An Open Letter To the People In the Fashion Industry Who Design Clothes For Grown Women

Dear Fashion People,

Today I went to the mall to buy a shirt.  Just a shirt.  Something girly and springy to put with my khaki capris, something dressier than the solid knit shirts that serve as my spring and summer uniform.

I looked and I looked and I have finally reached a breaking point on an issue that has bugged me for some time:

The camisole.

Everything requires a cami, seemingly by design.  It's a vast layering conspiracy, and the salesgirls are in on it.  I come out of the dressing room wearing a shirt that plunges down to there.  "Is it supposed to be this low-cut?" I ask.

"Oh," she says, "just throw a cami under it."

So I try on something else.  The bodice has a lot of eyelet-ish trim on it, and eyelet has holes.  Holes, all over my abdomen, including one gaping open over my most impressive stretch mark.

"Oh," salesgirl says, "just throw a cami under it."

Round three.  It looks like a safe-enough white shirt, until I put it on and realize it's almost completely sheer.  Bridal-veil sheer.

"Oh," salesgirl says, (all together now) "just throw a cami under it."

But here's the deal:  I don't want to throw a cami under it.  I don't want two shirts.  I want one shirt.  My reasons are excellent:

1.  I'm cheap and I'm out of closet space.  A cami is one more thing to buy, launder, store and generally deal with.  Let's keep it simple.

2.  I live in Oklahoma.  In the summer, it is hot.  Melt-your-skin-off hot.  Even-the-pool-water-is-too-warm hot.  What's-wrong-with-the-A/C hot.  If I have to endure that heat wearing two layers of clothing, I might be (*shudder*) tempted to remove the top layer, which brings me to point three…

3.  Ever since I hit puberty, I have devoted a signficant amount of effort to making sure that my bra strap doesn't show.  And even if your cami matches your bra, your bra strap shows.  I don't like that.  I suspect you would recommend I find a cami with a built-in bra, to which I respond that such bras were not created for women who have nursed four children, and that's all I have to say about that.

4.  I'm a middle-aged woman.  I'm not overweight, but still, I have a general layer of padding around my mid-section, and it is a cause of consternation.  The last thing I want to do is add another layer of squishiness.  Your cami fabric may be thin, but if I wanted to add two milimeters of thickness to my abdomen, I'd much rather do it at Krispy Kreme.

Perhaps you will say that you have introduced the cami as a "stylish accessory" which provides "fashionable layering options".

I don't believe you.

I think you want to sell two shirts.

And I'd march right up to Madison Avenue and tell you this in person, except I'm stuck in the dressing room in a see-through blouse. 



235 thoughts on “An Open Letter To the People In the Fashion Industry Who Design Clothes For Grown Women

  1. T with Honey says:

    I second this opinion!!!
    Even worse I despise that most camis have a built in shelf bra which does pretty much nothing in the line of supporting the girls. Wearing a bra under that is just torture. I end up with the elastic of the shelf bra sitting on top of the bottom edge of my bra, possibly right on the underwire.
    Luckily I’m pregnant and with most of those shirts I can use a safety pin to ‘move’ the neckline of the faux wrap style shirt to a proper place.

  2. lomagirl says:

    Camis have been off my radar since puberty- nevermind the breastfeeding! Once (in highschool) I wore one with a built in bra and then ended up spending the night at my friend’s house at the last minute and not having a bra to wear to church the next day. And the came was pretty skanky by summertime then.

  3. Bethany says:

    You are DEAD ON. However, I own 5 camis (3 white, 2 black) that I wear all the time. To answer the built-in bra question – just cut that whole layer out! My cousin taught me that – we’re both from OK – we’re smart. πŸ™‚ It feels a bit strange to take scissors to a brand-new shirt, but getting rid of that thing lets you tighten the straps for the amount of coverage you want. That built-in thing just drags the whole cami down as low as the outer shirt!

  4. boomama says:

    Oh, this made me LAUGH.
    I layer with tanks from Old Navy. They’re thin enough that they don’t create an extra layer of heat, they adequately cover all strappage, and they’re inexpensive. I adore them.

  5. Mrs Lemon says:

    I guess I drank the koolaid because I like camis. Specifically I like the older style ones from Lane Bryant that you can now only find at outlet stores. BUT – my sister just gave me a bunch of maternity clothes, and the Liz Lange maternity tanks are comfy, thin, and appropriately cover The Ladies.

  6. melissa says:

    OMG-you took the words right from my mouth. I was not raised to have some other shirt hanging from beneath my suit jacket either I hate it! Laughing and loving this post – and a built in bra cami is made for someone who doesn’t need a bra to start with – let’s get real! You are funny – thanks for the laugh!

  7. shelley dabis says:

    Now I know I am old when I see these teenage girls walking around with 2 cami’s layered and under both sets of straps are the bra straps. What happened to modest tops? I suppose they went out with the shorts that hid your underware!

