Smocking is a term that refers to reducing the dimensions of a fabric to one third of its original width. Smocking is usually done tp the fabric prior to assembling an item. It adds interest to an item and seems to be making a major splash lately in the fashion world. Don’t get me wrong – smocking is not trendy, it’s been around for ages but I feel like I’m seeing many more options at retailers this spring and summer. I am drawn to it and love the look but as a busty girl – can I wear it?
The answer is yes, of course! But keep these things in mind, buy the right size, wear the right bra, pay attention to the overall cut and style of the garment, understand that smocking will not minimize the look of your bust/chest.
Disclaimer: It was very windy last night and that made it hard to get decent pictures so my apologies for the lack of good shots. I was literally searching for any space that blocked the wind yet still offered some light!
Buy the Right Size
Smocking is meant to be tight. There is a tendency for those of us with larger chests (I wear a 34 DDD btw) to size up in tops and avoid anything clingy. But smocking is meant to be clingy so buy the right size. Case in point – this dress. It’s adorable but I am wearing a small and a medium might be better. While I think this dress is so cute I am not a fan of it on me.
Wear the Right Bra
This goes without saying no matter what you’re wearing but especially when it comes to smocking. If you’re wearing something strapless wear a strapless bra. Conceal your straps with other pieces of clothing – you an use fashion tape if necessary. When you’re wearing something with smocking the attention is on that detail and your bra straps detract from that. P.S. I am wearing a regular bra with the top below and you can see hints of my straps – do as I say not as I do! Ha! I was in a hurry to get these photos taken, I will wear a strapless bra with this top, promise!
Here are some bras that might work for you – I like ordering from Nordstrom because shipping is free (both ways) and I can try on multiple sizes and styles in the comfort of my own home.
Pay Attention to the Overall Cut of the Item
In my experience what comes above and below the smocking is more important than the smocking itself. So many cute tops with thin straps are popular right now. If the straps are thicker that’s better because I can wear a regular bra and if those straps are adjustable it’s even better! Most of the time what comes below the smocking has a slight peplum feel or flowiness (is that a word?). Make sure you like that look on your body type – it makes a difference!
Understand that Smocking Will Not Minimize
This is where confidence comes into play. It’s actually the most important ingredient when you’re getting dressed. But as someone whose had a large chest FOREVER I can tell you that unwanted attention is uncomfortable. When I was younger I hated it – heck I even had a breast reduction in college. Prior to that I tried hiding in my clothing – wearing things that were baggy and hunching over – never standing tall. Post breast reduction my life was better but you know what? the dang things grew back! Ha!! That’s what happens when you gain over 60 pounds with each pregnancy. My bust is the first place I gain weight and the LAST place I lose it. I don’t love it. At all.
Smocking can be worn busty gals like me but know that it has a tendency to accentuate rather than diminish. As in all things – if you want to wear it than do it and do so proudly.
I am on the hunt for the perfectly smocked summer dress. So far I haven’t found it. Here are two others from Old Navy that I shared on Instagram last week. The fit is off on these but they are super sweet. For reference I am wearing a size medium.
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