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Boobs of Doom = t-shirt nightmare
lonely_highway wrote in fatshionista

Okay folks, I'm having my semi-annual "I Don't Know How To Dress My Body"  freakout. I'm still trying to figure out what to wear in the way of tops. See I've got some weird measurements. My bust measures 44 inches. Directly below my bust I'm 32". That leads to me have about 4 inches of breasts hanging like a cliff over my stomach. It also leads to problems like this:

This is an American Apparel men's deep-v shirt in small. The medium resulted in problems similar to the next picture. Those wrinkles in the middle are the extra fabric under my boob shelf. There are especially problems where the under part of the shelf meets the side of my body.

This is a Fruit of the Loom medium. It pulls across my bust and a bit across my belly and then there's the baggy extra fabric at my waist where there's this empty tent-like area. Yes, this shirt was wrinkle-free when I wore it yesterday.

The only time neither of these things happens are when I wear shirts that are way too big for me. So what's a girl to do? I want some fitted shirts to wear outside of work, but I don't know what to do. Everything I've tried on pulls weird and I think I sometimes just buy things because either I've given up or somehow tricked myself into thinking it looks good when really it doesn't.

This of course leads to another problem. When shirts mostly fit me like the first picture, I get stares at work. See, I work at a residential treatment facility which is about 2/3 teenage boys. My ridiculously large breasts in reasonably fitted shirts get stares from both my coworkers and the boys. So I feel really weird wearing anything but oversized skater-esque t-shirts.

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I find that having the sleeves end where those in these pictures do, emphasizes my breasts. I generally try to wear 3/4 length sleeves, or go sleeveless so that there is not a visual line right across my chest. YMMV

hmm... i would normally recommend girly-ts, but not with all the gawkers. yikes.

hmm - how about the plain cotton t-shirt tops places like lane bryant or target style which tend to be a fit more full cut?

I've never tried Lane Bryant, but the Target ones are very boxy on me. They're super stretchy and ripply across my belly. It's kind of hard to describe.

i have a very similar issue. and i know it's a huge pain in the rear trying to get a fitted type shirt that actually fits the bust and the waist. but i find that if i wear something that fits the bust and then is more flowy, it's a lot more forgiving. plus, you can (if you so choose) minimize the difference a bit by getting something that actually doesn't quiiiiiiiite nip in all the way to the underbust. that also makes your bust look a little smaller. but when you have boobs this size, there's not a lot you can do to make them look actually small. :D

the problem is that if it doesn't go in under the bust, it creates this weird T where it's smooth across my bust and down over my belly, but then there's all this excess fabric.

I am not a fashion plate by any means but I think that any shirt that fits relatively tightly around your boobs is going to make you look good. I'm very jealous of your bust, it looks fabulous!

Girl, you have really big boobies. I don't think there's gonna be much you can do to HIDE them! There are bras that "minimize" although I don't really know how they work b/c frankly I'd never want to minimize my boobs lol. My bust measures about 45" but I guess mine aren't as full as yours or something b/c they look smaller than yours. A bigger more boxy-full cut t-shirt is just going to make you look like a great big box and not be flattering at all. :\ Umm...would it be possible to look into wrap tops? Sometimes they can be minimizing, especially with a cami underneath. I like old navy bra camis. Oh heavens no I don't wear them and depend on the cami for a bra, but bra cami + regular bra tends to hold everything "up and in" a bit.

this was really long and rambly...

btw these pics look like they're taken at an angle that is slightly below you, no?

that makes everything appear even larger.

you have a fab waist, of which I'm a little jealous :P

Here's a great example of how your big body freak-out is another woman's envy. :p I think you have rockin' curves!
Go with stretchy v-necks, but not men's. Vertical stripes cut up the horizontal line, so see if you can find shirts that either have a stripe pattern or some sort of design that creates a vertical line.

Where the heck do I find tons of v-necks? I only look in the men's department because I can always find plenty. I've yet to find women's v-neck in non-lyrca fabrics. I went to AA because they have stretch but they're not stretchy, if that makes sense.