  8. Kara says:

    I totally agree! It seems everything cute requires another layer, or two, to make it modest. I am a simple girl and don’t like having to try to mix and match and put on a million pieces of clothes, especially since I’m currently nursing and it’s hard enough to be discreet messing with just one shirt.

  9. se7en says:

    Oh where have you been all my life – it’s all marketing and they think we are all suckers… nope some of us still have some discernment!

  10. rhonda says:

    I only nursed two babies, and those built in bras aren’t for me.
    And summertime, in Alabama, may juuussssttt be hotter than oklahoma- maybe.

  11. Pam says:

    I am not fashion savvy…’ll know that after you read this….so here goes…I love the spagetti strap strechy…thingies
    with the built in bras thus eliminateing the need for a bra AND allows you to wear it under any top and they “hold you in” to a degree. I love them…..they are cheap… usually under $10 and if you buy white or beige or cream they go with pretty much any color. I have a dozen or so and love the way they keep both ends of your torso covered. God Bless, Pam, South Bend

  12. Heather G says:

    Love it! Kansas is hot like Oklahoma in the summers. Wearing a bra (cause the cami’s just don’t offer any support,) a cami, and a shirt just doesn’t work in the summer. Then if I find a shirt I like finding a cami I like is almost impossible. I want one long enough to reach the bottom of the shirt and not just my belly button.

  13. Nicole Ross says:

    I never realized how many cami’s I have in my closet until I read this post. Ugh, they tricked me into buying a shirt that doesn’t cover me all, and then buying a second shirt to fix that problem!
    I’m on a cami strike!

  14. Lainie@ Mishmash Maggie says:

    You make me laugh… out loud. Love it.
    BTW sitting here in my “summer” top noticing it slips off my shoulder a wee and is a little low-ish. I was just wondering if I should go upstairs and, all together, “throw a cami under it.”
    Very timely post… next time I will shop a little more carefully.

  15. usedtobeme says:

    Bravo! Amen! High Five! As soon as they started making shirts long again (because in years past, my issue was shirts that were short enough that when I reached above my head, my entire stomach was hanging out in the breeze) they seem to have made them less than modest. I can’t dress me. I can’t dress my daughters. And sadly, material to make my own clothes is more expensive than buying pre-mades.

  16. Anna says:

    I’m right there with you about the heat and camis as Las Vegas is almost as melt the skin off of you hot as OK, except “it’s a dry heat.” (Picture a far side cartoon here with a bleached skeleton).
    Camis with self bras don’t fit and I can’t seem to find any without.

  17. Headless Mom says:

    Amen and AMEN!!!
    Although I will say that in certain situations I have gotten over the bra strap situation. Usually for things like gardening or hanging around the house. I cannot go without a real bra.

  18. Kathleen Russell says:

    Ok – this is the same exact problem I have been struggling with. I have an eleven year old daughter who is very tiny and thin – she wears ATLEAST (and I am not kidding you)about 4 layers a day (3 of them usually some sort of cami.) So, besides her comment of ‘throw a cami’ under it – then the salespeople tell me that too. Yet, I am like you – I don’t need/want extra layers anywhere. I cannot wear the camis with the shelf bra (even only after nursing two – doesn’t work/fit.) I finally broke down last summer and bought two camis – one white and one black. Everyone beat me into submission. And yet…they still have the tags on them and I am still looking for some shirts to wear that don’t require camis. I am soooo frustrated. Please please please update if you find a shirt to wear – I’ll take 10!

  19. Julie says:

    I’m SO with you!
    Also, what’s the deal with all the “baby doll” tops for us mature women? I’ve had 4 babies and I don’t want to look perggy when I’m not, thank you!!!

  20. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

    So many good points, Shannon. I have a lot of camis. And they rarely work. If they’re small enough to lay flat, they don’t cover enough, ahem, up top. If they cover up top, then they bunch up under my top shirt. AND, all mine are some sort of polyester-ish material, and they are SO HOT!
    All that to say – you preach it, sister! πŸ™‚

  21. Josie says:

    AMEN!!!!! Try being pregnant, late 30’s, live in south Louisiana and needing cami’s for lots of your shirts. Thank goodness I will deliver by June 29; I don’t think I could make it through the summer with 2 layers. It’s awful that my daughter also needs cami’s with so many of her clothes…and she’s only 9. Have a marvelous day.

  22. LadyCiani says:

    I am 28, have not have kids, am barely a B-cup, and yet I agree with all your points. Even for me, the stupid “shelf bra” that is sewn in does absolutely nothing. I have to wear band-aids over the pointy bits, or be obviously chilled All. Day. Long. Even in warmer temperatures – as soon as you walk into an air conditioned building – there are the headlights. Not an attractive look at any time, or any age.
    I hope all fashion designers listen up: There are so many of us women of all ages with disposable income. We ARE your target market. We WANT to buy clothing. Now give us something we want to BUY, or I’ll keep my money to myself, thank you very much!

