Our fashion industry has too often been guilty over the years of forgetting that women have boobs – and they need dressing. YOU’s fashion editor Sophie Dearden, size 34E, knows the problems all too well. And she has solutions…
I have a strong sense of my personal style. I know what I like and the ‘look’ I want to create. I also have massive boobs. It runs in the family: both my grandma and my mum (a 36GG) have a bigger bust.
My mum is incredibly glamorous. She’s busty and proud, and wears form-fitting, V-neck pieces. Covering up makes her feel frumpy and bigger. But when I was growing up, I noticed that people commented on her chest constantly. Positive or negative, it always came into conversation.
Now it happens to me, too. I’m shocked at how many people feel the need to discuss my breasts, and the main culprits are often women. One of my favourite evening outfits is a chic tuxedo jacket buttoned up with nothing underneath. But there are always comments: ‘You’ve got them out’, ‘Wow, that’s busty’ and even, ‘Hello Sophie’s breasts’.
Last month, I was styling a photo shoot and wore a vest top underneath a big jumper. The set got really hot, so I took the jumper off. I thought nothing of it. But when I was chatting to the team and said, ‘Oh, I’m so excited for this photo shoot!’ someone responded, laughing, ‘Is that why you’ve got your tits out?’
I laughed along but was quite taken aback. I felt embarrassed. Did I look inappropriate? Trashy? Then I thought – hang on, I don’t. I just have big boobs. If someone with a less ample bosom was to wear this vest top they wouldn’t expect any judgment.
It has been tricky to get to grips with my shape. I love chic, oversized clothing that hangs in that cool, effortless way. But it’s hard to achieve with big boobs and curves. And designers often forget they are dressing women’s bodies, which come in all different shapes and sizes. So many tops and dresses are designed with small in-built cups – you try squeezing 34Es into those while maintaining your dignity.
As my job involves dressing a broad spectrum of bodies, I’ve learnt a lot about accepting my own. Working with celebrities and styling ‘real women’, I constantly see formidable females apologising for their large bust. I feel their pain, but also grow frustrated that they’ve been made to feel like this.
I’ve made peace with the fact my shape is different – but so is my style. I refuse to wear high-neck tops just to make other people feel comfortable.
I hate to sound clichéd, but if you’re confident in what you wear, you will look fabulous. So it’s time for a breast revolution. Let’s be busty and proud! (And yes, you can wear a tuxedo jacket – just size up and wear a low-cut body underneath.)
First, start with the foundations
A great strapless bra can change your life! Who knew? It isn’t just strapless clothing that these are great for. I get so sick of interesting necklines being broken up with a thick bra strap. However, finding a strapless bra that supports you but doesn’t cut you in half or fall down to your waist is another issue. I have also discovered the art of a bodysuit or slip. I hate putting on a T-shirt and having straps cutting in, the bottom of my bra digging in, my boobs pushing seams through – but a bodysuit smooths everything over and makes me feel more confident. Comfort is key – no one wants to feel like a sausage in a skin! Here are the best of the best, tested by me…
With a firm hold for optimum support, this is perfect under a T-shirt.
Foam moulded cups and flexible wiring at the back mean this won’t dig in.
Has a subtle tummy panel that flattens for a secure fit.
Lined with a power mesh for added control, this is great under strapless dresses.
No need to worry about lace or colour showing through plain T-shirts.
A seamless base for under T-shirts and jumpers, this smooths without constraining.
A clever option for covering thick bra straps under T-shirts or shirts.
The ultimate solution for event dresses, with silicone dots that won’t slip.
Provides a seamless finish under clothing while maintaining a natural shape.
Ideal for low necklines and foam-lined for good coverage.
The low back and nude material will help this become invisible.
This is fantastic for super-low-cut items, without feeling at risk of spilling out.
A stretch cotton-blend jersey style could be worn as under- or outerwear.
Designed to fit with your bra, this shapes stomach, hips and bottom.
This is brilliant under dresses with thin or no straps.
Cut to hug your curves so it smooths without removing definition.
Fab for when you want that extra bit of hold under fitted items.
Sexy and supportive, with its three-piece structure, this gives coverage and lift; it also has a wide hook-and-eye fastening panel plus elastic wings to ensure a comfortable fit.
This has a comfortable one-size fit that adapts to any shape.