A clothing line for us really busty ladies? Well, it's a start.
October 1, 2015 12:18 PM   Subscribe

 
It's mentioned tangentially in the first article, but European clothing lines for busty women have been around for a while. This seems like an okay list, though I can't vouch for how up-to-date it is.

My aesthetic is much closer to UK vendor Pepperberry than Melanie Rose's designs, but yay for her!
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:28 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, she mentions she had more luck with European clothing designers in terms of them actually knowing how to accommodate the bust than North American ones. I too love Pepperberry myself but often cannot afford UK to Canada transactions.
posted by Kitteh at 12:33 PM on October 1, 2015


Oh my god, please take all my money. I can get into like 2 designers and even then, it's only sometimes.
posted by chatongriffes at 12:36 PM on October 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


I wonder what "fashion school" means in this quote. All the sewing resources I read - Threads, Pattern Review, the Palmer-Plesch books, etc - spend a lot of time on FBA full bust adjustment and design.
posted by clew at 12:41 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes to all of this but especially to low cut tops/dresses and unflattering sleeve lengths. I have several super cute knee-length 50's-style flare dresses that i love which are perfect for work but I hardly ever wear them because the neckline is slightly too low and unless I wear a cardigan buttoned up to the neck (which I don't always want to) I'm basically a walking heaving bosom. It bums me out so much because the dresses are otherwise perfect when most work-style dresses I try on often fit me so poorly (tight in the hips, too big on top). It's like my top and bottom half are different sizes.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:44 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Olds College and Fashion Institute aren't something I would have ever guessed would appear in the same sentence.
posted by Mitheral at 12:46 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I couldn't seem to find a size chart. Which, if your marketing schtick is about how these are for big boobs, tell me how big the damn thing is around my boobal area. I mean, not for nothing here, but I'm not likely to hope I'm guessing size correctly for a $300 Oxford.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:51 PM on October 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I started buying clothes that fit in the bust and having them tailored to fit the rest. Even that isn't a perfect solution, shoulders might not fit right. But it's something.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:52 PM on October 1, 2015


Has anyone ever tried Pepperberry clothes, or had Pepperberry shipped to the US? I love what I see online, but I am wary of buying stuff online. Are their clothes generally of good quality? Are they nice about returns?
posted by Elly Vortex at 12:53 PM on October 1, 2015


I couldn't seem to find a size chart.

Will this do?
posted by Kitteh at 12:56 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


After my tussle with cancer back in 09, I decided that as part of my prize for getting through it, I would get reconstruction that also increased my size. I've been about 2 cup sizes larger than before since mid 2010. Last month, after hemming and hawing about it for quite a while, I had revision surgery that took me back down at least one cup size (we'll see exactly how much after all the settling down has happened -- because of the radiation, it takes a while for implants and breast tissue to relax). I'm still healing and doing really well, but I knew I had the result I was looking for when I tried on a blouse that buttoned up the front and it fit without a gap.


“You can buy tenty or trashy,” she says.


That ^^^ was my complaint and I wasn't even particularly large! I told my surgeon that I looked like a slutty matron, and while neither slut nor matron is a problem, the two together are awful.

Ladies for whom these lines were designed: I feel for you. I'm glad there are cute clothes out there for you, too.
posted by janey47 at 1:04 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm hard to fit in all sorts of ways, and order a ton of stuff off the internet because local shopping offers me basically no options. Because of this, I'm not very risk adverse about on-line shopping although I will admit I never quite had the guts to try the Polish vendors like Biu Biu.

Before my reduction, I bought quite a bit from Bravissimo/Pepperberry. The worldwide shipping is really reasonable - right now it's about $12 US, which is cheaper than some places in the US I've ordered from. I never encountered any additional customs charges ordering from them and the prices on tops when converted to US dollars are generally what I find reasonable to spend on clothing.

