[Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links]
As a former Virginian this might be a blasphemous thing to say, but I am not a warm-weather girl. Sure, if it’s JUST the right temperature outside with zero humidity and a nice light breeze and occasional cloud cover to keep the sun from migraine-inducing brightness and you don’t have to go to work but can instead go to the park/to the beach/on a hike/to your friend’s pool etc. etc., then summer is okay by me. Usually, however, as soon as the temperature skyrockets and the subway stations become furnaces and my cats run away from me because they’re scared of the air conditioner (my cats might be super neurotic, y’all), I’m done. Go away, hot weather, I do not care for you.
So even though it’s still August, and it’s still quite warm, Fall clothes are showing up in stores and I am SO HAPPY. I love Fall clothes. Give me layers and stockings and richer textiles and deeper, bolder colors and longer skirts and jackets and all sorts of fun accessories we couldn’t bear to think about in July. I also love the general back-to-school feeling about this time of year; some people make resolutions around New Year’s Day, but I tend to do more personal reflecting in September (possibly because it’s my birth month). The new season makes me think about fresh starts, new beginnings, stocking up on new supplies, and, of course, re-evaluating my wardrobe.
In New York City my Fall, Winter, and Spring wardrobes blend together, so any piece of clothing I buy for these seasons gets a lot of play. As my size has been changing over the last year and a half, I’ve discovered that I don’t own a well-fitting button-down shirt. I’ve never particularly yearned for one– I don’t usually love how I look in white, for one thing, and I know I’d instantly spill chocolate/tomatoes/vinegar/wine down the front, but as skirts, jackets, sweaters, and pants from my older wardrobe start to fit again, I’ve realized it would be really wonderful to have some professional tops to mix and match with my other wardrobe pieces. The button-down shirts I do own are extremely relaxed and casual in cut and fabric weight, and I’d love a more fitted, formal option that feels crisp and polished.
Fortunately, we full-bust folks now have lots of options available to us in the button-down department! No more gaping buttons, no more sizing up to fit your boobs only for your waist to swim in extra fabric. Here are some of my favorite button-down tops currently available for purchase from manufacturers who specialize in dressing D+ figures.
[click each image to be taken straight to a retailer with the item in stock]
It seems only right to start with Pepperberry, since they’re the sister company to Bravissimo, the D+ retailer who opened my eyes to the world of full-bust bras. Pepperberry doesn’t always appeal to my personal fashion sense, but I do generally like their Autumn collections, and they currently have a LOVELY range of tops and blouses designed to fit and flatter fuller-boobs.
Pepperberry clothes are available in two size ranges: 8-18 Curvy, Really Curvy, and Super Curvy, and 8-18 Curvy/Really Curvy and Really Curvy/Super Curvy. UK sizes 8-18 roughly translate to US sizes 4-14, although I strongly recommend consulting their size guide to find your best fit.
I’ve had friends who are teachers, who work in offices, or who have professional “uniforms” all reach out to me to ask about classic button down shirts, and I highly recommend Pepperberry’s quality and customer service. Do bear in mind that you will have to allow time for shipments to arrive from the UK, and return postage is often…not cheap.
That said, the selection is unbeatable. Beyond variations on the classic white button down (short sleeves, textured fabric, etc.), there are blouses with creative necklines in seasonal colors to blend in seamlessly with your wardrobe.
I’ve got my eye on a few of these for this season; I just want to wait another month or two until my body settles a little more.
Moving on from the UK to Russia, a D+ retailer that’s been on my radar for a while now is DD Atelier, which has the advantage over Pepperberry in that they have a US-based returns center for US and Canada customers! Like Pepperberry, each garment is available in three different bust sizes, and I’ll note that their sizes skew a touch smaller than some of the other brands in this round-up. DD Atelier has a distinct aesthetic, and usually every season at least one or two of their pieces (especially dresses!) really catch my eye.
Obviously the collection includes a classic white shirt, but there’s more! Patterns:
Non-button-down blouses too!
Word of warning: I’ve noticed that many DD Atelier pieces sell out very quickly, so if you see something you like and your budget allows, I’ll just gently nudge you and tell you to get on it pronto.
Polish brand Biu Biu is another well-known name in the full-bust community. While the button-down selection is smaller than either Pepperberry or DD Atelier, be sure to look at the stretch tops, dresses, jackets, and, best of all, maternity tops for more curve-friendly designs!
Classic white shirt in the house!
I really, REALLY love this sweeter take on the classic white shirt. It still looks crisp and polished, but it feels a little softer.
Those of us who don’t care for white are in luck– there’s this pretty blue version too! There are many other shirts available in a range of colors, but some of them only have a few sizes left in stock– if one catches your eye, snap it up!
