In a few short weeks, it will be the 25th anniversary of me joining the workforce. 25 years!!! Most of the time I don’t feel like I have been on the planet for longer than that, especially if there is a good 80s mixed-tape on! But what a 25-years it has been! Spanning 7 different industries, from hospitality, to construction, oil and gas to childcare, not to forget insurance and banking, there has been one constant throughout. In every workplace people have worn button-up shirts, and for the most part, those shirts gape. Not just mine, but a large proportion of the shirt-wearing folks I have come into contact with.
This was never more obvious to me than the other day when I had a minor procedure at hospital, and of the eight nurses that I saw, who all had the required shirt uniform on, seven of them could have been helped by having a Stop The Gape clip. 7 out of 8! And the biggest thing that I realized was that none of them had the gape in the same place. If I hadn’t been so drowsy from my general anesthetic, I could have made a killing!
So, here is my quick 4-step guide to preventing gaping on women’s button down shirts. For all of you who have a short attention span, if you skim to the bottom, there is a special offer for you, just for getting this far. For all men out there, I will have a quick how-to guide to getting the perfectly fitted shirt in the next few weeks, so watch this space.
Step One: Your shirt needs to fit you.
This seems both obvious, and counter-intuitive to a Stop The Gape blog. If the shirt fits, why would it gape I hear you say? Well, a gaping shirt is a shirt that fits well but that has a gape in one section. So, what does this mean? To my mind, there are four different type of shirt wearers.
The first is the person who wears shirts that are too big to avoid the gape either across the bust or the stomach, which makes them look like they are packing a spare parachute in case of emergency. For those in this camp, this is a learned behavior resulting from years of not being able to find a shirt that fits. I was in this camp for a while. The issue is that it makes people look so much bigger than they actually are, and when I was wearing shirts like this, I know my confidence suffered.
The second person is the converse of this. They wear a shirt that is too small and then either leaves buttons undone, or they try to do them up, resulting in gapes in between multiple buttons. This shirt-style often occurs because these individuals don’t realise that the shirt gapes so badly.
The third person wears a shirt that generally fits everywhere, but has a gape in one section. This is where I am nowadays. I find a shirt that fits me well, but has a gape, because they always do, and then I fix it.
The fourth person is the most elusive individual who is able to wear a fitted shirt, which fits well everywhere, without a gape of any sort. These people are few and far between, and if you are one, please feel free to buy me a lottery ticket at your earliest convenience.
Step Two: Wear the shirt the way it was meant to be worn
Shirts and blouses are designed to be worn in a particular way. The cut, hem-length and material will often be designed in a particular style and will mean it will look better tucked in, or worn untucked from your trousers or skirt. If a shirt is meant to be tucked in, wearing it untucked will likely result in you resembling shirt wearer number one above. Conversely, if the shirt is waist length, and is designed to be worn untucked, tucking it in will likely require you to pull the shirt tighter than it was meant to be worn, and therefore increase the chances of you resembling shirt wearer number two. So, when buying a shirt, and/or teaming it with a particular skirt or trouser combo, think about how the shirt was designed to be worn.
Step Three: Unless you are a supermodel, or have absolutely no curves, or get your shirts custom made, your shirts will likely gape.
Oh so often I have heard – “I don’t have that problem, I don’t have any boobs”. And then, as gently as I am able, I point to the shirt gape at their midriff, or their tummy. It happens. Even if you don’t have boobs, but have hips and a bum, your shirt will likely gape at the tummy. Maybe it won’t gape when you are standing up, which is the reason that changing rooms are generally a standing affair – who tries on shirts and then sits down? (well, me, now, if I am honest, but that is only because I am so aware of the issue!). So, you tried the shirt on standing up, liked the look and purchased it. You are not alone.
Women are the most fabulous beasts on the planet, a lot of the time. When I was testing the reaction to the product range, if I asked a participant about another participant, or an illustration of a shirt-gape, without exception the participant would be able to detail where the shirt had gaped. However, and this is particularly true for women whose shirts gape a little at the tummy, they would rarely assume that their own shirt gaped.
So, my suggestion is, grab a quick selfie of you sitting down. Don’t pose for it. Sit as you would normally and then check whether you have a gape. If you don’t, and your shirt fits elsewhere, and doesn’t resemble the parachute from Step One, then feel free to stop reading now (but come back tomorrow, because that shirt will fit slightly different – they all do).
Step Four: Grab a Stop The Gape Clip and fix the little gaping problem.
Stop The Gape clips are designed to be worn with any shirt without being able to be seen from the outside. Fitting one is easy. Just grab the spare button from the shirt with the gape and attach it to the special magnet supplied with your clip. Slide the clip onto your shirt wherever your gape occurs and then button up the shirt as normal. The clip has an in-built magnet that will attract your spare button magnet, and hold it in place, stopping the gape from showing.
Even better, enter the code JoSentMe at checkout and get 20% off your order.
Till next time,
Stop The Gape