  23. Brittany says:

    Amen! I have camis, in fact I have some that have little cap sleeves because I want to be more modest, but I am not happy that I have to wear them with everything – it is a downright fashion conspiracy. What am I, an onion? A patchwork quilt? Why do my outfits have to have several layers to be finished?
    Love this post.

  24. Tracey - Girls to Grow says:

    I’m right there with you!! Thanks for a much needed laugh! I also agree w/ the comment on the “babydoll” tops – I pass up whole sections of shirts in the store because they would make me look pregnant if I tried to wear them.

  25. Cheryl says:

    I too live in Oklahoma and I agree about the heat. However, I have just recently turned to the cami darkside. I found a great one from Ann Taylor that I LOVE and ordered 2 more. The reason that I wear them, besides the fact that you can see through every shirt made nowadays, is that these have a tiny bit of lycra in them. So they help hold in that small bit of bulge I tend to have in my middle section. Since I’ve started wearing them, I have become addicted. I feel kind of naked when I put one of my cotton t-shirts on without it.

  26. Amy says:

    You are hilarious!
    I must admit that I have the same problem. The last thing I want to wear during the long, humid Tennessee summer is layers. I have even noticed a trend where t-shirts are becoming virtually see-through, thus requiring a cami. It is so frustrating.

  27. Lorie says:

    I am going to have to ditto the amen!
    A few years ago I loved wearing the sweater sets that had a tank underneath and a cute sweater on the outside. They were sold together as a set. Not anymore. Now you have to buy the pieces separately. Well you can’t wear the sweater without something under it and the tank shouldn’t be work alone because of the whole bra strap thing.
    I totally agree it is a conspiracy!

  28. Joelle McNulty says:

    Ditto!!! I SO agree. These people weren’t thinking clothes for summer weather… I’m about to move to the tropics and have been considering my summer attire.
    Oh and the other thing I hate about camis is that most of them show off cleavage anyway (they were made for smaller busted women perhaps). I have yet to find one that keeps me covered in the way I would prefer.
    By the way, if you’re still looking for shirts that don’t require layering, I’d recommend checking out K-Mart. I bought 4 shirts there last week, 3 of which should be wearable without a cami. And all of them were on sale. πŸ™‚

  29. Dawn says:

    It has already been said, but I will repeat…Amen, sister!
    The layer conspiracy is ridiculous!
    The shelf bra is useless once you have reached puberty, never mind nursing!
    I agree with one other commenter, I cut the shelf bra out – it brings the neck line of the cami up a little higher. However, so far the only cami I have found to cover the “ladies” and the muffin top is a maternity one – how sad is that?

  30. Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting says:

    Tell it like it is! Livin’ in Louisiana, you better be DAMN sure I’m not wearing two shirts, or I’d melt into a puddle of myself! Heck no!
    I, too, have a similar dilemma, in shirts that are long enough. Why oh why do they think women, after having children, want shirts that barely cover their bellies? I want something to my hips, and apparently anything and everything I try just doesn’t work, either too tight in the breast area, or too short in the waist. Oy!

  31. Libby says:

    As a former retail “style consultant” for a major international retailer, I know that the whole cami conspiracy is most defintely deliberate. Upselling and # of items is key for them making money. Would like a belt with that?

  32. Mel says:

    I’ve just been letting them pressure me into buying camis… I own probably 15 of them.
    Why can’t I just be smart like you??

  33. AmberStar says:

    I have bought several camis over my lifetime and haven’t been happy with any of them. However, if the shirt is sheer and you are going to be in one of the icy cold a/ced buildings it works ok. I found a bra that is almost exactly the color of my skin so the straps aren’t as noticable…at least that is what I tell myself anyway. I don’t wear them often. I live in Texas where we come up to your state to spend the summer where it is cool! I’m sure ya’ll enjoy hearing that. Ha!
    Enjoyed the post a lot…thanks

  34. Kristin says:

    Another AMEN!!! Don’t even get me STARTED on the built-in bra cami…thank you but it only works if you don’t have nipples folks!

  35. Loretta says:

    Amen! And since I shop thrift or consignment a lot, I’m STILL stuck heading to the store to find a cami that matches the oh-so-cute shirt that’s just a bit too low. Especially a bit too low when you have to pick up and hold a 45 pound child which naturally drags the neckline down even LOWER.
    Finally, a conspiracy theory I can believe in. πŸ™‚

  36. Sarah says:

    I DO wear camis under just about everything, although it took me years to find a CAMI that wasn’t too low cut too! However, I’m writing to tell you about my experience LOOKING for a cami: I went into a certain mall lingerie store and told the saleslady, “I am wearing a low cut dress to my brother’s wedding and I need to buy a cami to go under it.” The saleslady said, “How about just a really pretty bra?” I was stunned. But she was serious. Disgustingly serious.

