, polyester pants -- but a real plus when it comes to getting stuff that's not sheer or otherwise too revealing.
posted by kmennie at 7:27 PM on January 31, 2008

Actually, lonefrontranger, I think Kellydamnit had it - the shirts are apparently cut for a smaller bust than I have (i have C-D-ish), but the next size up is too big everywhere else (even though my waist isn't very narrow..) Off the rack stuff doesn't seem to do a good job with anything, but I would have thought that tailoring a shirt to go around when it's built to go straight down would be really complicated. I even had trouble trying to give mine a shorter hem. If only they made women's shirts like men's with every color and size permutation under the sun.

I'm going to try all of these suggestions, please keep going if you can think of any.
posted by amethysts at 7:36 PM on January 31, 2008

The Eddie Bauer shirts are the best. I have left them in the dryer OVERNIGHT and they still come out non-wrinkled and crisp, and they last for a long time (with no yellow pits.) I love love love them.
posted by ms.v. at 8:06 PM on January 31, 2008

Echoing the Eddie Bauer shirts, and also wearing a cami underneath. It's the only thing that really works for the gapping fronts for me (D-DD).
posted by gingerbeer at 9:27 PM on January 31, 2008

For your first request (well-fitting shirts with buttons that close evenly without gaping holes in immodest places), I have taken to using a workaround rather than trying to locate such a shirt. I am sure they exist, but I haven't found one yet, especially in a non-specialty store. I wear snug spaghetti-strap camisoles or tanks, and they kind of gather things up so that shirts button neatly and evenly. They don't have to be very tight, but they do need to be somewhat fitted.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:30 PM on January 31, 2008

Oh, and I am also a C-D'ish cup.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:31 PM on January 31, 2008

My grandmother would always sew tiny snaps in between the buttons of our shirts. Sometimes the spacing of the buttons is wonky and the shirt will just gap a bit. You may not notice this when the shirt is new and somewhat stiff. As the fabric softens it's gap-o-rama.

Personally, I can't sew them into my shirts because I can't get them to align, but the tailor only charges a few bucks to do this.
posted by 26.2 at 9:35 PM on January 31, 2008

You need a tailor.

Get a wrinkle-resistant shirt that fits you in both the shoulders and the bust, and have a tailor sew custom darts that make the trunk part fit your figure. If you wear these shirts all the time, it's well worth the investment.

Women come in so many shapes and sizes, we can't all expect to find mass-market shirts that really fit us.
posted by nadise at 11:18 PM on January 31, 2008

Ooh, I've had the same dilemma, although I'm a couple bust sizes smaller than you (large B/small C).

Your profile says you live in NY; may I suggest that you try on shirts at the nearest Brooks Brothers? I'd never shopped there before until I started looking for classic button-downs of the type you're asking about. They have a bunch of different women's fits in classic, non-frilly styles made of sturdy opaque fabrics. Best of all, they have a whole non-iron line - I guess the point is that you can just throw them into the dryer and have them come out wrinkle-free, but I've also found that they're less likely to wrinkle over the course of the day.

Their site sucks because it doesn't allow direct links, but go here and click on the sidebar categories "Shirts & Knits" > "Non-Iron".

Good luck!
posted by lalex at 1:01 AM on February 1, 2008

Not only bust size but also how high or low the bust is positioned on the body has an effect on the fit. The buttons placement and spacing is creating gaps.

I second the snaps between buttons, and I have used no-sew velcro circles for a quick solution (they need to be replaced frequently)

I have a white Liz Claiborne shirt that I have treasured for years because it fits so well, but it is not made anymore. Good luck on your search
posted by francesca too at 4:37 AM on February 1, 2008

Seconding lalex's Brooks Brothers Women link. I have 2 shirts from them that fit well with no gapping in the front. Otherwise, I try to get a good shoulder fit, along with princess (the vertical ones) seams front and back, a minimum of 6 buttons up the front, and often labeled "slightly fitted" in catalogs.
posted by yoga at 5:40 AM on February 1, 2008

I have a few white button downs from cambridge dry goods that are sturdy, great thickness, nicely fitted, have collar stays (cotton, but I just use the downy wrinkle release stuff) and I love them so.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 8:20 AM on February 1, 2008

I've actually been thinking about asking this myself, so all I can offer you is my workaround:

Use a safety pin. Most button areas contain two layers of fabric (on each side of the shirt), so I pin the right side to the bottom layer of the left side. The pin is on the inside of the shirt, and you don't go through the topmost layer of fabric.

I've been thinking about doing the snap thing recently, but I'm pretty sure they'd just come unsnapped if I moved the wrong way...Maybe a hook and eye closure...
posted by natabat at 9:02 AM on February 1, 2008

Adding my thumbs up to Brooks Brothers and Eddie Bauer shirts, for being opaque and avoiding being gappy.
posted by needled at 9:23 AM on February 1, 2008

Sometimes I just sew the sides of the placket to each other and make my button downs into pullovers to avoid the effect you describe.
posted by chickaboo at 9:28 AM on February 1, 2008

Also try to wear a nude colored bra or nude colored cami underneath and any sheer blouse will look fine.
posted by chickaboo at 9:28 AM on February 1, 2008

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