So, you have sizeable breasts. What do you do when you want other parts of you to draw some attention? These guidelines for dressing your chest are for when you want something other than your bust to be the first thing that someone notices about you.
You don’t need to change your build, your shape or any of your parts to dress with style. There is nothing about your body that needs to change in order for you to look and feel fabulous in your clothes. Your shape is exactly right and you should embrace it just how it is. In essence, big busts are a part of who many of us are, and we should not be ashamed of that fact. The road to stylish dressing for anyone starts from being comfortable with your own body, and embracing what you’ve been given.
Every woman will not fit or suit every style of clothing. For women with a large chest, swing dresses can easily look tent-like. Crew necks can make your breasts seem to start at your clavicle. Low v-necks will look porny on you faster than you can say…”my face is up here.” Be assured, there’s nothing wrong with having your breasts on display. But situational appropriateness is everything. Showing more than a hint of cleavage can easily cheapen your look. Here’s how to dress your chest for situational success…
Wear the Correct Bra Size
When your bra fits properly, your clothes will fit properly. This is so important to having a successful, wearable wardrobe. So many of us are wearing the wrong size of bra. A weight fluctuation of even 5 lbs can change the shape of your chest. Consequently, when your breasts lifted and supported properly, you are less likely to look larger than you are. An ill-fitting bra can create unnecessary lumps where you don’t want them. Before you buy any more clothes, go get a proper bra fitting.
Emphasize Your Waist to Create Balance
It’s all about balance! The easiest way to flatter your assets is to create balance between your upper and lower body. Balance your top and bottom by accentuating your waist. Just because you have a large bust, doesn’t mean that you need to keep your breasts hidden. One of the ways to compliment the shape of your large bust is to put focus on your narrowest part. Let your jackets, dresses and shirts show off the fact that you have a waist. It’s the fastest way to avoid looking shapeless.
Wear belts, play around with tucking in your tops with a full or partial tuck, find wrap dresses and waisted dresses that can handle your curves. When you look at a garment on it’s hanger, you want to see that it nips in at the waist even without it being on your body. That’s a sure sign that the piece will keep your waist from getting lost.
Find Flattering Cuts of Oversized Clothing
Voluminous, swingy and flowy clothes are still wearable when you have a large chest. For clothes to compliment your body shape, tight-fitting clothes are not a necessity. You don’t need to avoid oversized clothing. Just employ some tricks to keep your large bust dressed in a way that is balanced.
Keep in mind, though, that bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to covering your chest. Oversized clothing has the potential to make you look bigger than you are, as you can lose your shape completely. Make sure your body-skimming swing dress or boho tunic top fits in the shoulders and in the arms. Tuck in a baggy shirt to maintain a little waist definition.
Garments you choose also need to fit your widest part. If your voluminous top pulls across your bust, even if it is loose everywhere else, it’s not right for you. Sometimes, a top that you can get on your body and fits in the arms and shoulders will have bust seams that are in the wrong spot for you. It’s not you, it’s the top. It was just designed for someone else.
Avoid Adding Extra Volume to Your Chest
When you are looking to minimize your bust line, the last thing you want to do is pile on extra details to the front of your top. If a top has pockets, consider how the positioning of the pockets contributes to the volume of your chest. Pocket flaps right on your chest will definitely make it extra voluminous. Cowl necks have beautiful drape but that drape is a lot of extra fabric stretched across your front. Ruffles, big pleats, folds, bows and buttons all fall in the category of building the size of your chest and drawing the eye to that spot.
Dark Colours on Top
Darker colours tend to recede and lighter colours tend to advance. If you want to downplay your bustline, dress your top half in darker shades of your favourite colours. If your top is patterned (that’s great, please don’t avoid pattern) with blocks of colour, avoid having the lightest colour right on your breasts. That’s exactly where eyes will go. It’s ok to want that, too. Just make sure you are the one to choose when to play up your assets.
Choose Necklines that Flatter Your Chest
V-necks and open-collar shirts are great for drawing the attention away from your chest and up to your face. Of course, when I say this I’m referring to V-necks that are not low enough to show actual breast skin. That would certainly put the spotlight right on your boobs. Scoop necks are also complementary to a large bust.
