Reader Lindsay emailed me this question:
I came across your ‘bra politics‘ post when I was searching for advice on how a larger busted gal could go braless. Specifically, what types of necklines would be flattering. I feel like going without structure on top alters the way the rest of my body looks. I haven’t been able to find any article on the subject, but I thought if anyone could write it, it would be you!
So. As a woman who literally sleeps in a soft bra, this is a challenging one for me. But I know for sure that some of you would go bra-free every second of the day if you could, so I’m hoping my ideas can get the ball rolling and yours can roll it even further!
I agree with Lindsay that going braless as a larger-busted woman will definitely affect how your overall figure/silhouette looks. Our current beauty standard expects a bust that sits relatively high on the frame – the whole lift/separate deal – and if your breasts are large and lack support they are likely to naturally fall more toward your waist. And just because that’s not what society and the Fashion Police expect your body to do doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
But if you want to go braless as a larger-busted woman AND aren’t necessarily wild about making your braless-ness the centerpiece of your look, there are a few things to experiment with and a few more to avoid.
In terms of flattering necklines, it depends on your goals. If your breasts pull downward, deeper scoops and Vs may exaggerate that visual, but shallow Vs (like the ones shown above) would likely work. I’ll be honest and say that I’m totally guessing here, but a slash/boat neckline would likely counterbalance the volume of breasts sitting a bit lower on your frame by drawing the eye horizontally along your shoulder line. (The same style is sometimes recommended to balance broad hips, so the idea may carry over to balancing a low bust. Maybe.)
If you have any concerns about prominent nipples or showing the full shape of your breasts under a top, prints and patterns (again, like those shown above) will help. So will choosing tops with a few strategic ruffles or other embellishment. You’re probably going to want to avoid anything with Designated Boob Room like peplums or even dresses with higher waistlines.
Thicker fibers like ponte knits and ottoman may give a little more structure while super thin jerseys – the kind that virtually every mall-bought t-shirt in the universe is made from these days – will be considerably more revealing.
Finally, a shelf-bra tank may defeat the purpose of ditching an actual brassiere, but will lend a bit of structure and support and can be layered under many other tops and dresses. If you’re willing to compromise a bit. And, of course, adding a jacket to the mix gives you more warmth and coverage.
Those are my ideas! How about you? Any of you folks got tips for going bra-free as a person with large breasts? What are your workarounds? Any necklines you think work exceptionally well?