Most tops can be worn year-round, but what makes a summer top truly, uniquely a summer top is when it boasts one or more (or in some cases, all) of the following: materials with near zero-percent opacity, purely decorative (ie. non-functional) straps, plunging necklines, strategically placed cut-outs, one- or no-shoulder silhouettes, and belly button-skimming crops. It’s the season where flowy caftans, midriff-exposing tops, barely there tanks, and slinky camis abound. But when you have a cup size that’s a D or above, it’s all a big question mark: Can I even wear this?
We looked to Jenny Altman, our favorite bra consultant-slash-know-it-all whose clients range from major lingerie brands to A-list clients, for the answer. “It all comes down to finding the brand that works for you and within that brand, find the answers you’re looking for,” Altman says. “You’re not going to find that bra at Victoria’s Secret or Gap Body, but solution bras from brands, like Chantelle, Wacoal, Va Bien, or Soma.”
Next, it’s all about the fit, especially when strapless styles come into play, because Altman says, “the band will be the only support you’re getting.” Get fitted at the store and when you’re trying on a style, make sure the band perfectly molds to your frame.
“If it’s too loose, the whole bra starts to float away from you and you can feel the band riding it up in the back; if the band is not parallel to the floor, then it’s not a good fit,” Altman explains. “If it’s too tight, it’ll leave red marks on you and you can’t breathe. It should be snug enough to squeeze two fingers inside the band, no more.” Altman says most women are wearing the wrong bra size, oftentimes gravitating toward a band that’s one or two sizes too big and a cup size that’s one or two too small. “If you haven’t been fitted for a bra, that will answer almost all your problems,” Altman says.
So to sum up: Step 1: Find your brand. Step 2: Find your fit. And finally, step 3: Wear any tricky summer top style to your heart’s content—and we happened to pair five of them with a corresponding bra, from pretty lace underwire bralettes (have them peek through the neckline or from an open back) to heavy-duty styles.
By Andrea Cheng