Bust-Friendly Dress Shirts, Part 1: Front Room

A few weeks ago I rounded up the best silk blouses I could find through research– and now I’ve actually tried one of them!

Full disclaimer:  I got this blouse as a gift from the lovely owner of Front Room, Melanie Love.  She did not give this to me for review, although she was aware of the existence of this blog at the time that she gave it to me, and it being a gift from her does not affect the honesty of this review.

This bust-friendly shirt review comes first because apparently, Front Room is closing their web storefront for the summer starting mid-June!  They started a semi-annual sale for their mailing list subscribers on 5/15, and they’ll be extending it to the general public on 5/17.

Front Room, as far as I know, is unique among specifically bust-friendly clothing companies.  Everything they make is not just office-appropriate, but appropriate for a very formal office.  Melanie Love comes from a finance background, so she’s got experience standing uncomfortably next to men in $10,000 suits while “praying the double-sided tape on [her] shirt-front [was] going to hold until the end of the presentation.”  Her clothing is designed for that environment.

Front Room: Baby Blue Essential Silk Utility Blouse, $215.53 USD MSRP 

Solution to the bust gape problem:  Fits according to bust, waist, and underbust size; many seams for a more tailored fit; narrowly-spaced buttons at the bust; stretch fabrics.

Review:

I’ll be honest with you guys: when I tried on the shirt for the first time, I was disappointed in the fit.  I’m basically resigned to things that fit my bust or my waist, but not both.  But the fit issues are my own fault!  I emphasized my broad shoulders to Love when we talked about sizing, and she guessed a M accordingly: looking at pictures of the result, she thinks I could have fit into a small.

front-room-utility-blouse-untucked
The neighborhood behind me is not actually an exploding supernova.

Despite my concerns about the fit, I decided to see what happened when I tucked the shirt in, even though I’m usually disinclined to do so. Suddenly, I looked tailored, sharp, and generally awesome!

front-room-utility-blouse-tucked
Magic!

This shirt is really, really comfy.

front-room-pool
Comfier than this lounge chair!

As you can probably tell, my fiance and I went on rather a long walk in this blouse and pencil skirt so that we could get silly pictures for you, and it felt like it got more comfortable the longer I kept it on.  (Props also to MM.LaFleur’s NoHo skirt.  Unless you are attempting to climb something higher than knee-level– hi, standing desk chair!– it’s easy to move around in.)

front-room-utility-blouse-stairs

The Silk Utility Blouse also delivers what it promises re: a bust-friendly fit.  It fits in the bust, the extra buttons keep the shirt closed, and it nips in at the waist– not as much as I’d like, but like I said, I’m ridiculously picky.  As a bonus, because of all the seams, I can get it taken in for a more customized fit really easily if I want.

Obviously this is not a vegan-friendly blouse, but if you care about people, it’s made in Canada, and the owner has personally walked the factory floor where her stuff gets made to make sure everything’s up to quality and ethical standards.

The Utility Blouse does have a couple of downsides.  Like several of the MM.LaFleur dresses and blouses, it was comfier inside than outside, though that feeling was less pronounced than the MM.LaFleur stuff.  The other one is that when I wore a waffle-textured bra with this blouse, I could see the textured pattern of the bra through the blouse: so, I think, only perfectly-fitting t-shirt bras with this blouse for me.  However, other reviewers haven’t reported similar problems, and Darlene from Hourglassy wore a black, lacy bra under exactly the same blouse with no problems.

Then there’s the obvious downside of silk: it’s not machine-washable. This blouse is, however, hand-washable, and it’s 19mm silk, which, as I mentioned in my previous post, makes it one of the most durable, opaque silks on the market.  It’s certainly the only bust-friendly charmeuse blouse I can find of that weight or higher.

The next iteration of this blouse will have shorter, less full sleeves– so if you like the look of this one, grab it now.  And speaking of sleeves: this shirt has a neat little button on the side and a placket on the inside of the sleeve for if you want to roll yours up.  I would show you pictures of this, except that I am apparently a person who cannot figure out how this nifty system works and my best attempts look like I tried to stuff a chef’s hat into my sleeve.

Börk börk börk!

Darlene from Hourglassy had no problem figuring it out, though, so go look at her pictures if you want to know what it’s supposed to look like.

So basically, it’s a versatile, comfortable, durable silk blouse that can get busty women through meetings with $10,000 suits.  And it comes in white too, if you are into white blouses!  I guess you could say it’s a… LIFE-SAVER????

front-room-life-preserver
I’m so sorry.

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