Warm-weather dressing typically requires some specialty bras to pull off, especially if you have a large chest. When you’ve got DDs+ to work with, throwing on a cheap bandeau or going braless just aren’t options. But that doesn’t mean you’re resigned to showing off basic straps or to layering tanks (and sweating your chest off) all summer long. You just need to find the right bra for your breezy summer top, and trust us: Supportive + gorgeous bras *do* exist.
According to Laura West of Trusst Lingerie, “It seems like no matter what you do, you’re always going to be showing cleavage, you’ll show some version of your bra, so it’s really great when you wear something you feel comfortable showing, whether you want to wear something that’s summery or with thinner straps… then it’s less of a challenge.”
With that strategy in mind, we asked the expert to pick the perfect bras to wear with this season’s trendiest and trickiest tops. Scroll below to see how to pull off each must-try pairing.
For a Top With Open Sides
Just like sweatpants, the muscle tee’s open-sided silhouette found a way to sneak into our wardrobes outside of the gym, a move that helped coin the summer of 2015 as the moment that sideboob officially went mainstream. According to West, styling this kind of silhouette for larger-busted women is actually insanely easy: wear your prettiest bra. Think: pop of color, bold patterns or added texture, like delicate lace. “Knowing you’re wearing something that does reveal your bra, you want to pick one that you feel comfortable with [showing] and that it goes with your outfit as well. That way, it’s an added element or an accent, not like, “Oh, your bra is showing.” Your bra is showing because it adds greater intrigue to the outfit,” said West.
For clothing with open sides, try:
Aquila Side Support Bra ($66): Sticking with a muted color palette will ensure your under-arm pop of color feels insanely chic, not to mention the flirty vibe you get from the gorg floral pattern.
Déesse Longline Lace Bralette ($40): Keep the length of your bra in mind when you’re considering what to wear with an open-arm top. According to West, a long-line silhouette will provide fuller coverage along your torso while its high-cut sides will help smooth and contain your bust with just the right amount of flair.
Elomi Maya Underwire Plunge Bra ($68): Yes, you can show off a white bra without it feeling like you’re committing a major fashion faux pas. The trick is to pick one with can’t-miss details like this perky floral pattern so that it feels like an intentional reveal. Play up the perfectly contrasting color of the petals with a bright coral lip.
For a Sheer Top
Let’s face it: A completely sheer top, be it dressy lace, sporty mesh or chic chiffon, can seem sartorially intimidating — you’re really putting it all out there. But according to West, you have more options to pulling off this see-through style than you think. “You either really want to show off the fact that you’re wearing a fun bra or you want to keep everything a little more subtle,” she said. “You could wear a camisole over a bra, or you can look for camisole options that have built-in bras that have legitimate support like underwire, not like the shelf bras. Or you can wear a really fun pop of color in a style that’s a little more full coverage. You want to make sure the attention is on the bra and not the fact that you’re spilling out of your top,” West said. “Think how do you make it look classy, but that you’re hinting at something else underneath.” The solution: “choose your favorite color and let it show.”
For sheer tops, try:
Curvy Couture Seduction Lace Demi Bra ($62): Black lace layered over black lace is the ultimate in seduction. Try this full-coverage but sexy-as-hell number under a sheer black top.
Playtex Women’s Secrets Body Revelations ($22): “[A sheer black top] would look great over something that was red or teal,” West said, and we couldn’t agree more. Sub a pop-of-color bra in place of your bold lip the next time you’re looking to make a statement.
Enell Maximum Control Wire-Free Sports Bra ($64): Honestly, we can’t think of anything cuter than a metallic flash underneath a black lace top. Did you ever think a sports bra could look so fancy?
For a Plunging Neckline
Again, there are a few ways you can go when you’re looking for the perfect bra to wear with a top that plunges down to there. You can either choose one that will hide under that swoop, scoop or deep-V, like Trusst’s Marjory Bra ($80) or rebel against the completely bare-chested look with bras that features next-level edging. “Peek-a-boo detailing can be a classy way to display your bra,” West said. Just make sure your fit is on point when you’re flaunting this style. Berman says, “Plunging bras tend to fuse your cleavage together. Make sure the cup is large enough — a lot of times, you’ll also get quadboob because your breasts just want to come out.” West adds, “Your cup should be bigger and your band should be tighter.”
For clothing with a plunging neckline, try:
ASOS Fuller Bust Nancy Lace Bra ($31): When you tackle the trendiest (and sexiest) bra trim of the moment by wearing it under a more casual-feeling top, your overall look will end up feeling just the right amount of edgy (versus, say, looking like you’re Dakota Johnson’s understudy in 50 Shades of Grey). But if you want to emit a bombshell vibe, you could also pair a strappy number with a sheer top.
