Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Style Question Wednesday: If you didn't have to wear a bra and other adventures in dressing...

At least once every season, I see a dress that I think is divine.

And then I realize: I can't wear it.  There is NO way to wear it without a bra.  And I have to wear a bra....

It happened to me today, while visiting the Kate Spade website in advance of my trip to NYC.  There it was: the Billie Dress..



here
So pretty in front.  And the back, divine!  But alas, not divine for me.


I have long since given up the strapless dress.  If you are over a D cup, you spend your evening adjusting your bra, looking as awkward as can be.  I think someone like myself  needs to befriend a rich designer who knows how to put boning into each outfit so that the girls are not unfurled to the waist.

For me, this situation is also like the deep V found in many summer dresses and tops.  On a small chested woman, it is chic and stylish.  On me, it is as if I am trying out to be in an episode of Big Rich Texas (I have never watched the show by the way, I only know it exists because I think there were 50 ads for it during the E! channel's red carpet coverage the other night..) or a special kind of movie..

Christopher Kane Bolt-embellished folded wool-crepe dress

And then there is the issue of the gaping blouse if you have a chest - you are a size 6 in the shoulder, a 10 across the chest!


So - and I know this topic leaves some out - any good advice?

And for you women who are less well endowed, are there any things you are unable to wear for the oppposite reason?

I continue to go through all of my clothing!  I saw my spring and summer things this afternoon and while there was a lot, there were not many things that made me think "OH I CANNOT WAIT TO WEAR THAT!"  The only thing that made me feel like that was the porcelain paisley skirt from JC Crew, a couple of tshirts, one blazer and my ralph lauren linen shirts.  I did a first cull, but know that more is to come....

Having said that, I am wearing more and more of what is left in my closet.  Today, I drug out the leopard print Tippi, black ponte pants, black button up blouse underneath.  I say I don't like button ups, but really, I think I don't really love white ones on me or I have yet to find the right white one - will try and do a test in the next couple of weeks... Add Lands End Christmas faux pearls et: Voila!  Very simple and looked great with my high black winter boots when I went to run errands and good around the house in my loafers.



Dreadful photo, but we did 8 pictures tonight and DD and I just couldn't get me to look 10 pounds thinner or to not look like Linda Blair in The Exorcist!  c'est lav vie!
SO: advice, thoughts, your own style questions for Wednesday?  Stay Safe out there!

62 comments:

  1. I'm as flat chested as a 10 year old boy! So I'm on the other side of the boob spectrum. Tops are always loose since there is not much to hide in my case. After nursing two boys, I'm as flat as the walls! In comes the padded bras to make a top look 'normal'.

    I think your outfit looks great on you! The tippi highlights your hair color and you look über chic! Has anyone ever told you that you look like Susan Sarandon? I love her. She still looks hot and she is over fifty!

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    1. Well Wendy you get the prize in my books today for nicest compliment!!! Funny - I nursed both kids and it went the other way!! even when I was 100 lbs a few years ago and was a size 2 on bottom, I was a 4 on top!

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    2. Wendy you are right, she does look like Susan Sarandon! The thought was rolling around in my head and couldn't get out lol. WMM, she is your celebrity twin!

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  2. Great outfit on you,very chic!

    I am on the opposite spectrum too,i am barely a B-cup.The worst are ruched tops,i cant fill them out:)
    Like Wendy padded bras have been my savior!


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    1. Oh - ruched tops are my freinds - now this is interesting!

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  3. I cannot wear deep V necks not only because it's not right for the shape of my face, it looks ridiculous because there is no cleavage to show off. So au contraire, not so chic and stylish. And hate strapless things, I'm constantly hitching up fearful of what happens when not enough is holding up the garment. The silver lining is having some criteria for rejecting things for my closet. ;)

    I love your leopard tippi outfit. Simply casually elegant. And Wendy is right, you DO look like Susan Sarandon!

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    1. Tiffany Rose - so is it only 6 foot models that can wear those deep vees?? Thanks for the nice comment!

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  4. Nevermind Linda Blair. You don't want your head spun around on your neck. ;)

    Susan Sarandon is it! I knew you looked familiar. What a great KS dress.

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    1. I KNOW - isn't that a nice Kate Spade Dress! On the right body, that is going to look fantastic! Am hopping off to see the J Crew new releases!

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  5. You do look a bit like Susan Sarandon - good eye Wendy.
    Lovely outfit, you're every day looks are so much smarter than mine, I'm jeans or gym clothes unless I have a meeting.
    I wear everything, and just work out what kind of bra it needs, I will not be defeated!
    What I have given up though is padded bras - yes no wonder I looked so top heavy I've been wearing padded E cup bras - was I mad? I feel so much more in proportion now and less like a porn star!

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    1. You were wearing PADDED bras? Oh you have made my day with that one - that is a Wendy thing to do!!! What brand do you use for strapless as I am an E cup, too?

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    2. Marks and Spencers, it's an oldie as I only need to use it once year if that, but I don't know if a US E is the same as British E. I know, padded!

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  6. I'm somewhere in between the two extremes. I'm first buying to fit my shoulders, which usually means it fits my chest, but this makes the top loose through the torso. I don't really mind, but it looks better when the fabric is drapier rather than stiff or thick. I should probably take things to a tailor, but I don't really mind.

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    1. I should take things to a tailor, too, but I don;t do that enough and then things fit poorly and I get frustrated! I have to go for shoulders, too - they are critical to me!

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  7. WAR CHEST Well, WMM, I am in the cadre with other Wendy, Ina, Tiffany Rose, the variations of a fried egg brigade. So not much help here, but you knew that. I console myself with padded bras, shelf bra tanks and fact I don't need some upper variation on the Chinese binding ritual to go for a run. But strapless, deep vees (wanna see my belly button) and halter necks can be just as challenging. Even when there's built in structure, I fear I'll end up looking like the Fembot detail of Anne Hathaway's Oscar dress.
    All I can say is good bra fitting and spend ridiculous amounts on a bra that works. That and wear nothing that when underpinned and tailored still makes you fidget. Not worth it.
    BTW, I luff the back of that KS dress, but a back inking of my youth makes it taboo unless it could be my holiday only dress. Look forward to seeing the return of the paisley skirt - and your OOTD is one of my uniforms (the perfect white shirt in silk or cotton THAT's hard.) Happy Hump Day/ V-3!

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    1. HI GF! You are right on good bras - worth their weight in gold!

      Just saw the new releases - only the peony tee and the linen blazer in the bronzed moss appealed to me. That is good - I won't go crazy in NYC in J Crew at least. I find once I get their flashy things out of the way, I still like some of the basics!!

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    2. Not sure what I think of the $260 Pepe Le Pew silk blouse? I mean critters okay, but would you wear a skunk print to the office? Maybe temper it under the $460 cashmere "darling" sweater. That tee is very pretty! And sorry for snark, hour behind and not enough coffee yet.

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    3. GF count me in on the fried egg brigade! My friend Jonathan actually called me Fried Egg Chest the other evening, I couldn't believe it!
      Strapless doesn't work for me because I don't have enough to hold it up and my chest looks thin and pathetic as though I am dying of dyspepsia.
      Oh the JC new arrivals, much material there! I'm just about to post on it!

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    4. Oh Jonathan - bad, bad, bad!!!

      Dyspepsia.....too funny!

      AND NO to SKUNK prints! Unless they are on children's pajamas!

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  8. Well I am all about boobs just not a lot of cleavage. I do not feel comfortable showing too much. I wear full coverage no padding - of course one girl is a bit bigger than the other, and points in another direction but anyhoo. Do better with v-necks and scoop and no texture(cableknits I'm talking to you)..otherwise I look like I have one big boob. I swear by Rebecca and Drew for button ups. They are expensive and not a lot of choices but they will have no gaping. The KS dress is cute but I would avoid first because the neckline is too high, second the bra thing. If I was 30 again I would REALLY consider a boob lift.

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    1. BB - am with you! I am going to go look up about Rebecca and Drew right now! They may be on my list! I am pretty sure everyone's girls are different sizes. and I think one of my ears is lower (or higher?) than the other!

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  9. Now that is a chic outfit. I think you need to save up for a navy or beige pair of the Paige pants - they look so nice on you. It is impossible to wear a white shirt with out the right bra, which is why my two white shirts have been sitting in my closet!

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    1. Hi Knityarns - I am definitely having them look for more of these - they are the perfect Wendy pants! Apparently, there is a burgundy for sure - I am searching out others. They are not cheap, and they say dry clean, but I wash them inside out on handwash in my machine and then hang to dry - ironing was not even necessary!