The clothes were well-made and the hit-to-miss ratio for fitting me wasn't any worse than I get with Zappos or ModCloth. They were great about accepting returns, even for stuff that maybe I had kept a little over the 90 days or whatever they give you.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:06 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


the neckline is slightly too low and unless I wear a cardigan buttoned up to the neck (which I don't always want to) I'm basically a walking heaving bosom

I have a huge assortment of scarves that serve just this purpose
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:18 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


For 175$ I'd go to a seamstress and get a shirt custom-made. Or I can do what I do and live in 15€ H&M nice knit tops.
posted by sukeban at 1:20 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Has anyone ever tried Pepperberry clothes, or had Pepperberry shipped to the US?
Not since they became Pepperberry, but I bought a bunch of stuff from them when they were still branded as Bravissimo. (They're the same people: Bravissimo is how they brand bras and swimsuits, and Pepperberry is what they call clothes.) I had good luck with blazers and strappy tops. A lot of their stuff was a little tight/ revealing for me, though. I think that's kind of their aesthetic, but I'm looking for stuff that fits well but doesn't put my assets totally front and center.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:32 PM on October 1, 2015


I was all over this until my jaw practically dropped off when I saw the prices. Well, I'm glad this is out there -- maybe eventually there'll be a knockoff line that costs less than my entire wardrobe for one piece?
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:41 PM on October 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


If you're willing to take a risk on mailorder, fiercecupcake, Biu Biu and Urkye out of Poland and DD Atelier out of Russia are cheaper.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:47 PM on October 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


I agree that they are expensive, but I think these days regardless of your bust size, we demand that clothes be cheap. I am an Old Navy shopper myself but I am starting to find worth in saving up for something truly fits me instead of me using safety pins and tape (like I had to do with an Old Navy dress yesterday) all the time and excessively worrying about how much the girls are on display at my office.
posted by Kitteh at 1:51 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I didn't look at their prices, but my first thought was "this will be great- for the people that can afford it. The rest of us, not so much." Because that's always the way "specialty" clothes for women is. If you're not built like a dude, you're out of luck for clothing. Hips and boobs are amazingly not considered for women's clothing.

I have a huge assortment of scarves that serve just this purpose

Omg this. I was so excited by the return of the scarves as a mainstream fashion accessory. I could hide my cleavage.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:51 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Please for the love of god someone just make me blouses that accommodate my bustline without me having to resort to tents.

please.
posted by offalark at 1:53 PM on October 1, 2015


Chiming in to say that I'm a busty lady who loves how button-downs look for work attire... and hasn't worn one in a decade, probably. Was totally disappointed to see the prices on this site.

I know that there's a huge problem with cheap, fast fashion, but surely there is a sane middle ground between the H&Ms of the world and $175 for a frickin' Oxford button-down?
posted by TwoStride at 2:09 PM on October 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


I can't wait for all the pooled knowledge that will come from this thread for decent clothes!

Hell, we can't even get MeFi shirts for busty ladies!

Yes, I'm bitter. No, I'm not going to stop talking about it.
Seriously.

posted by ApathyGirl at 2:13 PM on October 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


People swear by eShakti because they will customize your clothes for free but I haven't gotten around to checking them out yet. They are doing buy two get one free until the end of today. I think I might get around to ordering from them, but the problem for me is that the CAD is in the crapper so it will cost me a lot more than the USD prices usually would (not to mention shipping on top of that).
posted by Kitteh at 2:15 PM on October 1, 2015


For those of you who are unaware, many regular clothing brands are graded for a B-cup as standard. Obviously if your bust is a larger cup, this means that either you a) wear a lot of stretchy casual tops, b) opt for a bust-gaping look, or c) wear tents. It's not ideal.

There are ways of adding modifications to patterns if you are a crafty sort, but it is still difficult to imagine how you would look in a garment. Somebody upthread mentioned FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) which is what you do to sewing patterns. In knitting you can add so-called bust darts where you knit in extra fabric/wedges to compensate for the extra inches.

In my day job, I design & write knitting patterns. I was swithering about doing garments because I'd have to model the sample myself - would a world used to skinny 15-year-old models with an A-cup welcome a middle-age F-cup lady? But eventually I did do a couple of garments and I've received a lot of positive feedback from people who are also 'top-heavy'. Turns out that even though people may be confident about doing modifications to patterns, people are still unsure how they'd look in a garment. It was scary to put my own body out there as an advertisement pole, but I am glad I did it. Ysolda Teague also put a knitting book together where she had bust modifications and showed garments on a variety of shapes.

If you are not the crafty sort, shops in general suck though. I'm tired of having to alter clothes. Depending upon the brand I'm anywhere between a UK 12 and a UK 22 thanks to my cup size and then I have to spend time nipping things at the waist. Thank you, genes!
posted by kariebookish at 2:16 PM on October 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


Also, as a long time busty lady shopper, the H&Ms and other places of the world don't care about making us look good. They care about those who have idealized bodies. I have had too many depressing shopping outings to not be thankful for online ordering when I have enough money.
posted by Kitteh at 2:18 PM on October 1, 2015


we demand that clothes be cheap

There is a really good discussion to be had about fast fashion and how we prioritize our wardrobes, but at the same time, we really need to keep in mind that a $300 shirt is too expensive for many folks.

