Style Tips For Busty Gals

Have you ever tried on something in a store dressing room and laughed so hard at your reflection, the salesperson came to check on you? I have.






Fashion is often designed for women who are built like boys, so it makes finding clothes that fit us busty gals a real chore. Long tops made of stiff fabric can make us look as if we are wearing a tent. Crossbody bags are tricky. If we let the bag slip to the back of the hip so that the strap rests between the “girls”, they become the center of attention… like beacons in the night. Any embellishment or ruffles bring more attention and add more volume. Gathers and draping details at the neckline can make the bust look even more significant. Large stiff collars and waterfall lapels add more bulk to an area where we have enough already. The location of buttons and the unfortunate placement of prints can be amusing, which is never a look I aspire to achieve.


Structured jackets with thin or no lapels such as the quilted texture faux leather one I am wearing here are my best options. Soft thin sweaters that do not add bulk such as this cashmere one from Everlane are the only type of sweater (jumper) I ever wear. The fit is also essential. Never wear items that are too large since extra fabric equals extra girth. Too small means I don’t leave the closet wearing it.


The jacket worn in this post is by Antonio Melani from Dillard’s last year. The black straight leg jeans are from Chico’s last year. The bag is several years old by Tahari via T.J.Maxx. The short boots were from The Frye Company last year.






Scarves can add volume where we don’t need it, but they can also provide balance and take the emphasis away from the bust. I always try to keep the knot and draping above my bustline but not too tight around my neck. A knot or drape that rests six inches from my chin is just right. The ends hanging straight down and loose creates vertical lines which minimize. Score! The scarf in these photos is almost sold out again, but I do have another shipment on the way, so stay tuned here. In the example shown, I folded the large square scarf on the bias into a triangle and tied the two ends into a knot and moved it over to my shoulder with one end in front and one in back.


A strong foundation in good working order is more important than what you wear over it. Don’t expect the same bra to serve you well for a couple of years. Pay attention to support and fit. As soon as I realize a bra is no longer doing its job, out it goes.


Many people write to ask me which bras and undies I favor. The most comfortable smoothing and supportive bra I have ever worn is the Long Tankee by Shapeez.com. The next style I get will be the Ultimate style because it is a better choice for most tops other than those that are cut low in the back, at the shoulders or with a very low neckline. The Tankee does not offer complete back and under the arm smoothing because it has less coverage. These bras were designed by a woman who actually wears them, not a male engineer/designer who thinks he knows what will work for us. When you visit Shapeez.com, you may use this code (Susan10off) for 10% off any non-sale item from today until Jan 31st. As for panties, I favor the Vanishing Edge High Leg Brief from Soma.com. Please note: I will not make any commissions for sharing this information with you. As always, I am just sharing what works so well for me.


This is an excellent time to share a funny story with you. One of my first jobs in retail included creating all the displays and windows for Belk stores in my area. As I was walking through a store one day, a tiny, elegant woman stopped me to ask, “Where are the step-ins dear?” I had never in my life heard that term so I had to ask for more information to figure out precisely what a step-in was so that I could take her over to the lingerie department and show her where the panties were.


I share my honest personal experiences with you here and use myself as a model because other than Mr. Mickey, I haven’t found anyone else who will work for free. We hope you have a great weekend!


Susan Street

Blogger for SusanAfter60.com

35 Comments
  1. Informative, as always, Susan. I also don’t like blouses with pockets over each “girl.” Just adds bulk and draws attention where it is not needed. I heard some designer on television say they (breast pockets) acted like stoplights saying, “Look at me!”

  2. Thanks for including the information on foundation garments. I see too many women of a certain age who think they don’t need any. Even if you are slim, you body changes after 60 and it’s good to have everything shipshape. It really makes a difference.

  3. Shapeez has made a real difference for me, thanks to Susan’s recommendation. I am sharing my experience as a petite woman, 34DD in a regular bra. I chose the Silkee short, which is the unlined version, as I don’t like to add any extra padding to my bust. (I tried the long-tank version but it was too long for my torso, would show through pants, & I didn’t want to have it hemmed; it also felt constrictive.) No more straps falling down, no more unappealing back fat (or extra belly pooch from the constriction of a regular bra band), bust is supported and minimized, and it never feels tight. I feel so confident wearing these and look slimmer overall! They are expensive bras and with shipping (not-refundable btw) even more so, but I think they are well worth it, thus far.

  4. Thanks for the tips for the well-endowed gal. I know the girls are there (grown women, actually), but everyone else doesn’t need a show.

  5. Bras are the bane of my existence. I was always asymmetrical and then surgery for breast cancer left me even more so. Even with reduction surgery the radiation treatments continued shrinking the affected breast so I remain lopsided. I have a prosthetic but have never felt right wearing it. The most comfortable bras I have are very unstructured and non-padded. Fortunately I bought several to have in reserve because the specific style I love is no longer available. Sigh.

