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Ask FGG: "Best Sundresses for Busty Girls?"
Posted by Angela in Ask FGG,Plus-Size Fashion
The challenge: fitting a bra under this adorable dress (image via SWAKdesigns.com)

Hi, FGG! I love the comfort and ease of sundresses, but they always leave me feeling over-exposed in the bust. Do bra-friendly sundresses exist? I can't spend the summer in sleeves!

Lightweight, airy and relatively inexpensive, sundresses are pure summertime comfort and can provide welcome relief from the heat. Equally appealing is the garment's versatility, which makes it a great choice for a anything from running errands with the kids to meeting friends for brunch or drinks. But what happens when a full-figured woman has too much up top to feel comfortable with strappy, sometimes minimal coverage across her bust? Fortunately, no one needs to sweat all summer in sleeves if she doesn't want to! Check out some of the styles we located and see if you don't feel cool breezes hitting you already.

Wide-strap sundresses


Being a busty girl myself, I often find myself spending a summertime morning commute coveting the spaghetti-strap dresses worn by those around me. Unfortunately, wispy little dress ties don't mesh well with the substantial, inch-wide bra straps required to secure my boobs -- and those of many a well-endowed reader. While it's sometimes a little trickier to find cute sundresses that incorporate wider straps without looking frumpy, the volume of plus-size offerings this season is impressive. From wrap-style tops to simple V-necks to straight-across necklines with tank straps, most retailers like Avenue, Ashley Stewart, JCPenney and Old Navy (plus sizes online only) include a handful of thicker-strapped options in their summer lines.

Finding the right bustline coverage


Wide straps don't always provide a flattering fit on their own. Unless you're planning to do some bra shopping, make sure you pick dresses that will fit your chest in a flattering way and mesh well with the bra silhouettes you prefer to wear. For example, if you have a drawer stuffed with full-coverage bras with teardrop-shaped cups, a boxy dress neckline probably won't be a good fit. Instead, try a dress style with higher, fuller coverage on top (or pair the straight-across neckline with a balconette bra). Dresses with deep V-necks may require a plunge bra. And don't forget to check the view from the back to make sure you're covered, and choose a bra color that works with your dress whenever possible (i.e. don't wear a red bra under a green dress unless you want it to be seen. Trust me.)

Beyond bra style, consider the shape and characteristics of your chest; a large bust does not always equal bodice-filling cleavage, something I can sadly verify from experience. Despite year after year of disappointing fitting room adventures, I refuse to learn my lesson and remain hopelessly obsessed with deeply V-necked wrap styles. Where scores of other women with my measurements would look like knockouts in the same dress, plunging vees like these only emphasize the separation between my boobs (not to mention their stubborn adherence to this thing called "gravity"). All in all, not the best look for me; I've learned that a scooped neckline like this one creates more natural-looking cleavage. But if you're built like me and crave the vee, take heart--we just need an equally cute dress with a neckline that lands a little higher on our chest--Done.

Finally, if you're still dying to wear a spaghetti-strap, halter or tube-style dress (Torrid has several, as does Old Navy), maybe now is the right time to experiment with strapless or convertible bras. Check out last week's "Ask FGG" for suggestions on how to lose (or rearrange) the bra straps without compromising on support. Or if you simply must wear your favorite bra or feel too exposed in traditional sundresses, this recent Ask FGG on adding sleeves to summer dresses might help. Honestly, it's a good thing I'm broke and cut off from shopping, or I'd be digging out the old, ill-fitting strapless bra to wear under this Lane Bryant tie-front dress. Will someone please order this dress in Andorra brown and give it a good home and the diva curves it deserves? Thanks in advance, readers!

Learn more about dressing to flatter a larger chest, or share your favorite sundress finds in the comments.

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