I’m not a huge fan of those lists of “must-have” pieces that no wardrobe is complete without. Not everyone’s personal style calls for a tailored blazer or little black dress. I do think, however, that a button down white shirt belongs in most closets. Problem is, if you have any semblance of breasts, chances are you’re probably familiar with the “boob gap,” when a button-down that fits perfectly otherwise stretches out across the chest and gapes open between the buttons (yes, this has a name). Even I, someone without very much boob to begin with, find it to be one of my main complaints about button-downs.
So you can imagine my enthusiasm when I learned that the menswear-inspired women’s brand Tradlands created a shirt that claimed to eliminate boob gap with two design modifications. First, an extra button — eight instead of the traditional seven — leaves less room in between buttonholes for gaping. Then, they add a bit more fabric across the chest to accommodate a bustline.
I’ve always sized up in button-down shirts to avoid boob gap, but I ordered my normal size in Tradlands’s short-sleeve Lily top to really test it out. It felt snugger than I’m used to, but to my pleasant surprise, it looked fitted without straining. The extra button not only eliminated boob gap (it truly does what it says) but it also gave me flexibility with the neckline. I’ve owned shirts that had zero safe midpoint between totally buttoned-up and way too revealing. But with the Lily, I’m able to undo just the right amount of buttons to show off a necklace but nothing else.
Even aside from its gap-closing power, the Lily is just a great shirt. The material (a 100 percent mid-weight cotton) has a linenlike texture that makes it so much more interesting than your standard white shirt. I’m incorporating it into all sorts of outfits this fall — with a tied hem and skinny jeans for a Marilyn vibe, or tucked into a midi skirt, or layered under a drapey cardigan. I’m now eyeing Tradlands’s denim and gingham shirts. Stay tuned.
More Strat-approved button-downs
Writer Jen Doll told us she owns this silk button-down, which she says “slims while enhancing” in four colors.
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