Cleavage: How Much is Too Much?

Lindsay Lohan in a low cut dress

Our posts about Christina Hendricks’ breasts over the past couple of days got us wondering where you guys stand on the cleavage issue. This seems to be one of those questions which divides people, because whereas the first post had many of you commenting that the cleavage was “too much”, the follow-up attracted a few “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”, and “her breasts are great: why should she hide them?” comments: where’s the happy medium, we wonder? Is there one?

Just to clarify: Christina Hendricks does, indeed, have a fabulous figure – no one is denying that. But we think there does come a point when “flaunting” crosses a line into vulgarity, and we’re wondering where that line begins. For us, probably at the point where you look at someone’s outfit and don’t really notice what they’re wearing, because all you can think is “WHOA! BOOBS!” Or when the breasts appear to be trying to escape a too-small dress.

What do you think? How much cleavage is too much cleavage? And is Lindsay Lohan, above, crossing that line?

[Image: CWNY/Fame Pictures]

27 Comments

  • September 15, 2011

    Noe

    Yes, Lindsay Lohan is crossing that line. I have big boobs and I always try to be careful about my cleavage, not only because people may look at that part of my body only, but also because I don’t think it’s nice that you’re talking to someone and that person can’t stop thinking: “Look her in the eyes, in the eyes!”

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  • September 15, 2011

    Nell

    hmmm… I kind of sit on the ‘if you’ve got it flaunt it’ line… However, I’d say that londsay lohan does go a little too far, but she’s young enough to get away with it (just). I was just looking at dresses for a wedding I’m going to in a couple of weeks, found a gorgeous one at DP, but the cleavage is too low for me, I think… Perhaps a trip into town is in order to try it on!

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  • September 15, 2011

    Natasha

    I can’t judge Lindsay’s cleavage here because everything about her is just gross to me. I didn’t like Christina’s look the other day because the dress made her boobs look like a huge ass underneath her chin. I’m not against cleavage in general, and I think the same dress would’ve probably worked on someone whose boobs are a bit smaller. Hers are just way too big to need such exposure, it’s not like we’re gonna miss them if she presents them a bit more tastefully. So, no particular rule – it depends on your body type. Women with smaller breasts can get away with more. Women who have large boobs have to be careful not to look vulgar.

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    • September 15, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      THIS. Exactly how I feel about it.

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      • September 15, 2011

        Mona

        Sadly, dont’ dress vulgar if you have a rack is easier said than done. I think it is pretty difficult to dress “proper” if you are curvy: too much cleavage is interpreted as vulgar, turtlenecks very easily look dowdy or evoke a porny “librarian”. Current clothes are cut very straight, despite all the talk about hour-glass shapes coming back in fashion (Zac Posen’s stuff you nicely posted is an exception, I hope cheaper brands will take inspiration from it). It is challenging to find clothes that fit a narrow waist and a larger bust at the same time or anything that’s not an empire-waist – which make me look like a milk-maid – and I am not even that near Hendrick’s shape. So I am a bit puzzled what a “tasteful” presentation would be? Does her Mad Men wardrobe work better for her (I have not watched the show much)?

        Although I guess celebrities could afford the tailoring… I mainly liked Hendrick’s look because it did remind me of 17th or late 19th century fashion, even if that style is not that fashionable right now, but why not wear something that works with one’s proportions? Lindsey Lohan is sadly trying to fit in a dress that is too small in the top, but then it’s the clothes not the bodies that are the problem.

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        • September 15, 2011

          Natasha

          I don’t actually watch Mad Men, but I do sometimes see bits of it while channel-surfing, and she always looks impeccable in character. Seriously, if I were her, I’d hire the show’s costume designer as my stylist.

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          • September 16, 2011

            Kim

            I’m with you, Mona. When you’ve got a sizeable chest, it’s a struggle to dress them. It’s very easy to look either matronly or slutty.

