Monday 25th September 2017
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Week of requests: In which I finally come through for busty ladies

The Great U neck tee

If there is one group of readers who have made clear their dissatisfaction with me, it is the those on the busty end of the spectrum. Repeatedly I have been informed that my choices on this blog do not work for them. But I’m a lifetime B-cup, with no experience in these matters. So I farmed out the solution to my friend Andrea Linett, author of the fabulous book The Cool Factor: A Guide to Achieving Effortless Style, With Secrets From the Women Who Have it and the most stylish person I know, because she just had a baby, and has been confronted with the style challenge of being suddenly voluptuous. “I’ve never had this situation before now, so I’ve been forced to figure it our pretty damn quickly!” Andrea says. “The trick is in finding a great low-cut piece that isn’t too revealing. Anything too high makes my bust look too low on my body. It’s a delicate balance. Plus, I wear a lot of necklaces, so the lower necks are key.” First up: “The Great U-neck tee. Kim bought me this for my birthday and I’ve never stopped wearing it.”

A Detacher wrap sweater

A Detacher Tiara sweater. “This piece has saved me all winter so far. You can wrap it as low or as high as you want. Try it over tees, dresses, anything!”

Maria Cornejo Lena top. “I love a Maria Cornejo top for dressing up jeans.  This silver one has the right neck and a crazy fun factor.”

Striped V sweater. “Just a perfect little striped V-neck that’s not too high and not too low. Very French!”

Madewell silk pajama shirt

Silk pajama shirt. “This one has a great low cut and is very au courant. I like it with jeans, but it’s equally fetching with a nice black trouser.”

Splendid camisole

Cami to wear under anything. “I find that skinny little camis are always good when you want to be a bit more modest. I like them under button-downs and low-cut sweaters and this line has the bonus of being longer in the body.”

Jolie Laide Roll & Tuck tee

Jolie Laide Roll & Tuck Tee. “I know I’m biased because I make this one, but it worked for me before and it still works for me now. The low neck and supreme drapiness make this one a no-brainer.”

Posted on January 6th, 2017 29 Comments

29 Responses

  1. Kathy Ormiston says:

    Not sure if it is on the request list, but I’d love to see work out clothes for actual exercise (not getting coffee). Not too revealing or too drab.

    Thanks,

    Kathy

  2. Viajera says:

    My guess is, people were unhappy with fashion reality, not with you. It’s not your fault that most clothing is not made for chests, it’s the mfrs.

    I would describe these choices as somewhat eccentric, but they were fun to look at. Your friend makes a shirt that comes in 2 undefined sizes which are apparently semi-interchangeable. So the size thing is clearly not on her radar. That’s okay, it’s a free country. Fwiw, it’s a nice little tee.

  3. Mary Alice says:

    Nice job! I like almost everything you have here. Just want to echo Viajera, I was never unhappy with you, it’s just so frustrating when one’s choices are so limiting. I like everything except the wrap sweater, which I think is far too bulky. When you’re busty you need to look for drapey, not stiff, bulky or clingy fabrics.
    By the way, the biggest lie in fashion is that a wrap silhouette is flattering to big busts. The wrap always sits too high or too low and cuts unflatteringly across the chest, and you always end up having to pin it awkwardly or wear a cami under.
    I LOVE your blog. Happy New Year!

    • Jill says:

      I have found that not all wraps are created equal. Ya gotta keep trying them. I used to be a C cup and now am D or DD (depending on mfr) and I wear wrap tops almost religiously. Sometimes I need a cami with them (DVF in particular seems to run small across the chest; I have to size up in wrap dresses one size and then *still* sometimes need more coverage) but there are other brands out there that are more generous with coverage.

  4. I.M. says:

    Thanks for the blog post! I think what’s frustrating is not just the fashion reality, it’s also that not everything has a hard and fast rule. A lot depends on the body the bust is attached to. I have tiny shoulders and a small back so I love the wrap sweater. I also love the PJ top, and the first tee.
    I love the idea of the shiny blouse but unless it has big shoulder pads, the blouse will be wearing me.

    P.S. I know this was a few posts back but I love the that purple Rodin lipstick.

  5. CJ says:

    These are some lovely choices–I hate being busty. I’m petite, so if it fits my body it does not come close to fitting my chest. If it’s fitted it looks obscene, but if it’s baggy enough for my chest I look 15lbs heavier. And don’t even get me started on bras. If there was a site that let you design your own bra I’d certainly invest!

    • MRS says:

      i would shop at that design your own bra site too! I recently ordered a discontinued sports bra I liked and altered the band to actually fit me.

