October 4, 2011

Reader Question: Striped Tops For the Busty, Broad-Shouldered Mom?

Reader Question:

Hi,
 
I love your blog!  I am a seriously fashion challenged mom of two boys!
 
I really like the striped top trend, but I am broad shouldered, short waisted, and big busted.  Is there any way for me to pull it off or should I avoid this trend all together?
 
Thanks!

Answer:

Striped tops are tough for the busty.  They also can be tough for the broad-shouldered.  Putting both of those together….tricky.  Here are my thoughts:

1.  Look for V-Necks, Dolman Sleeves and Drape

V-necks, cowl necks and scoop neck tops are always the most flattering choice for a larger bust.  Adding dolman sleeves helps to de-emphasize broad shoulders, as does the overall loose fit of the tops below:

Striped Tops For the Busty

 

 

 

2. Try a dress!!  

Look for a striped dress with a scoop neckline, and something in an A-line or boxy shape (nothing fitted) to help de-emphasize your shoulders.  Dresses are always flattering on those of us with a short waist.  I'm thinking that something like this Michael Stars Jersey Stripe Dolman Sleeve Dress (currently on sale for $103) would do the trick (warm it up for fall with tights, scarves, boots and either a trench or cozy sweater-coat): 

StripedDressForFall

 

 

 
(I know, I know….that darn Clark bootie again….sorry Mamas.  We're horribly behind on our reader questions so I'm cutting corners.  I'm can't promise that you won't see them again….)

3. Cozy Stripes

When in doubt, ponchos or striped cardigans will work – especially if you wear the cardi open.  And if all else fails?  Try a striped scarf or hat (I'm dying for the striped Lands' End hat we featured here, or go right to the source for a cool Breton striped hatscarf is pictured below).

StripedSweatersForBustyMoms

 

 

4.  Use stripes as your Bottom Layer

One of my very favorite styling tricks is to layer two tops, then roll the sleeves of my outside layer up, exposing the inner sleeve below.  Or..uh…in this case, you could simply let a long sleeve striped shirt peek out under the short sleeved top.  See how we styled Amy's striped poncho…over a casual striped cotton tee.  

 

StripesForBustyOutfit

 

 

Ok Busty Mamas….help us out!  Are there any other tricks for rocking stripes?

xo,

S

9 Comments
  • Amy (BiblioMOMia)
    October 4, 2011

    Perfect, perfect, perfect advice. LOVE.
    All of those drapey tees are awesome. When I was in LA for vacation, they were everywhere, literally, but I’ve had a hard time finding them over here. Thanks for the options!
    Also? Striped maxi skirts. Totally chic.

  • Emily S.
    October 4, 2011

    I’m a busty, short waisted mom and just picked up this beauty from anthropologie.
    The angled side stripes and really draw attention to the waist, and the dolman shape works well with a larger bust.

  • Crunchy Con Mommy
    October 4, 2011

    Ooh I LOVE the pink one. I think I need it! Such cute choices in this post!!

  • Erica
    October 5, 2011

    Oh my God…I want that last outfit so bad I can taste it. If only I’d seen it two months ago before I bought an almost completely new wardrobe for my postpartum body…
    I’m gonna be dreaming about that red sweater…

  • Alex
    October 5, 2011

    As a busty, broad-shouldered broad, I have to say that the Dolman sleeve is actually the biggest offender here. I absolutely LOVE the Dolman sleeve…on nice, straight women. But on me (5’9″ and size 14/16)I have found that these shirt styles actually work against the hourglass shape by covering it up, and the overall effect is like wearing an ill-fitting tarp, which makes a gal like me look like she’s got plenty to hide!

  • Katharine
    October 5, 2011

    I agree with Alex; usually your style advice is spot on, but oy! all the things in the first example pic, maybe with the exception of the pinkish top, are TERRIBLE picks for the broad-shouldered, shortwaisted and busty! Wide, boxy, short tees that hit the biggest part of my hips? I am a shapeless sheet with legs and a fat ass. Drapy fronts or cowls? I look like a neckless thug, and my chest sweeps out like the monobosom on a middleaged cartoon lady. Straight striped dresses? I am one large box, as wide as my 18″ shoulders, which despite my butt, are the widest part of my body.
    I know, I know — it seems counterintuitive, but in fact, if you have any sort of a waist, the FITTED stripe is your friend, even if you are chunky! If you are sensitive about middle rolls, choose a heavier, more substantial weight (no thinny t-shirts). Pick a longer length, to elide the short waist, and be sure it doesn’t bag too much around the middle — yes, it’s horizontal stripes, and yet it’s magic — the boobs are subtly emphasised, the waist recedes. If your shoulders are wide and you’re chesty, avoid crew necks or boat necks and steer well clear of the turtleneck; personally I like a scoop (there’s something about most V-necks that doesn’t work with my shape).
    In dresses, I find the most successful style for me in knits is either a princess line with a flared skirt, or else a fitted empire shape (no gathers!) And that goes for stripes as well. I do own, and wear, shapeless straight T-shirt dresses like the one in pic 2, but though they may obscure what my one friend used to call the “multitude of sins”, they also obscure everything else, and are not usually my best choice (and my short waist makes belting a dubious proposition).
    Sorry to be so contradictory…

  • Michelle
    October 5, 2011

    Thank you so much for answering this question! I too am large busted, short waisted and completely lost with fashion. I love this blog!!!

  • S
    October 12, 2011

    Thanks for the comments, girls!!
    Katherine and Alex – Thanks for speaking up on behalf of all hourglass figures. You guys are right on: hourglass figures should stay far, far away from the tops pictured in the first set. The reader who wrote in mentioned that she was short-waisted, which to me implies a lack of waist, rather than the gorgeous waist of an hourglass figure. Body type posts are so hard for this reason – there are so many subtleties in each type.

  • Kellybourlandstyle.blogspot.com
    October 14, 2011

    As a formerly busty, short-waisted, broad-shouldered, stipe-loving, fashion blogger. I LOVE THESE tips! Perfect!

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