I’ve been trying on tops for three weeks now, sorting through what shapes are in stores this season and what is most flattering with a bigger bust.
Not surprisingly, I found plenty boxy shaped tops — Sweater Roundup deja vu! This shape doesn’t do a full chest any favors — without highlighting the natural waist, it just looks frumpy:
I played around with proportions a bit and tried a few of the boxy tops with higher waisted bell-bottom jeans. From the front, the top gave me an apple shape, widest in the middle.
But the clincher for me was the side view. My larger chest made the hem of the top much too short in the front, the side sagged below my breast, and overall the top made me look heavier than I am:
As much as I wish I could rock this style of top, I know us big-busted women can do so much better. I scoured the racks at Macy’s, J. Crew, Zara, Intermix, Gap, Scoop, Ann Taylor, Bloomingdale’s, Anthropologie, H&M, Topshop, and Nordstrom and found three types of tops that look gorgeous with a full chest. I’m not going to lie — with boxy and shapeless flowy tops everywhere this season, I had a tough time finding a lot of good picks. But as stock changes over the next few months, keep an eye out for tops with these key features, try ‘em on, and see how you do!
TOPS THAT FLATTER A DD+ CHEST:
1. Wrap and faux-wrap tops
What to look for:
- Fabric that lies flat across the chest
- A snap closure at the top of the cleavage, or an interior tie
- Wraps that hit below the bust line
Here are a few that hit the perfect note.
Parker Faux Wrap Top, various stores and prints ($209)
(Forest print shown below from Shopbop.com)
I paired mine, in a size small, with my double wrap Maison Boinet crisscross belt ($98):
A well placed snap keeps the wrap closed and prevents any embarrassing peek-a-boo incidents:
The wrap lies flat and close to the chest — a great fit!
Diane Von Furstenberg Kallina wrap, various stores ($298)
(Embellished sequin version available in green and gold, $498–a definite splurge, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for a sale. It would be a holiday party stunner!)
I nabbed a size 4:
An interior side tie keeps everything in its place:
Effortless chic is not often a term I’m able to use when it comes to tops, but this lovely silk faux wrap is an exception. It’s super easy to wear: a snap at the top of the cleavage helps the wrap stay perfectly in place, and a side zipper keeps it from being too billowy. I love the draping detail on the back and feel so put together when I throw it on. Though the purple I grabbed at Intermix is no longer available online, Saks and Singer22 have several color options.
I’m wearing a small:
The side zipper draws it all together:
A split seam in the back gives a little pop of intrigue:
WRAP TOP NO-NOS
What to watch out for:
Although I’m a sucker for a great wrap, they’re not all created equal. Here’s what to avoid when you’re looking for wraps.
- A wrap that doesn’t hit far enough below the bust line and cuts into one breast.
A closure that keeps the fabric from lying flat. For example, Ann Taylor’s wrap tops use a hook and eye closure instead of a snap, making the fabric pucker out for unwanted peep shows:
Fabric that’s too voluminous beneath the wrap
2. Tops with details that add shape and give room for a big bust
What to look for:
- Vertical darts — darts that start at the bottom of a top and end near the bust
- Bust darts — slightly angled darts that come out from the side seam of a top toward the bust
- Waistlines that hit at the natural waist, the smallest part of your torso
- Side zippers that eliminate the need for buttons and give a more tailored shape
I found two great new examples, and an early fall favorite on sale:
Bailey 44 Tucked Peplum Tank, Anthropologie ($88)
I can’t imagine this deceptively simple sleeveless shell working better on anything BUT a full bust. When I put this on I felt it was designed just for women like me. There’s plenty of room for the girls, and the pleats are magical: set on a diagonal, they minimize the bust AND draw the eye to your waist. In basic black or an rich deep red, you could easily pair this with a flared, bootcut, or slim trouser, heels, a fitted blazer, and bold earrings for a polished work look and ditch the blazer for evening. It’s also casual enough to do skinny jeans, flats, and a thin fitted cardigan for an effortless weekend outfit.
I’m wearing a size small:
Classiques Entier Nuance blouse, Nordstrom ($66.90 on sale now!)
The ombre color and feminine, no-brainer pre-tied scarf detail pair with vertical darts and a side zipper to make this a no-fuss, easy-to-wear option.
I’m in a size small:
Girls from Savoy Lemon Liftoff Blouse, Anthropologie (on sale for $59.95)
I first highlighted this adorable owl print silk top back in July as a great option with its side zipper and seamed natural waist. Now it’s on sale. What’s not to love??
I snagged it in a size 2.
3. Dolman sleeves
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love myself a dolman sleeve! It gives a full chest some breathing room and, when paired with a nipped-in waist, like this one by Maeve at Anthropologie, is pretty much foolproof. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re in luck!), it’s on the sale rack in-store and sold out online — but if you can find it, it was priced at $40 late last week.
Maeve dolman sleeve, Anthropologie (see store for availability and price)
I’m in a size 6: