After 40, going up a cup may be inevitable, especially because of hormonal imbalance and weight gain. But if you’ve already got large breasts and don’t like to show them with the same easiness as Kim Kardashian, the big question “Emphasize or conceal?” might come up to your mind.
Some midlife women prefer to compress their chests or hide them in oversized oxford shirts, loose-fitting cashmere sweaters, and baggy white T-shirts, others opt for suitable necklines, fabrics, and silhouettes to complement their shape, avoiding that matronly look.
Here are some style notes we’ve put together in order for you to learn how to flatter your large bust (rather than being embarrassed).
It’s all about balance
So much of successfully dressing your bust is about creating good proportions. If you want to balance them out a little, you should first learn to emphasize the waist. You can either reveal a fabulous hourglass shape by wearing belts with fitted, shift and wrap dresses or accentuate your curves by tucking in only the front of your relaxed blouse or tee with pants or jeans to lengthen your torso and restore that waist definition. You can also opt for peplum tops.
These are good at taking you from feeling like a lollipop to a more balanced shape – explains Alice Fawke, the founder of an eponymous label for women with larger busts-. Try to pick ones where the peplum flare isn’t too exaggerated or you might feel like the fold of an accordion. Also, ensure that the waist seam (the point at which the peplum starts) is relatively low
The right bra is crucial
Always choose a good bra underneath that supports your breasts and lifts them up. Many women have never had a professional fitting, but it really is important. Finding the right one can quite literally transform your wardrobe; it may sound obvious but it has to be supportive, comfortable and available in your cup size.
Susan Moses, celebrity stylist and author of The Art of Dressing Curves, recommends a full-coverage seamless bra with a plunging neckline for T-shirts, fitted tops and blouses made in thin fabrics. When wearing dresses or tops that are strapless, one-shouldered or racerback, then opting for a bra with convertible straps is the best choice. Instead, “if your desire is to reduce your bust for a very fitted blouse or top, the minimizer is designed to decrease your bust by 1.4 inches and more“.
Mind your neckline
There are several styles to consider when it comes to necklines. V necks, scoop necks and square necks don’t bulk you up with extra fabric and can create an elegant frame for the bust ensuring more balanced proportions. Our favourite is the square one because it draws attention to your decolletage and away from your bust. High necks like turtle or polo’s should be avoided as they often make your breasts appear bigger while the upper body looks shortened.
The key to a flattering neckline for big busts is to break up the distance from the chin to the bottom of the bust, meaning a big bust will not only look smaller but appear to sit higher – says Melbourne’s leading personal stylist Sally Mackinnon-. Wearing a high neckline like a crew neck makes the bust appear like it’s sitting low because there’s no skin to break up the distance between chin and boob. A cowl neck is also a good choice. It creates a soft drape that visually minimises the bust. The idea here it’s to ensure there’s not too much fabric in the cowl – we want to minimise the bust not add bulk to it.
Get the fit and style right
Avoid chunky knits, heavy sweaters, large graphic prints, and anything that is too fluffy or too shiny as they can add bulkiness to your chest area. Also, stay away from elaborated detailing around your chest: tops and dresses with flounces and ruffles can make the bust look bigger. Instead, opt for softer fabrics that can stretch and mould your curves and stick to simple well-shaped pieces.
When it’s the case of wearing jackets and blazers, know that clever tailoring makes such a difference to an outfit (structured blazers can often give soft bodies and full breasts a sculpted, firm look). If you’re looking for staple pieces to enrich your wardrobe, choose bodycon, form-fitting clothes, and silhouettes from the ‘50s and ‘80s or look for specific brands like Bombshell or Miriam Baker.
Divert and distract
There are a couple of tricks that might work for big-breasted women. Wearing sleeve lengths that do not finish near the same height as your mid bust point is one of those. Think of sleeves that puff and give an optical illusion grabbing attention away from your bust and for an everyday look, choose raglan and drop-shoulder style tees and sweaters that provide ease through the chest without looking baggy or oversized.
In terms of accessories, choose statement pieces of jewellery like necklaces worn on the skin of low necklines: they visually reduce the size of your chest because they create a focal point away from the bust.
The secret to dressing stylishly and tastefully as a large-chested woman is to understand your body and what looks good in it, bringing your female figure to the fore with confidence. In the end, your cleavage is an asset that many women might envy you for.