Boobs are a surefire conversation starter. Did you go up 3 cup sizes after you had kids? Did you have a breast reduction? Have yours gotten larger as you’ve aged? Most women I know have something to say about their chest. Especially when it comes to getting dressed.
Now, not to offend anyone but I work with many women who are well-endowed naturally, and most of these women struggle with what to wear. Dressing for a large bustline can be a challenge if you don’t know what you’re looking for - or what to avoid. You may see a cute top that looks fabulous on a small-busted woman, but put it on and it’s all wrong.
Yet knowing what to wear and what to avoid can be quite confusing. While there are many x-factors that determine what will work for your bustline and your body type, I want to offer a few guidelines to help you get the best fit and make dressing for a large bustline a little bit easier.
1/ Avoid banded sleeved tops – Short sleeves that are banded, especially in a contrasting color, do nothing but draw attention to your bustline and make you look bigger than you are. Plus, they’re a little to ‘cute’ to look appropriate with a larger bustline. Opt for a more sleek sleeve to create a more streamlined look.
2/ Avoid gathers above, on or below bustline – In short, if your top or dress has gathers anywhere around the bustline it will visually add pounds and you may even be asked if you’re expecting. Gasp! Instead, choose a top that has a smooth front and that gracefully follows your curves for best effect.
3/ Create waistline emphasis – with a larger bustline it is important to wear clothing that nips in at the waist to avoid adding pounds. However, this does NOT mean that you want to draw attention to your waist. Simply wear clothing that accentuates your curves without drawing unnecessary attention to your waistline area.
4/ Avoid anything boxy, especially jackets in stiff fabrics – Boxy tops and jackets do nothing for your curves but with the added influence of a stiff fabric they really become the enemy. At the first sight of a stiff, boxy top or jacket, run! Instead of hugging your curves they stand away from the body and make you look much bigger than you are.
5/ Breast pockets or details – If your chest is on the large side don’t wear something that’s simply going to advertise that fact. Instead, play it down by wearing tops, dresses and jackets without excessive adornments such as pockets (especially with buttons), appliques, ruffles or other trim. They’ll simply draw attention to where you’d rather not have it. Wear your brighter and more adorned items below the waist, around your face or even on your feet!
6/ Knits are your BFF – When you have curves the best option for tops and dresses will be knits, rather than woven fabrics (think button down shirts). They conform to your body, hugging it in all the right places. Leave the crisp button downs to the men. But ensure you wear a knit that has some substance. Some of the knits you’ll find these days are sheer, clingy and show every lump, bump and bulge. Opt for something that has more weight to it with a little bit of Lycra for best effect.
7/ Open necklines – Anything close fitting or tight, especially turtlenecks, will simply amp up your bustline and make you look bigger. An open v-neckline can minimize your bustline and enhance your silhouette. If it’s too low and show’s too much cleavage, add a camisole underneath.
Another thing that can make a big difference is to get a great fitting bra. This may seem like common knowledge, but wearing a great fitting bra will make all the difference in how your clothes fit. If you haven’t been fitted in a while, have a fitting (you just may be surprised!) and buy new bras every few months. They’re not made like they used to be and having an ample bosom will put more wear and tear on your bras. Straps lose their stretch and don’t fit like they should, so pay close attention and know what your needs are. Also, ‘the girls’ should be mid-arm in height, equidistant between elbow and shoulder. If not, chances are a new bra is in order.
Editor’s note: While I don’t recommend wearing a crisp button down shirt, some women just can’t say no. For you, there is a wonderful line of tops and dresses cut specifically for the large-busted woman from http://www.carissarose.com.