As you know, I’m passionate about classic white shirts that fit full-busted women, and today on the Campbell & Kate blog, I rail against baggy shoulders that make us look like we’re playing dress up. When a classic white shirt fits, it can take us anywhere–store, beach, airport, conference, or office. Fortunately, we’re getting more options, and the latest comes from InStyle Essentials.
InStyle Essentials is actually a new incarnation of Rebecca & Drew, whose shirts I began to write about in 2009. (At the bottom of this page, you’ll find links to those earlier posts if you want to see how things have developed.) Back then, I paid $195 for a button front. Now they’re only $60!
The size chart said to go by band and cup, but I knew better. My current bra size is a 34GG. My bust measures 46″, my underbust 36″, and my waist 39″. So instead of merely ordering a shirt in size 34H, I also ordered a 36H, 38H, 38G and 40G. You can see what they looked like below. I began with the largest and skipped the smallest.
For $60, you’re probably wondering about the quality, and I think it’s really nice. Granted, I’m not keeping any of these shirts, so I can’t tell you how they stand up to frequent wears and washings, but here’s what I like about them:
- The seam finishing is flat-felled, which you’ll usually find in men’s shirting. It’s neat and durable.
- The hidden placket hides the extra buttons placed at the chest. Hooray! I couldn’t stand the way Rebecca & Drew used to keep them visible.
- They’re also generous with buttons on the sleeve–two on the cuff and one on the placket.
- There’s a yoke in back. I love yokes.
- The princess seams don’t create a bubble above my apex like they did in my past Rebecca & Drew experiences. It could be that I was finally wearing a more lifting bra, although certainly not my most lifted.
- I like the way the seams down the back give shaping.
- It has shirttails instead of going straight across–way more flattering when it’s untucked.
As far as I can tell, here’s why the shirt doesn’t cost more:
- It’s made in China, so InStyle Essentials likely got a great price for placing a giant order.
- The fabric feels good and crisp, but it couldn’t hide the beige lace of my Prima Donna Deauville. The lace didn’t look bad underneath, but it was definitely visible. Stretch woven fabrics that are also opaque tend to cost a lot.
- The collar is pretty narrow–not sure what that has to do with price, but it struck me as kind of skimpy.
- There seem to be 15 stitches per inch, which makes it faster to sew. (That’s fine; higher quality shirts tend to be at least 18 stitches per inch.)
This is a great functional shirt, and for the price, you won’t cry if you spill something on your shelf. I was very tempted to keep the 38H, but in the end decided to return it because it felt like wearing a uniform. However, that’s the great thing about a white shirt–it’s so easy to individualize that it won’t look like a uniform for long. If you buy one, I’d love to see what you do with it!