Buttoned Up Isn’t For Me

I have a large chest (news to everyone, I know) and sometimes I get tired of wearing undershirts. I went out to dinner with TH and some friends a few weeks ago and thought I could get away with wearing this dress buttoned up.

mind the gap

Looks like undershirts are one of my “things”. Or clothes designed specifically for well-endowed women. What brand does that? This dress is from Target. I do like my bright pink tights, school girl heels, and aqua bracelet though. Next time I wear the dress, it’s going to be unbuttoned (since another breast reduction doesn’t seem likely).


32 thoughts on “Buttoned Up Isn’t For Me

  1. Bravissimo (a UK lingerie store targeted at those of us with D cups and above) has a line of clothing called Pepperberry. They ship from the UK but I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly my order came (faster than an order from Gap/Banana on the same day!) and the shipping cost was reasonable. The clothing is a little more expensive than you would get in the US, depending on the exchange rate, but having a white button down that fits right is priceless. I think their stuff is cute, in general. They also have camis and strappy tops with built in bras that have underwires and actually stand a chance at supporting large boobs (less of an issue for you, of course, since you can’t wear a tank outside the house without anything over but for your non-Mormon readers). :)

    Jenna Reply:

    I can’t stop pinning things from that site! I’m so excited that you linked me to it.

    Jess Reply:


    Also, if you ever get to the UK, make sure you go into one of their physical shops and get fitted for a bra. It was a life changing experience for me (who was I kidding wearing a 36C—I walked out with a bag full of 36Fs–oops!). Even if you’re not wearing as badly sized of a bra as I was, it’s still good to be professionally sized every once in a while. They don’t measure you, they actually have you try on bras and they help you figure out what fits correctly.

    Jenna Reply:

    There is a place like that in Chicago! http://www.yelp.com/biz/tinas-closet-lisle-2

    Best bra fitting I’ve ever had.

    Kimberly Reply:

    Yes! I love Bravissimo and Pepperberry.

    Kiri Reply:

    Yep, I echo all of the above Pepperberry is awesome.
    And getting fitted in Bravissimo is brilliant

  2. First off, you look lovely in that outfit.

    Secondly – I hear ya! I am 5 foot 2, and 36D. Target has very cute and affordable clothes, but I’ve had to stop myself from shopping there because they simply don’t fit or flatter a large bust. I have friends of a similiar shape who totally agree.

    I wore a button down shirt as a work uniform for years and it was always popping open. My male co-workers would blush and apologize when they had to point out I was er, slightly flashing the customers.

    I just try to look at it as a lesson that “the grass is always greener” – so many women want a larger chest, while I’m wishing I could fit into more standard clothing!

    I’m not sure what brands specifically flatter a bustier, but not necessarily “plus-sized” woman. I have heard Bravissimo.com reccommended, but haven’t tried any of their clothing myself.

  3. Longtime reader/lurker, but wanted to share this because I, too have that problem! A girl I know started this company: http://the-shirt.com/ specifically to deal with this issue. Doesn’t really help when it comes to cute shirtdresses (my favorite look, too), but it’s always nice to have options that fit and don’t leave you looking for the fashion tape!

  4. I completely understand this post! I also had a breast reduction and I have accepted that undershirts are one of my things as well. I actually don’t mind them because I like to dress modestly and undershirts help me not show a ton of cleavage.

    I don’t know if you have blogged about this in the past, but I am curious about pregnancy and breastfeeding after a breast reduction. Would you mind sharing some of your experiences? I don’t have kids yet, but hopefully down the road my hubby and I will start a family.

    Jenna Reply:

    I wrote about my breastfeeding experience here: http://thatwifeblog.com/2010/05/11/breastfeeding-t1/

    Jackie Reply:

    Thanks, I will have to read it! Thank you for being so open about your experience. I think it helps other women realize that a surgery like a breast reduction can really improve their quality of life!

