Three Tips to Downplay a Large Bust

By Kelly Leguizamon at Teacher Style

Sometimes when I hear people talking about their chest size, I think of that old saying, The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. For some of us with large busts (me! I’m a 34 F, which is the same as a 34DDD) dream of wearing spaghetti strap dresses with no bra. Yeah, that’s not happening for me. On the flip side, I envision some people with small busts dreaming of more fully filling out a bathing suit top or wearing a dress that shows some cleavage. Whatever people dream of when it comes to their bust size, the goal is to embrace what mother nature gave us. We all deserve to look good and feel good, and for some of us, that means learning how to downplay a large bust.

Petite With a Large Bust

Are you someone who is petite AND has a large bust? For reference, I’m 5’ 3”. You’re technically considered petite if you are 5’4” or under. But I’m also short-waisted and have a large bust. There are definitely some challenges to dressing my body type in a way that makes me feel awesome, but it is totally possible. Over the years, I’ve experimented and tried on a million outfits. I’ve also read all the blog posts and articles I could find. Now, I definitely have a few tips for those of you who are trying to dress for your large bust. BTW, I’m a middle school teacher so I try to cultivate a look that does not draw extra attention to my bustline. Below are my three tips to downplay a large bust.

1. Wear V-Neck Tops

White Top + Green Cardigan (similar) + Medium Wash Jeans (similar) + Metallic Shoes + Earrings + Pendant Necklace

This is my go-to neckline to help minimize the look of my large chest. I’ll also do a scoop neck for a nice, open look. However, I still think the v-neck is the best option to downplay a large bust. It seems counterintuitive, if you want to minimize your chest, then you should cover up all of your chest, right? But it turns out that just isn’t true. When you cover your entire chest area with a neckline like a turtle neck or a crew neck, it makes your chest look bigger. It’s like all eyes are on the girls. With the v-neckline, the eye is drawn to the open area on your chest above your actual bust.

2. Show More Skin

Printed Dress (similar) + Brown Sandals (similar) + Earrings

If you’re trying to downplay a large bust, show some skin somewhere else; your arms, your legs, or your neck. This tip piggybacks on tip number one, which was to wear a v-neckline. One reason why a v-neck works is because you’re telling the eye where to look instead of them automatically looking at your bust. One benefit of having a short torso is that usually your legs, and often your arms look relatively long in comparison. Show some skin by showing off your arms or legs or neck. When I say show some skin, I don’t mean anything scandalous or provocative. Here are a few ways to show some skin:

  • Try a sleeveless v-neck top and show your entire shoulder and arm.
  • Opt for a cap sleeve or even just a regular t-shirt sleeve and show most of your arm.
  • Try a three-quarter length sleeve and show some forearm and wrist.
  • Wear a v-neck or scoop neck top and show your neck and upper chest.
  • Try shorts or a skirt and show some leg.
  • Wear sandals and show some skin on your feet.

3. Tuck it in

Black Tank + Olive Bottoms (similar) + Brown Sandals + Earrings + Hat (similar)

I avoided tucking in tops for so long and now looking back, I wish I would have been more aware that a tucked-in top can really be beneficial. I don’t think that tops need to be tucked in (or tied) 100% of the time, but when you have a large chest, I say they should be tucked in most of the time. For me, an exception is when the top hits at the perfect length at the top of my hips and the fabric is soft and flowy enough that it doesn’t create the dreaded tent effect that often occurs with large busts. What is the tent effect? It’s when the fabric of a shirt hangs out in a tent-like way because the large bust pushes it so far out. This is not the optimal silhouette. To counteract the tent, tuck in your top. I like the front tuck (aka French tuck), but I don’t think there’s one tucking technique that’s superior to the rest. You could also tie your top if it has enough fabric or use one of the twist-tee-knot contraptions like this ONE. The real point is that you’re drawing the fabric back into your waistline to give you more of a shape.

Rock Your Large Bust

Now that you have a few tips to try out, I hope you go out and rock your large bust! The point of all these tips is definitely NOT to hide your chest. The point is to dress in a way that flatters your body and most importantly makes you feel good. Happy outfitting!!

Meet Kelly

Kelly is a middle school math and science teacher with a love for reading, casual fashion, playing the saxophone, gardening, cultivating a 100-item wardrobe, and hanging out with her husband, friends, family, and pugs.

In summer mode, you’ll find her at home, reading in her garden. In teacher mode, you’ll find her figuring out ways to maintain a work-life balance and stick to a 40-hour workweek by being uber-organized. You can explore her blog Teacher Style.