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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Full Bust Find: Byron Lars Mona Dress

You’ve already read my rave about the Byron Lars pieces that I tried at a discount store this summer. Today I’m going to rave about the Mona dress from Beguile by Byron Lars that I tried at Anthropologie last week.

I only took it to the dressing room because it was Byron Lars. I wasn’t particularly interested in the dress itself, but once I took it off the hanger, I found an amazing detail that makes this dress a D+ winner: Wide hooks. Between every. Single. Button. Hole. (This detail makes the dress a winner for those of us with poochy tummies, too!)

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Here is a closeup of my 32FF chest in the size 8 dress. I estimate that there is plenty of room for at least two  cup sizes up.

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Here’s how the rest of it looked on me. I loved that it was form-fitting without being clingy, and I felt super secure with the buttons and hooks.

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The main negative cited by reviewers is a tendency for the crocheted fabric to snag, although I expect the loose weave also means that each snag could be easily fixed.

This dress is also available in petite, but they didn’t carry it in the store I visited.  I’d be curious to try the 12P to see if I prefer that length and if it still fit my bust.

Finally, because I’m partial to clean finishes, here’s an image of what the lining looks like from the inside.

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Corporate Curves Report: One Leg Ahead

Welcome to the third Corporate Curves Report. Fashion tights is this weeks topic. They might seem a bit much and are often marketed for the young and edgy, but should there really be a reason why fashion tights could not be worn to the office? For us busty corporate women, there is another reason for wearing them than just fashion or wanting to express our style: they certainly draw the attention away from the bosom area! I was looking at some new Wolford tights yesterday at the mall and have been visiting Pretty Polly‘s website.

At the office you quite often see only black, grey or navy suits. Men can use ties and shirts to liven up the suit look, and I’m glad to see they use that option more often these days. But we women don’t really wear ties, and for busty women finding shirts is hard enough, so we have limited options in colors or patterns.

But we CAN use patterned tights. Many shy away from them, but if you don’t want so much busyness in you leg department or don’t want to draw that much attention to your legs, you could wear them with boots or wear a longer dress. Then it simply adds a subtle fashion and flirtation to your outfit when there is just a little bit of pattern showing between the boot and hem. From the looks of it, these Wolford promo pictures are actually aimed at us corporate women.

In case it isn’t obvious, I just love fashion tights, but it always seems hard to find a dress to go with them–especially as I love a bit of edginess in my style and am currently craving the Pretty Polly and Wolford black or animal print tights. Here are a few pairs that I’ve had for a while but didn’t know how to team them up for the office. Then my trusted LBD came to the rescue once again.

What about a suitable suit look with fashion tights? I’m envisioning a suit with a knee length pencil skirt and black office style boots and tights along these lines .

The Pepperberry suit is from their new autumn collection, and the tights are Pretty Polly. Oooh-la-la!

After having browsed the websites for both Wolford and Pretty Polly I think there will be a dent in my wallet in the coming weeks.

 

Corporate Curves Report: Realizing Assets

Welcome to the second Corporate Curves Report. I’m writing this in our project office next to my all-male colleagues. This week the theme is about bust acceptance and how I personally handle it at work. Lets face it –people will notice a bigger than average bust. That is not always a bad thing; as long as you are appropriately dressed you can quite easily make it less awkward or possibly utilize it if you wish.

First, if you wish to look feminine, you can, regardless of your shape! And even in male-dominated corporate environments you can be a woman who looks like a woman. But it all starts from the head–if you believe in yourself and your style, others will, too. Recruiters hire brains and personalities–not their looks. Think how much more interesting the workplace would be if people expressed themselves with their style! (This obviously doesn’t apply fully if you work somewhere where suits are mandatory.)

I used to hide my figure in tunics and jackets that were a size too big, not really because I felt that I needed to but because good work clothes did not fit my bust. However, after discovering my real bra size and purchasing well-fitting bras that actually hoisted my bust to where it doesn’t look droopy and drag my appearance down and buying my first Pepperberry dresses, I decided that never again will I wear a tunic to work! My boyfriend actually said that I looked like I had lost ten kilograms and that was all thanks to a form fitting dress that fit like a glove. I was over the moon, and my body confidence soared. So here I am today, four years later, at the office in a figure-hugging LBD accessorized with a scarf and a shrug for modesty and appropriateness. It is summer still so jackets are too hot to wear, and I am not wearing the shrug in the picture. The dress is from Pepperberry in size 14R/SC.

As for a large bust at work, I’m always first to make a joke if a situation gets awkward. I have a very relaxed take on my bosom: it’s there and it’ll stay there, so why fight? 🙂 For instance, if we’re discussing shoulder aches, I’ll make a comment about my front weight not helping. Here are two actual bust-related work incidents and how I handled them.

This led to the whole team looking at my bust and laughing. The boss didn’t mean to say it like that, and he blushed. If I hadn’t been the only female member, it wouldn’t have even sounded like it did. I laughed as well and just replied “Even though it’s Friday, I’m NOT going to show anything THAT interesting to you!” and so the situation was resolved and I could start my presentation.

The video conference room was quite big, and there were only two of us in it, so the other participants asked us to zoom our camera so they wouldn’t see the whole room. My colleague took the remote and zooooooooooooooomed–yes, directly at my bust and the screen showed a full close-up of it. It caused awkward giggles, and I broke the tension by saying, “Yes, I have a big bust, but I don’t think it was on the agenda today.”

Anyone else have funny work and bust-related stories? Or do you have your own tactic for how to deal with awkward situations at work?