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    2. KnitYarns, have you been looking for a bra to wear with your white shirts? Or are they just sitting waiting for you to look? :)

      Anyway, I have two nude bras that are perfect with white shirts, I can go check the brand if you would like. One is Calvin Klein.

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    3. So funny Abby, because the black bra I have that I love is Calvin Klein. Very smooth and comfortable. My beige bras just don't fit as well, and I constantly think that I should get the Calvin Klein bra in beige, and then I promptly forget about it, until the next time I see those rather sheer white shirts!

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    4. That is funny, KnitYarns. In a further coincidence, I checked the brand of my other one and it is Natori - a brand that is getting praises further down on this page!

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  10. I am and have always been a member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee--Lucy and Ethel used to be perky but post-nursing they are like empty ziploc bags. Scoop them up into a pushup bra (or at least something lightly lined) and I can go about my day, but there is no longer a question of leaving the house without a bra--talk about "flapping in the wind"!

    Strapless dresses irritate the heck out of me. They were the "big trend" for wedding gowns when I got married (still are, I think) so it was a bit tricky to find something that wasn't. I ended up with spaghetti straps that I had my tailor reinforce so they were actually supportive and sew a bra into the gown so I wasn't fiddling with a corset or anything all day. Was terrified of reaching to hug someone and having a nip-slip.

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    1. Oh the dreaded nip slip! Someone should tell every woman in hollywood that they should be watching that!

      Ethel and Lucy? I have Laverne and Shirley

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  11. I have always thought that only about .01% of women look good in strapless dresses. Unless you have practically no body fat, EVERYONE has that fat that is between your arms and your boobs and hangs over the dress and looks awful. I especially cringe when brides wear strapless, which these days, most do. Why not wear something that flatters you on your freakin' wedding day? (My wedding dress is strapless (it is liberty print - I could not resist) but I will either be working out to the point that I no longer have the between boob and arm fat, or adding straps!) But I digress. So it's not just we large breasteds who should steer clear of the strapless concoctions. Most people should. And a nice halter or other strap can be so flattering!

    For wearing that gorg Kate Spade dress, there are really good strapless bras out there. Mine is from Target of all places. It is like a suit of armor - it goes nowhere until I take it off! It's magical. It is not padded which is key. The padded ones just sort of float over your boobs and do nothing to hold them up!

    I totally understand the whole button front top gaping thing and I have no solution other than tailoring and I am too cheap for that!

    Basically, boobs are such a pain!!!

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    1. I completely agree about too many brides wearing strapless dresses. Only a few can pull off that look.

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    2. JCrew JD - you made me laugh out loud! My husband would be horrified that women would complain about boobs!

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    3. You have a Liberty print wedding dress? I didn't know such a thing existed. Is it floral print or am I imagining it wrong? My wedding dress has a sweetheart neckline with sleeves that go almost to the elbows, so 1990s lol!

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    4. Oops, when I was editing I left out the part where I wrote that I think it must be gorgeous (the Liberty print dress, not my 1990s gown!). I am sure I'd love it.

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    5. Cate - that is too funny! My dress, circa 1985 - yikes!

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  12. It has been years since I could go without a bra, I kept expanding through my teens and early 20's. I have one strapless bra that is quite good but I don't like the attention a strapless dress conjures so they are banished with the exception of resort wear. On our Caribbean vacations I'm quite daring and wear tube tops and string bikinis as well as a couple of slinky dresses without a bra but that is only for my husband's benefit and only in the appropriate setting.

    My recommendation, although you've probably done it already, get properly fitted and spend the money for good quality and comfortable underpinnings. Buying clothing in the size you need to accommodate your bust often means tailoring the garment so investing in timeless and versatile pieces helps ensure you get your money's worth in the long run.

    Unless the wearer has good upper-body fitness, strapless and back-baring dresses can reveal a multitude of sins so they are not the best choice for most women anyway. With my desk job my arms and back are not my best features so it doesn't bother me to take a pass on those.

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    1. Hi xoxo - agree completely - I was seeing even some of those wee hollywood actresses looking wretched the other night..

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  13. I finally found a good strapless bra, I had to buy it for my cousin's wedding a few years ago. I've actually worn it a few times since with other dresses. It stays put, amazingly!

    That first dress is lovely!