It is true that the uninterrupted line of a slim, high-necked crew neck or turtleneck can further enhance a busty girl’s largest measurement. But both of these silhouettes are still options when you have a big chest. Simply aim to lengthen the line of your neck and break up the covered-up space between your face and your bust. Try wearing your crew or turtleneck top with a statement necklace, especially one in a V-shape to elongate the neckline a little. Thin turtlenecks can play a worthy role in your winter closet, as they can offer some coverage when you want to look less busty. Pair your turtleneck under a dress that has spaghetti-straps. The neck elongating V-shape of the slip dress works to counter the expansive neck-to-waist territory that a turtleneck enhances. Layered under an open-back top, the thin turtleneck allows you to still wear a bra supportive enough to keep your chest where it is supposed to be.
A blazer is a closet staple that gives shape and structure. It can do a great job at complementing, or even minimizing a large bust. The key is to choose a blazer with long, clean lines. This works to lengthen your torso and, in effect, reduce width. Any time you create long lines on your body, you visually reduce width. This is why a V-neck is such a great neckline. It does some lengthening. Don’t fret about buttoning a blazer over your chest. Avoid a blazer that buttons across your bust, and purchase one that closes below your widest part. That usually means no more than two buttons on the front of your blazer.
Choose Necklaces Strategically
Long necklaces are so easy to come by. While a long string of beads might be thought of as having a lengthening effect, if the necklace bends in to sit between your breasts, it will most certainly draw attention to your chest. Long necklaces are meant to hang straight, not in between your boobs or mistakenly dangling over just one of your breasts. Statement necklaces are a great option for women with bigger busts as they draw attention up to your face, your main centre for communication. Put V-shaped, bold necklaces to good use to lengthen and balance your bustline.
Find a Tailor You Love
So much of the clothing out there is not made to fit us individually. Designers use their own standardized fit model to create their clothing and then size up or down from that sample. Every designer uses their own standard of fit, making sizing really difficult to navigate. Standardized proportions often do not include room for your chest measurements. I find it gives me such peace of mind to accept ahead of time that I will likely need to alter my clothes to get a personalized and proportionate fit. Factor tailoring costs into your budget and add them to each purchase price.
When you are shopping, find clothing that fits your widest part. This will ensure that your breasts aren’t making your clothes look like you’ve outgrown them. It’s a lot harder to add fabric in to adjust the structure of a shirt, for example. It is much easier to nip in a waist or reduce the volume of a sleeve an a shirt that fits properly across your bust.
And Finally, That Gaping Button…
Button-up shirts can be tough to fit over a larger bust. The answer to this problem might be going up a size or two. Shop for a button-front shirt that can button closed without pulling, and then have the rest of the shirt altered to fit your waist, shoulders and arms.
There are a few companies around that make button-up shirts based on your proportions. Try Campbell and Kate out of New York. You can order their shirts designed to fit D-cup and up through their website. Their blog will even occasionally features some photos of us regular, non-model women wearing their shirts.
The Shirt By Rochelle Behrens is designed with a hidden button to keep the button gap from occurring in the first place. Bravissimo is a European company that sells button-up shirts based on curvy, really curvy and super curvy. They are dedicated to dressing women with curves so you may find other great pieces besides just the shirts on their website.
Even when the button-up shirt does up easily without tugging, there can still be a weird and annoying gaping open of the area between the buttons. There are a couple of ways to solve this to avoid an unwanted peek-a-boo situation.
- Wear a camisole under your shirt. This solves anyone seeing inside of your shirt when you don’t want them to.
- Buy some fashion tape (drug stores sell a few versions of it) and put it in the space that falls open between the buttons. This has worked for me on all types of fabric, including the delicate stuff. Fashion tape also works in a pinch to hold up a fallen hem.
- Sew a snap on the inside of the shirt between the buttons. This is a cheap and permanent solution to this gaping problem.
The Joy of Style is all about finding joy and beauty in dressing the body you have. We have so many ways to help you dress for your shape. Invite us over and we will create stylish wardrobe strategies for you. Let us help you love the shape you are in.