Sometimes you learn something when you least expect it.  That’s what happened to me at the NYXpo for business last Wednesday.  I was listening to the woman below give a pretty good presentation about niche marketing when I suddenly noticed her blazer.

Two features caught my eye.  See if you can guess what they were.

1.  It actually buttons! If the buttons were placed higher, she would have to size up in order to get rid of a gap between the buttons, but by placing them beneath her bust line, we can actually see her slim waist.

2.The folds extending from the top button to her breasts.  For a while I wondered if this was an intentional part of the design, but I finally decided it was accidental.  However, what is to stop a designer from creating a blazer with intentional folds to encompass the breasts?

And that’s where I reached my epiphany.  Designers who create for buxom women have two options:

A. Start with a design and make it work on the busty figure (like the bride who chooses one dress style for each of her bridesmaids);


B.  Start with the busty figure and create a design that works on it (like the bride who asks each of her bridesmaids to choose her own dress).

I did Option A when I created Campbell & Kate shirts.  All I wanted was a Classic. White. Shirt.  I had a design in mind, and I was determined to make it work on the hourglass figure.  It was tough, but thanks to my friend Kate and my wonderful pattern maker, we made it happen with buttons and without the princess seams that I find to be so hit-or-miss at a woman’s apex.

I don’t regret going with Option A, and I hope more designers will do so for us.  However, after seeing the blazer in this photo, I’m also inspired by Option B.  What if  someone were to create a blazer with diagonal pleats extending from the center to the bust?

How much simpler the product development process could be if we let the body dictate the design!  We would begin with fabrics that have the best drape for our bodies and proceed from there.  There could be features yet to be invented simply because they’re waiting to be invented on a full-busted figure.

I wish that my discovery of the blazer on last week’s speaker could result in straightforward advice to you:  look for blazers that button beneath the chest and that have some sort of design feature (like pleats) to accommodate a large bust.  But we all know that such advice would only lead to frustration because there are so few blazers out there that meet these criteria.  If you find one, it’s more likely to be a one-off serendipitous discovery.  You’ll feel great every time you wear it, but you’ll dread the day it wears out and you can’t find a replacement without going the custom route.

Sorry for being so depressing in the previous sentence!  What I’m really trying to do here is focus on all the amazing possibilities for us, and I’m dreaming about the day when they can become a reality.

On the way to that reality, here are a few off-the-rack options available to us:

  1. See “Jackets Cut for Curves” on the new Curveissa blog.  I like her point that “half sleeves are so flattering for us top heavy girls cause it shows the thin wrists and hides the big arms”.
  2. BiuBiu now has a jacket on its website.  You can’t order it yet, but perhaps the designer will give us an update on this product. I’m not a fan of the contrast stitching, but I love everything else about it, and hopefully she’ll offer more options in this style later.  I think the BiuBiu jacket falls squarely in the Option B camp. Agree?
  3. Pepperberry has a classic blazer that gets good reviews on their site.  I think this one falls in the Option A camp.

And here’s a look at a few of the blazer hits and misses I’ve reported on in the past:

  1. Hook closures are a nice feature of this Free People jacket of Marketa’s, and I love the line it creates.
  2. Not every jacket shopping experience for Marketa has been so great.
  3. This Worth jacket on Lisa Wexler was a great find.
  4. This Anthropologie jacket on me was a fail.