Check out previous posts in the Dressing your Body Series: Intro to Body Types, Intro to Body Proportions and Neck Length. You’ll learn how to assess your body’s specific proportions and choose figure flattering clothes.
Bust size is a tricky topic for a number of reasons but there’s no doubt that it is a factor in how to dress your body. Some women want to enhance their size, some women want to minimize their size, and for some it’s not much of an issue. It really depends how you want to present yourself. Let’s dive into why this matters and how to dress your body specifically.
Classifying bust size: Large, regular, small
Most women know whether their bust sizes is large, regular, or small but there may be factors you hadn’t considered. Remember, I’m talking about bust size in relation to your body. It’s all about proportions. It’s possible to have a large band and cup size, say 40DDD, but still have a regular sized bust if it looks proportionate on your body. Here are the proportions to factor in:
- Cup size – This is the most obvious measurement. Larger cups = larger breast size
- Shoulder width/size – Larger shoulders will make bust sizes look smaller in comparison.
- Rib cage size/Bra measurement – The larger your measurement around your rib cage right under your breasts, the smaller your breasts will appear in terms of cup size. For example, a size 40D may seem smaller than a size 30B in terms of proportion.
- Waist size – Smaller waists will make breasts look larger in comparison while larger waist lines will make them look smaller.
|Wrap dresses||Wrap dresses can make small busts look even smaller. Choose a form-fitting wrap dress so your shape isn’t lost.||Just like small-sized women, you’ll want to wear wrap dresses that skim your figure.||Great for women looking to minimize their bust size. Stock up!|
|Form fitting tops||Form fitting turtlenecks and sheath dresses can be a great look for smaller bust sizes – Will make bust size look larger.||Excellent look – just make sure not to go too tight in formal settings.||May need to be careful that your bust size isn’t over-accentuated.|
|Cleavage||Women with small breasts can wear very low necklines without looking scandalous – Definitely not work appropriate but in casual environments this works.||You’re in the same boat as large busted women, be careful not to expose too much!||This is personal preference, but may need to be careful with cleavage exposure, especially in the work place.|
|Necklaces||Long, short, statement – All necklaces will work on your body type.||In general, all necklace lengths will work!||You’ll want to avoid having necklaces caught at the bust. Collar length necklaces will draw attention up to your face, while longer necklaces will emphasize your curves.|
Women who fall into the large category generally have a top-heavy silhouette, or a small rib cage, small waist or small shoulders in comparison to their breast size. Some may seek to minimize their large bustline while others may prefer the top-heavy look – It’s a personal preference.
To minimize, wrap dresses and tops are perfect and there are bras designed to reduce appearance of larger breasts. Jessica Simpson has a large bustline and her small arms, waist and shoulders make it look even larger. You’ll see that in a wrap dress, her bust size is minimized while the form fitted top accentuates it.
For the most part, if you’re a woman with regularly sized breasts, you don’t need to dress around them. Depending on the context, you may borrow from the other classification guidelines. Jennifer Aniston is an example of this – She can wear strapless, form fitting, low cut dresses with ease.
Women with small bust lines may simply have a small cup size or have competing body proportions that make breasts look smaller (large hips, large waist, large shoulders). Wearing form-fitted tops becomes important in this case so that your figure is not lost. See below, Nicole Kidman in a loose wrap dress vs. a form-fitting dress.
Do you need to dress around your bust line? What have you learned works for you?