In general I have no problem with my curves. I've got a couple pieces that make me look super fantastic, but I can't wear them every day and they are rather old and thus I cannot buy new copies.

my hot-boobed gf recs - she says your shirts will fit better with their bras. and the stretchy plus-size tees from target.

bravissimo is awesome, and my bras are sold on their website (i get them from a loca business though - buy local love!). i haven't found any stretchy tees at target that fit right. i try them on all the time, though in hopes that one day they will fit right.

I feel your pain. I've just started altering t-shirts so that they'll fit better. It makes a big difference.

As for feeling conspicuous when wearing fitted clothes, I'd say either layer with cardigans or just let everyone else get the hell over it. I totally understand how you feel, but you're built how you're built, and there's nothing wrong with that. If someone's talking to your chest, just tell them to direct their eyes upward- as you are not the one with the issues there:)

OK, for fit stuff--have you thought about buying tops that comfortably fit your chest, and then getting them tailored in to meet your waist? It might sound silly to do this for a t-shirt, but it would make a world of difference if your shirts didn't pull across the chest AND didn't bag at the waist, you know?

Other than that, I can only offer optical illusion tips which you're probably already familiar with:

I agree with the first comment--avoid sleeve lengths that cut right across your chest.

Also, whatever you do, do NOT fall into the turtleneck/crewneck trap! All it does visually is emphasize the chest, because it's just a big ol' swath of fabric, which unites the ENTIRE chest and neck area into one field. In that vein--

I actually don't think the first one is that bad, mostly because the v-neck breaks up the visual field of the chest and puts focus on your face and neck. Also, a v-neck visually divides the chest area, making the area seem smaller. Whereas the second crewneck tee (because of the neckline) makes it look like the chest goes all the way to your neck.

Also, would you be able to wear more structured tops? I.e. button-ups or jackets? Those are certainly worth getting tailored to fit, and the structure would help to visually support your shape. A nice cami under a v-neck top would be nice, too, to break up the visual field.

Ha, this got tl;dr. :)

I keep telling myself I should get shirts that are more fitted and did have one, but I wore it too much and destroyed it. I'm so cheap though, and I keep feeling like I should just figure out the sewing machine and do it myself.

I never buy turtlenecks and try not to buy crewnecks because it does give me (and other big-breasted individuals) the Schoolmarm Boob. Button-ups haven't fit me since I was 12 and jackets are the same kind of nightmare.

I usually wear undershirts under v-necks, just so my backside doesn't hang out at work if I get in a restraint.

I'm going to go hunt for shirts with capsleeves or something though.

You and I have very similar measurements. I can't make men's tees work. I have a lot of shirts that probably call attention to my boobs, although the shirt I've got on currently (alas, no camera handy) is a 3/4-sleeve v-neck from Lane Bryant that is cut fitted but is a little big on me so it hangs loosely and doesn't bunch anywhere and I think it downplays things. I wear a lot of women's shirts that are fitted but not tight, it works pretty well for me. (I'm an XL most places. Though not American Apparel. Why do they insist on making their women's tee shirts so tiny?) And I love empire-waist shirts, where the tightest part is right under the boobs; I find them to be flattering. That might draw attention to your boobs, though.

I only went to AA because I have great Dear Hunter shirt that's from AA. Their women's shirts are ridiculously tiny though. When I tried on a women's XL four years ago it was about the same size and a boy's 10/12.

Where are these fitted shirts? Why can't I find them? Are they hiding in a dark alley somewhere?

V-necks. You can cut v's into all your crewnecks. I do it because I have a short torso and and it makes me look less boxy.

The last shirt might work better if you cut it up into a v neck tank.

T-shirts seem to always require a little surgery.

Oh, and Lady, you are totally va va voom.

While I used to do that sometimes, I really can't do that for work. I keep thinking about cutting up that blue shirt though.

And thank you!