            On a wider note, high street shops are awful for women who are hour glass, or in my case, more pear shaped. I love pencil dresses, but if I get one to fit my hips and bust, it’s much too baggy on the waist. But that’s my own personal annoyance!

            To answer the question, cleavage is a good thing – as long as you follow the rule of not showing your legs at the same time – because that’s not a good look, no matter what size your cleavage is!

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      • September 15, 2011

        Karen

        Agreed. I’m not sure there is a general rule, because it depends on age, figure, and the fit of the clothes in general, among other factors (like that Lindsay looks like hell warmed up here) have to be considered.

        It’s like the famous US Supreme Court ruling on defining pornography: “I know it when I see it”.

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  • September 15, 2011

    Nina

    I generally feel that the breast area looks awful when the breasts are pushed too high up – then it starts seeming unnatural, like in the Hendricks picture. If you got great boobs – let ’em hang, I guess 😛 (or at least let ‘em hang in a bra that does not hoist them up to the chin area… Breasts are not supposed to be shaped like two round balls, like little boys would draw them…) Lohan is about to cross the line, but that’s because she is too close to a nipple-slip – generally the cut of her dress is not very pretty.

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  • September 15, 2011

    Daisy

    I’ve big boobs myself, and I love to show them off. But there are limits. Like said before, big boobs can easily look vulgar. I think a little line in between your breasts can be visible, but no curve. Christina exagerates, I feel, and Lindsay looks just ridiculous. And 40. That too. Where’s the cute pretty girl from Mean Girls??

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  • September 15, 2011

    Laura

    I have to say, I feel a bit sorry for Christina H. She’s damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. I think the problem is that a lot of designers don’t really know what to do with big breasts/hips and so everything she wears gets dragged over the coals. It must be annoying that this is all people focus on.

    And, to be honest, there’s nothing about her that comes across as vulgar. It must be frustrating that a small-chested woman could show a similar amount of flesh (relative to their chest size) and nothing would be said but because her breasts are big it’s not alright.

    That’s just my two cents anyway.

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    • September 15, 2011

      Nina

      Hi Laura

      I partially agree. However, I think most of us got things about our bodies we need to ‘sculpt’ our clothes around; big breasts, small breasts, short legs, long legs, small bottom, big bottom, big hips, small hips ect. It sucks, but that’s just how it is. No one is blessed with a perfect body, and all of us got to do the best with what we got.

      The problem is not the size of her breasts, but the way she deals her body type.

      With her, previous discussed, “boobs-outfits” I really do feel there was so many other things she could have done. Turtleneck is not ideal for women with big breasts, however, the other discussed picture; no natural breasts go that high, not even hers (not saying they are fake, just saying she helped them up a long way).

      Like you say, it is a shame a lot designers don’t really know what to do with big breasts/hips, but that does not mean all designers don’t know what to do with bodies like that. The clothes are out there, hard as it may be to find. But most of us got some kind of problem with finding particular clothes that fit our particular body. It’s not impossible.

      Do you see what I am trying to say? (English is not my first language…)

      Best wishes X

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      • September 15, 2011

        Laura

        No worries, I think you make good points. It wasn’t the most flattering cut for her.

        And your english is great! I’m a student of french so I completely understand how difficult it is trying to write coherently in another language.

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  • September 15, 2011

    Arielle

    In all fairness to Christina Hendricks, she’s got the kind of figure where pretty much anything she wears is going to elicit a “whoa, boobs!” reaction even if they’re fully covered up.

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  • September 15, 2011

    Arielle

    Women of particularly voluptuous figure aside, I do think that if your breasts make it hard for people (even straight women) to notice anything about the rest of you, you’re showing too much.

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  • September 15, 2011

    Jessica

    I think if you can tell what a woman’s breast would look like naked, without making too much effort with your imagination, they are showing too much. However, this is much easier for ladies with larger breasts to do unintentionally, so I agree, they have to be more careful than I do 😉
    And I agree Arielle – one of my mates always has a breasts on show and I start blushing and looking at her boobs, and I’m a straight woman.

