10 Ways to Work a Curvy Silhouette
Where your girls at? Flatter and lift your bustline, slim your waistline and lengthen your legs with these style tricks.
If you’ve been bra shopping lately, chances are that you didn’t buy the size you once did. Whether you’re now a 32C, a 34DD or a 36G, know that breast size and shape normally change with age. Everything from declining estrogen to weight gain or loss, working out and plain old gravity prompts our breasts to get bigger and more saggy and lose their firm, perky roundness. Consequently, our growing and evolving bustline affects how our clothes fit. Here are 10 key tips that can make your bosom a true buddy.
1. Keep your breasts lifted. For a sleek, firm look under clothes, your breasts should sit midway between your shoulder and elbow. You want an uplifting front and side view with a clear space for your torso. Then stand up straight! Keep your shoulders back and down like a dancer.
2. Find a bra you’ll love wearing.Feeling comfortable is key, but don’t get hung up on cup size. You can be a DDD in one brand and an F in another (or even a DD). Choose a smooth T-shirt bra style with lightly lined foam cups for a natural rounded look (great if your breasts are saggy, uneven or shallow on top). Get fitted by a pro in a store or try sites like Lively, ThirdLove, True & Co. and Harper Wilde that offer advice on sizing to personalize the fit.
3. Show your shape. Try tops and dresses that skim over your breasts or cling in a good way. Don't worry: If you’re wearing a lightly lined seamless bra, nothing will show through. Trying to compress, diminish or flatten big or saggy breasts by hiding them in oversized tops will just make them look bigger and more saggy. You may want to go up a size in very fitted sweaters though, simply because it looks more polished. Choose black or dark tops instead of white to minimize volume.
4. Define your waist. A belt — even a very skinny one — really makes the point that your breasts and middle are not actually a unit. Cinched shirtdresses and jumpsuits are ideal choices here, too.
5. Or fake a waist. Suppose you have a tummy bulge and your real waistline is completely MIA. No problem. Just choose dresses with a raised, not-quite empire style that sits somewhere below the bust to a few inches above the waist, or belt any dress above the real waist at that same point. It’s a sneaky way of faking a waist and letting your breasts benefit from the narrow part of your rib cage. When wearing a relaxed blouse or tee, or a generously cut shirt with pants or jeans, do a French tuck (tuck in the front only to restore that waist definition and avoid a tent-like look, but maintain a fashionably undone look at the sides and rear).
6. Wear wrap dresses and tops to get an hourglass shape. This style has amazing manipulative bosom-contouring powers. The crossover shape of a wrap is basically an X that creates a waist or whittles an existing one while holding and supporting your breasts in a flattering dual sling.
7. Balance your proportions. With a fit-and-flare dress you won’t look top-heavy. The fitted top firms and flatters your bust, while the skirt flares to a wide A-line shape. Add a pair of heels (even low ones) to elongate your legs.
8. Wear a tailored jacket. The straight lines and sharp V of the jacket firm up excess curves immediately. Choose a style that’s nipped at the waist and buttons right below the bust to avoid a boxy look. If you unbutton the jacket, keep the waist of the pants defined with a tucked in top or a slim belt for breast flattery.
9. Choose necklines wisely. The inverted triangle of a V neckline visually adds inches to your neck and torso and prevents a big chest from looking too solid and shelf-like. Unbutton blouses and shirts to a V for the same effect. However, if you're a trendy dresser, try the fashionable square neckline, which frames a substantial bosom for a more balanced look.
10. Use statement sleeves to flatter, divert and distract. Sleeves that puff, flare, balloon or flutter are doing more than looking stylish. They’re a handy voluminous optical illusion that has the power to grab attention away from your bust.
Editor's note: This story was adapted from an article on aarp.org.