Long sleeve shirts for busty women - avoiding the gape?
In the first few months of 2016 we’ve seen the launch of gender neutral clothing lines from Zara, Levi’s and our own brand of ‘clothing without labels’ designed for individuals regardless of their gender. It’s an exciting time but despite the intentions of the more mainstream brands being sound, have they actually thought about one of the major hurdles all gender neutral clothing needs to address, mainly MY BOOBS.
When we first started discussing shirts here at Gender Free World I was uncharacteristically committed to my long standing statement: ‘I don’t wear shirts’. At some point I began to wonder when exactly it was that I gave up on them. I realised quite quickly that it wasn’t so much that I had given up on them but that I was part of an unrequited love affair; the not so nice part. I had always loved shirts but had resigned myself to the fact they would never love me. I would never be all sophisticated in my easy shirt and faded but classy jeans.
Well to put it simply, tits, knockers, boobs, breasts, jugs... oh and really bloody big ones at that. By the age of 14, I was sporting an impressive G cup on a dinky size 8 frame. ‘Not something to complain about’, I would hear if I ever tried to explain the burden both literally and figuratively.
Over the years most of us figure out what does and doesn’t work on us. Many of us, like me, spend years trying to force something to work that isn’t going to and at some point give up and I think this is where my painful divorce with shirts began.
When did I give up on the shirt/ boob combo?
I still don’t know, but even throughout the process of designing a shirt with big-ol-boobs in mind I still had an expectation that this was a piece of clothing I would never wear. I still hadn’t designed it for me, I’d worked on it for people keen to wear non-gender specific clothing which is stylish, fits their form and ensures that their fashion choices are free from prejudice. However, for some reason I’d never seen myself benefitting and stitching up (literally) my tattered relationship with shirts.
When did something change?
It wasn’t until about a week after our shirts actually arrived and I was showing off the fab little secret button that avoids the dreaded gape, a phenomenon I remember from my younger shirt wearing days. I buttoned up the shirt to demonstrate for my family and one of my children turned to me and said, “Mum that really suits you!” Suddenly, it started to fall in to place. When our customers started sharing their own stories it dawned on me that I was one of the ignored people on the high street that we are designing for. My marred history with shirts was something others had suffered through too and we could now join together and wear shirts with pride. It may sound silly but it’s truly exciting to know that we’re providing something which is genuinely making a difference to people. I’ve already spoken to people online who are as excited as I am about our new Billie range designed specifically for people with big busts and the more people let us know their joy at finding something that fits,
I realise that I was part of the story all along.