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Dress Styles for Small Busts

by Stacey Kole

When it comes to picking the perfect dress, flattering a small bust can often be a source of frustration. But take heart, as numerous actresses and countless supermodels are members of the small-chested family. They’ve simply learned fashion tricks to make their assets work for them. From adding embellishments to balancing out the hemline, some basic style rules will soon have you proudly flaunting a fabulous frock.

A Firm Foundation

A dress is only as pretty as undergarments allow it to be, so don’t skimp when it’s time to select a bra. Opt for a gel-filled or padded push-up bra to fill out the area or choose a balconette bra -- a style that cuts horizontally below the bust line -- to give added support and extra lift. While you may be tempted to try a dress with built-in boning for help with sculpting, it’s best to avoid this style if you can’t fully fill out the bust area.

Master of Illusion

Create the illusion of a bigger bust by choosing dresses that feature ruffles, shirring and ruching to add visual volume to a smaller cup size. Other details like pleats, sequins and beadwork also help to augment the chest. Dresses that cinch in at the waist or use a belt to enhance the midsection help to create curvy proportions, giving the impression of a fuller bust.

Bold and Beautiful

While large-chested women might choose a minimizing black, brown or navy on their upper halves, their small-busted counterparts can embrace the bold. Vibrant colors and statement-making patterns and prints on top add subtle volume to the bust line. For an extra punch, layer a few thin chains over your neckline for even more fullness and wear sleeveless options that divert direct attention from the bust while still letting your top half shine.

The Rest of the Dress

Flattering a small bust requires paying attention to the dress style as a whole. Look for an A-line, fitted-sheath or an empire-waist dress that both accentuates a slender torso and defines the bust line in general. A peplum detail at the midsection also works well to create the illusion of curves, giving extra oomph to the bust as a byproduct. Small-busted women can also pull off a high-collar neckline on a dress their ample-bosomed counterparts struggle to wear, and look lovely in V-neck styles -- provided the plunge isn’t too deep.

About the Author

Stacey Kole worked for five years as managing editor of the style and pop-culture magazine Savvy, where she traveled coast-to-coast covering all things fashion and beauty. In addition to daily writing and editing duties, she interviewed and penned cover stories on such celebrities as Avril Lavigne, Julianne Hough and “Twilight” star Ashley Greene.

Photo Credits

  • Stuart Wilson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images