Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mythbuster #1: Button-down shirts are the end-all, be-all of professional, work-appropriate tops.

I must, I must, I must find that elusive button-down shirt!

Having followed the busty blogs for several years, one of the top complaints I find is that women want button-down tops that work for larger chests. I've only just recently found button-down tops that work, and beforehand didn't have any reason or need to wear them. As nice as it is to find that miraculous button-down, it's important to note that there are plenty of other blouse-styles out there that work for us busty women. They look just as polished (if not more so) and just as professional as a button-down. It's much more professional to have a non-buttoned blouse that fits the bust properly than to wear a buttoned blouse that gapes. Additionally, buying a professional top doesn't have to break the bank. When putting together a work outfit, the shirt can (and maybe should) easily be the least expensive part of the ensemble.

Here are a few tops I would consider taking a look at in stores this season, in various price ranges.

Layering Shell | $36.90 | The Limited | 

This is an classic top that will go beautifully with both skirt and pants suits and comes in different colors. One thing that's great about The Limited is that they always have one kind of awesome sale or another, along with their clearance section. To fit the bust, you may have to sacrifice a fitted waist -- however, I always tuck my work shirts into my skirts/pants, so the extra material provides a nice, bloused effect.

Liz Claiborne Cap-Sleeve Popover Blouse - Plus | $23.99 | JC Penney

I highly, highly recommend JC Penney for affordable dress tops. They have a fairly large selection of tops, and this is just one example of a blouse that would likely work for a fuller bust. The pattern can be toned down by a jacket, and it doesn't really hurt to have a little pattern in the workplace! My friend, who's a teacher, was able to get a blouse appropriate for work for only $2 because the shirt was on clearance. If that doesn't motivate you to at least give JC Penney a try, I don't know what will! Also, I used this blouse as an example specifically because it is for plus sizes -- JC Penney carries a good variety of plus size clothing as well as good variety for the other size ranges.

Geo Print Cowl Top | $58.99 | Banana Republic
I have completely fallen in love with Banana Republic. I also hardly buy things full price there. This, however, is just a great example of a sleeveless top that would still be work appropriate in most situations. Some offices have dress codes, and I wouldn't go sleeveless in a court room. However, if you're just in the office and it gets a little warm, this cowl neck is perfectly acceptable (and super cute!). If I were questioning a witness on the stand, however, I would keep my suit jacket on. Personally, I'm waiting 'til this cute top goes (more) on sale! It's also worth a shot to check out a Banana Republic Factory Store, if you have an outlet mall nearby.

I plan on doing reviews of clothing I own to give some better ideas on how things fit, but I hope this suffices for now! I'm in the middle of preparing for the July bar exam and I just moved, so I'm still settling in. If any of you have questions about Shopping Like a Professional Because You Are, In Fact, A Professional, please ask in the comments!


  1. Good luck on the bar exam. Took it years ago and my condolences are with you. Think index cards! I agree that the cowl neck top is not appropriate for the court room but it does work great in the office and meeting with clients. And, of course as you stated just keep your jacket or perhaps a light sweater around.

    1. Thank you so much! I find it's always helpful to dress in layers for the workplace for all sorts of reasons. You don't want to show too much skin, but you also don't want to freeze to death in a hyper-air-conditioned office!

  2. I like the printed top from jc penny , It looks very nice.

    1. I'm glad you like it! JC Penney is a really good resource for inexpensive work tops.

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