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  • September 15, 2011

    Francoise

    The sad truth is that life isn’t fair. I would like to have a little more up top, but I’m compensated for that by the fact that I can wear a wider variety of clothing without my chest becoming the focus. It’s hardly fair to apply a double standard (a woman with smaller breasts could wear it appropriately, but she can’t) but it’s the sad truth. I think a lot of what Christina Hendricks wears does focus on her breasts in an intentional and vulgar way. There is definitely a line as to when cleavage becomes vulgar, but it’s different for everyone.

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    • September 15, 2011

      Francoise

      One more point: the line is different for different events and different ages. I was completely horrified once to see a fair amount of cleavage at a funeral on a middle-aged lady!

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  • September 15, 2011

    cmap

    I love plunging necklines and loads of cleavage. But there is a time and a place for everything. A funeral? Maybe you should put the girls away. A wedding? Hey, there might be a really cute single guy there! A party? Cleavage is hot! Lindsay Lohan, however, is not. Bad example.

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  • September 15, 2011

    Viper

    It really is up to the occasion. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I think Lindsay’s look is fine, because she doesn’t appear to be going to a professional or a family affair. It also depends on the values of the woman in question; for example, if a woman like Taylor Swift, an figure of piety and innocence, were to do this, it would be inappropriate for her personality, values, and image. Lindsay is much more sexual and open, so this style raises fewer eyebrows. Finally, and I hate to say it, it’s up to the boobs. Unsupported or “saggy” breasts would not look good in this style; nor would it be flattering on a smaller chest.

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  • September 16, 2011

    SammiJ

    What about Michelle Williams on the cover of Vogue?

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  • September 16, 2011

    chitraa

    LiLo’s boobs are just spilling out of her dress…:P
    http://chitraasfashiondiary.blogspot.com/
    XOXO

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  • September 16, 2011

    Cheryl Warren

    hey, she’s a celebrity. she’s advertising. also works for those ladies of the night, btw.
    Here’s THE RULE: Put a pencil under the boob. If the pencil falls down, those nice firm mamas can be as exposed as the owner’s concept of “good taste” allows. (mwahahahaha). If the pencil stays there, it is because the boob has smothered it and youth has fled. Those mamas should be granted the support undergarments that they deserve, and only the bits showing above the undergarments should be exposed, again as the owner chooses.

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  • September 16, 2011

    Moni

    In my opinion there is nothing wrong with flaunting what you have, but flaunting isn’t limited to “letting your neckline drop down to your navel” and “thrusting your boobs into everybody’s face”.
    To me everything that
    – shows your entire sternum or
    – provokes a nipple slip as soon as the wearer stands straight
    has too much cleavage. And I’m also not a fan of sheer clothing in general. So boob windows are out of the question, too.

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  • September 19, 2011

    Eerena

    a little cleavage is always appealing so are plunging necklines .. but if it gets to the point of boobs getting squashed up , it’s painful to look at and not one bit sexy at all . Lindsay looks like shes about to have a wardrobe malfunction before her nips starts peeking out …and yes christrina hendricks look like some porn star … sorry if this offended anyone

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  • September 19, 2011

    Claudia

    For me, this is two inches too deep, because

    – you see the curve around the breasts sweep outward, which means you see the underside, which ist something I would never show, it’s too intimate

    – LiLo shows two distinctly different types of skin, sun-damaged and not sun-damaged. The smooth, white parts look so much more naked besides the freckled, darker areas of skin. It’s like showing tan lines, which always looks untidy, and as if you had forgotten the garment that normally covers the untanned parts.

    These overexposed boobs, on the other hand, cannot make me overlook her trout pout, which is fa-a-ar worse than boob display. If you use sexual stimuli so generously, do they not loose their effect one day, as drugs do?

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