  37. Connie says:

    YES! I totally agree with you…and then they also want to sell us some Spanx to wear under our two shirts to help with the extra padding we need to smooth over.
    I am a middle aged woman, too…thanks for speaking up for us!

  38. Mary Ann says:

    Amen! I have yet to find a cami that fits right, isn’t too low cut and doesn’t show everything when I bend over. I have to wear a bra under a cami and I’m not even very big. I hate all the layers!

  39. Michelle says:

    So *that* is why I always have my non-existant cleavage showing all the time….I just chalked it up to not having anything to bring up the material….never realized it was all a huge fashion conspiracy!
    Thanks for the great laugh…I love how you always keep it real.

  40. Jackie says:

    Oh that was funny! I so wish that cold be posted in print somewhere so the fashion industry could read it! LOL! I SO can relate to the heat of summer… who in the world would want to layer a shirt then!!

  41. Kori says:

    Do you have Kohl’s ? I was in there the other day and they had some really cute tops that were not made to go with camis. They even have them on sale you can check them out online In the women’s section under shirts & blouses short sleeved
    Hope it helps!!!

  42. LS says:

    Is that why all the shirts are so sheer?? I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I kept wondering how a person was supposed to actually wear something like that out on the street.

  43. Kim says:

    Thanks Shannon – you always make me laugh. Funny thing is, I have more cami’s than I know what to do with. I think you have just inspired me to clean out my closet tomorrow and purge a few!

  44. Terri J says:

    Definitely! I’m with you!!! The fashion industry just need to make shirts that cover us……….not just cater to current trendy crap! πŸ™‚
    Hot in MS too!!!! Ugh! πŸ™‚

  45. Kim says:

    AMEN! Oh my goodness, every word, so true. Except that I don’t live in Oklahoma, I live in Utah. But, i grew up just 5 minutes from the Oklahoma border in Kansas, and I know the heat of which you speak. I miss the humidity…but I really don’t miss the melting summers.
    I digress…yes, the letter. AMEN. Could we start a petition and just send it off? Silly Cami’s…it’s a conspiracy, totally.

  46. Emily says:

    So I just mostly lurk on your blog. I think maybe I have posted for a contest once or twice. I have two suggestions. (definitely worth the look- I live where I can just go into a store to buy this stuff, but I know they are relatively local) (I know, you don’t want layers, but they have some stuff that doesn’t require it)
    My only thought, if you get them to sponsor a contest or something..let me know!

  47. Steff says:

    OMG…sooo totally laughing…what is with the tissue paper thin t shirts too???
    i have taken to getting out some of m old letter shirts because at least they are thicker than kleenex. i was lucky to miss our OK heat wave last summer while i was in wisconsin and pregnant. i would have totally melted because even the maternity clothes required an extra layer.
    he is here this year and i am working on the baby weight but GEEEEEZZZZZZZZZ
    i dont need or want another layer and those shelf bras…omg dont get me started….they are made for prepubescent teens who have never even dreamed of carrying a kid or 3 and nursing…yeah right…
    Way to go Shannon…and i am looking forward to meeting you at the OK bloggers event.

  48. Amber says:

    You make some very valid points. However, I mostly wear camis because I find that they keep making shirts shorter and shorter! I love the camis that are considered “long”… as in they cover my cleavage and belly button.
    Also, I spent a semester in college in Europe. The European women in our inn taught us American girls to wear a very light tank top or cami underneath everything so that you could wear the overshirt at least 10 times before washing… and it’s much easier to wash camis by hand in a tiny bathroom sink in the Austrian Alps. πŸ™‚
    Oh, and they also make a cami that sucks in your tummy, which I’m a big fan of.

  49. Dot says:

    I’ll speak from the plus sized woman’s perspective. EVERY top looks like maternity wear, the necklines plunge to my belly button, AND they are covered with HUGE flowers that we all know make a woman look even heavier. I think I’d have better luck wearing a sandwich board that says, “Nothing to see here, folks!” And just try finding a cami in a plus size!

  50. Kristen says:

    AMEN! I was just shopping with my girlfriends and we lamented that you can never just buy ONE shirt. The shirt that is supposed to “show” is either too low cut, too see-through, or too short, and they FORCE you to layer! I have some camis/tanks that I use to help the “too short” issue and some that I use to help the “low cut” issue. I can never find one that does both. So I have a large collection of undershirts. And I hate how the fabric of the undershirt sticks to the fabric of the top shirt and adds an unattractive lumpiness. I could rant longer….

  51. Sherry says:

    Something that’s worked for me to eliminate cleavage is to cut the tags off the cami/tank and wear it backwards. Obviously doesn’t work with all styles but I found a cheap one at Target that works great.