      • Mamavalveeta03 says:

        There is…sort of. I just read an article in an online business journal that described an MIT grad who designed an algorithm for bra fitting. She then “engineered” the bras according to type. Mixed reviews and a bit pricey for me, but check it out: thirdlove.com

        • Trixie says:

          I ordered a bra from ThirdLove and it’s… fine. Not great. And certainly not as supportive— or anywhere near as pretty– as my pricier bras from Marie Jo. I’m basically just doubling down on those because they’re so much more flattering.

          I have broad shoulders and a big chest and the only thing on this list I could possibly do is the wrap sweater. As others have stated so eloquently, we all have slightly different shapes. This has been an especially maddening season since so many tops are boxy or cropped boxes, all of which take the express train to maternity town for me. I also find that while I loathe the time it takes, going to actual stores rather than shopping online really makes all the difference with tops. It gets the frustration over with faster and you can try on different sizes.

          Thanks for trying, Kim, and maybe we can all chime in with options that work. I used to be a fan of Velvet tops but they now tend to run crazy small. Grrr.

          • suz says:

            I think most women with naturally large chests tend to have broad shoulders – it’s just a structural thing. So someone with post prego bustiness isn’t exactly dealing with the same body shape.

            The boxy thing does not work for me at all and I have bought zero tops because of it. It is all that is out there. Very very very annoying being reduced to old black (cause they are too thin, can’t wear a light color grrr) t shirts most of the time.

  6. clatie says:

    These are nice – except for the wrap sweater. That shape absolutely does not work on me!! Makes me look sloppy and frumpy and awful. I do appreciate you reaching out to someone who is bigger in the chest for assistance, and this may sounds nitpicky, but your friend is only big because she’s nursing. I would love to hear from someone who has lived with it since she was 12, like me.

    But that’s a little quibble! Thank you so much for putting things I could actually wear on the site. I’m a fan!

    • Debra K says:

      Been busty since 12 and have figured out the best way to get clothes to fit is all about the bra. Camisoles create the dreaded uni-boob plus add bulk when all you’re trying to do is get the shirt to button properly in the first place! Not to be a downer, but I am a small framed woman with big boobs and I spend more money on bras than most women spend on dinner and drinks! I think of it as putting new tires on my car – money well spent on something no one really notices 🤓

      • clatie says:

        Oh, totally agree!! A properly fitted bra can make one look 10 lbs thinner. But, damn, those Wacoals don’t come cheap. Sigh.

        • Jennifer says:

          It’s absolutely 100% about the bra! The good ones don’t come cheap but since it’s the most important thing you put on your body that makes sense. The one thing I’ve been looking for forever and cannot find is a great strapless that DOES NOT have padding! If I add padding my clothes don’t fit!

          • Jill says:

            ITA about the bras. A good one can really make such a difference. I do hate spending those prices on ’em though (and I’m a fan of Wacoal too). I’ve just about given up on strapless bras at this point. I’m nearing fifty and “the girls” often need more support than a strapless can give.

        • Heather says:

          I’m able to find Wacoals at Nordstrom Rack for reasonable-ish prices. I agree that a good-fitting bra is a must, and I’d note that one only needs a few of them (perhaps one in your skin tone, one in black, one in a fun color). Better to buy 3 good bras and take care of them than a bunch of ill-fitting ones.

      • Keirele says:

        Yes! I’m a petite big-boobed hourglass. NOTHING fits, everything looks like a sack. I live by the rules of What Not To Wear (RIP): twice yearly bra fittings, buy to fit the boobs and get a tailor to fit to the waist.

        • Suz says:

          WNTW is my guide too! Most clothes now seem cut for lanky thin builds w/ no waist – which if you are busty hourglass, makes you into a blocky torso.

          They used to make clothing for us, long ago – all my vintage stuff fits.

  7. Suz says:

    Thanks for this. I seriously miss being a b cup and fitting into things. Boobs are impossible to dress, and as said, manufacturers ignore the situation completely. (Maybe because most of them are men and fit models have no breasts, who is to say….)

    Except for the wrap sweater none of this really works for me/the busty – you really cannot wear baggy floaty with a large bust or else you look like a parade float under a tarp. You need a waist in there, some sort of definition. But thank you for giving it a go when it is outside your body shape. Just to echo the others – it wasn’t you, it was the clothing manufacturers that left us hanging.

  8. Pamb says:

    As a lifelong busty (oh, ok, since sophomore year of high school)these choices are weird. Shapeless silver top? Wrap sweater? Stripes? Pajama top?

    Me no likey.

    The two t shirts get a thumbs up, though.