You can add a piece of elastic on the bottom of the breast part to take it in below it and make it empire waisted. You could also add a scoop neck to them too. But girl, you wont be able to hide your ta-tas. Some people pay good money for those!
If you need some help or sewing help, just ask!

Can you sew? I have a friend with a really similar build, and she takes them in (T-shirts) at the sides. She also (outside of work) wears camisoles with button-up short-sleeve shirts, and leaves the top few buttons undone.

I totally feel you on this problem. I have huuuuge boobs and a small waist too, and I know how hard it is to find things that fit.

I agree with a lot of advice that has been put up here. In general I stay away from men's t-shirt's all together. They don't fit right at all, seeing as men don't have boobs. If you do find one that you love, getting it altered isn't a bad idea.

I'm a big fan of blazers/structured cardigans since they nip in at the waist, making me seem less like a big lump just thanks to my boobs sticking out. And I second all the advice about wrap tops and v-necks. I find a squarish neck to be flattering as well. Crew necks and turtlenecks look horrible on me though. And Bravissimo are definitely my favorite bra people. They are expensive, but so worth it (although it looks to me like you're wearing a decent bra from teh pictures, so no real worries there)

And as for the stares...I'm still trying to figure this one out myself. Ignoring them has been best for me. If anyone gets too aggressive, I give them the old disapproving librarian glare. That usually works since I show I'm not taking it without giving them too much of a reaction. But also be proud of your curves! Work them! :)

The bra front, which is really the first defense in not looking like a lump, is taken care of (I just got a new one yesterday and I need to order another one). I've tried cardigans and have always wanted one, but they always gap at the bust. Even when I try on ones that are loose, they still gap at the bust when I move my arms in any way.

As for men's shirts, I go to them because it seems like they're the only ones long enough. Women's shirts may make some room for the bust but not enough for me, so I end up with half of my stomach hanging out.

The stares I've mostly figured out though. I started yelling back at people when I was younger, but now I just glare or block it out. And for work...they're teenage boys and they're gonna stare. I just don't want to get yelled at for dressing inappropriately to work with them. Come to think of it, I think more the of boys are learning my name because my boobs are more noticable since they're not hiding under layers of clothes in attempts to keep warm.

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i happen to think every woman has "a perfect female form."

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Size twins!!
Huh, I never noticed this, but just went and looked in the mirror and yeah. Wow.

I've had pretty good luck with shirts that fit somewhat tightly around the bust and then drape a bit under the bust-- sometimes I wear shirts tight enough to wrinkle under the bust, but I generally am self-conscious in those.

Huh. I had never really thought about it, but yes-- crew neck short-sleeves that hit just above the elbow give that special Monolith Look that perhaps I should avoid.

I admit it pisses me off that if I wear the same exact shirt, fit approximately the same way, as my less-busty sister, I get stared at disapprovingly by old ladies a lot more. It's the same damn t-shirt, I shouldn't have to wear a muumuu to be considered inoffensive!

Eh well. There are lots of good comments upthread, so I'll stop ranting. I personally, when I notice the problem, do tend to prefer scoop-neck or v-neck shirts; somehow higher necklines just make the whole chest area more intimidating. Wrap shirts are good if you can get them to fit. I have a fabulous deep-v empire waist shirt from Bravissimo that I got there last month-- it has a panel inset behind the deep v neckline so it's fairly modest, but modestly sexy. Love!

I own very few tailored garments and have found that for me, the best way to not be self-conscious about the fit of a shirt is to wear one with a really humorous slogan on it, so people read that instead of just looking at my boobs for no reason. (Though it is entertaining to notice that it's almost always men who first laugh at the joke on the shirt, and the most amusing part is the men who notice it, read it, and then try desperately not to laugh so I won't notice they were staring at my tits. The lesbians, on the other hand, have no shame in this, which amuses me still more.)

"I wear the same exact shirt, fit approximately the same way, as my less-busty sister, I get stared at disapprovingly by old ladies a lot more."

