Fashion Chat is a new series on InStyle.com where our fashion team gets together in a chatroom to discuss the most divisive and interesting trends as they happen. This week, we're diving into the braless trend that seems to be everywhere this summer.
Taylor Davies (contributor): So the first thing I want to know is: Have any of you gone braless recently in a place other than your living room?
Andrea Cheng (Associate Fashion Editor): Yes. I was braless all of this week. But it’s not like I’m wearing a plunging top to work, which is how a lot of people are going braless these days. I happen to be really small chested, and if I’m wearing layers, I’d rather go without a bra.
Alison Syrett (Senior Fashion Writer): No, never. I don't even go braless in my living room.
Ali Pew (Senior Style Editor): I am pretty flat chested so I feel like I can get away with it (dress with an open back, for example), but I like to keep it to the weekends.
Taylor: Right. I've been seeing a lot of girls on Instagram doing it in a cool, classy way, like Aimee Song is here:
Ali: Button-downs are such great shirts to go braless if you're flat chested—if they are oversized enough it sort of doesn’t matter.
Alison: But have you guys always gone braless? Or is it like something you started doing because it's happening all over Instagram? I feel like for all these girls it's a relatively new thing, no?
Andrea: I’ve been doing it for a few years.
Ali: It seems like it sort of started with the side boob trend. Especially red carpet side boob. You obviously can’t wear a bra doing that...then it trickled into everyday.
Ali: In reality, T-shirts are not a good way to do it.
Andrea: Especially tissue-thin T-shirts.
Alison: But that is how Kendall Jenner does it and it looks good on her. But the issue I have is that it's a very exclusionary "trend." Like, what percentage of the population can wear a sheer T-shirt in that way?
Taylor: Right. It's totally a model/body thing though, don't you think?
Wendy Wallace (Market Director): Yes, if you have big boobs it doesn’t work.
Taylor: Totally. But wait, wait, but what kind of boobs would we say Khloe Kardashian has? Looks like she’s braless in her bodysuit here.
Wendy: I think when you can fully see nips, it’s too far.
Andrea: So are you in favor of pasties? Maybe that’s the way to do the braless trend as real people?
Ali: Pasties seem so complicated for everyday. Who wants to rip that off after a long day!
Wendy: I do think she looks great, though, in very a Kardashian way.
Andrea: She has really perky boobs.
Taylor: So perky!
Alison: That's my other issue with going braless—like anyone bigger than a size B, maybe, is going to look saggy. Unless apparently, they have wonder boobs like Khloe.
Andrea: But she’s also wearing a bodysuit, and I feel like that helps with going braless, making sure your boobs aren’t just going every which way.
Ali: I also imagine that sitting in a real life setting without a bra and slim tank would feel uncomfortable, like there’s too much exposed.
Wendy: With this trend, you just have to be ready to get attention.
Taylor: Totally. I think there's a whole thing at play here where they wear these things just for photos. And then in real life they go home and put on a sports bra or something.
Alison: Right, like I feel like on Instagram, when these girls skip a bra it's like not because of comfort or heat but to be like, "Look, I can get away with this, and maybe you can't." Is it like the new thigh gap do you think?
Taylor: Oooh…like a humblebrag!
Ali: Seems like there is a body type for it and a time and place—and I think it looks really chic when done right.
Andrea: Totally—there’s a time and a place. You would need a lot of fashion tape though.
Taylor: For example, I enjoy both of these looks on Danielle from We Wore What:
Ali: The neutral tones are nice— and covered up everywhere else. A+
Taylor: So do you guys think this trend is like, way more body exclusive than others, like crop tops for example?
Andrea: Yes, definitely.
Wendy: Yeah, you have to have the right boobies for this to not to have the potential to look a little vulgar.
Ali: I think the braless look is more exclusive to body type—but also I think it’s a little more stylish than a crop top. Clavicle is a really pretty and chic part of body to show off. It's a little more sophisticated.
Alison: Which makes me wonder, is it fair of us to have that double standard? Like is it fair to condemn the girl with big boobs going braless if she's wearing the same exact thing as the girl with small boobs?
Ali: Well at least with the button-down idea, I think big boobs can do it if they’re perky.
Alison: But how can you make your bigger boobs perky without a bra? Unless you do this...
Taylor: OMG, is this vintage Kim?
Andrea: No! This is recent, it’s what she does under red carpet gowns.
Wendy: Yep, she uses nude duct tape.
Ali: This doesn’t feel very #kanyeapproved.
Alison: Apparently a lot of celebs do this to fake the no-bra look.
Taylor: I’m trying it for my next black-tie event.
Andrea: It must be so painful to peel off.
Alison: I did a story on red carpet hacks once, and a bunch of stylists mentioned it—it takes three people to put in place. It’s nude medical tape, I think.
Ali: Gotta get your friends on board to tape you in—you know you have a true friend if they will tape your boobs.
Alison: Again I think it goes back to everyone wanting to look like they can go without a bra even if they can’t.
Taylor: We’re all trying to be like Wicked, “Defying Gravity.”
Alison: Have you guys noticed your friends or girls when you’re out, skipping bras lately? I feel like I really do see this look everywhere in New York.
Taylor: Totally, my roommate does it all the time, and I feel like I’m always seeing girls at the bar in bodysuits and no bra.
Wendy: I’ve seen a lot of bodysuits.
Ali: I live in Williamsburg and honestly see more braless than bras on the weekends. (I’m a weekend bra-free gal myself.)
Wendy: AP, I’m shocked!
Alison: And there's all these brands now, like Reformation, that sell clothes that basically can not be worn with bras.
Taylor: Why do we think this is happening now? Is it the Kendall Jenner effect?
Ali: You can’t deny the Kardashian effect—but I also do think it has trickled down from red carpet dressing.
Alison: And also just fashion getting more and more casual.
Taylor: Ali, what’s your go-to braless look?
Ali: A dress with open back, or a knit tank with shorts.
Andrea: I think there’s something empowering about going braless. You’re owning it! It’s liberating.
Ali: It’s definitely comfortable.
Wendy: Maybe it’s all because we have a female presidential candidate...
Ali: Oh but also—will going braless make your boobs sag later in life? Just asking...
Wendy: That’s a myth! I heard going braless actually helps the pectoral muscles stay strong.
Taylor: So going braless is basically like fitness.
Andrea: You’re working out your boobs.
Alison: Here's the thing—I have a bra size that involves 2 letters if you know what I mean, so when I don't wear a bra not only does it not look good, but it doesn't feel good. It’s like I'm carrying extra weight.
Andrea: I think it’s all about what you’re comfortable with because if you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to be confident, and that’s just bad all around.
Ali: I agree!