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Rusted Revolution: The Great Bra Dilemma

Allow us to introduce ourselves:  Our names are Lucy McBride
and Lesley Burr.  We’re two bloggers with a love for fashion, among other things.  Our site, Rusted Revolution, began as a side project – a hobby through which we could channel our observations on fashion, music, travel, food, and the arts, sharing them with whomever cared to look.  Since RR’s birth in early September 2010, a growing Internet following has encouraged us to provide our readers with consistent news, trends, and reflections in the vast realm that is pop culture. 

As a female, I’ve been plagued by this problem since I hit puberty in middle school:  “To wear, or not to wear, a bra?”

The Great Bra Dilemma is something that’s been around since the dawn of tank tops and strapless dresses.  And even if you’re small-chested, like myself, there’s still always the question of nippleage.  How does one wear complex, thin-strapped, low-backed, deep armhole, halter, sheer, leotard, plunging neckline tops without showing your bits, or god forbid, without showing the dreaded (and tacky) bra strap?

Well Rusted Revolution has a solution for you.  And no, it does not involve cutting options out of your wardrobe because of your breast size.  Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it – you should never let your bra dictate what you can or cannot wear.

Over at RR, we have two cardinal rules about bras.  Or maybe I should call them “anti-rules.”  I know they may seem risqué – taboo, even – but I ask you to trust me.  Before I go any further, I need you to read, learn, and repeat out loud these two phrases after me:

1.) It is okay not to wear a bra.
2.) It is okay to show your bra.

Now I know they contradict everything women have stood for over the decades – from the feminist “ban the bra movement” to the more modest days of our grandmothers – but both points are valid, though only in certain circumstances.

Here’s when and how you should wear or not wear, or show or not show, a bra:

strapless top, or dress, poses the most common bra problem for women, and yet it seems to be one of the most popular clothing choices.  The solution is relatively easy – wear a strapless bra.  But I’ve got other options too, and no, not clear bra straps, which fool absolutely no one (in fact, they scream “LOOK AT ME!  I’M CLEAR!” when they reflect the sunlight into your eyes and blind you).  Since strapless bras are the bane of my existence, I’ve come up with other alternatives to use unless I absolutely have to wear one.

  • If you never worry about the nip-situation but always need good support, try the F21 Adhesive Support Bra.  It sticks like a charm and will not come off until you’re ready to peel.
  • These VS Gel Petals are reusable, solve any nip issues, and offer minimal support.
  • Alternatively, the Disposable Sticky Petals from Target are cheaper because they’re disposable.  Stick ’em on like bandaids and you’re good to go.
  • If adhesive doesn’t appeal to you, bandeaus are an easy and more comfortable way to go strapless.  This American Apparel Cotton Spandex Tube Bra is so comfortable and fits like a charm.  The Kimchi Blue Lace Bandeau is equally comfortable, but provides a bit more coverage and has the cute bonus of a girly lace trim. 
  • If you’re the type that can’t hold up anything strapless to save your life, here’s a cute non-strapless alternative that is easy and comfortable to wear, and adds a unique edge to your look.  Layer this Sparkle & Fade One Shoulder Bra under a strapless top for a two-toned look.

Halter/Thin Strap/One Shoulder
These tops are probably the next most-frequently worn.  And though it may be tempting to wear a normal bra with a spaghetti-strap top… DON’T.  It turns the nice, fashionable, dressy top you have on into a sloppy one.  Like the strapless top, this one is an easy fix, too.

As for thin-strapped tops, if a strapless bra or adhesive petals don’t appeal to you, try a bra with very thin, cute straps that don’t have the plastic adjustable slider getting in the way.  The Camellia Lace Bralette, American Apparel Stretch Floral Lace Bra, and American Apparel Stretch Lace Diamond Grid Bra are great options.

Racerbacks are a favorite of mine.  They’re a subtly sexy way to show a little shoulder, except for the dreaded bra strap.  And because a lot of sporty and comfortable tops are racerbacks, it’s easy to forget to put on the proper undergarment before going somewhere that’s not the Plex.

Plunging Neckline
These are the trickiest things to wear.  How do you wear a dress with a daring neckline without a) showing a bra cup by accident, b) flashing the world, and c) lacking support?  Thankfully, stores like Victoria’s Secret exist.

Open Back
The open back can be
one of the most elegant looks on the red carpet, but Anne Hathaway would not have looked nearly as classy at this year’s Golden Globes had she not had the proper support.

Deep Arm Hole
A lot of people are hesitant to wear this dramatic cut.  You could always layer another tank top underneath it, but this top was practically invented to showcase that bra.

Photo by Elaina Donofrio

Choose a fun patterned or sheer one if you want to wear this look out at night to a party:

For a bit more coverage, choose a corset bra.  Two of my personal favorites are the F21 Longline Lace Bra and the Free People Striped Hook and Eye Bralette

As a little girl I lived in leotards with all the figure skating, ballet, and swim practices I had every day.  Though after high school I figured I’d never wear one again, I literally jumped for joy the day I realized they were back in style.  Leotards can make going to the bathroom immensely difficult, but they are so chic, and go with literally everything in your closet.

Photo by Elaina Donofrio

The great thing about leotards is that they’re made out of pretty thick, stretchy spandex, much like a sports bra.  So if you’re comfortable going braless in public, a leotard is definitely the ideal top to do it in.  

Since they are so formfitting, a lot of leotards tend to show every seam and line of your bra, so wearing a standard bra is not your best move.  But if going completely braless is not an option, there are other bra alternatives:                                                                           

  • F21 Adhesive Support Bra                                                                   
  • VS Gel Petals                                                                                                                                      
  • Disposable Sticky Petals from Target

Sheer tops were meant to show off your favorite bras (you know, the super cute lacy ones at the bottom of your drawer that you’re saving for that special someone to see).  Go wild with fabrics and prints, but just be sure that the bra offers enough coverage so you’re not unintentionally giving the public a peep-show:

There you have it – a multitude of easy and fashionable solutions to all of your bra problems.  So next time you’re at that H&M or LF, don’t be shy… pick up a top you never thought you could wear and give it a try. You never know, it might turn out to be the perfect fit.

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