As a petite but larger chested lady I have struggled in past summers with uncomfortable sweaty bras, finding tops that match my thick bra straps and ones that hide the assortment of beiges, blacks and whites which dominate the DD+ range of underwear. This year, I’d had enough.
I was concerned about comfort and the opinions of others but after going braless to a few lectures at the end of last semester (out of sheer laziness more than anything), I realised that the latter was not really an issue because either nobody realised or they were polite enough not to say anything. But comfort still remained a worry, especially if I wanted to go a bit further than from my bed to a lecture theatre, a 5-minute walk away.
I’ve accumulated some hacks over the years on how to live the itty-bitty-titty life with a bigger bust, so here is my 10 step guide on how to ditch the bra this summer:
- The tighter the better
I have fallen in love with elastane/spandex blended fabrics. Most commonly used in Lycra, elastane is usually blended with other fibres to produce a stretchy fabric, which when used in a top, has a sports bra effect and just holds everything in place.
- Look for structure
Tops with darts or plunging necklines with a tighter band under the bust imitate the structure of a bra without being uncomfortable.
- Tie up tops
I recently bought my fist tie up top and I love it! It’s reminiscent of a bikini structure but offers more coverage, so is appropriate to wear away from the beach. I’ve found this trick works best with a plunging neck line as opposed to a halter neck, which offers less support.
- Stitch it up
If you buy clothes that fit your chest, you can adjust the rest of the item to fit too. My new favourite hack is buying larger bralettes and bikini tops and sewing an inch or two off the band so it fits comfortably. You can also use a needle and thread to adjust/add darts to an item of clothing or shorten a strap.
- Go low
When wearing a bra, your breasts are often held up higher than they sit naturally and I’ve found that tops with a high neckline emphasise this difference, so I prefer to wear lower cut tops
- All in ones
Bodysuits, playsuits and jumpsuits- my favourite ones usually follow one of the above points and are either tight or structured or low cut.
Comfy and covering, bandeaus can provide the tiny bit of support you need to pull off an outfit or make a plunging neckline more work-appropriate, however, unless you’re willing to superglue it to your skin, it’s going to fall down. A lot.
- Sticky stuff
Nipple covers and dress tape are no longer just red carpet accessories- you can use them in everyday wear. They are for women of all shapes and sizes, here to save the day and ease your mind if you are worried about a nip slip, too much side boob or getting hard nipples if there is a breeze.
- Accept your limits
As much as this post is about going braless, there are limits to what you can get away with as a bustier girl. Stairs, brisk walks and dancing can pose threat to your modestly (and comfort) if you aren’t strapped into place, so be prepared to hold yourself or you clothing in these situations, and for any exercise venture, I’d recommend a sports bra.
- Stop giving a crap
At the end of the day, nobody’s breasts are perfectly symmetrical, or the exact same size and if you haven’t had surgery, they probably don’t sit right under you collar bones. So stop worrying what people will think; ditch the boulder holders and go au natural!
I hope my tips will help you find clothes in your own wardrobe or in stores that’ll let you go braless this summer, because in this heatwave, I for one am ready to burn the bra.