“I never knew you had boobs,” a friend said to me the other day. I wasn’t wearing a revealing, low-cut top at the time; just a crew-neck wool jumper. A 32E, I had to accept long ago that my boobs, quite literally, get in the way of a lot of things I’d like to wear. I’ve spent the summer layering camisoles under wrap dresses and wondering how anyone can wear a Réalisation Par dress without flashing their breasts, so I assumed that my rack and me could go unnoticed with a simple knit.
But, as I’ve come to discover, dressing bigger boobs is harder at this time of year than any other. It’s officially roll-neck and turtleneck season, an uneasy time for anyone above an A cup because the silhouette tends to emphasise boobs in that unflattering “Hello, Matron!” way. And since knitwear is not only a staple but a veritable trend this year – think Chloé, Roksanda and The Row’s autumn catwalks – this could be the trickiest winter for boobs yet.
I’m not even a little bit interested in the terms 'reduction' or 'minimiser'. I just don’t want to push them into people’s faces this winter; nor do I want them to stop me wearing this season’s key jumpers
Of course, fashion’s relationship with boobs is quite the, er, handful. Vogue’s assertion a couple of years ago that the cleavage is over fails to recognise that busty women can’t help being busty, and that their breasts aren’t an accessory they can cast aside in a bid to stay on-trend. And then there’s the fact that fashion designers persist in creating sample sizes only with skinny, tiny-breasted women in mind. Movements like Chidera Eggerue aka The Slumflower’s #SaggyBoobsMatter are doing much to celebrate big boobs and challenge the scenarios that are often deemed the preserve of the small-chested in response. Here’s the thing: I do actually like my boobs the size they are and I’m not even a little bit interested in the terms “reduction” or “minimiser”. I just don’t want to push them into people’s faces this winter; nor do I want them to stop me wearing this season’s key jumpers. So, I will be wearing roll necks; I’ll just need to be inventive with the way I style them.
Use roll necks for layering
A thin version, like & Other Stories’ merino-wool turtleneck, under Acne’s camel Deborah deep V-neck jumper not only looks stylish (and keeps you warm), it also splits up the line of your outfit, meaning you won’t feel like your boobs are on display in any way. The same principle applies with printed roll necks. Wearing print may sound intimidating if you have big boobs, but I’ve found that an all-over pattern can be very flattering. Try out this season’s new favourite animal print, zebra, with this jumper from Warehouse, or go for colour with Paper London’s Dolly striped turtleneck.
Try a cardigan
Cardigans are another of this season’s knitwear staples and – hurrah – they’re big-boob-friendly. Ganni’s soft, fuzzy Evangelista style is surely the ultimate cardigan, with lovely tortoiseshell buttons. Rouje, the epitome of French-girl chic, understands the need for a classic, versatile wardrobe with a feminine feel, and its cardigans are a big part of that. The Gegene style conceals the buttons under a ruffled placket and also has flared sleeves that combine for an elegant, streamlining effect. If you prefer something a little less fussy, choose Cos’ relaxed cashmere style.
Choose crew necks with detail
When it comes to crew necks, subtle details are equally key to flattering your boobs. Ganni (again) started the eyelet trend with its iconic Julliard jumper last year and it’s now prolific on the high street. & Other Stories’ sugar-pink version has cleverly placed detailing that skirts around the chest, while the open-work detail on Mango’s yellow jumper is strategically positioned and made me feel more in proportion.