Big Bust Boredom Dressing No More–Shopping My Closet with a Professional Stylist

Our tagline–“Above average style for the above average bust”–often feels misleading because I’m so far from a role model for stylish dressing. On the other hand, I aspire to look stylish, and I know our readers do, too. So even if Leah and I are not professional stylists, we give busty women pieces that they can put together on their own.

Last week, Christina Frik, a friend who IS a professional stylist offered to “shop my closet” for me. I was amazed at the looks that she put together. SHE was amazed that I had so many “great pieces to work with”. She thought she was going to give me a long list of basics to buy. Instead, she suggested just four items that will help extend my wardrobe (that I share at the end).

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I set everything out in our living room, and Christina flitted around creating combinations I’d never considered.

Here’s my biggest takeaway about the landscape of big bust dressing: companies that produce clothing for D cups and up are doing their job. They’re providing big-busted women with great building pieces for individual style. We may complain about the lack of options–my side of our closet is practically empty compared to my husband’s–but the truth is, we have incredible essentials that can take us in all sorts of directions without having to compromise on fit. We ran out of time before we ran out of pieces!

Christina came up with options that fit into dress codes that are traditional business (think attorneys) and business casual (think techies), and I finally understand the power of accessories. Look at what she did with just 4 pairs of shoes, 2 necklaces, and 1 scarf. A variety of jackets, cardis and sweaters also helps.

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I had planned to donate this Urkye knit blazer and Express dress to our next Big Bust Clothing Swap until Christina put them together with my leopard kitten heels and new tortoise link necklace.

You’ll see that Christina came up with a lot of big bust looks for a button down shirt. That’s because my first priority was how to wear my own button-front shirts without looking like I’m going for an interview or ready to take food orders. The biggest lesson that bust-friendly designer Patricia McCaw of Bolero has taught me is: Wear your own designs. Now every time I go to an event where I meet new people who ask what I do, I’m ready for the question, “Are you wearing one of your shirts?”

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This 4-button Jones New York jacket that I bought years ago actually buttons across my chest without straining. The patterned pants are a new find from Alfani.

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The more I wear my Paige dress, the more I look forward to new lines from Bitter Lollipop in 2017.

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I still love this knit blazer from Express that I found at a discount store last year.

 

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Recognize this duster from last week’s cardigan survey? I think I’m going to keep it!

 

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This is the other cardi from last week that Christina tells me is a keeper.

As you’ll remember, shoes are always a challenge for me, and I’ve finally found a pair of high boots that fit my orthotics. However, I have a lot to learn about proportion. Christina has encouraged me to wear my ankle boots, t-straps and kitten heel pumps with low hems (like a knee or midi-length dress) and high boots with high hems (like a tunic over leggings).

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This sweater and the tunic below are two of the bust-friendly dolman sleeve pieces that I wrote about in the past.

 

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I don’t plan to keep this pleather jacket from JCP that I wrote about last week–I’m more comfortable with the faux-leather lined cardi–but this look is making me reconsider. Also, note the ankle boots with the low hem of this Rock Cotton tunic (that I’ve used as a swimsuit cover up and wrote about last year).

 

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This picture doesn’t do justice to the texture of the silk blouse from More Front Room.

Finally, I never would have imagined combining my Pepperberry moss-colored linen biker jacket and a brown belt with this Riley dress from Bitter Lollipop.

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My Doc Martin shoes are meh with this outfit, but they’re just a placeholder for one of the items on Christina’s shopping list for me. Here’s the list I promised you:

 

  1. a pair of taupe or tan ankle booties (she also thinks they’ll look great with my Samantha dress from DD Atelier)
  2. a long boyfriend blazer or cardigan with a hem that falls below where my legs join my torso
  3. a layering “shell”
  4. a long hem tank that falls below where my legs join my torso (could also be the same as #3)

Basically, I’m looking for everything that I saw this woman wearing on the subway the other day!

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I hope today’s post gives you some ideas for shopping your own closet! What pieces are you looking for this fall that will extend your wardrobe even further?

 

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Big Bust Cardigan Week: Bomber Jackets

Since writing about bomber jackets for big busts last month, I’ve had the chance to try a few more at Express and NY&Co., and size large has fit best in both brands.

The bomber trend isn’t just about staying warm. This olive jacket from NY&Co. comes in a polyester georgette that makes it feel dressy–hence my trying it with my Bitter Lollipop dress. It’s meh on me, but it might look better on someone with a longer waist. A belt, a chunky metallic necklace, and/or different shoes could also liven things up.

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[Read more…]

Big Bust Cardigan Week: Dusters

It would be a bad idea to wear these with the top-and-skirt combos I wrote about last week, but dusters are a fun layering option for large-busted women who want to add variety to their cardigan wardrobe. The dusters that come with open fronts (vs. buttons) are especially friendly to big busts.

I was looking for a tan duster when I fell in love with this cranberry Open-Front Duster Cardigan from Charter Club. Plus it has pockets! I’m wearing a size small in this duster and feel completely comfortable with the coverage around my large chest.

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I also found this tan Ribbed Duster Cardigan from Style & Co. The color is actually deeper than shows in the picture, making it a nice neutral. It also comes in black, along with some fun striped options. I’m wearing a medium. Although I could wear the small if I had to, the medium felt more generous–and therefore safer–around my big bust. Too bad it doesn’t come in a petite length. It’s three inches longer than the cranberry duster.

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Dusters are a no-brainer for tall busty women, but they also have potential for those of us who are shorter. We just need to make sure that they don’t overpower us and consign us to Hide Me territory.

[Note: The Macy’s links are affiliate links that can result in a commission to me if you make a purchase, but my opinions are my own.]

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Big Bust Cardigan Week: Zippered Biker Options

When my stylist and I were scouting the mall a few weeks ago, she made a beeline for this Lounge-Knit Moto Jacket. As soon as I put it on, I knew she’d found a winner. It’s light-weight but looks heavier, and even though it’s a terry fabric inside, the slubby speckled texture on the outside makes it seem high-end enough that I wouldn’t hesitate to wear it with a skirt or dress pants to work. It’s perfect for throwing in the bottom of your bag for an extra layer, keeping on the back of your chair at the office, and basically living in all weekend.

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I’m wearing a size M in these pictures. I could squeeze into the small if I had to, but I like a little extra room. The Large gave me too much room. For reference again, my waist is around 33″, and my bust is around 40″.

As you know, I’m a big fan of ultra-suede this fall, and the a.n.a. faux suede drape front jacket from JCP is one more reason. [Read more…]