Make a button-front shirt work for you

by Sally McGraw,

Button-front shirts make just about every must-have list, but many women find them tough to fit. If you've got a few in your closet and no idea what to do with them, here are some suggestions for making them work:

1. Wear open like a jacket: This works especially well for shaped button-fronts with some princess seaming, but can work with just about any shirt. It helps to wear a belt or otherwise define your waist underneath the shirt.

2. Tie at the waist: For a fun retro look that can also serve to cover your shoulders and arms, try leaving the shirt unbuttoned and tying at the waist.

3. Layer under a tank or sweater: If you've got a shirt that's a little too tight, it can be perfect layered under a tank, sweater shell, or sweater. If the shirt feels bulky or bumpy, wear a snug tank between the shirt and sweater.

A few solutions to button-front fitting issues:

- Shirts like The Shirt from Rochelle Behrens will put hidden buttons in the placket at points where it usually pulls. These work for women who have minor gapping. These are spendy at $150 - $200, but great if you can get them on sale.

- A polish company called Biu Biu ( specializes in clothes for busty women, and includes a few button-fronts. 

- You can also use products like double-sided tape or Pinx, a specialized pin that keeps plackets shut. Both are better for stiff cottons than drapey silks.