Friday, September 16, 2011

Not for the Rack: Boxy Tops

This is probably going to be one of those blogs, Fashionable Reader, that is part of a longer running series. A What Not To Wear style presentation of things vintage, retro, and modern that really do nothing helpful for those of use generously endowed on the top. Or, to put it more crudely my darlings, here is the beginning of Gail's seemingly never-ending list of what is . . .

Bad for Big Boobs

Here's the thing ~ I tend to try to Post the Positive. That is ~ not use any of my blogs as bandstands for complaining (with the exception of the recent bra and tote posts ~ sorry about that). I like the idea of leading by example, presenting for my Fashionable Readers images of inspiration ~ those who are doing it right. But sometimes the fashion world gets to me ~ a world dominated by the androgynous and the slender, the skinny and the flat-chested, the long, the lean, and the tall.

I am none of these things, and so much of what is designed for the runway doesn't suit me as a result.

And that is the key~ no matter how much money one drops, how expensive the designer label, if one is curvy like Christina Hendrix or Kim Kardashian and does not want to look cheap, one must think about properly addressing one's Rack.

I'm not saying one has to hide it, or be ashamed, or think of one's decolletage as some monster to be controlled. I'm simply saying that one should take the boobage into consideration when dressing and here is a trend to avoid . . . and why.

The Number One Offender is
Boxy Tops 

Now class, please repeat after me: Boxy tops are for boyish figures.

I chose boxy tops as my number one offender because this style stretches from the Channel suits of the late 1950s and 1960s to the t-shirts of today and beyond. The boxy top's number one flaw is that because it has no tailoring in under the Rack, one looks as wide as one's boobs are, for the fabric drops down from the widest point. There is not other way to put this ladies but to say it plain and simple: boxy tops make a curvy girl look fat. Period.

The t-shit above commits the double offense of also having writing (draws attention to the boob area), wide horizontal stripes (80's and widens the torso further), no shaping (boobs will lift the shirt up in font, shifting shoulder seam back, making you have to tug it down all day), and that weird slopey shoulder thing. The suit on the right adds volume because of the bulky tweed fabric as well as being boxy.

Sadly, the boxy top will not die. But no matter where you see or how modern it seems, it it should be avoided like the plague. Yes, I know it has a lovely vintage appeal, please resist.

Norman Norell pantsuit ca. 1972 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1963 Marc Bohan for Dior Rome via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Boxy Channel suits of the 1960s.

But never fear, my dears, for New Look is here! Can't hack Channel, that's OK, because Dior came to our rescue in the 1950s. Here's the kind of suit to opt for if you have a Rack.

Why I like them and what to look for:
  •  At least 3 buttons, close together to stop it from gaping. 
  • Nipped in waist and tailored to the torso, to limit added bulk.
  • A thin but stiff fabric with a little stretch to it.
  • Ending at or just below the waist or with a peplum. (Peplums are not for everyone but I love them.) Makes torso look smaller.
  • Relatively deep v collar, with some detail or interest at the top. This draws eye upward to the face and away from the bust.
A quick word about pockets.

Suit, shirt, dress, blouse, or vest ~ it is best to avoid pockets on the boob area. Again, they add both bulk and emphasis, and are useless because if one puts anything in them one looks lopsided. Best avoided.

However cute pockets on the skirt, especially if you are top heavy? Brilliant idea!

As for t-shirts, I tend to avoid them. Too often the fabric is too thin and see-through, or they run far too long below my waist, or they have cap sleeves making my arms look chubby, or slogans over the breast area emphasizing further and encouraging people to stare. I couldn't even find a picture of a good one to recommend to you.

Instead of the t-shirt, I tend to opt for interesting drape jersey shirts, blouses, mock turtles and the like instead. But, of course, these are only for bumming about, not really for public appearances.


  1. Boxy tops also do not work for short persons - 5' or thereabouts. I don't do cap sleeves either, 3/4 work better or just above the elbow which hides one's 'wings'.

  2. I'm not very gifted in the rack-area and still never wear anything that doesn't bring out my waist - unfortunately that's not much of a trend in Asian countries though, where girls are even more considered to look like sticks (which is just as wrong as it is everywhere else, dear fashion industry). However, the female waist is considered the most impressive part of her body (bringing out the curves), and I'm proud of mine. Hurrrr!!

  3. "The t-shit above commits the double offense. . ."

    Ha! Freudian slip or honest typo? I'm going with the former! : )

  4. It's unintentional but I shall leave it for the sake of amusement.

  5. Ah - most of my tops are boxy. Then again, I have a big belly and no waist as well as a big rack. So I guess I can get away with it.

  6. T-shirts are definitely tricky. I find that a v neck t shirt tends to work better, as it reduces the tendency towards a uni-boob effect. And another factor is getting the right size. Oversized is a sure bet for looking as big as the boobs, but if it's more appropriately sized, possibly with a little stretch in the fabric, it's not quite so bad. And I like designs on t-shirts, but lettering is absolutely verbotten!

    I do find that t-shirt material with draped necks are a lot more forgiving of cleavage though. I think I may start opting in that direction instead of some of the t-shirts I've been getting. Slowly but surely.

  7. I guess you gals would faint if you saw my t-shirts then. I have several with Barry Manilow's picture and/or name on them, an "I Love New York" one (in purple, of course), a navy blue Glenn Miller Orchestra one, a black one that was really meant to be a man's shirt that says "Property Of New York State" and a bunch of other writing on it - the men's was the only one they had in my size.

    Oh, and somewhere I've got some Star Trek ones as well.

    All loose fitting and boxy because I hate anything touching my stomach or back. Don't care if it makes me look heavier. I'd rather look fatter because my clothing is too loose then look like one of those women from who wear it so tight you can see the dimples on their cellulite!

    (Drives mom nuts though. Of course it's partly because she watches way too much of What Not To Wear. I swear, if she quotes Clinton or Stacy to me one more time I'm going to go insane. Anyway, I prefer Tim Gunn. Though the poor man would probably faint dead away at the sight of me! LOL)

    I do love this blog though. Just looking at all these pretty clothes makes me happy. Even if it's stuff I really can't wear because I have no waist. Maybe someday. Got a great endocrinologist now and already lost 20 pounds with him. Unlike the other who told me for two years I had no hope except gastric bypass.

  8. I have chosen the boxy jacket intentionally at times in a vain effort to hide my thick waist. I tell myself that discerning folk will think I made a bad choice rather than notice my 'roll'. I'm tall though, which ameliorates the damage. And I defend a nice t-shirt under a cardigan all day long.

  9. I happen to appreciate boxy type blouses. I don't like wearing anything tailored because I simply don't curve with the blouse. Most tailored blouses are for women with long torsos. I don't have a long torso, so tailored blouses bunch up around my waist. As much as y'all hate boxy blouses, there are some of us who appreciate them.

  10. Begins to si h her theme song: "Do yer boobs hang low? Can ya tie em in a knot, can ya tie em in a bow? Can ya trow em over yer shoulder like a Continental Soldier? Do yer boobs hang low?" And for posterity, mine hang high and low, because they are well, large, but half the stuff on the market make em look low and me fat! Ugh.


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