Best dresses for large busts tested by editors, plus expert tips

Whether you’re plus-sized or petite, finding the perfect dress that hugs your body in all the right places is difficult for any of us. If you have a large bust and smaller proportions on your bottom half, it can be frustrating to find the right fit in anything, but especially dresses.

When you have a larger bust, the number one goal of dress shopping is finding support, support, support. But it’s easier said than found.

“I tend to face the problem of needing a larger cut on top despite being a smaller size on bottom. Luckily, more designers are starting to offer more versatile cuts and silhouettes that can fluctuate between sizing for those with different sized proportions,” Los Angeles-based fashion stylist Audrey Brianne says.

To take some of the pain out of your search, Shop TODAY consulted style experts on what to look for (and avoid) in dresses for big busts. Plus, we rounded up several stunning picks based on their tips.

Features | Best styles | Dresses | Plus-size dresses | More tips | How we chose | Meet the experts

Features to look for in dresses for large busts

Shopping for clothing can feel discouraging when it takes a while to find the perfect fit, but Stitch Fix stylist Lauren Nelson offers some words of wisdom. “It’s important to remember that you should never force yourself to fit into clothes. Instead, seek out dresses that work for your body type and bust size,” she says.

The neckline, style and material of a dress all matter while shopping for a big chest. But a few other details can also help ensure that you find the best fit.

Courtesy Anita Chomenko, Shop TODAY Social Media Video Producer
  • Spandex: “Look for materials with stretch in them to ensure dresses fit properly over the bust area. I recommend opting for styles that feature a spandex blend, which will comfortably fit over the bust while also highlighting your natural waistline,” Nelson suggested, adding that pliable fabrics allow more versatility and comfort.
  • Flowy fabrics: “Flowing fabrics styled on women with a bigger bust establish an optical balance to the chest,” JLUXLABEL co-founder Teresa Printers told us.
  • Dresses that hug your waist: “If the attention is more on your waist, your silhouette will appear more balanced. If you have stronger legs or wide hips, it is also an advantage if the focus is on the waist,” Christina Boyd, co-founder of JLUXLABEL, said.
  • Cinching under the bust: “To overcome challenges such as finding the perfect fit and flattering silhouette, consider where your natural waistline falls to create the ideal balance. Having the dress cinch underneath the bustline can help achieve your goal of visual symmetry,” Nelson explained. If you’re gravitating toward a boxier dress, she says adding a belt has the same effect.

Best dress styles for large busts

Sick of wasting precious time trying on way too many dresses and never finding the right fit? Here’s a quick cheat sheet to help you hone in on the dress styles that work best for larger busts.

Halter dresses: “This style is particularly good for those with large chests. It pulls up and together without overexaggerating the body. There’s versatility with halter tops in how they’re fastened that can aid in containing and slimming,” Brianne says.

Dresses with adjustable straps: “These help accommodate fluctuating fit. Avoid strapless and spaghetti straps as the former tends to read saggy and the latter can cause shoulder grooves and pesky indentations,” Brianne says.

V-neck, scoop, cowl or square neckline dresses: “I suggest reaching for dresses with necklines that elongate the torso and upper chest. When styling my clients, I like to recommend these particular styles, which all look great on women with larger busts,” Nelson says.

Wrap and A-line dresses: “These are standout silhouettes for busty clients, particularly for women who wear extended sizes,” Nelson tells us.

Asymmetric cuts and drapes: “They help you reveal as much or as little as you prefer,” Boyd says.

As for celebrity stylist Samantha Brown, the best go-to dresses to wear if you have a larger bust include V-necks and halter dresses because they look flattering and draw attention to the skin instead of the size of your bust.

You also want to work on proportion. If you have a larger bust, personal stylist Charline Zeroual says that “in order to maintain the balance between your top half and your bottom half, try to bring a little bit of flow on the lower body.” She goes on to say, “But I think the key is always to accentuate the waist.”

Best dresses for large busts, worn by editors

Old Navy Fit & Flare Rib-Knit Maxi Dress

What we like

  • Good stretch
  • Generous size range

Available styles: 5 | Available sizes: XS-4X

If you’re looking for something functional yet dressy, this design is a must-have and “beyond comfortable” according to senior editor Jess Bender. Call it your next summer uniform.

“If you’re the sort who loves twirling in the meadows like you’re in ‘The Sound of Music’, then this is the dress for you! It has a ton of flow and movement, but also a generous amount of stretch around the hips and room around the stomach area if you’re looking to mask your tummy a bit. The material is beyond comfortable; it feels like I’m wearing a well-loved tee in dress form,” says Bender.

Meshki Dana Stripe Knit Halter Midi Dress

Available styles: 2 | Available sizes: XXS-3X

I (Espinal) own several dresses from Meshki and they fit like a glove. According to Brown, V-necks are the most flattering and this design combines comfort and elegance. The length creates a sleek silhouette and the neckline is adjustable, making it versatile for women with a bigger bust.

Quince 100% European Linen Short Sleeve Swing Dress

Available styles: 7 | Available sizes: XS-XL

“Maternity has done some things to my bust and I LOVE this dress,” says senior photo editor Becca Delman. This style is made from 100% linen material and feels super lightweight. If you’re busty and need something more relaxed, without being oversized, this would be the right fit.

Azazie Sarah Empire Pleated Chiffon Floor-Length Dress

What we like

  • Customers say it’s comfortable

Something to note

  • May run small, per reviewers

Available styles: 64 colors | Available sizes: 0-30 (or custom)

Anita Chomenko, a social media video producer at Shop TODAY, owns a high-neck halter dress from Azazie (pictured above), and she’s a fan of the brand.