Torrid Smooth Push-Up Plunge Bra ($45): Take a sassier approach to this showy styling with a bra that features a sleek color panel. We’re obsessed with the deep plunge and lacy details bra provides.
Le Mystère Women’s Kate Bra ($15-32): If you’re after just the slightest wink of detail to complement a low neckline, pick a plunging bra with barely-there edging that would add an elegant element of surprise to your getup should your bra show.
For a Low/No-Back Top
To nail the business in the front, party in the back styles that are tops with a low-cut or super strappy back, you go backless — and it’s actually less cringe-worthy than it may sound. Women with larger chests absolutely can go the backless bra route *if* you’re getting the support and stability you need from underneath. All that requires is a strapless long-line bra, bustier or corset with a low back. For a completely backless option, or if you’re itching to add an eye-catching element to a more simple low-back garment, slip on a bra with intricate criss-crossing straps. “You definitely want your bra straps to be intentional,” West said. “There’s nothing worse than being that woman wearing a racerback tank top and having a very visible plain bra strap on the side.” Never be that girl again with a bra like that in your top drawer.
For clothing low-cut backs, try:
Le Mystère Sensuelle Strapless Bustier ($79): This bustier ticks every box on our “functional first” low-back bra checklist: the long, side-boned bodice brings the secure support; its seamless, underwire cups ensure a smooth finish under even the thinnest of fabrics and silicone lining acts as that much-needed second line of defense to keep those cups up once you’ve told your straps to beat it. But it’s not all business (that lace overlay!). Says West, “It looks really pretty underneath, but only you know that it’s there,” and that feel-good factor is half of what counts!
Victoria’s Secret Lace Back Push-Up Bra ($63): If you’re gonna call attention to your bra in a low back or backless number, make them stare with this ultra sexy lace-back bra that’s pretty much a statement piece for your back.
Maidenform Women’s Sexy Plunge Bra ($30): This convertible bra doubles as a plunge and nearly-backless bra. The clear straps mean you can conceal wherever you decide to wear them, and the low-cross back means it’s perfect for showing off all that work you’ve been putting in at the gym.
For an Off-the-Shoulders Top
Off-the-shoulders tops are everywhere this summer, and that means one thing: if you want to wear the trend, you’ll need a strapless bra. “Finding a strapless bra that fits a larger bust is like finding a knight in shining armor. It’s a really hard challenge,” West said. “But once you find it, it’s totally worth it.” Tips for finding your strapless soulmate? Berman and West suggest getting the most bang for your buck and investing in a convertible bra equipped with silicone edges or velcro strips so that it doesn’t fall down when you take it for a strapless spin. For bras with thinner bands, make sure your cups are large enough and your band fits snugly. Or, opt for a long-line style — “it stays up better, there’s more of your body to control it,” West said.
For off-the-shoulder tops, try:
Victoria’s Secret Strapless Lace Bustier ($50): This strapless bra comes with some extra support and a flirty cutout front and center. You + your crop tops are way overdue for a reunion.
Le Mystère Soiree Low Back Bustier ($25-79): When you don’t have to worry about flashing your bare shoulders and stomach, a long-line strapless bra is most definitely the sturdiest option.
For a Halter Top
Whether it has you channeling a ’70s glamour babe or ’90s grunge It girl, halter tops are the neckline of the moment. But before you think, “Ughhh strapless again!?,” know that there’s actually a more comfortable bra style that works *perfectly* for this retro silhouette. West suggests the T-back bra. Thanks to its close-to-the-neck straps, the bra not only mimics the high neckline exactly on tops that have matching fronts and backs, but it also allows maximum movement of the arms and a well-deserved rest from traditional straps. Even, if you’re wearing a traditional tie-back halter, most styles are pretty enough to show off. West suggests choosing a bra with a gawk-worthy back that “matches or complements the pattern or color of your dress so that it’s like an additional part of the dress.”
For halter styles, try:
Josie by Natori T-Back Bra ($42): Girls who love minimalist style, this bra is for you. Its thin, single strap shows that the design doesn’t have to be intricate to be statement making.
Marilyn Full Coverage Hidden Wire Multi-Way Strapless ($120): For full coverage, this is your Swiss-army bra. It converts from standard straps to cross-back, halter, and even strapless. This could be the last bra you ever need.
Torrid Pyramid Strappy Racerback Bralette ($35): The search for something just as classy to pair with your date-night halter stops here with this sheer, strappy-backed bra. Consider this the LBD of T-back bras — wear it and feel instantly dressed up.
What are your favorite bras to wear with tricky summer clothes? Tell us about your favorite places to shop for DD+ bras @BritandCo.
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