  9. Jennifer says:

    I’m a bigger girl, top range of “regular” sizing and plus-ish size, usually a DD+ cup. Nothing here would work for me except the green tee, and I couldn’t wear that to work so blergh. I love having big boobs and being a saucy hot tamale, but there are no clothes made for us. All the “cool” plus-sized brands (and models) are ladies with big hips and butts (which is hot, too) but they have much smaller boobs.
    Anyways, Kim I love you and have been a fan of your smart, sensible, super style since the Sassy days. And I love this community. So that’s it. Oh except I hope I see some of you at the women’s March in NYC!!!

  10. AugmentationBlues says:

    As a lifelong small chester with a huge rib cage and a yo-yo weight problem that spans decades (and body dysmorphia to go with it) I made the decision for breast augmentation after stabilizing at a sane weight for several years. I am child free so I didn’t have that to contend with, but my small Bs were floppy sacs after so much gaining and weight loss. I let my doctor take the lead and guide/decide what looked good and balanced with my aforementioned large rib cage and curvier body proportions. I ended up with 36DDs. People say they look natural to my form. My boyfriend says I look beautiful. But It’s been two years and I’m still not used to them, I still don’t know how to dress with larger breasts and my body dysmorphia is worse than ever because I feel like “a parade float under a tarp” as someone above so elegantly put it. I love clothes and I wear a similar aesthetic,styles, brands to what you often capture, but those feel weird on me now. I might’ve made a mistake but I’m trying to get fitter and affect better posture and more tone in my body before I seriously consider reversing my surgery
    I was one of the requesters of fashion for larger breasts, I’m not posting under my normal name (frequent commenter here) – but this selection is depressing and not helpful.

    • suz says:

      I was the parade float commenter 🙁 I used to be a b cup through my 20s and then things just went crazy. Currently a D. I feel the same as you do – like I am wearing someone elses body. And yeah, no one makes clothes for us. It’s very disheartening. But it isn’t you.

      • Cedar says:

        Me too. I was a B- cup through most of my 20s (competitive running suppressed my hormones for years) and I rather suddenly became a D cup. 20 years later I am finally almost used to what my actual figure looks like, but I still don’t like the boobs AT ALL. (Although my husband likes them a lot, so there’s that.)

        As a previous commenter said, most of these don’t work with a serious bra, or for work. The v neck sweater is good, if a little low cut for those of us who can’t do much cleavage at work. But.. a pajama top?

  11. Wendy says:

    The other unsaid point here is that low cut tee shirts do not fit into a work life and for those of use on the older side… well, you can see why this is not going to work. I went from a B to DDD (thanks kids and aging) and I wish I could go back to my B again! Hope you continue this theme occasionally. Love your column!

  12. Ann says:

    Thank you a million x! I find the Joie brand really gets it too!
    Love, Busty McBustavitch

  13. joannawnyc says:

    I have had big boobs since age 11. It is hard to find stuff that fits or even “fits.” I think Andrea is right about proportions, but I also hear what everyone else is saying as well. Time for a group blog on chestage, perhaps? 😉

    I also agree with the comment that must plus size brands seem to focus on the pear-shaped, but maybe it just feels that way. I am a broad shouldered top-heavy inverted triangle short hourglass, which often seems like the most freakish female body type ever.

    • Jill says:

      This is me. My husband and I were just discussing this exact thing over breakfast this weekend. I have broad swimmer shoulders, the “girls”, and a narrower waist and hips. It didn’t used to be so impossible…but either with aging, or times changning, or both, I find it almost hopeless to clothing shop these days. I feel like I need to go to Italy and request the Sophia Loren wardrobe styling. It must be out there somewhere!

  14. Barbara says:

    I truly appreciate the effort to include styles for the more busty among us. I’d also like to echo the comment that post-baby boobs might not be the typical scenario of us busty readers who have probably known since age 10 that a v-neck is their friend and have a drawer full of camisoles. This comment probably sounds critical, but it’s actually defeat. If Kim France can’t come up with good options for chesty girls of a certain age, it’s probably hopeless. I’ve been reading about fashion and style, trying to accomplish it on this body since I, too, was reading Phoebe Cates-era 17. But the truth is, it is an epic f’ing struggle to find bras that work that I can afford.To find tops that fit in the shoulders, chest and can be altered for the rest of my relatively normal sized body in way a that doesn’t render them unrecognizable or cost the GDP of a small nation to make it so. To be so bold as to imagine there might be a dress out there for me that is not a muu muu. Okay, that turned into a bit of rant; I just had 40 years of clothes buying/style failing/body issue/shopping debt angst fall on me. Calling my therapist… 🙂