    1. Kathy, I also have the same issues because of breast cancer and reduction surgery and radiation. Have you ever heard of Knitted Knockers, a knitted or crocheted alternative to prosthetics? You might want to check them out. They have a website which is very informative. https://www.knittedknockers.org/. They are soft, lightweight adjustable, Free of charge.

  6. Great tips! Loved the step-in story. That’s what my mother and grandmother called them. Hadn’t remembered that in years.

  7. Thanks for all your great advice for busty ladies. I carry my weight in my bust & wide shoulders.
    It’s so difficult not to look like a guard on the football team.

    Bebe

  8. I hadn’t heard the term “Step-ins” in decades but that’s what my Mother and Grandmother called them.

    Regarding the Shapeez Ultimate, they have been an answer to prayer. I have sloping shoulders and was forever fighting with straps. No longer. And they are so comfortable. When my husband suffered a heart attack, I spent 14 nights sleeping on a cot in the hospital, wearing that bra all day & night with zero discomfort.

    Additionally, as a busty petite, I’ve found that adding shoulder pads to my tops provides better visual balance.

  9. I won’t wear necklaces that fall below the bust-line. The “swing” when I walk draws attention that I don’t want. A choker style or just below but no longer.

  10. Oh how much I giggled at this post!! The crossbody bag problem drives me nuts and I’m just average size in that department. And the step-ins!
    Such funny stuff.

    1. The best way to put on the Shapeez bra is to step into it and pull it up, not by the straps, but rather along the top/sides of the cups/body. Pulling up by the straps repeatedly may cause them to eventually come apart.

  11. Had to chuckle at the step-ins. The Shapeeze bras are step-in also. That means I get two “step-ins” per morning – keeps me balanced

  12. Thank you, Susan! As usual, your blog provides some of the best advice available! I have a similar body-type to yours and have trouble finding cardigans that flatter. It can be difficult to find a thin but elegant knit that’s not overly long. I assume it’s best to avoid buttons and pockets, too. But even when I find a clean and simple cut, I have issues figuring out how to wear a cardigan—covering my chest or pushed to either side of my bustline. Does anyone else have this problem?

  13. There’s an excellent lingerie store 6 blocks from where I live where I’ve been buying what I call “anti-gravity” bras for a couple of years. I know from experience that a good, well-fitted bra is almost life-altering — it not only gets the girls up where they belong again so you look younger & your clothes fit the way they’re supposed to, but it does away with slipping straps & pinchy spots. I’m finding (unhappily) that even tho I’m not overweight, things aren’t as tight & taut as they used to be, I’ve got squishy bits that create little rolls in the most unattractive places & I’m just busty enough for gravity to make some nasty inroads. The store carries a large range of Shapeez, and I’ve made an appointment for a fitting late next week. Honestly, I can hardly wait! LOL! Thanks for the detailed information, Susan. I don’t know if I’d ever have tried these without your input. [Have never heard the term “step-ins” before, but my (very British) mother & g-mother called them our “smalls”.]

  14. Thanks for sharing Susan. I’m wondering if you have breast implants? You were much smaller chested in your younger photos. I got implants 20+ years ago after 2 babies left me with with “marble in a tube sock” breasts. Even implants tend to sag a bit after several years. Some say you should have them replaced after 15 years, but I haven’t had any problem with mine. I’m all for loving our natural selves but if a procedure can improve your self-esteem, I say go for it.

    1. All of my parts are original. After gaining and losing about sixty pounds more than once in my life, the “girls” were the last bits to go down in size (at least somewhat).

  15. Susan, your hair is longer and styled differently. Looks fabulous. I am letting my white hair grow out finally and am loving it. Certainly is time at 76. Have been saving your posts for over two years…now I have got to figure out how to follow you. Again, you look “mahvalous dahlin'” as we say down South.

  16. Hello Susan. Thank you for the advice and the referral to Shapeez. Unfortunately, Canadian readers of your blog and visitors to to the Shapeez Canadian website are not offered any promo codes whatsoever and their shipping charges are double that of our American neighbours. I have placed an order with the company nonetheless and look forward to trying this garment.

  17. I am going to order a Shapeez bra, and I wondered if you feel the foam cup makes you bubble out the top. I have found that happens to me when the bras are cut lower in the front and with foam cups, even when I have been fitted with the proper size. I’m hoping the Shapeez will not do that. I know most minimezers flatten the breasts, and that’s not attractive either!

    1. I do not have cup overflow with the Shapeez bra. The formed cups do not have much padding at all but they do keep the nips from showing through, and they shape the bust nicely in a natural-looking way.

  18. I was excited to find a Busty woman who could recommend a bra. But was disappointed at the price. Not in my budget. So I’ll keep looking. Love your tips.

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