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    1. Maybe I just need to keep looking. I would never go strapless, but sometimes a halter would be nice

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  14. I think there is a bra for almost every dress, the problem is to find it! when you need it. With strapless dresses I often use a bandeau style that compresses the ladies and makes the neckine of the dress look smoother, which to me is way better than a strapless with cups that pushes them forward, as I don't need a lot of support. I swear by Natori bras, they fit perfectly and often have clever details that allow you to wear them in different ways (like they often come with a hook so you can criss-cross tbe straps in the back and wear with halter-style dresses). Calvin Klein does or used to do deep V-cut bras that you can wear with a deep V-cut dresses like the one you posted above.

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    1. I have not heard of Natori - tends to stick with Chantelle or Prima donna. WIll look for that brand!

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    2. I bought Natori bras from Nordstroms last year and they are great. Mine are just basic, none of the tricky stuff, though.

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    3. I love Nordstrom for bras.

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    4. will have to check them out! Love that line "none of the tricky stuff!"

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    5. Natori and Wacoal are my favorites (I think the only decent strapless bra I've ever worn is Natori). Wacoal makes great minimizing bras, too--they can help quite a bit on the gaping issue. A friend is about to get a lift, and I am v. jealous, except for the painful part... Also not 100% sure we are finished having kids.

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  15. You do look like Susan Sarandon! I need to go bra shopping - badly. I keep putting it off, but will force myself soon. I'm very lazy, I often just wear a sports bra under sweaters.

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    1. I need to do so too - it is a pain! They get all stretchy and yucky over time!

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    2. hi, in NY you should try The Town Shop on Broadway about W. 82nd Street for bras, good fitters. I think I mentioned this before. VS is crap.

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    3. Plan to do this ( wish DD was still there in school). It's easy crap, though.

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    4. thanks Fred! We have no VS here so unfamiliar with it except what I see on TV!

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    5. If you want to do this, call and make an appointment with a fitter - you can walk in, I have, but with an appt. you won't have to wait. And if something more tempting comes up, this is New York after all, you can always call and cancel.

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    6. You are funny! Good advice!

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  16. Kathy, I'm with you. I hit VS every 2-3 years, find the simplist seamless number with the lining so "nothing" shows, buy 5 and split. I am a very standard 36C there so easier for me than others; now if we talk about fitting the hips, different story.

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    1. AH - we all have our trouble spots, don't we?

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  17. Funny how hard it is to dress oneself, isn't it? I wish we could all have bespoke clothing!

    I'm in the middle range on the boob front. That is why I own way more tops than bottoms - it is so much easier for me to find tops than bottoms! I am quite petite, so I do have some trouble finding tops with narrow enough shoulders and a small enough arm-hole (what is that called? The part of the arm that attaches to the body of the garment).

    I sometimes wish that I was more flat-chested, for certain looks, and I sometimes wish that I had more, for other looks. But overall I am content :)

    Agreed that a good bra is key, no matter what your size.

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    1. Oh, and I really like wearing strapless tops. Somewhere along the line I got a little too modest, so I don't wear them much anymore.

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    2. Abby - what are you seeing in Switzerland - are they doing strapless there as much or have you been long enough to see?

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    3. Oh good question - I haven't noticed, but I will pay attention this summer.

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  18. after reading all these excellent comments i've forgotten what the question is and what bra size i wear!

    i cannot wear crew neck t's that are tight across the chest, esp stripes as they accentuate my size. i've never understood wanting to get bigger boobs, they are heavy and finding clothes to fit is hard. but after reading all these comments i see that we all have issues. i just know that my friends with smaller busts look so much better in clothes than i do. i guess it's always greener on the other side of that fence.

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    1. Janet - I am with you on the crew neck ts and is getting worse as I age!

      I often think it would be easier to be flat-chested, then I think of my friends with breast cancer and I am awfully glad that all is well with the girls! It is all perspective, isn't it?

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  19. After losing some weight a few years ago I lost more I the chest area than I wanted. I love the padded push up bra and have to make sure my bathing suits are padded as well. I find I have trouble with low cut tank tops. Straps are always too long and they gape when you bend over flashing any passerby. I also have problems with scoop necks for the same reason. Larger busted ladies may be worried about showing too much cleavage but I feel like I have to worry about someone seeing all the way down to the lace on my panties when I bend over. Maybe that's why I obsess about matching bras and panties!

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    1. SC -at least if you bend over they can see the lace. they got to get over the Andes and then they run intol that huge red australian rock when they hit my belly!

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