Know first who you are and then adorn yourself accordingly - Epictetus

8 June 2011

The Perfect Shirt

I’ve mentioned before that I really struggle to find shirts. A genetic curse blessing means that I could give any self respecting Penthouse Pet some healthy competition. Like most things it has upsides (getting served instantaneously at any bar) and downsides (my first trip to Italy as a 17-year-old had me convinced I no longer had a face) but by far the worst factor is that fashion is not made for women with breasts – there is a very good reason why runway models never have any. In fact, a quick flick through the archives shows the depressing fact that the last decade in which fashion was made for the busty was… wait for it… the 1950s. It seems I am a mere 60 years too late for the ideal fashion for my body shape.

image sources: tumblr
But I digress.

Shirts. In most stores I am practically in plus sizes before I can get one to button up without straining so much it looks like I have imprisoned several small mammals under my shirt and am attempting to smuggle them out of the store. There are few exceptions to this rule. Equipment is my glory brand. Their Signature style is not only sufficiently loosely fitted that they look amazing but their silk is also thick enough that it not only covers up the mast and rigging that keeps my chest resolutely in the chest area (rather than around my naval) but looks damn flattering in the process.

The second brand whose shirts I have fallen in love with is a local brand that is resolutely aimed at middle aged women. Apparently, middle aged women have rather a lot more going on in the upper torso regions than people my own age. Score! The store was even having a sale just last week and when I tried on this shirt, I promptly wore it out of the store. 

image source:

It is a lot brighter than anything I have worn in a while but so comfy. I think I have finally found the cotton shirts for me and this little pumpkin has slotted in quite nicely with the rest of my ‘uniform’. Hurrah.


  1. I have a checked shirt just like that. Definitely much prefer gingham to plaid. I have friends who complain of the same thing about shirts, I have to recommend Equipment to them....cotton shirts will probably remain a challenge though.

    And on your previous post, can't wait to see what you scored on ebay...

  2. I like sportscraft too. Very middle aged, but you can find some real gems. And the garment construction seems slightly better than Country Road, even though they are similarly priced.

    My only complaint about sportscraft shirts is that a lot of them are too sheer for my liking. Especially their silk shirts.

  3. Love your analysis of the bust problem! It's the same problem I have with my child-bearing hips: the things that fit my waist don't fit my junk in the trunk--and vice versa. On the bright side, I'm almost completely flat (I still buy training bras because they fit better than normal bras) so the only issue I have with buying women's shirts is avoiding the deflated bust situation via a good tailor. As I once told my mother, "how to explain how the size 4 jacket fits on's like I had breast implants and both of them exploded in a tragic plane accident, which my company didn't give me time to get over before I had to make it to a board meeting." I will never understand why more women don't visit tailors on a regular basis!

  4. Wonderful - it is so refreshing to hear from someone who has the same problems like me: I adore the minimalist tomboy chic, but my figure is, like yours, rather suited for the 1950's era. I love shirts but cannot find any, because as soon as they fit the upper part I'm swimming around the waist and it just looks horrible allover. The same applies to blazers. And don't get me started on pants...if I'd live somewhere in Asia, I'd get everything tailored. That said I'd be thankful if you'd help me out on a couple of issues:You mentioned that Equipments silk shirts work well on you and that they "cover up": May I ask which styles you wear? Just the classic signature style or have you tried other? Do you wear your regular size or do you size up/down? And does the covering up apply to all their colours - especially the white/cream section? I'm asking because I've been wanting to try their shirts for a while but always hesitated because of my problems with shirts and because I was afraid that they are too sheer. And speaking of the "mast and rigging" that I'd like to hide too: Do you have any tips on good brands? They discontinued the line I was using and I've been helplessy searching and trying on without success.

  5. Lin: Cotton is definitely a challenge. This is the only one I have found so far. It does come in other colours but they're a bit blah - totally digging gingham right now. I'm definitely going to check out the new season updates though.

    Clair: I hear you on the sheer silk factor. I picked up a stack of slinky singlets on sale in Zara, in London, to layer under them. Very good for the current sub-arctic/torrential rain situation. In summer I am generally too hot/flustered to care and my office remains sub-arctic so I can wear a cardi to avoid un-professionalism :)

    Danielle: ahahahaha. I love your description! In the same vein I vastly resemble someone who has had a similar accident but car airbags have permanently attached to her chest due to the force of the collision. Teehee. Seriously though, I do have a good tailor who takes in the waistband on all of my pants but I am yet to venture down the tailored shirt path - silly really - I generally just have a tantrum and storm out of the shop rather than buy a massive size and have it cut down ;)

    Sog19b: I have the signature style because I like the bust pockets and depending on my feelings, and the temperature, I normally wear a slinky singlet (they're less likely to bunch up) underneath to cover the rigging. Size-wise I wear an Aussie 12 up top and I bought a large because I wanted a loose fit. But I could easily wear a medium and not have it skin tight - probably best if I wanted to tuck it in. I don't have a white or cream one of theirs but I do have the skin/blush colour and although slightly sheer I do wear it with nothing underneath (this is where the pockets come in handy). If you're nervous I would start with either a black or a khaki and see how you like the fit and feel :) As for the rigging I stick to Elle McPherson for pretty lacy stuff as she does up to an E in most styles and they do actually hold you in place (yay!). For basics I can't go past Berlei as they are just so comfy and they do every size under the sun (H cup anyone?) but make sure you get a soft-cup style as some of their others can be sized oddly (I'm looking at you Barely There bra). Hope this helps :)


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