    I had horrible neck and shoulder pain before my surgery. I also frequently got migraines and was generally uncomfortable due to the size of my breasts. I always thought that I would wait until after I had children to have a breast reduction, but by the time I was 22 I realized that I needed the surgery. My mother in law (to be at the time because we were not married yet) really helped me with the decision. She had a breast reduction when my husband was a child and she helped me make decisions. She told me her only regret was that she had not had the surgery 10 years earlier! This helped me make my decision and realize that if I didn’t have the surgery I would probably not breastfeed due to the amount of discomfort I experienced with my breast size.

    Sorry for the long response, but I wanted to share some of my experience as well. My breast reduction really improved my life!

  5. Oh I feel your pain. My chest doesn’t match my frame, button ups rarely work and crew necks look odd. I don’t wear a lot of button ups for this reason. I have one good button down for interviews and I got it from Ann Taylor and they seem to leave a little extra room.

  6. When I was a 36-38 B pre-pregnancy, I didn’t understand, but now as a nursing 40D, I get it. Really. I tried on some pre-pregnancy clothes yesterday and could barely get my bust into any of them. And a D isn’t THAT big!

  7. Man, don’t big knockers suck? I’ve had a breast reduction as well, and if I had the money would have another after we’re done having kids. Reel those babies up, ya know!? I wish that nipples were like air valves where you could pump the girls up for a sexy date, and then deflate them the next morning for a run…

  8. I too am 5′ 4″ and busty. And I have a broad back/ribcage so finding a cute bra that fits has always been difficult and expensive (even in my skinnier teen years). Tops and dresses are even worse!

    Chadwicks had a french brand (La Redoute) that I loved! But they don’t sell it in the USA anymore. (If you find some of their styles while in Europe, don’t be fooled by the tiny models. The shirts fit amazingly.)

    Old navy carries a button up shirt with ruching around the button closure near the bust, it works great! And if it still gaps a little I sew velcro in between the buttons. (Usually those tops are only stocked in the cold weather months though.)
    I also love to buy their layering/basic tops in tall sizes to cover my back when I bend over (and I seem to have really long legs and arms for a short girl so that size fits better anyway).

    For dresses that actually cover my bust I love Maurices and Dress Barn. It’s kinda hit or miss whether they will have something cute AND modest, but I have the best luck looking in the cooler months.

    It’s hard work to find a top or dress that will fit me at Khol’s, Target, or Walmart. They seem to all be made with a-cups in mind! I do love them for sweaters, pants and skirts though. And I buy the men’s shirts at Walmart (not the slim cut) for “rolling around the house” tees all the time.

    I haven’t shopped much online but I so want some dresses from Mod Cloth! (I have no idea about the fit though.)

    Side note: love the basic tanks (cotton jersey) from Old Navy and the lacy tanks from Maurices for covering up under v-necks or un-buttoned things.

    Gwendolyn Reply:

    One thing I’ve noticed: as I lose weight the girls are going down in size. I used to be a 42D, now I’m a 40C (sometimes it’s still D, I think I’m more a C and a half right now).

  9. Sigh… the button up. I try and try and try to wear button ups and end up either unbuttoning it down to my navel (with an undershirt, of course) or having the worst pulling/gaps ever. It just isn’t that cute.

    I’m a 38G and finding a bra can just be so difficult sometimes. I’ve had okay luck at Nordstrom but once I found some brands/size that work for me, I’ve had great luck on Amazon finding the same brands for 1/3 the cost.

    You know what no other girls ever want to hear though? The “burden” of large breasts. Most girls think they would give anything to have them… they just don’t realize what a pain they are!

  10. I own that dress, and actually wore it to work yesterday, and have the same problem. I’m large chested and have to wear lots of camisoles and usually stay away from button up shirts, but shirt dresses are my downfall!

  11. Hahaha I love this. I too (like so many others on the thread) am short (5’3″) and large-chested, and up til now button-down shirts/tops are one of those things I just can’t wear.

    Maybe this will change with the recommendations suggested? I hope so, I love the way button-downs look.

  12. You know I’ve always been small chested and have never had to worry about buttoned up tops as they’ve always fit me just fine. But here I am with giant D cups thanks to pregnancy and I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DRESS THEM. It never would have occurred to me that button ups would be bad but clearly I can see the problem and know I would struggle with it now as well!