  52. Misty says:

    You are so right! I deal with this every time I go shopping. I don’t think I have a single shirt in my closet that doesn’t require a shirt underneath of it. I would love to just be able to throw on ONE shirt for the day. I also live in OK. =)

  53. Jaime says:

    I am so with you! Heaven knows I can’t afford another 2mm on my belly!
    Just in case you do make it to NYC to advocate: Madison Avenue is the home of public relations and advertising agencies. Seventh Avenue in the 30’s is “Fashion Avenue.” I’d be happy to join you πŸ™‚

  54. Kari says:

    I cannot tell you how many times I have listed these SAME reasons to my husband as I trounce around looking for just ONE shirt to wear! just one, thank you very much!
    you made me laugh out loud this morning, thanks!

  55. Amy Webb says:

    I hear you! I live in Texas and the same thing goes for the heat here. During the summer, I’m trying to shed extra layers, not add more. Maybe designers will get a clue.

  56. Zandor says:

    I hate thoe ones with the built in bra thing. I haven’t had any kids and I just don’t like them. If I want one that would fit on top then it would be baggy around my stomach. If I get one that isn’t too loose around my stomach it is too tight on top. They aren’t comfortable. Plus, i’m in college right now and having to pay for every load of laundry I don’t want to have to wear moer clothing than necessary.

  57. Traci says:

    I just buy the $3. – $5. tank tops at WalMart and use them as a cami, under almost everything. A black and a white and you’re all set.

  58. Ellen says:

    Amen and amen. I have decided that I put my foot down on the cami issue. If a shirt requires a cami for me to wear it… I won’t buy it. “They” are not getting one red cent of my money for attempting to force me to buy an extra shirt. I don’t care how cute it is. The end.

  59. Firefly says:

    LOL! I just went through the same torment in Ross this week. And what ever happened to simple, inexpensive, short-sleeved blouses? You know, a button-up shirt! Argh!

  60. SoCalLynn says:

    I have to wear a cami with every single shirt I’ve bought in the last 3 months. It is so annoying. You’re right, it just adds another layer to my padded middle, and I insist on wearing a bra for lift (I AM 46, you know!), so my bra straps show and it’s just plain uncomfortable.
    Thanks for putting it out there for us all to commiserate with you.

  61. Suzy says:

    Yes!! Yes!!! You said a mouth full! It’s all a conspiracy to get some to buy more and others to let it all hang out by wearing less!
    What about those dreaded stilts (my personal pet peeve and also your reminder of the one you mentioned), the so called designers have gotten some to alter their feet to force on — while causing them to have collapsed ankles and to fall down?
    I refuse to wear uncomfortable shoes and waddle around to attract attention.

  62. Dorci says:

    Yes! Thank you. I’ve vowed to design clothes for women our age, if I only knew how. Seems that clothes for women from 35-55 have been ignored. I walk into a store and see clothes for teenagers and clothes for older women. I want cool clothes that are modest and appropriate. I don’t want to look like I’m trying relive my teenage years and I don’t want to enter the grandma zone. I’m tired of sticking my hand behind shirts to see if I can see my hand through them, and I’m tired of holding a shirt up to myself to see how far down the neckline plunges. It takes me long enough to find one shirt! Then I have to go hunting for another one to put under it! Ack!
    *sigh* We are not alone ladies! Surely there must be someone we can appeal to. But if there is, I have a feeling they are much, much, younger.

  63. Courtney@BooksnBoys says:

    I love camis because I can nurse a baby more modestly with them. In the summer, I wear them with strapless bras. I’ve nursed two babies so far, but I started with a smaller bust size so that might have something to do with it πŸ™‚
    Old Navy sells very inexpensive camis without the shelf bra for those who were interested. I personally really like the shelf bra though – I get my camis from Chadwicks. They are all cotton and are fine for the humid, Virginia summers.

  64. Michelle says:

    It’s about time someone said it! I live in California’s Central Valley and it gets bloody hot here in the summer as well. One more layer is torture. Not to mention my girls (which have nursed two kids) will not be contained by the built-in “bra”. AND they are always too short and never stay tucked in, so they constantly ride up and I end up fidgeting spastically all day trying to fix it and stay comfortable. Oh yeah, and I’m also cheap.

  65. missy @ it's almost naptime says:

    Shannon, Shannon, Shannon.
    I don’t know what those salesgirls were talking about. Cami schammy. You are just supposed to wear the tops with your boobies all hanging out. Then you’ll look like everyone else. Especially at church.
    How I wish I were joking.

  66. Colleen - a madison mom says:

    Thank you.
    I wish designers would realize what a fortune they would make if they would just design so regular not so dressy/not too casual shirts for women. The clingy/see-thru/plunging neckline stuff just doesn’t work.

  67. Ann G says:

    And I’ll say it again…AMEN, sister!! What grown woman with children wants to wear a shirt that shows off her “girls” to everyone? Not to mention, come on, haven’t they heard the economy stinks right now, who has money to buy 2 shirts that you only get 1 use out of??

