Big Boob Problems: What To Wear When Your Assets Make Shopping A Slog
Editor Vicki shares her tips for fellow fuller-busted gals.
I have a tricky time shopping, and it’s for one reason and one reason alone – I have massive boobs. I’ve written before about my 36FF (verging on a G) chest in these pages, and have even gone for a consultation for a breast reduction, but sadly I don’t have the €8,000 required to hand and if I’m honest, the thoughts of major surgery terrify me.
If I had a penny for every time someone told me to count my blessings with them, I’d be very rich indeed. But anyone with a figure that’s seen as disproportionate by silly brands with their narrow sizing will know my pain – a big bust or bum may be on trend, but unless you’re prepared to wear Lycra 24/7, shopping is zero craic.
I’ve worked around them in the past, avoiding anything too structured and just staying pretty casual, or else letting them all hang out – hey, I work in the media! Now though, I’m in my mid-thirties and have just been promoted to a more corporate position, meaning serious meetings with people in suits. It was time to smarten up my act.
See while I’m not plus-sized, I am top heavy. What fits my shoulders and waist simply won’t fit my boobs; everything gapes, pops, strains against my chest. I didn’t want to spend a fortune having clothes tailored, I just wanted to buy some simple outfits that wouldn’t make me feel like a nanna, a heffalump or too buttoned-up and boring.
When I asked my Insta pals their recommendations for stores with good, cool workwear, I got more responses asking me to share my findings than answers. So I knew it was going to be a case of pounding the pavements, braving the dressing room and doing the groundwork myself. Here are my hard-won tips for those with a bigger bust…
Wrap dresses are not always your friend
People think that a crossover cut on the chest is great for big boobs, but it’s not always the case by any stretch of the imagination (or material). Yes if they’re jersey and actually cover your nipples, they’ll highlight a small waist but I often have to wear a modesty-protecting cami if I’m not in the mood to ash my bra.
Body con IS your friend
While it’s daunting to wear something tight and stretchy because you might fear it’ll show off your lumps and bumps, it’ll actually show off your figure and curvy shape instead of hiding it under drapey fabrics. Shapewear will help smooth out the tummy area if it worries you! Spanx are my BFF.
Buttons can be a total nightmare
I can’t tell you the amount of shirts, playsuits and button-down dresses I have literally busted out of, pun intended. Avoid unless you’re prepared to go up a size or two, and even then it may not work. Gaping is the bane of a big-boobed gal’s life when it comes to shirts, but I got a Ralph Lauren Heidi blouse on Zalando.com and it’s a perfect Oxford shirt in stretchy cotton. They’re €120 each so not cheap, but come in lots of colours, keep their shape and will literally last years.
V-necks are flattering and minimising
I enjoy a V-neck, as it draws the eye towards your waist, and makes the most of your cleavage without looking indecent. Crew necks can often just emphasise a big chest, so flashing a bit of boob is often more flattering. The key when buying a jumper or t-shirt is to look at the shoulder seam. It needs to sit right on the peak of your shoulder, not down the arms, in order to be flattering. Polo necks are good too; a nice turtleneck is totally flattering, and a peplum will highlight your waist and balance out your hips.
The cut of a dress is really important
Sweetheart necklines, square necklines, off the shoulder and ruching are all a good idea, while dresses with a built in corset are a great bet too. A Bardot top can be ideal; as long as it’s not too confining a fabric you can wear your regular bra and tuck the straps down. The sleeves will distract from your chest. Shoulder cut outs are also flattering, as they draw the eye away from the chest and still let you show a little skin.
Always size up in blazers and coats
I know it’s kinda depressing to go up in size, even though we’re all aware that high street sizing is ridiculous and varies from piece to piece, let alone shop to shop. Outerwear is meant to be comfortable, and to close when it’s bloody cold out, so don’t be afraid to reach for the higher label, it means nothing.
When you find something that suits, get multiples
I have the same polo necks, jumpers and tees in several different colours in my wardrobe. I love the Victoria’s Secret Ultimate V-neck and M&S Crew fits in tees, and Zara polos, but fund what works for you and stock up.
Your bra is SO important
It may seem like it goes without saying, but a good, supportive bra is the most important item in your wardrobe. I have two I adore; a more structured one from Fantasie and a sheer seam-free Glossie by Gossard; I own each in several colours, as above! Get measured, make sure you’re comfortable, and your assets will look their best and you’ll be comfy.
The best brands Vicki has found for a big bust:
- River Island, Oasis, Warehouse: Generally pretty good in the boob department; better than high street competitors like Zara and & Other Stories, anyway.
- Fuller Bust on ASOS: The bits are few and far between, but you’ll get the odd top and dress that take a big chest into consideration. Their fuller bust swimwear is great.
- The Pretty Dress Company: Perfect for an event or even a fancy big meeting. Most of their dresses are boned, and designed with a fuller bust in mind.
- Zalando: I’ve found spending a little more on brands like DVF, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren means a better fit all round, and you’ll find them cheaper on Zalando. I’m new to the site, but a total convert!
- Littlewoods: You’re pretty safe shopping online with V By Very – their clothes have a good bit of give in the bust.
- Marks & Spencer and Debenhams: Lots of different cuts and shapes for variety. I’ve really fallen for M&S of late, and designers at Debenhams are always VG.
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