  13. (1) that is a really cute outfit and dress. When it comes to button-up dresses like that, I actually think it would look cuter unbuttoned, with (in this case) a lacy pink tank-top underneath, if only to because the dress is a lot of fabric, and a pop up pink up top would break that up a bit.

    (2) I feel your pain with button-up shirts in general. Although I am hardly well-endowed myself, I still have problems with button-up shirts. I think they are just not designed well for women’s bodies: they are often too tight across the chest (because you bought a smaller size to be tighter around the waist), and never stay tucked into skirts or pants, and so even if they do fit, you still need a tank-top underneath for the times when they do come untucked and you don’t want your midsection showing. Ugh. I’m a lawyer so I have to wear them often, and I typically try to only buy button-ups made with a stretchy blended fabric. Have you tried any of the button-ups from Banana Republic or Brooks Brothers? Last fall Banana sold some PERFECT button-ups: they were made in stretchy material AND they had buttons up half the back so you could loosen or tighten to fit your body.

    Sarah Reply:

    Yes! What is with the tucking thing?! I wear my Banana Republic blouses untucked (even though I know it’s so wrong!) because the only time I can get them tucked is with a high-waisted pencil skirt (which I rarely wear). Doesn’t help that I have a freakishly long torso and an aversion to high-waisted pants… but still. Get it together Banana!

  14. Seriously! I have this same problem. I say we start our own business for ladies just like us.

    By the way, you’re looking fab!

  15. I think this is more of a button spacing problem than anything because I’m virtually flat chested (like, wear a little girls’ training bra kind of small) and even run into this problem sometimes! So I’ve found a safety pin is the best bet for my tops and dresses and that do this; I run it through the three layers closest to my skin in the button “hem” so it’s invisible. And I just have to say I love the tights! Colored tights are my favorite fashion trend right now and I hope they stay in fashion forever:)

  16. I am not well endowed (B cup) and this is STILL a problem for me. I think the problem is more about the waist to boob ratio than just cup size. Blouses that button nicely are too baggy in the waist and ones that fit in the waist tend to pucker open at the boobs.

    What’s a girl to do?! SEW IT. A few little stitches on that gap and I’m good to go!

    Sarah Reply:

    ps I’ve heard that the “right” way to fix this is to buy the next size larger (e.g. fit the largest part of yourself) and have it tailored down elsewhere. I’m keeping that in mind for when I have all the time and money in the world ;)

  17. omg jenna I never knew you had a breast reduction. can you please email me? I have been considering one for awhile. But I feel kind of weird about it because some people pay to have breasts like mine, but I just find them too heavy and painful. I can’t even imagine what it will be like to be pregnant with them. Did yours get bigger during and after pregnancy too? Did they stay bigger?

    Also, where do you recommend getting bras? I just buy mine at places like JCP and Kohls, and they aren’t that great. I think I could do better, but I don’t know where to go for better. I read your reduction surgery post but the pics weren’t there, can you send them to me?

  18. Hey Jenna! I’m a long time lurker and don’t usually comment on blogs ever but this is a topic I know something about:)

    I’ve had a breast reduction, now pregnant and growing again arg. But I have a very easy remedy to this problem. I buy all kinds of button ups and then over the 2 or 3 buttons that go over my bust I just sew up the seam next to the button when it is closed. Voila, no puckering, stays closed, looks neat and tidy, no stress. This dress would be a perfect candidate.

    Jenna Reply:

    You sew it while you are still wearing it?

    Betsy Reply:

    Not while wearing, I take it off then close the buttons then finagle it in my sewing machine and just sew about 1-2 inches along the seam next to the button (not through the back of the shirt, just that front seam). It’s permanently closed on that part then, but I can usually just slip it over my head to put it on after that. Does that make sense?

    Jenna Reply:

    I’ll have to give this a try. I never would have guessed that I could slip it over my head with the button done! It would be so nice to not have a big gap though.

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