  68. Lori says:

    I’m with you on the extra layers being a burden, and I wonder what’s up with people wearing those camis as shirts. Period. So few women are built to wear a cami as their only shirt! I think they should be reserved for the under 14 set.
    Happy shopping!

  69. Kelly says:

    Thank you, THANK YOU!!! Those cami’s look great on my 21 year old daughter with the athletic build (5’11”, size 8) but they cling to my stomach fat like skin on a sausage. And god forbid I should have to remove the outer-shirt in the Alabama Humidity, and expose the bat-wing arms. Can we mount a protest? The other options you have are to look like you belong in a time warp in your grandma’s shirts in the 50’s!

  70. Cassandra Frear says:

    Love the post and the name of your blog.
    Cami’s are pretty, it’s true.
    I was raised in the South, and even though I now live in PA, I remember. Those summers are seared permanently on my brain.
    Bless you. You have my full empathy.
    I have really found good things at Macy’s, by the way, that fit someone my age. They have been having regular sales since the economic downturn. They still sell 100% cotton tops that are not see-through and that do not need a cami.

  71. Melinda says:

    So, when the “House of Shannon” Design center opens, please send me an invitation. Clothes for real women sounds like a great idea to me. I won’t even wait for a sale, I’d be happy to pay full price for clothes that actually work.

  72. Mommy, the Human Napkin says:

    Oh, how I can identify! I do wear a cami sometimes, but only if it’s tight enough to “slim” my gut for those not-so billowy shirts that the young people are wearing now-a-days (I generally wear t-shirts and just admitted online that I have a gut). I found one at Old Navy that works wonders, but haven’t worn it here in a Texas summer yet. I’m scared.

  73. Antonia says:

    Amen and AMEN!!!
    I just read this aloud to my husband who guffawed because we had JUST returned from the mall with the exact same experience πŸ™‚

  74. Tesa says:

    This is hilariously funny. I love your thoughts that “it’s a conspiracy”! I agree with every point you made here. I, personally, have been resisting the “gotta have a cami” craze for all I’m worth. I just never could have articulated my reasons as well as you did here. Thanks for the laughs!

  75. Mrs. Magoo says:

    I was just at the mall here and was thinking this same thing!!! I can’t stand going to the mall mostly because I feel like you have to own something cool to even be seen there! I just want a top that fits, nothing super fancy! Glad I’m not the only one!
    -Mrs. Magoo

  76. Johanna says:

    Loved this post. I’m a 56-year-old mother of five grown children, and the clothes in most stores are either geared for middle- and high-schoolers, or else there are the dowdier styles for the very elderly – and not much in between. I have a terrible time finding age-appropriate clothing, especially tops, for myself. Grrr! I finally did relent and buy a three-pack of camis at Costco. They do not have a built-in bra, and are very thin. Plus, they are longer than some other brands, which suits me fine. All in all, it’s a crazy and frustrating world of fashion for me.

  77. Wendy says:

    I guess my question is where can we actually forward this letter to make a difference? I don’t understand what keeps driving the fashion industry if no one is happy. Why do we keep buying if we are wishing for a change? Where can I shop for modest, reasonably priced, clothing made for women? If you find it please let us all know.

  78. Laura @ Texas in Africa says:

    As someone who’s lived in places hotter than Oklahoma without A/C (you don’t want to know), I know this sounds crazy, but layering a lightweight, see-through shirt over a cami actually keeps you cooler when it’s crazy hot. Even more so if it’s long-sleeved. That’s why desert cultures typically have outfits that don’t show much skin. It’s something about the way cool air gets trapped inside and your body’s natural cooling system (sweat).
    But, yeah, it’s totally a conspiracy. Land’s End is your friend.

  79. rrmama says:

    Amen! There is nothing like wearing multiple layers when it’s 148* outside, plus wouldn’t the humidity coupled with all the glistening make it just as see through??

  80. sarah storjohann says:

    WEll!!!! I shall be completely naked this year as I am having hotflashes and am NOT about to wear a cami!!!!! Save one of those shear ones for me it sounds cool (as in temp) :):)

  81. Sally says:

    I recently went shopping to try to find something to wear to my niece’s wedding.
    There is not much out there that is suitable for a 47-year-old woman, who no longer has the same shape I had when I was 20-25 years younger. I don’t want to dress like I am a teenager, yet I also don’t want to look like a 90-year-old lady, either. Must everything be worn with a cami??? I agree with you, I don’t like the bra straps showing, but the “built-in” bra is not enough for a middle-aged woman who has nursed children….I spent 5 hours trying on outfits and ended up with a splitting headache and a skirt I did not love (but one that was not TOO short and did not show too much of my middle-aged legs) and a sheer top that requires a cami underneath. I was NOT happy with what I bought, but I could NOT find anything else after going from store to store to store. That is all that is out there…..

