Beauty & Style

How to Build a Better BRA Wardrobe

How to Build a Better BRA Wardrobe
Written by Sarah

Lingerie fashion can be positively fascistic when it comes to the breast. The modern bra can make every bosom a perfect, foamy sphere.

While the bottom ala mode jiggles freely in a G-string thong, the breasts are tightly confined — more so than in the 30s when camisoles were the vogue, more so than in our mothers’ day, when women bounced freely in 70s tank tops, and more so than in the early 90s when bias-cut dresses invited us to wear no bra at all.

I myself am addicted to the demi-cup underwire bra. When I take it off at night I feel a dreadful deflation, a loss of drama and spice and oomph. Like so many women, I identify with my bra-shaped breasts so much better than my real and modest ones. Like wearing the same makeup everyday or sticking to the same old perfume, your breasts can fall into a routine…same old bra, same old shape. But the truth is that boobs like a little variety in dress and in undress and that we can be as big and brassy or as soft and sexy as we like, it just takes a little more imagination.


The first time I saw those bras with invisible straps made of sheer plastic I laughed. Now I’ve come around. Asymmetrical dresses and tops with a single strap demand a more creative method of support. One bra really won’t do for all. Here are some building blocks for your modern bra wardrobe:

1. A crossover bra for halter dresses.
2. A soft stretchy bra for t-shirts
3. Wonder bra for “go-get-em” hot dates.
4. A nice white lace bra for the first Monday of every week.

A sheer cashmere sweater demands a bra with few seams and a cable knit looks pretty awful with a padded bra. Next time you shop for a bra, take a swag of tops along and be generous with yourself. A good bra can make you look 10 pounds lighter and a good deal younger.

Buying up big

The seduction of instant cleavage, a gorgeous pin-up silhouette is powerful. Sometimes a pair of heels and a killer bra is like romantic jet fuel. But like strong perfume it’s not a look for every day and over-use of the uber-bosom bra starts to negate the natural beauty of a less superhuman set of breasts.

A “body” bra is like having silicone implants, the breasts look much bigger and they DO NOT move. Foxy in an angora sweater or a low-cut dress, these foamy shells give you porn star curves but really draw attention to the chest. I was addicted to these bras all winter until I started to notice girls on the street with exactly the same look up-front, the generic “Pamela” rack. There’s not a lot of room for personality, erect nipples or even playful jiggling. In some ways this style of bra mimics the silicone implants of film-stars and lingerie models, there is something impersonal and almost insulting about that ideal.

If you want the vavoom, but don’t want to wear a bionic booster bra with chunky foam or lacy little pads sewn in you could try those slithery little sacs made of silicone or saline. Way less dangerous than implants, these chicken-fillet-shaped boosters slip into the bra and curve around the natural shape of your breast. They feel cold at first but by the end of the day are strangely warm and familiar.

I tried a pair of bio-form boobs for a day and felt about five months pregnant. Unlike a padded bra they had a natural weight to them which felt nice. They say this is how Julia Roberts put the oomph into her Erin Brockovich corsets and I believe it. Suddenly you have extra meat under each bosom without puppy fat anywhere else. It was fun to heft about as a 36DD but I would have much preferred these sneaky treats at the age of 13 when it really mattered. If wearing falsies teaches you anything it is the sensation of having much larger breasts which, as many women will tell you, can be both a blessing and a burden.

Big alternatives

For the larger woman taking a break from overly constricting bras might involve some creativity. Most lingerie designed for you looks like armor. And fashion is generally designed for smaller chests.

My girlfriend Marta never lets her fabulous bustage get in the way of being chic. She wears clothes designed for extra support; leotards, velvet lace up corsets and stretch lycra tops. She also refuses to wear “sensible” Mama-style bras. Many prettier styles give just as much support. Big breasts don’t need a generic bra but a wardrobe of styles for different outfits and moods, just like smaller breasted girls. For breezy sports models and sexy alternatives to the maternity model go to or try a lycra camisole for a day of relative freedom. Support is important, but so is accepting your real shape and a week without underwire might be just the trick to discovering a more natural outline. For more information on pretty things in larger sizes call Big Girl’s Bras etc… (972) 475 8110. The lacy goodies on their website look like lingerie not advanced engineering.

Dressing for less

Going braless is not just aesthetic it’s political. No one has jiggled defiantly since they burned the bra back in ’72 and since then fashion has changed too. Lycra and mesh t-shirts mold to pumped up cleavage, sheer fabrics bare the nipple. But there are ways to dress for less bosom and less coverage. Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson frequently go without; they simply emphasize other parts of their bodies: a great collar bone, lovely arms, a graceful neck. Making your wardrobe less breast-centric involves looking for softer styles. Vintage dresses from the 30s and 40s are very sympathetic and so is the lingerie of that era. A silk camisole slip is modest but sexy. Worn under a jacket it is sensual rather than overt sexiness. Suddenly Marilyn breasts seem a lot less chic.

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