Like Biu Biu, the final brand on this list, Urkye, is based in Poland (whence also cometh Ewa Michalak, Comexim, Anna Pardal, and Samanta). As with the other brands in this post, items are available in three different bust sizes (or two, where fabrics with stretch are used), but Urkye, to me, feels a little more relaxed and casual. DD Atelier and Pepperberry succeed best at workwear, I think, while I could see Biu Biu and Urkye forming the backbone of a curvy girl’s more casual wardrobe. That said, we’re here for the button-downs today, and Urkye does not disappoint. Here’s your classic white shirt:
Here are your short sleeves:
And here is one of your non-white options:
All the shirts featured here are only a small selection of each retailer’s collections; if none of these strike your fancy, be sure to explore each site in case another piece catches your eye! I’ll close by mentioning that while a well-fitting, comfortable bra changes how ANY item of clothing fits, with shirts like these, designed by companies who are deeply familiar with bras and bra fitting, I strongly recommend making sure you have a bra that gives you the lift, projection, and support you want in order to get the best fit out of your full-bust-friendly shirt.
I tried to focus this round-up on companies who currently have items in stock and have excellent reputations– are there any I missed? Let us know in the comments!
MomAugust 27, 2015 at 7:29 am (8 years ago)
Pretty ideas for a lovely time of year. Thanks.
SweetsAugust 27, 2015 at 10:23 am (8 years ago)
Thanks Mom! 🙂
c l bigelowAugust 27, 2015 at 7:41 am (8 years ago)
rochelle behrens company the shirt is my go to.
the front does not gap as there are hidden buttons,right where needed.
no more safety pins.
SweetsAugust 27, 2015 at 10:23 am (8 years ago)
Great suggestion! I hadn’t heard of them before– thank you!
JeannaAugust 27, 2015 at 9:40 am (8 years ago)
Umm, so I didn’t know some of these and I DID NOT KNOW that Pepperberry did button downs (also thank you for calling them button downs which as we all know is their proper name; they are not button ups, goodness). Side note: this post is a total godsend, because I’ve been looking for a new place to buy ethically made button downs. In grad school, I got mine on sale at Banana Republic (which fit my 34F-G boobs pretty well) but basically step one on the Make Your Closet Ethical road is to not buy anything from any Gap store ever again. So. Thank you.
SweetsAugust 27, 2015 at 10:24 am (8 years ago)
You’re so welcome! One of my major regrets was not trying on any Pepperberry clothes when I was in London– what was I thinking!?
DarciAugust 27, 2015 at 10:40 am (8 years ago)
Love the Cape! I need one that length.
SweetsAugust 27, 2015 at 10:48 am (8 years ago)
Thank you very much, I’m sure that when it arrives we will begin a long and happy life together, I am very excited about My Cape 🙂
emilyAugust 27, 2015 at 11:53 am (8 years ago)
campbell & kate do button downs for curvy/busty women too, from sizes 2S to 16L.
SweetsAugust 27, 2015 at 12:03 pm (8 years ago)
Hi Emily! Campbell & Kate shirts are wonderful, but unfortunately their web shop is currently closed, so I didn’t include them in the list this go around. Still, a great resource to keep an eye on for when their web shop is back up and running!
DarleneAugust 28, 2015 at 9:35 am (8 years ago)
Not closed! We have a great selection of clearance items available, but I forgot to include this link on the main shopping page: http://campbellandkate.com/content/clearance. And the good news is that we’re about to be able to take orders for 2M-16M again! And more good news on top of that– once a customer knows her size, the shirt is available in 15 colors. I love a white shirt, but like you, even I have to admit I look better in certain other colors.
SweetsAugust 28, 2015 at 10:00 am (8 years ago)
Fantastic, thanks for the update!
RachelleAugust 29, 2015 at 1:22 pm (8 years ago)
I have recently started sewing my own clothes and I’m so happy to have learned pattern adjustment and now to tailor ready-made clothing. Even in pattern sizes, my bust is two sizes larger than my waist and my hips usually aren’t even on the charts for standard sizes. No wonder ready-made clothes rarely fit me! Even when I was a much thinner size 4/6, I was always been on the curvy side…
Thanks for the suggestions, as they might be good starting points to draft my own patterns or tailor to my curvy figure.
DebraOctober 31, 2015 at 7:35 am (7 years ago)
You have summed up my four go-to spots for busty clothing! I was secretly hoping to see a few more companies that I hadn’t discovered yet, but I’m very pleased to see that these companies that have revolutionized my closet are getting the accolades they deserve. I agree with Pepperberry and DD-atelier having more professional clothing, and BiuBiu and Urkye more casual, but that being said I have some very fun pieces from DD-Atelier (my favourite retailer of all time) and my favourite button-down shirts for work are actually the ones from Urkye, which are sturdy and crisp and absolutely perfectly fitted. I also wear my retro-style full-skirt dresses from BiuBiu to work often, as well as my Portimao blouses, which are incredibly flattering to an hourglass. I find that BiuBiu, Urkye and DD-Atelier have very consistent quality and fit while Pepperberry is a bit more variable, although I certainly have some lovely pieces from Pepperberry too.