Now that we’re in the season of little party dresses, sleeveless tops, strapless frocks and backless backs for the holidays, let’s keep one thing in mind: Keep those bras tucked underneath your clothing. Please.
It may seem like a mindless request, but dodging the Christmas herds at the shopping malls this season reveals otherwise: Racer-back tank tops with exposed straps, white tops with dark-colored bras (spotted at a Costa Mesa Target: fuchsia leopard print! With a white cotton T! And white, sheer, Juicy terry-cloth sweats with matching underwear! Fuchsia!), the frilly tops of bra cups inching out from beneath low-cut blouses, and traditional bras with backless outfits. Plus, in Orange County, sadly, tube tops with bras aren’t all that uncommon.
What is this? The Inland Empire?
(KIDDING. Kind of.)
It started at some point in the mid- to late-’90s, when Victoria’s Secret and even the major department stores sold such things as bedazzled, glittery and feathered bra straps, obviously meant for display. And then came the clear-plastic straps that were even more apparent than normal bra straps.
Many fashion houses have been shilling lingerie-like designs for some decades now—Roberto Cavalli just sent exposed black bra straps down his spring 2010 ready-to-wear runway, and high-end labels such as Preen, Balenciaga, Dolce and Gabbana, and Helmut Lang have implemented features such as adjustable sliding straps and garter belts with their dresses and tanks.
If it’s a sultry look you’re dead-set on, lingerie-inspired items are a nice (classy) alternative: Keep in mind that many now consider the slip dress a major wardrobe staple—one that goes well with the grungy black-combat-boot look this season.
While things such as convertible bras can get pricey, there are easy, affordable solutions: double-stick tape, get crafty with some band-aids, that $8 Strapperfect as-seen-on-TV plastic clip, hell, even safety pins. Just do something—anything—to hide what should be hidden anyway.
Okay, so exposed bra straps are probably more of an indication of laziness than of wantonness, but think of it this way: It really is no different from those terrifying peek-a-boo thongs raising the sails of the pants of strangers in public. It’s worth the 15 seconds before you head out the door. Trust!