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The A-B-C's of Cleavage: Getting it Right

How Much Cleavage is too Much?

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Salma Hayek, Sofia Vergara, Kim Kardashian—celebs lately just can't stop showing off their assets! And why should they be shy? It's no longer taboo to flaunt what you've got! But, there’s a right way, and a wrong way—no woman wants her cups spilling over. So whether you’re a barely there A-cup, a blossoming B, or a curvaceous C, we’ve got the A-B-C’s to pulling off the coveted amount of cleavage for every occasion!

How much is too much? Jessica Simpson’s overexposed, but Kim K gets it right.

Evening Wear: Raven Simone

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An evening event is probably the only time you’ll be allowed a little leeway if you happen to show a little too much skin. Far from her Cosby days, Raven Simone works her womanly shape in this sweetheart neckline, the perfect strapless option for larger busted ladies. But beware; a half-inch lower and this ballroom look could quickly go from red carpet to red-in-the-face. Also, with a dress like this one, be sure to give it the “bounce” test. Any event where you’ll be dancing the night away should be tested in the dressing room before you hit the dance floor.

Wedding Day: La La Vasquez

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A bride’s Big Day is her time to shine, but everyone should be looking at her beaming face and not her “booming” décolletage. “There’s nothing wrong with a bride showing cleavage, but if your wedding will be held in a house of worship, you may want to keep your girls covered or at-least semi-covered,” advises wedding expert Anne Chertoff.  La La Vasquez ensures her beautiful smile is what takes center stage by not going overboard. If you choose a strapless style like the TV host did, give your bust proper support by looking for a dress that has built-in boning or having the bodice fitted. “A wedding is a family affair and you want to be just as comfortable posing for photos with grandpa, dad and great-uncle Ed as you are with your groom. If your boobs are pushed up so far that you can fit a shot glass between them, then you probably should take them down a notch,” Chertoff says.

The Gym: Gisele Bundchen

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She may be famous for showing off that supermodel physique but when it comes to the gym, Gisele Bundchen’s motto is modesty. “When working out, if cleavage is used like an accessory, it’s sexy, but if it’s in your face and people are noticing while you’re bouncing up and down, then it becomes distracting,” says fitness expert and gym owner Lisa Avellino. Celebrity trainer Jolene Matthews agrees: “The most tasteful way to wear cleavage at the gym is to avoid the three don'ts: armpit spillage, too much jiggling from an unsupportive sports bra, and over-cup spillage.”

The Office: Christina Aguilera

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If you ask a few people, chances are they’ll have differing views on what’s deemed office-appropriate cleavage for the cubicle set. But no matter how relaxed your office may be when it comes to wardrobe, you don’t want your choice of blouse to become water-cooler conversation. “As a rule of thumb, don't show more than an inch in the boardroom and two inches on a date,” says Jill Homiak, creator of the Presenza Wrap Top, a blouse made specifically for fuller busted women. Christina Aguilera’s working girl look would be better suited for real-life if she buttoned up a little higher. But, we’re not expecting her to quit her day job.

Night Out: Sofia Vergara

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A night out on the town is the perfect time to let those puppies come out and play. This bustier style dress is hot and sexy on the small screen siren, but her bubbling-over bodice teeters on the edge of being “too much” up top. Sofia Vergara could solve this problem by adding a cropped, fitted blazer, so you only see a peek of her, um, peaks.

On the Go: Salma Hayek

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Salma Hayek's got easy breezy travel-style down-pat, and the flowy bottom of this dress balances out her ample top half and creates the ultimate hourglass shape. A v-neck with wide straps is the perfect choice for larger bustlines and this one is low-cut without going too low.

About the Author

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Jené Luciani is a fashion journalist, stylist, and regular correspondent and contributor to a number of national media outlets, including NBC’s TODAY and Martha Stewart Living Radio. She is the author of The Bra Book: The Fashion Formula to Finding the Perfect Bra. Her most memorable “cleavage” moment came when a Chris March designed bustier dress landed her in the Worst Dressed columns of two magazines. When she’s not writing, she’s playing dress up or doing mommy and me yoga with her 2 year old daughter. You can find her on Facebook or on Twitter @JeneLuciani or watch her on BRAVO’s Mad Fashion wearing the aforementioned dress this October.