If boobs are a character in the story of getting dressed, they’re often cast in the role of antagonist—liable to send the whole operation spiraling into chaos. Today, they’re causing the buttons of your blouse to pucker; tomorrow, they’re preventing your strappy top from sitting right. Perhaps this is why historial styling logic has often asserted that the solution to styling boobs–particularly big boobs–is to style around them. This can mean sacrificing aesthetics in favor of practicality, or attempting to conceal yourself completely. It’s a frustrating philosophy, to say the least, and it’s rooted in a lack of imagination.
To flip the narrative on its head, we asked stylist Mecca James-Williams to turn a classic big boob styling “don’t”–wearing a bra as a top–into an emphatic “do.” Scroll down for five outfit ideas to bookmark as inspiration.
#1: When You’re WFH, But Still Want To Look Put Together
While you might want to banish your sports bra to the bottom of your gym bag, I beg you to reconsider. A sports bra provides the holy trinity of big boob benefits: full coverage, support, and comfort, but it also can shapeshift into anything you please. Here, Mecca paired a taupe sports bra with a sheer top, relaxed pants, and black boots.
“I think when you add a sheer top, you get the effect of your boobs being out there in a bra but there’s still a bit of coverage,” she said. Dress it up with a pair of heels or boots, or dress it down with sneakers or flats—it’s as versatile as it is comfortable.
#2: Reverse-Layering Is the New Layering, Says Me
Who doesn’t believe in the transformative power of layering? And who doesn’t love a good shirt-sweater-jacket triple threat? Since spring is dawning on us, prepare to emerge like a butterfly from your cocoon (puffer jacket) and behold… the most glorious reverse-layered spring look.
Mecca paired a denim bra top over a floral midi dress and light wash jeans, creating a multidimensional look that’s fun and functional. Find a bra top that excites you and doesn’t read like your everyday bra—that means no obvious underwire or clasps—and embrace the Backwards Day energy. Bonus tip: if you love a dress that really doesn’t fit your boobs right, layer with a bra that really does.
#3: POV: You’re a Poolside Limeade Glistening In The Sun
Don’t be afraid to rummage around in the lingerie crayon box! Bring a pop of color to your outfit with a vibrant bra, like Mecca’s lime green mesh one, and let it peek out of an unbuttoned short-sleeve blouse for a bit more coverage.
“A lot of people with larger boobs, and me for a long time, just want to wear black [bras],” she said. “Spring is coming, it’s about to be really warm. I want to show women that they can wear bras in different colors.” If you’ve been searching for the right time to wear that one bright bra that’s been sitting in your drawer for months, take this as a sign.
#4: Let Your Lingerie See the Light of Day
A black lace bra + high-waisted knickers x a black mesh dress + oversized black blazer = a mathematical equation for the perfect going-out look. It’s pretty much foolproof, and a testament to the notion that you shouldn’t have to pick between giving your boobs or your legs their “moment.”
“If you’re scared of the sheer trend, use a dress or top as your sheer layer over a bra that isn’t going to show through, like an opaque bra,” said Mecca. Tweak to your liking!
#5: Sidewalks Are the New Boardwalks
It’s definitely not swimsuit weather yet, but that’s no reason to neglect the prime bra-top real-estate that is your bathing suit drawer. Reinvent a statement-y bikini top as an actual top, pairing with colorful high-waisted pants like Mecca did. If you’re on high-cup spillage alert, throw on a coat for maximum coverage, +10 points for a dramatic trench.
“You don’t have to stick to a solid black or grey because you don’t want to show off your boobs,” she said. “You have to play with what you have.”
Et voila! Tips perfect for the above-60-degree days of spring. What are yours?