Times have changed. We aren't spending as much money on clothes, but we have other expenses now. We also don't have the same ability to repair many items, since they're built differently, we don't have the same skills, and norms about visible clothing repairs have changed.

And also, there is a happy middle ground between a $20 shirt and a $300 shirt. At some point there are diminishing returns; that $300 shirt is not going to last three times as long as a $100 shirt, and if something happens to it (a spill, a tear) it is a much bigger deal.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:21 PM on October 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


COS is good, sometimes. I think their chief designer is busty, or something.

Today my favorite garment died. This is a catastrophe. I am going to ask a tailor I know to make copies of it, but there are details he most probably cannot reproduce. I should contact the designer, but I think they maybe don't exist anymore.

Favorite garment had a great cut, actually sexy details (rather than frumpy frumpiness), and a really flattering and easily maintained choice of fabric. I could use it as a dress with tights and heels or as a tunic with jeans and flats. It had pockets for phones and keys.

Wearing this piece of clothing, I could choose to emphasize my boobs, if I were in the mood (once in a blue moon) or downplay that bodypart. It could be accessorized to be an evening dress or a morning lab-coat.

Yes, my colleagues and students probably thought I never did laundry, but among it's many wonderful properties, this garment was easy to wash and dry. And it was all natural.

I know this sounds like a magical garment, but it isn't, because if it was, it would still be alive...
posted by mumimor at 2:53 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Chiming in to say that I'm a busty lady who loves how button-downs look for work attire... and hasn't worn one in a decade, probably.

I can't remember the last time I wore a button-down shirt, I wore a bespoke blouse-ish top for my sister's wedding some 8 years ago but I didn't like the fit that much.
posted by sukeban at 3:04 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


mumimor, what WAS that, and where I can I find it? Or even a cheap approximation of it!
posted by chatongriffes at 3:35 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kutsuwamushi: "And also, there is a happy middle ground between a $20 shirt and a $300 shirt. At some point there are diminishing returns; that $300 shirt is not going to last three times as long as a $100 shirt, and if something happens to it (a spill, a tear) it is a much bigger deal."

It's the Being A Woman tax: if you're a woman, you can either be taxed by having cheap clothes that don't fit and make you look bad, or you can be taxed by paying $300 for a shirt that fits.

Apparently, you're not allowed to be a woman without paying for it somehow.
posted by scrump at 4:06 PM on October 1, 2015 [12 favorites]


I've just had the revelation that the reason I dislike being at my current weight is not so much the weight itself (though I could stand to be healthier certainly) but because I hate the way I look in clothes and hate going shopping because nothing will fit. And it doesn't have to be that way! Ugh.
posted by Ragini at 4:47 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Count me as another well-endowed woman who is glad to see that there is one more company out there making clothes for large-breasted women, though not for my own sake, as I can't afford those prices and the clothes, though objectively attractive, don't suit my super picky tastes anyway.

Thank heavens I have the skills to make my own clothes. I enjoy doing so and can do it quite economically. Since I have very exacting tastes, I don't feel victimized because I'd want to make my own clothes no matter what my figure was like.

But then that's me. A woman who has a figure like mine but who doesn't have the skills or the time or the inclination to make her own clothes bloody well shouldn't have to pay through the nose for things that fit. Wake up, designers. You are missing out on a seriously under served market share.
posted by orange swan at 4:51 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just got asked to come in for a second interview, and since they saw my suit last week I had to run out to buy something else. So I grabbed a black skirt and matching jacket. The skirt is fine. The jacket laughs at the suggestion of closing. If I had gone up to plus size the sleeves would have been too big. So I said fuck it and bought it. Hopefully they are more interested in my skills than how my jacket fits.
posted by Biblio at 5:41 PM on October 1, 2015


Pepperberry: My very busty daughter loves their clothes, although they are a bit more dressy than the casual college look she tries for. She's been to London and shopped in-store, as well as online from the USA, and it's a great store with several chest sizes to choose from.

