Small shirts for small girls with big boobs
July 3, 2008 9:26 AM   Subscribe

In search of women's button-up shirts for cuteness and layering with cardigans! Why is this so hard?

It is so hard, in part, because I'm verrrrrry busty, short, and short-waisted. This is an unfortunate combination, but I really love the look of slim-cut button up shirts and skirts and heels, particularly when layered with cardigans. I have a couple of shirts that I wear like this, but they don't really fit perfectly. They always always always pull at the second or third button (whichever one buttons directly over my bust), and are usually a bit baggy in the waist area. I'd love something that fit properly, both over my 32F boobz and around my 27" waist. That would be neat. Since I've had such terrible luck with this in the past, I'm hoping for suggestions that I can also try on, like major brands or things I can find at chain stores. I realize that darts are probably my friend, as are somewhat stretchy materials, but this is still proving a nigh impossible quest.
posted by booknerd to Shopping (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should add that the question really isn't "Why is this so hard?" That's more rhetorical. The question is, "Where can I buy these sorts of shirts that will fit me and which styles, precisely, are they?" Thanks!
posted by booknerd at 9:32 AM on July 3, 2008

Finding a shirt that will fit your abnormal proportions is going to be very very tricky. Instead, go to your major collar oriented stores such as banana republic, j crew, h&m, or whatever and buy shirts that fit you around the bust. They will be too big for your stomach and waist but that's okay - fit your largest part. Then take that shirt to the tailor, invest in the 10 or 20 bucks, and have it taken in.

The only way you're going to find great shirts that fit is if you head to a tailor. Ann Taylor, Macys, other department stores, etc are going to have what you want. Just get to a tailor already.
posted by Stynxno at 9:35 AM on July 3, 2008

You might also look at Bravissimo's tailored shirts. They ain't cheap, but they're built especially for busty gals with small waists. I tried some on, but the bust size still wasn't big enough. The shirts themselves seemed well made.
posted by 100watts at 9:41 AM on July 3, 2008

One trick is to wear a camisol or tank top, and then layer this with a button up shirt that fits your waist, and buttno it only up to your bust.

Though not as strongly proportioned as you, I've struggled with this a little myself. I found that while Banana Republic shirts are far too square for me, but I've had a lot of luck at Express. Look particularly for when they've got slightly stretchy material in season.
posted by shadowfelldown at 9:43 AM on July 3, 2008

I have gotten good shirts like this at Banana Repulic. They're not perfect, but they do accommodate bust and actually go in at the waist. Get the ones with a little bit of stretch to them -- that really helps with the issues you're talking about. I'll post a link if I can find one of these shirts online...

I have also gotten in the habit of just using a small safety pin in between the buttons at the bust. It's an extra step when you're getting dressed, but it's not that big of a deal and it works well.
posted by Tren at 9:47 AM on July 3, 2008

A few months ago, I found a really cute gray striped button-down shirt by Apt. 9 made of a stretchy fabric. It's neat, because it doesn't look like it would be stretchy, but there is a lot of give in the fabric. Kohl's usually carry Apt. 9. Currently, the stretchy tops are limited, but I found

Essential Woven Blouse - It says it's stretchy in the description and it's a similar cut to mine.

Abstract Stretch Blouse

Paisley Crinkled Shirt

Pieced Striped Blouse
posted by gargoyle93 at 9:47 AM on July 3, 2008

I have the same problem. Every once in a while I find a random shirt that fits but it's not often and not indicative of any brand I can recommend. If you can find a shirt that fits your bust and shoulders you could just get buttons added. If you double up the buttons you shouldn't have so horrible gaps.

Getting shirts tailored is a good idea too, although usually to find something that fits the bust means that the shoulders are way too big, an extra (more expensive) alteration. Fabric with a little stretch helps too.
posted by Bunglegirl at 9:47 AM on July 3, 2008

I am smaller but similarly-proportioned (Bunglegirl's point about drowning in shoulder-width when the bust fits is very familiar), and just picked up a bunch of Old Navy "Women's Classic Button-down" shirts that fit better than most.
posted by nonane at 9:56 AM on July 3, 2008

I have your proportions (27 waist and 30F breasts, though I'm not short ) and the only button down shirt that I've ever found that works for me and looks like I want it to was a strechy one that I found at H&M worn with a certain bra (other bras make gaps). However, I've never found that shirt at H&M again and I regret buying just one.