Exactly! If I wore half the things my manager wears, you'd think I was a hooker, but because she's about 80 pounds lighter than me and has almost no curves, it's fine if she wears a half shirt over a tank top! I'd look like a stripper if I did that.

I have yet to find wrap shirts, but I also think it'd be bad because of the work I do and the possibly of a kid getting mad at me and deciding to undo my shirt, even if I had something under it. Where do you find wrap shirts though? I think I've seen maybe three over the past year and a half.

solution: don't wear tee shirts.

Seconded. It sucks, but I can't wear 'em either. Try tank tops when appropriate, they tend to look better because they give you more neck/less boob and make you look a bit better balanced.

I've found girl-cut but not tight-fitting tees at Avenue, they have different styles as the seasons change. They show the curves, but float away from your body just enough to not be slutty :)

The American Apparel shirts will never fit your boobs right.

And I have sympathies. 48" over bust 40" below my bust. BOOB SHELF.

So here is the thing. There is no way to hide that you have breasts. Even in huge t-shirts. You will look best in something that has a bit of stretch, or is flowy so it is clear you have a waist.

First thing, make sure you have a good bra. Tragically this may end up with you spending $50 per bra (mine are usually $40-$75). You need a good foundation.

OK. Also, vee necks. When your chest is covered up, it looks like a shelf. A vee or scoop neck makes you have a cleavage or a nice expanse of collarbone if it's a high vee.

I get vee neck shirts from Lane Bryant and Old Navy. It sounds like you're smaller fat, so I'd try ON shirts first. Accept that it will be clear you have boobs. It will look better well fitted.

You can't see my full body, but this is a higher neck vee shirt I snagged from Target.

I also rock the fuck out in wrap dresses. I have piles of them. I keep small safety pins at hand for pinning the neckline closed in case of gapage.
If you're really uncomfortable about potential cleavage, wear a thin cami/sleeveless shell underneath.

Faux wraps sometimes work too (dress from Igigi)

For t-shirts that bag and wrinkle across your belly, do a little DIY on them. Take in the seams on the lower half, or make darts to take in fabric.


43/35 here, and wrap dresses are pretty much the best thing ever.

On the bra front, I've occasionally been able to find some pretty spectacular deals at Figleaves ($22 for a $74 bra, w00t!), so it's probably worth checking there, OP. :)

Well, leaving aside all compliments on your nice body :::grin:::, what you need is DARTS! I would experiment with two waist darts. See here:

You don't may not need the bust darts, but you might, depending on what happens after you pin the waist darts.

1. Turn the tshirt inside out
2. Put it on (yeah, inside out)
3. Pinch fabric vertically starting about 1" from your bra band till about your natural waist. Make sure to distribute the fabric evenly between both darts. Once you've got it approximately right, try the tshirt on right side out.

Take pics and let us look. Those of us on this list who are sewists would gladly help you with fit.

I haven't read all the comments, so if this is repeat, sorry. Have you tried wearing things that aren't t shirt material? (mostly cotton and nonstretchy) Try things that have lycra or some spandex in them. If you hate that synthetic feel, this might be a problem.

where did you get that second shirt?!?!?

I got it at You, Me and Everything We Know's show last January.

Those are men's tshirts right? Of course they are not going to fit the way you want. Mens's tshirts are not made with a female shape in mind.

If you want things that are fitted, I might suggest, they have some nice stuff. I am pretty sure that the measurements you give fit into their sizes.

You've probably heard this amongst all the squeeing about your body shape, but try a minimizer bra and then a girl-cut shirt. The ones that I love are Old Navy's tees and Lane Bryant. I haven't tried Targets but a lot of people seem to love them. As someone else stated men's t-shirts never fit right on a woman, because they're cut to fit a male's form.

this is the reason why i never wear shirts, it just looks off on me. which is a dilemma for me since i love sports and having no plus size option on sports team apparel whatsoever, i just go crazy and make boat necks out of em and cap sleeves. i pushed myself to learn this or else i would never wear any shirt --- especially men's shirts unless it's modified to fit me right.

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