Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not for the Rack: Backless Tops

The second in our multi-part installment on what not to wear if you are a Lady of Substantial Means (as it were).

Boob abuse!

I have a mug of tea, Fashionable Reader. I'm packed for FenCon. I'm ready to blog. (On the subject of FenCon I have managed to pack everything into a carry-on and a tote ~ although not the tote. Amazing. I never do that. The result is a sinking suspicion that I have forgotten something.)

So here we go, more on what's . . .

Bad for Boobs: Backless

In honor of the recent Emmy Red Carpet and the fact that the backless dress shows its elegent head all too often, I take this moment to remind all the well endowed of my readership that not matter how much we may like it, backlessness is not for us.

And here's why . . . No matter how much I may hate the hunt, no matter how much I may hate the heat rash and the red marks and the groves in my shoulders and the extra fabric ~ I wear a bra in public. Period. No questions, no contest, and with very very few (fully supportive) exceptions.

Backless dresses do not allow for a proper bra.

I do love the backless dress. I think it is a way to be sexy without being trashy. It certainly suits the well-toned back and nice little A or B cup, but the rest of us require support. Pasties and low-back halter-top under-wires just don't provide enough.

Hubert de Givenchy dress ca. 1958 via The Indianapolis Museum of Art

There are some lovely vintage looks that are backless, sadly I simply have to resist. I will sometimes opt for something with a lower back that I can still wear with a bra. But otherwise I suggest one leaves this style to the smaller chested amongst us.

On the bright side, my dears. For those of us shaped like Alexia, there certainly is a style to suit, it just happens to be over a hundred years old.

1880-1882 via Manchester City Galleries

I leave you with this ray of hope. Lady Christina showed the world at the Emmys this year that a lady with curves and an aversion to sun can rock the red carpet, making all those overly-tan size twos look, frankly, a little sad.


  1. Now that IS a dress that suits her cleavage much better. And the fact that she's just gorgeous doesn't hurt!

  2. Backless is an even more extreme no-no if you happen to have a back rack. (Warning! Not for those with easily turned stomachs! Yes, folks, it's from People Of WalMart!)

    This is one of the things I want to change when I become famous. (Decided it's not a question of if anymore. It's a question of when. All I need to do is keep plugging away until I find someone who's brave enough and intelligent enough to recognize talent when he or she hears it.) I want to start a plus size fashion line that won't be just the same old "skinny girl clothes made bigger" crap but stuff made for our own special problems. Including elegant dresses with backs! (And sleeves!) Retro inspired. 40s, 50s, 70s - no 60s, they're over done. If they bring back hippie clothing one more time I'm going to start strangling people with love beads!

  3. Ohh Christina Hendricks. She is the ideal woman, as far as I'm concerned. There are goddesses who would kill to look like Christina Hendricks.

  4. People with white skin shouldn't wear white, beige, cream, silver or nude colours - it's too draining - frontless or backless

  5. I have a serious girl-crush on Christina Hendricks. I think it makes my hubby sad, but she is freakin gorgeous. Love her!!
    PS you should check out my Emmy Fashion post!Its a simple best/worst/?? post, but I had fun with it:

  6. I used to show off my decolte-area but when getting middle aged now, I have decided to turn it around, so I love to show off my back. And yes, I have a rack and I very rarely can wear anything without bra, but this can be done with taste and elegance. I have made myself wool mix top with low cut back. I have measured it so that it just covers the bra back and if the back doesn't stay below neckline, it's possible to put little straps with snap buttons inside the clothing. Bra back goes through the straps and secures it from showing from the neckline. You can also put similar straps on the shoulder and in front, where ever you need to secure bra shoulders or back from showing.
    Here's example of what I'm talking about: me and my low back top

  7. I'm not very gifted around the upper area, but would still avoid backless.

    Backless makes me vulnerable. It exposes a part of my body I can't watch, and the next arrow might hit me there (seems like I might have a few pretty old genes in my bloodline *lol*). Interior designers advice NEVER to sit with the back to the room, and backless does this very thing to me.

    In Asia, the nape of the neck is supposed to be a very erotic area. I always feel exposed when my neck is visible, so I prefer biker jackets with small collars, scarves, open hair etc. Exposing my whole back would feel like going with an exposed rack, and that I avoid in a place where guys tend to gape at your *coughs* t-shirt print *coughs* before they hit your eyes.

  8. Even if I could go backless, I wouldn't. Because I know in my heart of hearts that the day I have to wear that backless dress will be the day I'll get a huge zit right in the middle of my back.


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