Bravissimo: When she went to a store in London, she got her first fitting and a bra that fit, basically for the first time ever. Many or most of the saleswomen are busty themselves and empathetic with the challenges.
posted by blob at 6:09 PM on October 1, 2015


Sigh. But not in plus-sizes.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:22 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: while neither slut nor matron is a problem, the two together are awful.
posted by kandinski at 6:35 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have a huge assortment of scarves that serve just this purpose

I love scarves. I wore my first scarf since last spring today, in fact, and was thinking how much I've missed them as an accessory in the summer months. My only problem with scarves is that I think they draw more attention to my boobs and make me look more busty because of the added volume. I really don't want extra attention drawn to my boobs, pretty much ever. So unless the rest of my outfit is kind of nondescript and without any frills (so the scarf is the main and only feature), then I'm not always comfortable wearing them. The terrible neckline shapes/depth that so many retailers use is a longtime, ongoing frustration for me (eShakti allows you to pick the kind of neckline you like, iirc - another reason to love them).
posted by triggerfinger at 6:49 PM on October 1, 2015


Has anyone ever tried Pepperberry clothes, or had Pepperberry shipped to the US? I love what I see online, but I am wary of buying stuff online. Are their clothes generally of good quality? Are they nice about returns?

I've been a customer since they were Bravissimo so hopefully I can help. They are excellent with shipping and returns, and for the most part their customer service is not to be faulted. As you are not in the UK you would have to pay return shipping though. I'm in Australia and we have ridiculously high postage costs, so if I order from PB I make sure I factor potential return costs into the budget.

The quality of the clothing is variable, although in my experience it is good more often than not. The biggest problem I've found is buttons falling off, which doesn't bother me that much as I just sew them back on. In the Bravissimo era there was the occasional problem with clothes shrinking, although I've never had this problem personally. If you do get an item that slips through their quality control then they are usually really good at exchanging it. Something to watch out for is fabrics. A lot of the clothes are cotton or cotton blends, and they also regularly use a viscose that I love. However, occasionally you'll get polyester items or a lovely cotton dress with a horrible polyester lining which can make it unwearable in summer. There's been a lot of customer feedback about this so they seem to be trying to drop the polyester from their new ranges.

The other thing to watch out for is sizing inconsistencies. Unfortunately this has been quite a big problem over the years, and sometimes you'll get an item that still manages to show way too much cleavage even though it's clearly intended to be a work style. Again, there has been a lot of customer feedback here and they seem to be doing their best to improve it with each collection.

Also, the prices just seem to keep going up and up. In fact, quite a few regular customers seem to have sworn off Pepperberry with the latest collection release due to the prices being prohibitive. They do constantly have older stock on sale though, as long as you don't mind buying out of season (great for me, as I'm in the Southern Hemisphere).

However, there are a couple of excellent resources that can help you avoid a lot of these pitfalls. A number of amazing ladies go into the brick & mortar stores when new collections are released, try on as much as they can then post photos and reviews on the Pepperberry Facebook page. It is incredibly helpful to see the items on different body types and to get info regarding sizing, fabric quality etc. before buying. Sadly, even the mere mention of large boobs attracts creepers so some of these ladies have started posting their reviews in the Clothes for Boobs Facebook group instead, as it is a closed group. This group is also absolutely excellent for buying, selling and swapping clothes and bras from all the bust friendly brands, and is the best place to grab a bargain. It's also a great place to ask for sizing advice. There are also a fair amount of Pepperberry/Biu Biu/Urkye clothes that get sold through Ebay, so it's well worth checking there regularly.
posted by imaginary_mary at 6:51 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


ApathyGirl: "I can't wait for all the pooled knowledge that will come from this thread for decent clothes!

Hell, we can't even get MeFi shirts for busty ladies!

Yes, I'm bitter. No, I'm not going to stop talking about it.
Seriously.
"

Sorry, I am flagging this as "Misleading Nickname".

On a serious note (I'm an outie, BTW), cheers for her in restoring my faith in Calgary businesswomen.
posted by Samizdata at 6:54 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Omg this. I was so excited by the return of the scarves as a mainstream fashion accessory. I could hide my cleavage.

Nthing this -- it's not that I want to show off my cleavage, it's just that my blouses and dresses stretch out. People make all kinds of assumptions about women and what their visible cleavage MEAN (desperate, tacky, sexually available, take your pick). It's easier to just put on a scarf than give everyone a feminism lesson, every day, all the time.
posted by mirepoix at 7:27 PM on October 1, 2015


Yeah, this is a bit rich for me but I'm interested in trying Pepperberry. I would love a button-up shirt that doesn't gap. Also I love the idea of something with a bit of a 50s flair but I am not keen on the all out rockabilly costume look, which is where I find my body type best represented.

