So this post was a good reminder that theory and practice are wildly different, and that I sometimes miss the mark when I offer advice on topics that don’t affect me personally. But it did draw a few reader e-mails about general dressing tips for the large-of-boob, and recommendation requests for bloggers with abundant boobage.
And I sent every one of them to Kelly.
I’ve known Kelly online for at least two years, and I look forward to the day when we will finally get to hang out, paint each others’ toenails, and eat whatever homemade treat she’s baked for me. Because girl can cook. She’s also hilarious, brainy, drop-dead gorgeous, and extremely well-endowed. After I’d sent two or three readers her way and she emailed suggestions about clothing that suits an abundant rack, I realized it was high time I got her to guest post.
She went above and beyond, and I hope you large-of-boob gals will find her tips helpful. Oh, and she provided the visuals herself. See what I’m saying about the hilarious?
When Sal asked me to consider writing a guest post on dressing a larger chest, I didn’t have to think twice! I have a pretty hefty chest and I put a lot of thought into dressing it. I just hope that if I share my favorite tips I can spare you similar frustration!
TV makeover gurus will tell you to wear v-necks, stock up on wrap dresses, and bring everything to a tailor. Those are good suggestions, but they are also boring and simplistic. (And honestly, I’ve only gotten things tailored for my chest a few times – the results haven’t been impressive enough for me to make a habit of it.) There are more options out there!
Brands for Big Boobs: The easiest way to get clothes to fit your chest is to purchase from a company that makes clothes for your proportions. Try Bravissimo, AJ Rumina, Urkye and Carissa Rose. There are even some Etsy sellers who will make you a garment to your exact measurements.
Deep Necklines and Camisoles: It doesn’t matter whether you wear a v-neck, scoop neck, deep square, or sweetheart, just give your neck a little “breathing room.” The important thing is not showing a lot of skin, but to visually break up your great expanse of chest. Invest in a few camisoles so you can opt for more coverage (when you want it) while still reaping the visual benefits of the deep neckline. In the summer, a Cami Too or a bralette over your bra is cooler than a whole extra layer. Or even just fasten a pretty scarf to your bra. If your camisoles ride up and create weird lumps under your dress, substitute slips or chemises with cami-like necklines (like this one).
Stretchy Knits: One of the biggest challenges of dressing a large chest is the fact that many garments will tent out over your boobs and make you look much larger and boxier than you really are. The easiest way to combat this is to choose knit fabrics in fitted silhouettes that will “snap” back in to your ribcage after stretching out over your chest. I’ve had luck with tees from Alternative Apparel and Victoria’s Secret.
Waist Definition: If you want to wear a more structured garment, you will probably need something to pull that fabric back in under your chest or around your waist (unless the garment is already tailored well) just to make the point that it’s your chest that’s big, not your whole body. Look for tops and dresses with back ties, belts, or gathered elastic (like this Trashy Diva dress).
Long Tops: Look for tops that are a little longer than most, like tunic tees. The simple fact is that you have extra surface area your shirt needs to cover before it meets the waistband of your pants. Longer tops will also elongate your torso, which is more flattering to your large chest. This also means you must tread carefully with anything high-waisted, because it can have the opposite effect!
Good Bra: You need to be in the right bra. Every single thing you put on will look dumpy and unattractive if you aren’t properly hoisted up underneath. I know you probably get this lecture all the time, so I won’t ramble on (like I really want to), but just please promise me that you will make sure you are in the right bra. Promise!
High Necklines: If you wear a crew neck or a turtleneck, your upper torso will take on the appearance of one huge shapeless boob mountain. So don’t.
Designated Boob Room: Avoid anything that has a decoration or construction that indicates where the designer thinks your boobs stop, like empire waists. Voluminous busts rarely fit into these designated areas and that throws the whole garment out of whack – it simply won’t fit correctly.
- Still want to wear it? Here’s a workaround: The big-boob brands mentioned above take your chest size into account when they design their empire waists, which means this isn’t a problem when you shop there. You could also try wearing an a-line or trapeze top and “creating” an empire waist yourself with a wide ribbon.
Graphic Tees: I love a cute graphic t-shirt, but let’s be honest: They are usually boxy, ugly, and not quite long enough. They are simply not made for your figure.
- Still want to wear it? Here’s a workaround: Layer it under a V-neck cardigan, perform T-shirt surgery, or look for longer tees with a v-neck. (I like Out of Print Clothing.)
Boob Decorations: This one pains me because there are so many cute tops right now with pleating, ruffles, flowers, etc. along the bust. But your chest is already large, and it will only look extra bulky if it’s decorated by pockets and flowers and beads.
- Still want to wear it? Here’s a workaround: Look for cute fabric brooches (try Etsy), then pin them on a flattering location (usually a little closer to your face).
I’ll be honest: I know that a lot of this information comes down to “wear boring shirts.” And sometimes I get so annoyed with the limited choices that I “rebel” and wear a graphic tee or a high collar or a boob decoration. But you know what? Every time I catch my reflection that day, I know that I don’t look my best. I think those rebellious days are OK as long as they don’t become the norm. In a lot of ways, tops do have to be a little more boring on a busty figure just because we already have so much going on already.
But there are so many more components to an outfit where you can show more personality. If you have fabulous earrings, layered necklaces, and a wild patterned skirt, a solid color v-neck tunic tee in the middle is the canvas they all work off of. Not only that, but a plain top gives your fantastic figure the spotlight!
Product images courtesy Bluefly.