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5 Dress Styles To Avoid

1. Defined Busts

[caption id="attachment_257" align="aligncenter" width="127" caption="Yoana Baraschi, Church St. Trading Co. (Great Barrington, MA - 2006), size 8"][/caption]
I instantly recoil when I see any dress with defined cups, cut outs, or a bustier shape since I can guarantee that my Gs are not going to be satisfied in any prearranged perimeters. The dress above has a lot going for it in the full bust arena though. It's a fit-n-flare style that hits at a modest length and the thick gold sash defines my waist nicely. The actual space up top is ample too; unfortunately, that's where the main problems lie. In the bust area, there's a ruched section articulated with seams. Coupled with the square ruffle-trimmed neckline, it creates a 'shelf' where my boobs are supposed to be. The ruched/pleated bust detail that is meant to articulate my girls simply ends up "maximizing" them.

2. Bulky Knits

[caption id="attachment_258" align="aligncenter" width="114" caption="Old Navy (2007), size M"][/caption]

...or how NOT to do sweater dresses. To my friends, family, and co-workers: why didn't you tell me I looked pregnant in this dress?! I guess the fact that it's a turtleneck/bulky knit/empire waist dress should've tipped me off to the fact that it wouldn't be flattering. Oh gosh. I've worn this dress so often since I bought it; I'm a little embarrassed. Stacy and Clinton would throw this out in a heartbeat if I was on What Not to Wear. I believe sweater dresses can work for DD+ if the dress contains a thin knit, a form fitting cut, and a little space left open around the neck.
3. Spaghetti Straps

[caption id="attachment_261" align="aligncenter" width="110" caption="YA Los Angeles, Jess et Mia (Pittsfield, MA - 2011), size M"][/caption]

One of my friends told me she avoids spaghetti straps because she doesn't want to look "dated, like the early 2000's". She always looks professional and chic so I think she's on to something there. I avoid thin straps because I think they look as if they're doing too much "work" on me. It's as if they're strained from the weight of my breasts. C'mon, Marilyn's straps broke! Whether it was an accident or not, it definitely makes me skeptical of their durability under pressure. **Trust me when I tell you the dress above is 100 times cuter with a skinny red belt, a denim jacket, and cork wedges.
4. Shift

[caption id="attachment_262" align="aligncenter" width="109" caption="Esley; purchased at a boutique in Provincetown, MA; size L"][/caption]

Three words: Too. Much. Volume. I wear this dress to funerals and other solemn occasions so it's no biggie that my body is effectively lost in it. I'm also to blame here. The store was sold out in my size so I grabbed the large.
5. T-Shirt

[caption id="attachment_264" align="aligncenter" width="111" caption="Free People, Church St. Trading Co. (2006), size M"][/caption]

Although this is a yet another complicated cut (three-quarter length, mock turtleneck, & drop waist), this dress stands in for the casual t-shirt shapes I see at places like Urban Outfitters and American Apparel. I'm attracted to this style in stores because it looks youthful and comfy. Sadly, t-shirt dresses are usually made out of thinner material that has a tendency to cling to the body. For the full bust figure, the cling factor highlights the volume of the chest and can cause an 'out-of-proportion' appearance. The fabric can also start to hang or drape. The excess folds are equally unflattering since it starts to look disheveled.

Phew - I'm so glad this post is over. It was ultimately very educational for me, but I had no idea that the grey sweater dress looked like that until I saw the photo. I guess I can chalk it up to the "anything for comfort" motto which used to be one of my style guidelines.

What's your verdict about "bad" dress styles for the full bust figure? Do you believe there is such a thing as a style to avoid or does it all depend on cut & material? How do you feel about summer-friendly thin straps or the popular bustier dress?


  1. I actually think the 'defined bust' dress looks really good on you .... better than some of the dress shapes that are supposed to be bad. Guidelines are just that ... guidelines, not hard and fast rules and also depend on how you want to look

  2. Thank you! I wore that dress to my senior prom. I definitely agree with you about guidelines. When I walk into a store like forever 21 or H&M, I try to use these clues since it can make shopping a little less overwhelming.

  3. I really love this series you've done on dresses. I agree with nearly everything you said except for T-shirt dresses--I LOVE T-shirt dresses! They can be incredibly flattering, you just need to seek out one that is a relatively thick and very stretchy knit, so that it will fit tightly without being too thin or bulgy. I especially like ones with long sleeves. H&M does a couple good ones (as well as, unfortunately, some really bad ones). Actually, finding a good T-shirt dress is a lot like finding a good sweater dress like you talked about in the good dresses post.

    Speaking of good dresses, I'm very tired so I've already forgotten if you mentioned this, but I love casual versions of body-con styles. Big boobs+short torso=tight clothes are the only thing that reveal my waist. They are fine for parties and such but I love wearing them with leggings and cardigans for casual day-to-day.

    You have a great blog here, so glad I just discovered it (not sure how I missed it until now!)

  4. Oh, I think you're right. On my way to work each day, I pass this boutique that has a t-shirt dress in the window. I have a sneaking suspicion it's French Connection. It looks like it would fit all your qualities (it's relatively fit and seems to slide over the mannequin nicely, with 3/4 length sleeves). After reading your comment, I want to stop in and try it on! Also, the tip on H&M is awesome. I'll have to look through their t-shirt dresses next time I'm there.

    Casual body-con dresses? I don't have any, but I know the look you're talking about and it look so, so comfy. I'll have to be on the look out.

    Thank you for the compliments! I've been a fan of your blog for a long time so it's wonderful that you've found mine too! :) I'm so jealous that you get to see the Bravissimo styles in person and your reviews are always the most honest, hilarious & informative.

  5. I am a 32f and love shift dresses because they accentuate my long limbs and minimize my bust... That said I often have to belt them and be careful that they aren't too Tight around the bust even if that means going up a size, particularly love printed or lace styles :) agreed about the drop waist unless the drop is around the hips which is more forgiving and creates less of a "double bump" lol! Thanks for this series of posts, think the quest for the perfect dress rarely includes those of us with larger lady lumps!


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