As much as we love swapping tips and tricks to solve our biggest fashion and beauty dilemmas, there are some questions we may not feel comfortable asking our friends about, let alone Google without going incognito. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. In this series, we’re tackling those embarrassing queries by turning to experts in the field to get you the answers you need — minus any awkward feelings.

Busty girls the world over agree that wearing a button-down shirt without an unwanted gape is practically impossible. Whenever we think we’ve found a style that fits, there we are, only a few hours later, popping buttons and giving the world a peek at our unmentionables. We’ve tried taping, pinning, and even sewing that pesky gap — but could there be an off-the-rack-ready solution for ladies that have a little something extra up top? Before giving up this closet classic forever, we decided to dig a little deeper to find out if there is indeed a secret or two to wearing button-downs with big boobs.

What causes my shirt to gape?

Breathe easy: We’re not doing anything wrong. “A woman’s form is somewhat at odds with the design of a tailored button-up shirt,” says Rochelle Behrens, founder of The Shirt. Behrens made a name for herself when she developed her patented “no gape” button technology in 2008. “If you want a shirt to fit across the chest, you generally have to size up, but then the shoulders and waist are too big,” she says. “If the shoulders and waist fit, then the chest is frequently too small.” Is there anything worse than an oversized and frumpy, falling-off-the-shoulders button-down? We think not.

In addition to issues with size, button placement can also be the culprit. “When you’re trying to avoid that irritating gaping, the key is to have a button at the apex (where the shirt forms that awkward gap) of the shirt,” explains Kathleen Marzolla, director of product development and merchandising at UNTUCKit. Many button-downs have a button sewn directly above and below that apex causing the shirt to gape.

How do i avoid it?

Seek out brands that target this specific wardrobe woe. Specialty designers like The Shirt offer an affordable assortment of skillfully tailored button-downs that feature hidden buttons and perfected button placement for everyday wear, without malfunctions. Try The Shirt Essentials Icon Shirt ($84), which is available in a wide range of sizes and colors.

Another option is investing in custom-made shirts sewn to your exact measurements. “Measure at the widest part of the bust yet leave a little room — you have to be able to breathe,” says Celeste Markey, CEO of Careste, a company that specializes in made-to-wear couture clothing. “Make sure to wear a bra you’d wear under your blouse of choice when being measured.” If you often wear padded bras, consider adding an inch or so to your numbers.

Where should i shop?

If you’re looking for more ways to dress like a total boss while keeping your casabas contained, we’ve got you. Scroll on for a few excellent shopping picks to keep you feeling secure and looking your absolute best.

1. Madewell Wrap Top ($78): If a professional look is what you’re after, consider skipping the buttons (almost) altogether and opting for a classic white side wrap blouse instead. The timeless pairing with your favorite high-waisted jeans, this puff-sleeved top has all the sophistication of a button-down without the fit concerns.

2. UNTUCKit Annabella ($78): A little spandex goes a long way, baby. If you’re just too smitten with the button-down look, Marzolla recommends seeking out stretchier styles with proper button alignment. “A touch of stretch can allow for some wiggle room while still having a styled fit,” she says.

3. Anne Fontaine Eglantine-H18 ($350): Elevate your professional outfits with a poplin number that features an asymmetrical ruffle and collar and flowy bell sleeves. The off-centered, covered buttons stay true to the traditional shirt style while giving the overall look a fun, polished, and practical twist.

Have more awkward fashion or beauty questions you’d like debunked? Tell us@BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty; Illustrations by San Trieu)

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