  82. nicole says:

    Yes, yes and yes. Built-in bras never work for me. I’m really self-conscious about shirts being too revealing, so I wear the cami, but I hate it.

  83. lucy says:

    haha!! you are SO right! I bought THREE cami’s this spring.. I had no choice! EVERY top I bought required one! I feel so used! wish i would have read this first!!
    excellent rant!

  84. mmclassics says:

    AMEN! We live in “Melt your makeup off” heat. Why on earth would we ADD layers – and lose decent “support.” Hooray for common sense!

  85. Amy in OK says:

    Thank you very much! For myself, can’t stand camis, can’t stand the cami-look. Not comfortable with any item in the entire cami family. And, I must say that I feel bad for all the people named Cammy/Cammie/Kammy/Kammie.

  86. wanda says:

    FINALLY!!!! Someone called them on it! I knew it was going on myself!
    And yes……I nursed a village of children too. So….stuff has moved and I certainly don’t wanna show it all off!

  87. angela says:

    Your statement is sad but true.
    I’m trying to loose weight (I want to do this for myself to feel better about myself – but also so rude people stop asking if I’m pregnant) and right now, camis don’t help.
    And a note – even if you haven’t fed children, camis often don’t offer the necessary support to go out in public.

  88. Nancy says:

    Fellow Okie here, and thank you for giving me words to discuss camis and the middle-aged mid-section thing.
    Hey, here comes a Mack Truck!
    Just throw a cami under it!

  89. Jessica says:

    Oh, that is shady. I think the same thing about layers. Who wants to wear layers in 100 degree weather with 80% humidity and no rain in sight?!! I wouldn’t and I won’t. It’s just gross.
    And I HATE it when my bra strap shows. I just think it’s yuck. And the built-in cups. What a joke. I concur that they are not strong enough to hold up post-nursing boobs.

  90. Jana says:

    Amen, particularly on number 3 and 4. However, since moving to WA from OK 12 years ago, I’ve adapted to the layering idea (it was the first thing I learned when I moved here…that and relearning how to parallel park). Now I wear a white tank under everything. I did actually buy a cami the other day, but I was thinking the whole time, “I could buy two or three tanks for the price of this one cami!” I’m cheap, so number 1 is good, too.

  91. Pam D says:

    This would be hilarious if it weren’t so darn true. Oh heck, it’s still hilarious! Let me know if you organize a “Kill the Cami” march on the garment district–I’m in.

  92. Julie says:

    What’s happened to fashionable modesty? Seriously, if I want new clothes I either coming out looking like a tramp or my great grandmother!

  93. whimzie says:

    I thought of this post this weekend. Every single shirt I wore this weekend required a cami. Before you posted this, I never even thought to be indignant. But now I am. I think back to all the shopping trips with friends over the past few years. “This is cut way too low.” “Oh no,” my friends would reassure me, “just put a cami under it.” I never realized that I’d been duped. Thanks for alerting me to the travesty that is the cami. I happily join your Cami-Free Cause.

  94. Only Daughter says:

    I’m a size fluffy over 40 mom who also lives in OK. You preach the truth Sister, oh but will they listen??
    PS. “solid knit shirts that serve as my spring and summer uniform” – me too! I swear that’s all I can find that fits and covers.

  95. Samantha says:

    A big Amen from the even-closer-to-the-equator state of Louisiana! I don’t want more layers on my body when I already have sweat trickling down my back in the summer heat. ewwwwwww So I’ve been living in those solid color tshirts that Target is so happy to supply us each summer and I am sick of the tshirt look.
    But my biggest objection to the cami– the dreaded UNIBOOB! The majority of camis are straight across the front and they make the front of anyone with more than a B cup look like they have one big wide…well…you know. That isn’t flattering at all.
    Thank you for listening.

  96. A Southern Accent says:

    Love this post! First time I’ve read your blog and this post totally speaks to me! Another awful part of the cami conspiracy is that I can NEVER find one in my closet/drawers to go with the top I want to wear that day. It’s either in the wash, in the dirty clothes, or stuck in a drawer that I can’t get open. Then I end up buying three white camis and three black camis and some are too short, some are too long, some are cut weird and roll up…ughhh!!!!

  97. Christine says:

    I was in Target Friday night wondering thru the clothes department and I thought of you. Very cute poplin short sleeve shirts, button front so you control the level of reveal. And no camisole necessary! They were all cotton, so an iron would probably be necessary, but only if you’re me and obsessed with the ironing.

  98. Bridget says:

    Too funny! And I can’t tell you how many hours, probably days, I’ve spent looking for a cute shirt…only to come home empty handed. Because well they do all need a camo, it’s too stinking hot here for that and my girls, well let’s just say they’ve out grown the bra in a cami strategy!!

  99. Resa says:

    SO funny – gotta admit, I’m a sucker for the cami, but that’s because I live in a coastal city in Southern California. We need the layers or we get cold – really, I have sections of my closet dedicated to different layers. However, I grew up in the South.. being Houston, TX. So touche! I never considered the conspiracy that is the camisole.

