Bra Exposure ~ Provocative or Déclassé?

By John Festa

In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, but now heaven knows, anything goes.

​So wrote Cole Porter in 1934.  And it seems ever more appropriate when we consider the exposed bra trend.


What once was edgy and daring now seems commonplace and thoughtless. Are exposed bra straps and bra bands simply acceptable now?  Does this trend speak to a woman’s owning her sexuality, being comfortable in her skin, flying in the face of convention or simple laziness?


The answer lies in INTENTION.

It seems that if the exposed bra is forethought, planned with the final look in mind, it can work. But the part that I am missing, and, ladies, please enlighten me on this: To my eye, It never seems to enhance the end product.  I have yet to see an outfit look better because the bra was showing. I see it as emblematic of a low taste level. Something young people do. Someone not schooled; an act of rebellion perhaps. Again, show me the flaw in my thinking.


The world has raged against the saggy pants trend, where young men are wearing their jeans below their derrières, leaving their skivvies on display. There has even been legislation against this in various municipalities. How is exposing your bra parts different?


To my mind, the edge of a pretty bra cup exposed in a low neckline is far more daring, indicative of a confident, woman. A man-tailored shirt with perhaps one too many buttons open or a low neckline on a dress or sweater; that is provocative class.  This is where the goods are, after all. The goods are the goods, more appealing, I would think, than seeing an elastic strap or synthetic fiber band​. Embracing your sexuality and freedom does not mean running around in your underwear. It means presenting yourself in a way that graces the world and acknowledges your beauty. In doing so, you acknowledge that the universe is beautiful.

What’s your thoughts on this issue?


8 Discussion to this post

  1. Annie says:

    Most of these pictures don’t scream “fashionista” to me. I think you’re right when you say it’s all about intention. And to your point that an exposed bra never enhances an overall look, I would say I agree 99% of the time. A low-v back dress won’t look good with a horizontal bra back cutting across if. The key is to enhance the garment’s silhouette. Here is my argument summed up in one image:

  2. Michele says:

    The first time I saw a racer back with bra straps, I was at an upscale hair salon, and my heart just sank. I knew, given that the woman worked there, that it was no accident. I’m sorry the trend continues. Perhaps, I’m showing my age, but I refuse to make a statement with my underwear. The only picture I’d maybe accept is the red v-back. I don’t agree with the plunging neckline either. I see too much cleavage in business and other inappropriate places. Save it for dates!

  3. Larissa says:

    How about it is neither provocative nor déclassé? Fashion can communicate so many things. Sex and status are not the only two reasons a woman may choose to wear something. Fashion can be about having fun!

    None of the women shown here are wearing plain beige bras, they’re all wearing contrasting colors that are meant to make a statement. Their looks do not read “careless” to me. I love the look of a flash of a colorful bra or pretty lace strap showing, not to mention the comfort of wearing a standard bra vs. some sort of strapless/backless adhesive or corset contraption.

    • Johnny LIngerie says:

      And thank you, Larissa, for your comment. Perhaps I’m too old or an elitist snob, but, as hard as i try, I don’t see the fun. I do see it as easier to not have to deal with the issue when wearing tanks, etc

      • Larissa says:

        Well, that’s the great thing about fashion, no one is required to like every trend that comes around.

        • Laura says:

          What a great and fun topic…smiled all the way through it :)…could hear my mom and all her reactions as I grew into my bra-fashion statements. Larissa you are so spot on…no one is required to love every trend…heck I don’t think the exposure of the back closure is particularly appealing or sexy but side bands, straps and lacy cups OMG abasoluuutlee they are as fun and individualistic and sexy as the woman we are. Love this post!!!

  4. Robin says:

    I agree, “Déclassé” as nearly all street attire is based on sloppiness; not caring.
    The white v neck tee photo is better… but still looks like she is trying for a clothing look (and obviously a male looking down her shirt).
    My questions back to you…
    1) does self respect/ self worth fit into this discussion?
    2) Is being obvious the most sexy
    3) Is displaying paid-for body parts any sexier than brains, confidence or ability to love/be loved?

    • Johnny LIngerie says:

      Thanks for your comments, Robin. I can’t agree with you when you say all street attire is based on sloppiness. But I think the answers to your questions lie in the questions themselves. Perhaps in a generation raised with Girls Gone Wild, nuance and subtlety is a lost art. And nothing, no amount of skin or underwear showing, is as sexy as an inner glow.

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