+ Look for Less

10th Commandment: February 11

This week, I’ll be featuring work-appropriate shirts and blouses that cost under-$100.  We’ll discuss how to wear them and what to wear them with to create different looks.

Non-iron fitted sateen shirt ($59)

A classic white button up (a button down is a type of collar, a button up is a shirt) is a wardrobe staple for both casual and professional attire.  Personally, I find the look of a button up blouse with a business suit to be a bit too masculine for me, so I don’t wear them that way.

Instead, I like to pair a crisp, fitted white button up with a pencil skirt (neutral or printed) and a wide belt.  Or I like to wear it tucked in to a pair of tab front pants with a colorful statement necklace.  You can also wear the blouse with trouser jeans and red flats for a casual Friday.

If you’re larger on top, finding a well-fitting white shirt can be tough.  Rochelle Behrens has created a shirt that doesn’t gape, thanks to extra buttons built into the placket.  But the best option is buy a shirt that is a size or two larger and then have it taken in at the waist.  Even I, at a not-well-endowed 32C, sometimes have to size up a shirt just because of where the buttons are placed.

Plus sized?  Ralph Lauren and Elie Tahari both make a solid white shirt for under-$100.  And if you buy them at Nordstrom, you can have them fitted before you even leave the store for an extra charge.  Paying the extra may be inconvenient, but it’s the difference between having an item that fits perfectly, and one that has a shoddy fit.



  1. m says:

    I've found the JCrew Boy Shirt, despite the name, fits very well for us large-chested ladies. The white version comes in petite, too!

    February 11, 2013/Reply
  2. Lady Lawyer says:

    How do people feel about the shirt tucked in versus untucked? I love the look of tucked in, but often feel that it looks oddly bunchy on me. And many of my button-ups (I try to snag the Brooks Brothers Tailored Fits when they go on sale) are cut higher on the side and barely make the tuck into a lower cut pant. But sometimes I think the untucked looks unprofessional, especially next to all my business casual male co-workers who have their shirts tucked in. Thoughts on how to remedy this? Because I do love the look shown here.

    February 11, 2013/Reply
  3. questioneverything says:

    Belle – as a sister 32C, do you have your shirt then tailored so that the rest is not too big?

    The last BR sateen shirts I bought were a bust (no pun intended).

    The size 4 fit great in the torso below the girls and across the back, but the bust and arms were too tight.

    The size 6 fit the bust and arms but the sleeves were too long and the body too big over all.

    I ordered 2 of the exact same thing, but was since 2 shirts each was a slightly different style. I tried to make them work but ended up ditching one and not 100% happily wearing the other.

    February 11, 2013/Reply
  4. k-t says:

    The Brooks Brothers shirts don't fit me well, but the Lands' End no-iron button front shirt fits me really well and has good button placement for me. Bonus: pretty affordable!

    As for tucking in….a gay friend let it slip that he wears some sort of garter-like thing to keep his shirt tucked and smooth. My mom always tucked her shirts into her undies to help prevent it from riding up. But it is one reason I rarely wear proper woven shirts and stick to knits 90% of the time (that and I rarely iron).

    February 11, 2013/Reply
  5. Belle says:

    Question Everything: I do have to buy the 6 and then take it in the waist. It's an unfortunate extra step, but a necessary one.

    Lady Lawyer: I tuck with skirts and dress pants, I rarely tuck with jeans. Or I do GOMI the shame tuck, where you tuck just the front.

    k-t: what is this garter thing? I'm intrigued.

    February 11, 2013/Reply
  6. Maharani says:

    I have to have everything tailored anyway so that's what I do. I recently found a decentish white shirt by Jones New York-it gapped slightly so I had it double buttoned by the tailor, which fixed THAT problem. The best so far has been a Tahari, but even that needed a snap. Fabric isnt too great, however it is my go to shirt. Next one will be custom. I would rather have 1 really beautiful custom shirt than a wardrobe full of the junk that is out there. One of the best button ups I ever had was structured like a swimsuit below the waist, with snaps at the crotch, so it stayed tucked in. I wore it to death but I havent seen anything like it lately. Might be a good idea to resurrect.

    February 12, 2013/Reply