Friday, July 30, 2010

Four ways to avoid the dreaded gap

Button down shirts might be the most difficult item to wear in a professional woman's wardrobe. There are so many potential pitfalls. We already saw the problem Blanche Lincoln had with her bra showing through. Now we see Rep. Mary Fallin, who is running for Governor in Oklahoma, in a remarkably similar ad (candidate in the middle of a big field) with a decidedly different problem with her shirt:

Oh, the dreaded gap.

A visible gap between buttons is probably the most common problem that women encounter wearing cotton button down shirts. What to do?

  1. Buy shirts that are sized by bra size, not dress size. This kind of sizing system allows the designer to account for the difference in size between your bust line and your rib cage, just like your bra does. If the shirt has too small a difference, you end up with a gap. Rebecca & Drew Manufacturing is one of the best-known makers of these shirts.
  2. Buy a larger size to fit the bust well, and tailor down around the waist. This a more time consuming and possibly more expensive option, but you'll be assured a perfect fit. And the useful thing about these shirts is that they are so neutral, you can wear them over and over again.
  3. Pins, tape, velcro and other clever devices. This will work if the gap is very slight, but in general a force fit is no fit.
  4. Just don't wear them. The thing about putting a distinctly menswear clothing item on a woman's body is that it simply does not work very well, particularly if the woman has particularly womanly curves. There are so many options available to us, we really can just let this one go.


  1. I agree that the blue shirt gaps. The white shirt in the next scene looks better, maybe the jacket keeps it under control.

    But when I listen to her message - work hard for Oklahoma/keep jobs here so our children don't leave- and look at her in that rumpled/gaping shirt sitting on the back of a truck then I think "this gal isn't some oil company lawyer ready to steal us blind, she's sincere and will work hard, maybe even get a bit sweaty, to keep my kids here.

    I have no idea if she's an oil company lawyer or not but I have to wonder if the mis-fitting shirt might not be such a bad thing for selling her message.

  2. I can understand the goal of looking "down home" but I don't think ill fitting clothes accomplish that goal. A french blue dress shirt doesn't really say "not a lawyer" very well. The gap is just distracting, making us wonder if we're about to see her bra.