What I'm considering doing is buying just random button down shirts that fit in the chest and tucking them into super high waisted skirts (because we can totally pull that off).
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 10:12 AM on July 3, 2008

I would ditto the "get something that comes close and have a tailor finish the job" suggestion. I have a similar problem with pants -- I have all sorts of weirdness going on with that; my waist is one pants size, but my hips are the next size up, and I have a bit of a pooch to my belly but I have a butt that looks good in pants, so things that are straight off the rack either gap at the waist, are too tight in the hips, bag at the butt or pull tight across the tummy.

In desperation I took one pair of black pants my mother got me for Christmas that just was baggy all over and brought it to a tailor and asked him to help, explaining all my figure concerns; within a week he was done altering them and I had a pair of great looking black dress pants that addressed all of my issues. Sometimes the different women's clothings sizes are kind of "one size fits some", and you have to do a little extra yourself to make it work.

Fortunately it shouldn't run you more than $10-$20 to take care of, which more than makes up for itself in terms of how good things will look after you've had them altered. I think shirts are a little cheaper than pants when it comes to altering, so it may be less.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:23 AM on July 3, 2008

I would ditto the "get something that comes close and have a tailor finish the job" suggestion.

Has anyone here done this for the busty problem? I ask because I have the same issue and I can't imagine it costing only $10 - $20. I have similar proportions to the OP, and to buy a shirt that fits my bust I would have to go up to a size 14 or 16, when the rest of my torso is about an 8. The shirt would have to be altered literally at every seam, including arm length, armholes, shoulder seam taken in, etc. I'm wondering what others' personal experiences are.
posted by peep at 11:08 AM on July 3, 2008

I just find shirts that fit my body and move the buttons.
posted by astruc at 12:05 PM on July 3, 2008

peep, as a related data point, we got my partner's wedding shirt fitted at Nordstrom's a month or so ago. She has the OP's issue, and we got so tired of looking for something suitable in the women's clothing stores (white, no pocket, French cuffs) that we just bought her a men's shirt and had it tailored. The shirt was of good quality and not cheap, and yes, just about every seam had to be taken in. The tailoring cost more than the shirt.

That said, it's a fabulous shirt and she looks super hot in it. It fits her better than almost anything I've seen her wear.

Conclusion? Special occasions, sure, it's worth it. Everyday wear? That could get a leeeetle expensive.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:29 PM on July 3, 2008

All these posters are LIARS. TOTAL LIARS.

I'm a man, and can TOTALLY answer this question.

I once saw this chick wearing this REALLY nice sweater...and underneath it, a really nice button down shirt. I was impressed...and I don't often get impressed by women's clothing.

I approached her about it, and she told me what it was...I can't find one exactly like it online, but here is the concept. I'm sure you can find this at whatever store chicks shop at forever 21, or whatever.

Yeah, thats right...I approached her, then I married her.

Listen ladies, its all about the fake sweaters with shirts underneath. Thats how you get a guy to marry you.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:54 PM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Has anyone here done this for the busty problem? I ask because I have the same issue and I can't imagine it costing only $10 - $20.

I imagine it could be a lot more than that too. I mentioned the shoulder problem because re-setting a sleeve is going to be more difficult/expensive than nipping in the waist. Obviously, tailoring in NYC must be a lot different than, say, Kansas City. I've never had it done in the US but I had a bunch of shirts made in Vietnam and India and for $4 each had something that fit well. Obviously that isn't an option for most people but if you know someone going to a country where it's cheap send a shirt that fits you along to get copied or your measurements. I have to say that I've never had my breasts patted by strangers as often as that experience. I think the women couldn't believe they existed and had to keep checking.

If you have any crafty skills and are don't want to spring for tailoring learn to sew. I was so sick of not finding clothes that fit and patterns that weren't to my measurements that I took pattern making classes at a junior college. I know that's a little extreme but I couldn't take it any more.
posted by Bunglegirl at 1:15 PM on July 3, 2008

1. Buy buttondown shirts with some lycra/spandex/stretchy stuff. Check the tag to make sure. Dress Barn and Van Heusen are good places to get them. (Didn't I just post this somewhere else last week?)

2. Fashion Tape, found at Bed Bath and Beyond, will hold in the button-that's-gonna-burst area of a shirt very well.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:57 PM on July 3, 2008

I'm here to second Bravissimo. They have changed my life (or at least my wardrobe).

I can't vouch for their clothes, as I don't work in a office where I need to dress smart, but if I ever do, it is to them I will turn.

They have good customer service, so contact them if you need to.
posted by Helga-woo at 5:02 PM on July 4, 2008

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