Today’s column is brought to you by a tweet that I received the other day: “Paging Frankie Grad. Where can I find nice summery tops that work with big boobs?”. A very good question. The fashion world is renowned for ignoring boobs and providing clothes that wouldn’t accomodate a couple of raisins, never mind melons. But when the summer hits, things get worse – spaghetti straps, off-the-shoulder, cutaways, sheer bits. In the land of shopping it often feels like hot weather + breasts = don’t even go there.
“Why is it so hard to find a strappy top that doesn’t show your bra?!” cried Pooler Amy, when I broached the subject in the office. She’s right – despite the average UK cup size being a 34D/DD, wifty-wafty tops that cover bra straps are incredibly hard to come by (FYI, I have come by a few below, so fret not). “And it’s the fact that summery tops are so thin,” she added. “It means that my bra is basically on permanent display from May until September”.
“I keep seeing these stylish women on Instagram wearing little low-cut blouses that look so chic. But I know if I were to put one on I’d look like Pammy nineties” said fellow Pooler Hannah. “I feel like I’m having to avoid everything.”
There are many things I don’t understand about fashion. Why are the labels on knickers so big? Why are changing rooms so hot? Why do they put fiddly buttons on the backs of dresses, instead of poppers? But the boob thing really gets me. Most of us have them. We’ve always had them. We probably always will have them. So, why are our clothes not addressing (or dressing) them? And I’m not even just talking about big boobs. I went into a lovely clothes shop the other day and tried on a dress, only to quickly discover that I couldn’t fit my average-sized boobs in it for love nor money. There just wasn’t enough fabric, even when I went a size up. I left the shop feeling like Jordan.
With over 17 million Google hits on "summer tops for big boobs", it’s clearly a topic that many of us relate to. And, in an attempt to answer my SOS tweet, I’ve been asking around, both IRL and online, for some tit-friendly tips. Here we go.
Try a vest top
OK, so pretty camisoles with straps wider than an eyelash might not yet exist, however, there are some lovely vest tops around that not only offer the liberation of a strappy top, they will also cover industrial-sized bras. & Other Stories and Boden are great for simple, scoop-neck styles, while Violeta has a couple of button-down options. If you’re looking for something fancy, head to Me + Em for The Perfect Silk Vest, which comes in hot pink and khaki and is one of their top sellers. Or, for a bit of summer frill, try Hush's black broderie top. If your boobs can consider going bra-free, Uniqlo’s bra camisole top comes with extra built-in support.
Get a bodysuit
This tip was inspired by Amy’s mum’s friend Jennie, who has taken to wearing a swimsuit in non-poolside scenarios, due to the added support that it gives. In fact, wearing a bodysuit in place of a top has been recommended to me a couple of times, as, thanks to the stretch and structure, they can sometimes mean you can go braless – the dream. If you have a million pounds then Wolford do the most amazing stretch-jersey bodysuits, if you don’t then try H&M’s square neck number or & Other Stories’ striped one.
Buy a wrap top
I know, I know – say the phrase ‘wrap top’ and thoughts of all things frumpy come to mind. However, following on from last year’s wrap dress revival, this summer wrap tops are having a bit of a moment. A favourite among The Pool office, where wrap tops win is on their ability to be adjusted depending on boobiness. They also nip in at the waist thus stopping ones torso turning into one big blob. Whistles, Next and Warehouse are your wrap top go-tos, whilst Baukjen currently has a lovely number in the sale.
Try a summer shirt (without buttons)
One of the big hurdles when it comes to boob-accommodating summer tops is finding something with coverage that isn’t a) boiling hot or b) looks like a sack. Here’s where the summer shirt comes in. Also known as a boho blouse or a breezy blouse, these little beauties keep your waps under wraps without making you look matronly. John Lewis’ And/Or is a treasure trove of summer shirts, as is Hush. Whistles has some lovely styles coming in for the new season (yes it’s that time already), whilst my pick is M&S’ leopard print open neck blouse. All of them are button, and therefore gape, free.
Get a bra – one that you like
If, when all said and done, the chances are your bra is going to be on show this summer, then you might as well make it a bra you like. Beija London offers lovely lacy styles which run up to a G and Lara Intimates does colourful, sporty styles up to an F. If the thought of an underwire is making you weep, Figleaves’ Millie Lace Bralette and Freya’s Fancies Bralette get rave reviews.