  100. Suz says:

    lol… I too have a hard time buying 2 shirts! Why do they make the cut all the way to my belly button anyway? What are they thinking? I’m with you.. don’t want to wear two shirts in the heat of the summer. Ok for fall, or winter, but summer too? No thanks… I’ll keep shopping! πŸ™‚

  101. Marcia says:

    Ha ha ha ha…great post. I found you from a link on cheaphealthygood.
    I allowed myself to be talked into two camis a month ago. They still have the tags on them. How do I layer them? What do I layer them with? The bra strap is going to show. I’m 38 years old and have nursed a baby for over a year…no bra isn’t going to fly (truthfully, wouldn’t have before either).

  102. kriswithmany says:

    Exactly! I’m nursing baby #6 (!!), and, well, the girls seem to hang lower with each kid. This mom isn’t about to flash cleavage and she does errands around town. Not that anyone would ever want to see that. In high school, “do your boobs hang low?” was a comical rendition of a well known song. Now it’s a rhetorical question. Haha! Don’t get me started on swimsuits – after 6 pregnancies, the burkini doesn’t look so bad.

  103. Karen L says:

    I find layers ruin the drape of a nicely fitting shirt, producing sports bra-like uniboob and blending my chest into my stomach.
    But… I did find layering a low-cut tank under a regular shirt or a regular tank under a low-cut shirt convenient for public nursing. The low-cut layer goes down, the other layer goes up. Not a tiny bit of skin shows.

  104. linda says:

    The worst about this whole situation is….. the fact that these camis often have a neckline that’s toooooooo low as well..
    What do you throw under a cami that’s too low? ANOTHER cami? *lol* I have such a hard time to even find one of those that’s modest enough….. sigh!
    Greetings from the netherlands!

  105. Jessica says:

    That’s funny! Although, I wear a cami under EVERYTHING even in the summer…even in Texas. Growing up my mom told me to “wear and undershirt and you won’t be so cold”. Now I feel absolutely naked if I don’t have on an undershirt of some kind. But I am noticing that more and more shirts require camis…and I am with you on being too cheap to buy two shirts!

  106. Linda says:

    I’m sick of the baby doll, lacy, frilly, silly-looking on anyone over the age of 30 tops in the stores these days. It’s so nice to learn that I’m not alone. We can only hope that a style change will come along soon. Hopefull, it will be real soon.

  107. NGS says:

    I totally wear a cami EVERY day because all my shirts are cut down to there and it Drives. Me. Insane. I’m totally with you.
    I like that the cami squashes my boobs together and makes them look giant, but only on Saturday night. Not on a daily basis when the students at the high school where I teach are drooling over my cleavage!!
    Thanks for letting me know I’m not insane!!

  108. ev says:

    Thank You, Thanks, Gracias!!!
    Living in AZ were we have 8 months over 100 degrees and 4 of them hold that heat even over night… I hate having to wear 2 tops but still would like to dress nicely.

  109. Becka says:

    I love camies. I look horrible in a crew neck shirt (because my chest and shoulder are very broad). I need a bit of a scoop or v-neck and again, because my chest is large, I need coverage from a cami.
    The cami style has been a lifesaver to me. Because I am going to wear a cami anyway, I like that the new shirt fabric is bridal-veil sheer.
    Also, as a former costumer, I can say with a teeny bit of authority that camisoles are not a new style. They are a style that has made a re-emergence.
    Oh, wait. LOL, I thought of another positive to camies. I have an ultra long torso, and until they start making t-shirts the same length as my undershirt, I like having that extra mid range coverage.

  110. sharon says:

    All I have to say to this is, Amen! Amen! and Amen! I have hated 3/4 of my wardrobe for about 10 years and it isn’t because I don’t have new clothes; it’s because the new clothing choices are awful!

  111. Boom says:

    AMEN. AMEN. YES, Lord.
    Sometimes, it’s just RIDICULOUS. Like, you KNOW there is nobody who isn’t working a night shift (if you know what I mean) that is going to be able to pull this shirt off withOUT that dumb cami.
    I have a whole drawer of layering camisoles. Blech.

  112. The Prudent Homemaker says:

    It’s 120ΒΊ here for a couple of months a year. (It cools down to 104 some nights).
    Land’s End sells blouses that I like. I just want a normal blouse. Nothing trendy. Something I can wear for several years.
    Go to the business section. In fact, here:
    Ignore the logos on the blouses. You just order them without.
    They aren’t the cheapest blouses, but they are modest and don’t require you to wear two shirts. I have been happy with the quality.
    They also make maternity shirts (stay on their business section for these). They DO NOT SHRINK! I can wear them the whole prgnancy and they still fit–and they even fit the entire next pregnancy, too (children 4 and 5 for me).

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