On the scarf front, I've never been able to figure out how to wear a scarf with boobs so someone needs to explain it to me. I may be too old for this trick.
posted by immlass at 10:40 PM on October 1, 2015


I like those knot shirts and the purple dress, but man, I don't want to pay that much just to see if I can try them on.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:06 PM on October 1, 2015


I wear some pepperberry and it's variable. I wouldn't ship overseas - the stuff that is good is really good, but often the colour is weird or the fabric feels cheap, or it just fits oddly. Or there are buttons or bows in strange places.

The tops are pretty reliable, and things like jersey dresses are fine because they're stretchy. But I bought this the other week expecting it to be dark red, and it turned out to be a yukky brown colour in real life.
posted by tinkletown at 2:38 AM on October 2, 2015


I can't imagine what it's like shopping with a bust bigger than mine, and mine isn't that large- enough to make it so that I pretty much only buy tops made of part-stretch material, and enough so that pretty much every fucking button-up I own has to be either sewn closed between the gapping buttons, or by buying a size up and getting it taken in.

I don't think I own any fitted tops that aren't at least 2% Lycra or Spandex, because in order to fit my chest, non-stretch materials would billow over and render my waist invisible. I need that waist front and center, otherwise I look like a Lego brick person.
posted by rachaelfaith at 5:28 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


After a number of years working in a casual dress code workplace, I've had to think start coping with this a lot more recently. The search for a fitted shirt has always been frustrating.

I went to Pepperberry for the first time ever on a recent trip to London. The clothes and bra fitting were great. I've had bra fittings before, but I was on vacation and had the time, so went. The only complaint I had was that the fitted shirt I tried on was a bit short in the sleeves so I didn't get it. I'm 5'11" though, so that is an entirely different problem. Long Tall Sally seems to cut a bit more generously in the bust that normal height clothes, so there's that.

I haven't tried ordering to Canada from Pepperberry, but I might if I see something particularly attractive. I like the knotted top from the original post, too.
posted by TORunner at 6:09 AM on October 2, 2015


Using very corny random internet photos for everyone's amusement - I wear scarves like this, this, and this.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:48 AM on October 2, 2015


I am also not a fan of drowning in scarf-fabric, so I tend to use long/thin scarves, looped only once, and held in place with a nice pin (my fave is my mom's 1950s silver circle pin, but I have others). I will admit that I am not always "cold" in my office but feeling exposed, when I drag out my Official Office Shawl at my desk.

I have mostly given up on button-front shirts. I have one miraculous one that will probably die this year from over-wearing, but I tend to go for the standard pullover blouse or tank top + overshirt not-completely-buttoned combo.

Those non-buttoning open-front semi-cardigan things are a pain, as they slide off my bust entirely and don't really do much as a garment either. They are no help at covering the overly-deep cleavage.
posted by emjaybee at 8:04 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am not a fan of the scarf option myself because I feel it clearly shows I am masking my best-I-could-do dress tops (but hell, watching me fumble with safety pins on a v-neck dress is just as bad) from giving everyone an eyeful.
posted by Kitteh at 8:36 AM on October 2, 2015


If you've worn a shirt to death, take it to a tailor and get them to unpick it and use it as a pattern. Order a half-dozen clones. It's not as expensive as you think!

Pro tip, if you get this done get them to do the button holes horizontally rather than vertically - it reduces gapping and it's harder for the shirt to pop open.
posted by ninazer0 at 3:10 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


mumimor, I don't want to disrupt the grieving process for your favorite garment, but if you could share any details, I'd love to try to hunt down a reasonable facsimile thereof!
posted by virago at 3:32 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why thanks virago!

Here it is: Berit - Mine is size large, and when I went in the wardrobe to find it, I realized it is not all natural, it just feels that way. The heavy fabric is a huge part of the quality. I bought a very similar dress a year ago, anticipating this sad time, but it is made in a lighter material, and is not nearly as flattering.
posted by mumimor at 6:58 AM on October 4, 2015


mirepoix: "People make all kinds of assumptions about women and what their visible cleavage MEAN"

Because I've been on MetaFilter too long, my general assumption is that visible cleavage means finding the following things in your décolletage: posted by scrump at 11:26 AM on October 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Let's not forget popcorn!

Seriously though, I dream of being able to just go into a store and just know something is going to fit over my ridiculous chest. As it is, I bounce between Lane Bryant and Torrid, occasionally splashing out the cash for a dress from eShakti. I'd love to make my own tops, but the math and drafting involved in FBA makes me want to run away and wear potato sacks for life.
posted by angelchrys at 8:04 PM on October 12, 2015


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