"If you wore that outside, I'd think you forgot to put your shirt on," said my sister. I couldn't really argue with her assessment: Heavy duty people like me often need heavy duty bras to keep our boobs in check, especially if we want to style a plus size bra with our outfits. It's not every day that you see a bra like that being worn without a shirt on top of it.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized: What does it matter if people think you (at best) forgot to disguise your bra or (at worst) thought you got too caught up making sweet, sweet love to your overnight oats and rushed out the door without putting a shirt on? After all, wearing a bra as a shirt (or noticeably under a shirt) is a popular straight size fashion trend, and why should they get to have all the fun?
Admittedly, plus size women have a few more factors to consider, including but not limited to:
- Smaller sizes can easily replace their tops with bralettes, but there are fewer plus size bralette options available. Not to mention the fact that they don't offer much support.
- Plus size women often (but not always) have larger busts. If they do, being seen with too much boobage can garner you some pretty nasty looks, and not everyone is emotionally equipped to do what I do when that happens (stare deep into their eyes while silently mouthing the words "who hurt you?").
So, what's a plus size girl who wants to style up her bra to do? I've put together a few options that will appeal to the modest, the brave, and people who are simply unbothered by the idea of being shirtless.
1. A Racy Black Bralette Under An Oversized Sheer Button Down
The bralette doesn't offer much in the way of support or shape, but since your shirt is oversized, you don't have to worry about there being less structure to your bust. What you do have to worry about, though, is your comfort level. Find a bralette that feels good on your body (Torrid has a great one, so does Hips and Curves), button up your loose shirt, and prepare for the most comfortable day of your life. I like the contrast of the black bra under the white shirt, and I often unbutton the shirt enough to let the straps show.
2. A Hint Of Sexy Bra Under A Breezy Maxi Dress
I love this look because it's easier for shy folks to digest. After all, it's not a requirement for everyone to feel brazen enough to wear lingerie outside of their clothes — just do what feels good for you. This bra acts like a slightly sexier version of a camisole, and it looks amazing peeking out from this Zelie For She dress.
3. The Kind Of Bra That Makes You Look Shirtless
And so what? Your boobs are covered, your print mixing game is on point, and your high-waisted denim shorts cover up enough skin to prevent people from thinking you have also forgotten your pants. If you have a kimono or longline cardigan, you can pull the extra fabric around you when you're on the train or in the grocery store or any other place you don't want a thumb-sucking lunatic to stare you down while humming the theme song from Unsolved Mysteries. I would probably only wear this particular outfit for a gathering with friends, but if I wanted to go out and meet new folks, I'd hunt for a longline bra with a great pattern to pair with it. This Elomi longline bra is pretty spectacular.
4. The Bra (And Underwear) You Wear Under Your Amazing Sheer Dress
No matter what your body type, you can't go wrong with a look like this. I love the idea of playing around with the bra color (neon green? gold?) underneath the dress, and I also enjoy the fact that disapproving people might not notice right away, so their horror will be a surprise.
5. A Strappy Bandeau With A Maxi Shirt And High-Waisted Culottes
This is hardly a reason for people to get bent out of shape — after all, you could arguably call it a crop top. I like to think of the maxi shirt as the compromise of wearing a bra outside of your clothes: I'll give you much more shirt, while simultaneously giving you much less. Admit it: I just blew your mind a little. I styled this with these amazingly comfortable culottes from ASOS Curve, and a Ready To Stare body chain.
6. A Bra Underneath A Totally Sheer Shirt
I would wear this every day, to all events, and possibly even into my bed. If I had to go to work, I'd add a blazer. This look is unstoppable, versatile, and is chic enough to prevent people from saying grotesque things about how they "don't need to see that" or how "women should have some respect." Actually, it might not prevent them from saying those things — but looking this good will prevent you from caring.