Those of us out here with larger than average busts know what a pain modestly dressing the girls can be. In the mass-produced clothing industry, tops and dresses are really made in “in size fits most” sizes when it comes to the bust line, and it can be a royal pain when the gazoombas are one size and the rest of the body is two sizes smaller, and no single safety pin is going to hold the top together.
After years of dealing with this issue – and squeezing the ladies into shirts and bodices that were designed for much smaller busts – the dynamic duo of What Not To Wear gave this writer the clues to start the beautiful relationship that has been her way to dress the girls ever since. (Watch a clip here.)
The first thing that Stacy and Clinton always say about large busted women is to have a professional bra fitting. This is essential, actually. Not all boobs are shaped the same, and finding the bras that don’t constrict any one woman’s breast tissue is a trial and error process. If your underwires stick out anywhere – under the arm, in the valley of the gods – you are in a size that is too small. Underwires should be comfortably snug against the body. (As far as comfort in an underwire goes.)
Yours truly FINALLY was fitted by someone who knew what she was doing at a local department store. The woman explained that she was trained at Victoria’s Secret. Apparently, they do things differently there. After getting fitted, and finding out that my cup size was three letters larger than I thought it was as well as what styles and brands fit the best, buying bras on sale from online sources is totally doable.
Once they girls are lifted and separated, it’s on to the fashion trick that keeps the bust from looking like a ski slope if you are not inclined to show a lot of skin. (This happens to everybody.) Basically, using layers, embroidery, overlays, and wraps, the trick is to create a face cleavage. Stacy and Clinton call it the deep V, and for women who don’t mind letting the world see what’s available, showing all that skin is fine. For those of us who prefer more modesty, or who need to work with an office dress code, faking the cleavage is necessary.
Here’s a few examples of tops and dresses from my own wardrobe that address the issue.
The trick works best when the top or dress is empire (pronounced ahm-pier) in style, but can be effective in t-shirts with embroidery.
Camis under wrap dresses that are really made for smaller chested women can make a difference and add a splash of color.
Overlays with a deep V work the same way.
During winter, turtlenecks under a v-necked sweater are an option.
The basic trick, though is to somehow, some way make a fake cleavage using fabric. It de-emphasizes the size, and keeps the ski sloping to a minimum. Darker colors, as always, can help with a lighter color for a skirt or pants. Flared or fuller skirts also help to make an ensemble look balanced.
I’ve also found that ballet, scoop and sweetheart necklines work so long as there is a necklace to distract the gaze. Button down shirts? Sorry, the only way to deal with that is to buy for the bust size, and have the shoulders and sleeves altered down.