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.

big bust instyle essentials white shirt 40G
I found the 40G to be pretty loose fitting everywhere but above my bustline. In the photo on the right, I’m arching my shoulders to show the pulls where the princess seam intersects with the armhole. My theory is that the armscye is too big for me in this size because this didn’t occur with the 38’s and 36.
I took these measurements of the 40G for anyone who may want to order it:
Bust: 52″
Waist: 38.75″
Hips: 44.5″
big bust 38H instyle essentials white shirt
I think this 38H is my favorite fit of the five, even though there’s a little Strum Strum going on at my bustline. I even liked the sleeve length on me. The only negative is the extra fold of fabric in the back, which occurred on me in every size. Here are the measurements:
Bust 51.5″
Waist 43.5″
Hips 46″
big bust 38G instyle essentials white shirt
The 38G looks pretty good, too. The measurements are:
Bust 49.5″
Waist 41.25″
Hips 46.5″
big bust white shirt 36H instyle essentials white shirt
The 36H was too snug on me, but here are its measurements for those of you who are smaller than I am:
Bust 48″
Waist 38.75″
Hips 44.5″
I didn’t even try the 34H, but I did measure it:
Bust 47.25
Waist 38.5″
Hips 41.5

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!


Pictures of my Rebecca & Drew shirt in 2009

More pictures of my Rebecca & Drew shirt in 2009

Review of my Rebecca & Drew shirt in 2009

When Rebecca & Drew expanded to H cups in 2010