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VA college student struggling to balance dreams of fabulosity with the realities of one's wallet. intoxicated by aesthetics, lover of simplicity, master of the last minute deadline, consistently overcaffeinated and overbooked... but wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bandeau Bras: Trend in Review

From left to right: Liya Kebede in Balenciaga, Balenciaga Fall 2009 RTW, Givenchy Fall 2009 RTW, Balenciaga Fall 2009 RTW

One of the most wearable trends of late, especially in regards to weekend and evening wear, is the visible bandeau bra. The past few seasons have seen necklines and lingerie grow more revealing, and this season is no exception. The visible bra itself is a trend popularized by several celebrities, like Rihanna, that somehow adds a touch of risque class to any casual outfit, but for this post I wanted to focus on the bandeau bra because of its trend factor.

A bandeau bra, for those who don't know, is a bra that is similar to a strip of fabric and exists without straps, which often contributes to the fact that it is generally found in spandex form. There IS a difference between it and a strapless bra---a strapless bra is merely one without straps, where as a bandeau bra is literally a band of fabric that deviates from the typical bra structure.

The bandeau first made its way into the spotlight as the show stealer at Balenciaga's Fall 2009 RTW show. The sheer lace versions peeking out under otherwise demure blazers and conservative outfits made for a wonderful contrast, and the world was hooked. More industrial, tougher leather looking versions also made an appearance at Givenchy the same season, and the bandeau trend was born. The best part about the bandeau bra trend is its wearability---finally, comfortable lingerie that is designed to be seen instead of covered up.

Given that fact, surprisingly enough it is difficult to find photos of celebrities and models taking part in this trend, with the exception of Liya Kebede. They'd rather go sans bra completely, like Rihanna and her infamous blazer/pasty fourth of July ensemble. The blogging world, however, is a completely different story. The wearability of bandeaus is not lost on the real life fashionistas, which is good because this would be a sad trend to pass up on. For some inspiration on how to wear a bandeau bra, check out Krystal from This Time Tomorrow here and here. Or if you're just looking on how to wear a visible bra in general, check out Rumi from Fashion Toast here; this is a trend she works with often.

So how DOES one wear a bandeau bra, and where can you find some affordable options? I myself am planning on ordering one of the spandex versions because I can't see myself walking around with a see through visible lace bra, despite how beautiful it is. But, I've done some digging, and several affordable options of both are available online at two primary retailers, Charlotte Russe and Urban Outfitters.

Three on model are from Urban Outfitters, top right corner from Charlotte Russe

When you're trying to get this trend to work for you, I think it's important to remember that although this is a trend about visible lingerie, it is NOT an excuse to surrender to the porno-chic of Simon Doonan. You all are classy individuals, there is no need to end up looking like you're about to go work the corner for the night. Try to minimize the amount of skin you show in the rest of your outfit; this trend is about an unexpected dose of sexy that doesn't end up looking trashy, instead it adds to the overall appearance a dash of glamour. Here are my ideas for ways to wear the bandeau trend.

Top and Bra-Charlotte Russe, Bag-Lulus, Shoes-Piperlime, Nailpolish-Chanel, Watch-Urban Outfitters, Bangles-Forever 21, Ring-Lanvin

The bandeau trend, mainly because it centers around visual lingerie, is generally perceived as a casual one, but that doesn't mean you can't polish it up a little. Here I paired the $5.99 bandeau with a $20 shirt from Charlotte Russe; just unbutton that last button and you are good to go. Remember to make sure that the shirt you wear is loose with a more casual vibe so that people won't think it's a tank top. With crisp black accents incorporated into the outfit, the entire ensemble translates easier to evening wear and is polished enough to do so.


Fedora, Ring-Urban Outfitters, Tank-Alexander Wang, Shoes and Bag-Piperlime, Jeans-J brand, Bra-Charlotte Russe

If you are into the casual vibe of the trend, like me, polishing it up isn't necessary and you can run with the whole breezy effect. Choosing an oversize, loose racerback tank like this one by Alexander Wang will not only contribute to a feel of casual luxury but also make you look slimmer with the contrast of the fitted bandeau. Tuck your hair under this straw fedora, pull on the boots by Piperlime and you are good to go for the whole day!

All in all, I personally can't wait to try out this trend myself. What do you think of the bandeau trend, and would you wear it? If so, how? I'd love to hear your take on it!

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