I don’t like to gossip about my boobs because they always hear me when I do, but they sure know how to ruin a sundress. Unlike the chests of every delicate frock fit model, my mostly-companions aren’t in the habit of paying attention. One’s always off running some nonsense errand and the other is easily distracted. They’re deceptively large, and though they’re registered Democrats who identify as feminists, my boobs fail to conduct themselves as Michelle Obama encouraged: When tops go low, they do not go high. Not without some sort of buttress, at least.
It’s a thing I’ve long come to accept. I’m lucky to have what I’ve got. I love superfluous daily lingerie and welcome any excuse to buy a supportive investment piece. My gripe is that a majority of these sundresses I want to wear — wisp-y elf clothes held up by spaghetti — don’t make life easy on rebellious chests. And isn’t that the whole point of a sundress? To look effortless?
Too bad that I live and die by the Book of Denial and seasonally forget my boobs are like this. It’s the same topless tango every summer. I stand before a mirror, and I am late. A dress hangs around my waist like borrowed skin as I grow hotter by the minute while trying to figure out just how much of my strapless balconette shows underneath my hair and across my back. The answer is always “too much,” because unlike Carrie Bradshaw, I do not like to show my bra. I’m very modest!!
I have tried a few options that worked okay in the past. There’s the Hollywood Fashion Secrets Breast Life Tape that lets your chest imagine how Edgar felt in Men in Black when the alien who possessed him pulled his face back. There’s the silicone NuBra, which works in a pinch but has to be constantly readjusted and feels like adhesive chicken flesh.
And then, of course, there is Instagram.
The Sneaky Vaunt bra has been all over my Instagram feed for months. I watched countless Boomerang tutorials, both because I was in disbelief and I suppose, also a pervert. I read BET.com’s team review that accounted for multiple sizes; I read BuzzFeed’s coverage and Jacsmeen Bush’s critique on Racked, yet I had no reason to buy it myself.
It wasn’t until I was one week out from a wedding, a slinky Altuzarra dress with ribbon straps and an open back taunting me in my closet, that I began to panic. I needed to make a family-friendly impression at this thing and knew my un-cupped boobs could not be trusted. I called the Sneaky Vaunt bra into the office and then, rookie move, I did not try it on until 10 minutes before it was time to leave for the wedding.
The scene was as I described it earlier: top half of my dress dead around my hips, post-shower/mid-stress perspiration making the sticky boobs too sticky to handle but not tacky enough to stick to my chest. A mess. Weird shapes were created. It took 12 tries, multiple “are you ready yet” knocks and a resolute “this will have to do” sigh. Like taking a family Christmas photo, I could not get everyone to look straight ahead in unison. I had to go with “good enough.”
And it was. For just under $50.00, Sneaky Vaunt did its job. It held me in and kept me audience-appropriate underneath a loose dress without any backtalk. My chest could have used more up, but apart from the party guests who I polled, no one seemed particularly impressed or appalled. I felt self-conscious without the safety of my preferred shape (two pert mangos just below my clavicle) but also, a little free, a little bohemian.
So far, in this world of gravity and backless sundresses, Sneaky Vaunt seems to offer the best solution. I much prefer a proper bra — but I would (and probably will) wear it again. I’ll just complain the whole time. Like wayward boobs, it’s part of my charm.
Photo by Edith Young.