What's in a nickname? When it comes to women's breasts, the clear and wildly popular answer is "Plenty!"
From chimichangas to ta-ta's, cupcakes to grillwork, the list of endearing (and sometimes offensive) descriptors for breasts is endless.
Dressing these anatomically beautiful appendages to expose and highlight the space in between them is known as presenting cleavage. Décolletage is another word that has evolved over time and now primarily refers to necklines that reveal cleavage.
Among a woman's physical assets, many choose to lead with cleavage. This is not a new concept. In European society during Renaissance and Victorian times, cleavage was in fashion and embraced as something of a status symbol suggesting beauty and wealth.
Today the bra industry is a 3 billion dollar business, and images of models and movie stars with cleavage artfully and prominently displayed are featured in all media.
In 2011 the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported breast enhancement surgery as their #1 procedure, performing 307,180 augmentations as well as 90,679 breast lifts. While these statistics would suggest that modern culture feels bigger is better, it is a fashion fact that flatter chested women actually look better in most clothing. Clothing lays perfectly straight on a pancake bustline, which is why you don't see many big busts on catwalks.
The great news is that whether you are a 32A or a 36DD, you can achieve some great cleavage through clever neckline selections or various lingerie options.
Here are some of the best necklines for a small bustline:
A strapless neckline is exactly what the name implies. It exposes the shoulders and has no straps. The key to this style is to have a subtle dip in the center which gives the illusion of more cleavage than is actually there.
The pleated halter
Halter designs feature a single piece of fabric on the front of either side of the garment. The pieces join together behind the neck. A halter that has vertical pleating will add fullness and make breasts appear larger.
Bustiers are a great selection for smaller breasted women. They push up whatever is there. Add a padded insert and you will look cleavage fabulous.
These necklines have a v-shape in the front. They are not the plunging type V designs that work well for bigger bustlines. These are more modified and can be further enhanced with center knots, twists or gathers in the front center of the garment.
These designs have a high waistline that moves into a slim skirt. They accent the bustline nicely. Add a padded bra or inserts to enhance your bustline further. These designs should only be worn if you have a trim waist.
Abby is a motivational speaker, writer and respected vintage fashion consultant, featured in Time magazine, UK Gaurdian and Palm Beach Illustrated. Her articles on style and fashion have appeared in numerous print and online publications.