Top Tips to Distract from a Larger Bust

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Hi Imogen,

A question I’d love for you to tackle in your blog some time if you feel like it:

I have an hourglass figure, with big boobs. I look best in necklines that are reasonably low (although not barmaidy!). For example v-necks and deep wrap tops with camisoles underneath are both really flattering. They rely on keeping that triangle of skin from the neck to the décolletage bare. BUT, now I’m in my mid-fifties that skin is beginning to lose its tone despite all my efforts with sunscreen. I feel I ought to be covering up with crew or turtle necks, but “the puppies” look enormous and I look matronly in those styles. Any ideas?

Tess

So what are Tess’s options?

Wear the lower neckline, but put a larger scale necklace that takes up space over it so it doesn’t look too bare (and the skin is more covered).

Wear an open necked buttoned shirt, leave the buttons open to the bust, but it tends to cover more skin – also wear a necklace to fill in the space.

Wear a lighter pinkish toned crew neck top with a darker coloured lower neckline waistcoat or other lower top in a darker colour over the top.

Wear a skin-toned high neck top with a darker or brighter coloured low neckline top layered over it.  See the post I did about this option.

Jewellery always helps to distract from a larger bustline – wear larger scale pieces to draw attention away from your bust up toward your face.

What tips do you have for Tess?

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17 Comments

  • You Imogen pretty much covered it all. All I have to add, is that if there is a problem part anywhere concerning your body, place the focus point of attention somewhere else. Maybe a gorgeous bag, showy bracelets, whatever..

  • Imogan, thanks so much, these are great answers to my question! I especially like the light crew/darker waistcoat idea (and that asymmetrical Karen Millen waistcoat is great).
    I've always been a bit jewellery shy, so I'll have to experiment a bit more with that.
    Thanks again.

    • Hi Tess

      I’ve been jewellery shy too in the past, but with bigger boots you simply HAVE to come up with creative idea to downplay the girls. I find scarves to be a big big help. While wearing funky jewelery everyday isn’t my thing (I prefer jewellery that sits in the space between my throat and neckline only suitable with dressy outfits), I have a large number of printed and plain scarves that I wrap around my neck to get some coverage.

      This also works as a far easier way to add prints and colors that are in trend to my outfits. I keep tops neutral coloured (preferably dark) so that the girls look visibly smaller, and a scarf with small prints to get coverage.

      I do think the vest over crew neck is a fab idea. I also love the last trick and have tried that personally – it does wonders!

  • I was suprised by the choice of a strapless dress for someone in their 50's. As I got older I've stayed away from spagetti straps or tank tops on their own. I wouldn't even consider a strapless top. Am I being overly condervative?

  • Depends on how voluptuous Tess is elsehwere. If she has any rolling at the upper torso a tight top under a strapless dress will look ghastly.

    Love the shirt plus necklace, v with cami or cache-coeur.

    But mostly, relax and wear your moderate v-necks! I would rather see the natural aging on a woman than see her stuffed into a turtleneck. In the sunny climes women of all ages just go about life showing some skin.

    Northmoon, only way I would remotely consider strapless would be a formal gown with serious, engineered built-in support.

  • A subject near to my heart (literally)! I love the options you've presented here. I think my next wardrobe additions need to be a vest or two and some great necklaces.

    Scarves too, can be used to draw the eye upward and mitigate a large bust + higher neck top. One of my go-to options: drape around the neck, tie loosely just above the bustline to create the illusion of a v-neck.

  • Definitely have this problem. But also have the short neck, giant shoulders that come with an inverted Triangle/Apple shape. I look heavy on top so I usually return to boring black. I'll try some of the necklace ideas.

  • Vicki – yes true!

    Metscan – draw attention away – that's the idea of the jewellery, or maybe a pattern on another part of your body.

    Tess – glad to help.

    Northmoon – I never said skin-tight – I said skin – TONED, and strapless doesn't have to be tight – and it is over the top of another top, so not revealling. I would not suggest spaghetti straps for someone who needs a bra as they have a large bust!

    Duchesse – shirt and cami are great.

    Sal – thanks!

    Deja – yes scarves also do the trick.

    Anon – keep the necklines lower if you have a shorter neck. Wear cami's under shirts so you can unbutton a little further. No need to wear black, just make sure your top half is a little darker than your bottom half, many medium value colours are often more slimming and receding than very dark colours.

  • Fortunately I don't have a sun-damaged chest, as I was never a sun-worshipper and don't have that kind of skin, not being a blondey type. Though I have nice skin, I an in my 50s and my skin does not have the texture of a 20 or 30 year old's. But I agree with Duchesse. No décolettés that go down to the nipples à la Madonna, but I look horrible in high-crews like men's t-shirts or in tight turtlenecks. I did find cowl necks flattering in cold weather, when they were in style. Almost everything I own is a v or a moderate scoop. But scarves are soft and lovely.

    Necklaces can attract too much attention if you aren't very careful.

    Duchesse, I don't think the Queen, who is a good generation older than we are (and who has always been as busty and as short as I am) even attempts strapless any more, even at the most formal State occasions imaginable.

  • A silk square hankerchief tied around the neck or a scarf can help hide skin while breaking up vast expanses of chest area.

  • I am narrow above the shoulders
    wide shoulders and bust
    short waist
    long slim legs
    My rules are:
    Widen the head – blowdry hair to give width and volume. keep hair shoulder length or higher. Glasses in proportion to small face though so they look as if they fit well.
    Widen the neck – wear a scarf and usually other jewellery
    Narrow the bust area using clothes that “skim” the curves not “cling”:
    Vertical lines through the bust/shoulder area – scarves, necklaces, buttons, seams, long lapels (not wide across the shoulder) or diagonal lines eg wrap top.
    Avoid horizontal lines at bust level especially wide stripes that stretch a lot. Sometimes horizontal striped tops are generous enough to fit well but I would probably add a long necklace to break up the width or wear a vest over the top
    I wear my tops longer than waist length because I am also very short-waisted & it visually lengthens and narrows the upper body area
    Add width to my long thin lower body -A line or full skirts, hem details such as print or details such as horizontal frills, panels or stripes.
    That’s the theory but the shops don’t always provide what I am looking for!
    Sportscraft is a good brand for being a little more generous through bust and shoulders than many other brands, Also Jacqui E can be quite good.

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