Chomenko says, “You might recognize the name Azazie as a website you can purchase bridesmaids dresses from, but did you know they also sell dresses for wedding guests? I got this beautiful high-neck A-line dress that I plan on wearing to a summer wedding, but it’s also casual enough that I could wear it to work or brunch! You can filter the site by dress length, occasion and color to find the right dress for you.”

This halter dress from Azazie (which is different than the dress Chomenko is pictured wearing) is fairly similar in shape, thanks to it’s high-neck design and flowy skirt. It’s available in a variety of colors, fabrics and sizes, so you can choose what’s best for your body.

Anthropologie The Somerset Maxi Dress

Available styles: 10 | Available sizes: XXS-XL

Francesca Cocchi Zabloudil, a senior editor of partnerships at Shop TODAY, recommends this maxi dress by Anthropologie. She says, “As someone who is petite with a bigger bust, I love the silhouette of this Anthropologie dress, which I own in dark green. It has a bunch of flattering features, such as a V-neck, cinched waist and tiered skirt. Plus, pockets!”

Although it’s made with cotton (Brianne notes that 100% cotton can be too restrictive), its various expert-approved features make it a comfortable, chic closet addition.

Everlane The Gauze Off-the-Shoulder Dress

What we like

  • It has pockets
  • Machine washable

Something to note

Nothing to note at this time

Available styles: 3 | Available sizes: XXS-XXL

Looking for sophistication with comfort? This dress is the perfect choice for warmer weather. “I recently got my hands on this dress from Everlane’s Destination Vacation collection and I’ll be wearing it on repeat all summer long,” says production assistant Audrey Ekman.

“The flattering smocked bodice is pretty full coverage and strikes the perfect balance of supportive and stretchy — something my DD cup size needs. I find that I don’t even need to wear a bra with it. Such a comfortable, breezy piece for warm weather!”

Other dresses for large busts

Venus Plus Size High Neck Maxi Dress

What we like

  • Flattering fit
  • Comfortable material

Available styles: 7 | Available sizes: XS-3X

When you find a dress that fits just right, you naturally want to get plenty of use out of it. Luckily, this versatile maxi dress can be worn in multiple seasons with the right accessories. The halter neckline could stand out on its own with heels and hoop earrings, or you could tone things down a bit with a denim jacket and boots. Either way, you’ll feel comfy as can be in the stretchy fabric.

Amazon Essentials Women’s Classic Cap Sleeve Wrap Dress

Available styles: 9 | Available sizes: XS-6X

“A wrapped silhouette complements every bust size and body type by hugging your curves and flattering the waist,” Boyd explains. This V-neck wrap dress ties below the bust, and its draping skirt floats above the knees.

Marcella Mila Dress

What we like

  • Timeless design
  • Loose-fitting

Available styles: 2 | Available sizes: XXS-XXXL

Google searches for drop waist dresses have spiked since designers took this style to the runway in Paris, New York and London. This dress in particular has a classy, elongated silhouette with a supportive boat neckline. The material is stretchy and comfortable, and it features an extra lining to help avoid any undergarment reveals.

More dress shopping tips for large busts

What to avoid

Silks, satins and 100% cotton. Brianne says silks and satins retain heat and 100% cotton can be too restrictive.

Zeroual also recommends avoiding “anything that is oversized” and “anything boxy.” She says that we “definitely want something that will be fitted […] around the bust.”

Cadmus goes on to say that “it depends on the desired look, comfort level in wearing a look, and overall body shape.” She continues, “A style that I find rarely works for big busted women is a bustier-style dress. Often the bust does not fit within the confines of the bustier.”

Be mindful of hardware

Even the hardware on a dress can make a difference in the way it fits. Brianne recommends choosing dresses with buttons instead of zippers because “buttons tend to be more forgiving [and] combat fit issues.”

The right bra makes a world of difference

Flattering your figure doesn’t stop at finding the perfect dress. “Like good primer is to makeup, a good bra is to fashion. Having support in all the right places can do wonders! Regardless of the type of dress you wear, the shape of the garment should hug your figure,” Printers said.

“Remember to start with a solid foundation by wearing a supportive, properly-sized bra. Having the right bra will make it easier to discover the perfectly fitted dress you’re in search of and allow you to go out into the world confidently,” Nelson echoed.

If you’re shopping in store, try it on!

Dragging a whole bunch of garments into the dressing room can be a bit of a pain but trying things on in person can pay off. “Don’t avoid styles simply because of hanger appeal (mainly lack thereof). Always try on each product unit to gauge fit. Ask questions of the sales teams. All employees should be well versed and full of information,” Brianne said.

How we chose

While choosing these dresses, Shop TODAY took stylist advice into consideration and made selections based off their input. Many dresses feature certain necklines, cinched designs, wraps and more. We also considered fabric types along with editor favorites.

Meet the style experts

  • Audrey Brianne is a wardrobe stylist based out of Los Angeles. She has worked with companies such as Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson and People’s Revolution.
  • Lauren Nelson is a styling supervisor for Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service.
  • Teresa Printers and Christina Boyd are the founders of JLUXLABEL, a women’s clothing brand based on the belief that “high fashion should be attainable for every woman,” according to their website.
  • Samantha Brown is a celebrity stylist and the best-selling author of “Dressing Up”.
  • Charline Zeroual is a Los Angeles-based personal stylist who focuses on a more conscious approach with her clients.


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