What’s Up, Bra?

The Bra-litics
The bra-over-your-shirt has been a trend-in-progress. In the spirit of empowering women through their sexuality, 2010’s Spring Summer runways have seen the trend in full-force. On the surface (haha), it’s a little awkward, kinda like you don’t know how to put your clothes on. On the other hand, fashion must be so much more fun now than it was, say, in the Victorian era, just because there is so much more freedom to break boundaries on so many levels; for example gender and sexuality. In contrast to the bra-burning days of the 60’s, the runways are embracing The Bra as an expression of sexuality. Yes, bra-burners of the 60’s, the bra is constraining, but constraint is also a form of sexual practice/lifestyle (hello, S&M anyone?). In some ways, I think the fiery spirit of the bra-burners may still be alive and well, but with a twist. Wearing the bra over one’s shirt is like a wonderful “fuck you” to those who are threatened by female sexuality and are uncomfortable with it. It’s like saying, “I’m a sexual being. Deal with it.”
When done right, the trend can work out pretty well. I love how Marc Jacobs plays on the bra’s satin texture and creates this almost Asian look with the pale face, baggy pants and split toe-like sandals. What an interesting statement on the Geisha or passive Asian woman. Or, like Jasmine Di Milo, the bra could be incorporated right into the garment for an edgy contrast between structured underwire and soft drapes, a literal rendition of the Madonna/Whore dichotomy.

Jasmine Di Milo//Marc Jacobs SS 2010


Needless to say, I’d be send home from work if I showed up in an ensemble like that! The trend is definitely not for the faint of heart. 

The Bra As Outerwear 

I found a pic from J.W. Anderson’s womenswear line for the A/W 2010 collection featuring the trend. Aside from the fact that the first thing that struck me was how hauntingly adorable the model is, I liked how their interpretation of the bra-over-the-shirt phenomenon is actually wearble in everyday life. 

JW Anderson Autumn Winter 2010


 Here’s why it works: 

  1. The tone of the bra doesn’t deviate too far from the tone of the undershirt which maintains a sense of cohesiveness.
  2. The triangle shape of the bra mimicks the lines of the sweater’s neckline which provides continuity.
  3. The sweater and the bra sport the same seams which also provides continuity and repetitiveness.
  4. It actually looks more like a bathing suit top which is meant to be seen anyway.
  5. I may be wrong, but I’m guessing the material of the bra is similar to that of the sweater. If not, it looks sturdier than your typical satin number which makes it seem like it can act as outerwear rather than underwear.
  6. The lack of structured support (aka underwire) moves it away from lingergie-city and makes it seem more like a (very) cropped vest (again, the outerwear element).
  7. Also, the lack of support allows it to move easily with the rest of the outfit which, as you can see, is flowing with fabric.
  8. However, it provides enough constraint to create the appearance of an empire waist which is ultimately feminine (and reminds the viewer that this is a bra and the wearer is feminine-affirmative).
I stand corrected though; you’d still probably be sent home from work but at least it looks like it was done on purpose. Just a small style tip for those who like to keep the spotlight elsewhere while still adding interest to their outfit.
Party on, bra.

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