It’s gotta be hard out there for the spectacularly busty, those quasi-blessed girls whose sweater puppies are sweater mastiffs.
I mean sure there are some benefits, my BFF can balance a bowl of cereal on hers with neither froot nor loop crashing to the ground, and I’m pretty sure she’s never had a traffic ticket in her life, even though I’ve ridden shotgun as she’s driven the wrong way up a one-way road, singing Blondie at the top of our 19 year-old lungs.
I’m not going to bore you with stuff you already know. I mean honestly, how many of my readers need to be told that those little center halter things or smocked tube tops are not the way to go? With that in mind, here are some styling tips on maxi dresses for the emphatically bosomed.
Spread the Love
And by love I mean visual interest.
If you’ve got big breasts, you already know how much attention they get.
I mean, if my humble starter set has made people walk into walls, I can only imagine what your deluxe editions do. You can’t make someone ignore them, but you can trick ’em into looking somewhere else, too.
With maxi dresses, try something with a seriously eye-catching graphic close to the hem.
Anything that spreads out the attention over your body is going to make you look more proportionate.
This colorblocked maxi from JC Penney is a good example. With the slender model all the attention goes to the bottom of the dress, but on a busty girl, the boom boom on the bottom is going to be balanced with your natural top-heavy pow. Leave the giraffe wedges at home.
Go Big or Go Home
Strong structural elements like a major kimono sleeve or a well-draped asymmetrical shoulder can work to your advantage while little fripperies and those ubiquitous flaccid ruffles never do.
This dramatic black number would be best served on the confidently statuesque (the long necklace is a smart piece of accessorizing when it comes to a monochromatic maxi as it creates length and balances out the potentially overwhelming swaths of fabric) while the Charlize maxi from Kiyonna –honestly the best all-around example of the maxi I’ve found for pure wearability and glamor– would work on any frame.
Remember, when you’ve got a serious sleeve and a plunging neckline, it’s perfectly fine to wear a cami. The weight of the sleeve will balance the look. A good sleeve is a busty girl’s best friend when it comes to proportionate dressing as it balances out the cleave even as it’s enhancing it.
Adjust the Volume
While not technically a maxi per se, the tiered prairie dress is close enough to count for our purposes. Many of us are taught not to wear anything that’s going to add volume because our bodies are big (and loud) enough. Nonsense. Volume is just another tool. Learn to use it well it will serve you well in return.
Although I encourage you to judge prairie dresses on a case by case basis –the wrong tier placement for your body can be the difference between lovely and Laura Ingalls Staypuft– when done correctly, the tiered dress paired with a simply cut bodice can be an excellent choice for those who don’t fall on the Eva Gabor side of the Green Acres equation.
Adding volume at the bottom of the dress balances out any top heavy tendencies, just be sure to keep the frills up top to a minimum.
You want something clean and substantial with broad enough straps to give some structure and, of course, hide your intimate architecture. Look for something where the outer corners of the straps are set wider than your chest and a neatly-shirred bust to ensure your cups won’t spilleth over.
This tall tiered maxi from Simply Be (offered in three lengths) is a strong example. It’s not bust minimizing, but the overall proportion will look right.
Baffle ‘Em with Brilliance
You’re just going to have to trust me on this one, it’s the voice of experience over reason.
A family emergency called Hot Latin Boy and I out of town last week and while HLB was in the hospital attending to his equally hot younger brother (he’s fine –and I mean fine— now) I availed myself of a little retail therapy to sooth the savage breast and, in my exhausted state, tried on a maxi with a small, riotously busy all-over print reminiscent of the fabric my grandmother brought back from her time in South East Asia in the 60’s and 70’s.
Whenever I hit a dressing room, I make sure there’s at least one thing I’m just not even remotely sure will work. Usually I’m right and it goes back to the racks, but sometimes, as in the case of this psychedelic paisley in shades of orange and pink it’s a surprise home run.
While this dress from Macy’s might be problematic for the busty as it’s not especially bra friendly, it is a decent example of the sort of pattern I mean.
The print is so busy it could be one of those Magic Eye things, but it baffles the eye so thoroughly that the effect is to say “lalalanothingtoseehere” over nooks and crannies that might otherwise be accentuated. It made me look taller and more slender than I am and although I can’t find an example I like online, keep the print tight and the cut simple and you’ll be amazed how well it works.