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Lingerie As Outerwear: 9 Chic Longline Bras & Bustiers for Summer

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links.

Sometimes you just have to pretend your bra is a top, and your cat is an accessory.  Photo: Lauren Luck | Model: Victoria Dagger | Bra: What Katie Did

Sometimes you just have to pretend your bra is a top, and your cat is an accessory. Photo: Lauren Luck | Model: Victoria Dagger | Bra: What Katie Did

The 90s are definitely back, in all their denim-y, midriff-baring glory. Fear not, this isn’t a post about denim lingerie (although if that’s your thing, more power to you, let me know in the comments and I can make that post happen). However, with crop tops appearing everywhere these days, up to and including the Met Gala, why not mix the look with a touch of lingerie? It may be too late to order a longline bra or a bustier for the Fourth of July and its slew of barbecues, but there are still plenty of weekends left for you to put together a picnic-perfect ensemble.

Picnic perfect: Vamp corset by Pop Antique with high-waisted jeans. Top with polka dots and gingham for all the Americana you can stomach.

Picnic perfect: Vamp corset by Pop Antique with high-waisted jeans. Top with polka dots and gingham for all the retro Americana you can handle. | Photo © John Carey; Model: Victoria Dagger

Here’s a selection of eight longline(ish) bra styles that I think would work well as outerwear. For the full 90s effect, you could wear them with jeans that hit just below your belly button, and fondly recall that singing belly button. My preference is to go the I Dream of Jeannie route, balancing the crop with a high-waisted style (I’m obsessed with these jeans from ModCloth, which hit high on my natural waist and have enough lycra to contour to even a corseted waistline, as shown above). My girlfriend rocks the cropped look with a short, A-line skirt that also sits directly on her natural waist.

For a classic retro look, this layered lace bustier would make an excellent and versatile choice.  It could be paired with denim or retro-style skirts, or worn as a foundation piece as originally intended.  Like the other bustier from ModCloth below, it also has a super-low cut back.

This bra (or its peacock printed sister) would look amazing if worn as a bustier. The floral satin and strap detail are contrasted with layered mesh, and the coverage of both band and cup is relatively modest.

This longline style looks to hit all the way to the natural waist, and so would pair well with a mid- or low-rise jean. ModCloth has a few bustiers available in plus sizes right now, but I love the low back on this one.

Evollove Twilight Dream Longline Bra on ASOS

Evollove Twilight Dream Longline Bra on ASOS

I have a long-standing love affair with polka dots, and it thrills my heart that the rest of the world is on board with that love for the time being. Look closely for the tiny bird silhouettes interspersed with the dots.

If the other styles shown here are a little too sweet for your tastes, check out the delightful vampiness of Dita Von Teese’s Madam X. I reviewed the soft bra from this set and I absolutely love it, but be prepared to shield your nipples as the lace cup on the longline is probably unlined.

Also from Dita Von Teese’s lingerie line is the Her Sexcellency bra. (I also reviewed the dress from this set.) There is a longline version of this bra, with even more lace detailing, however, it seems to be sold out online. Dark Garden in San Francisco does still have it in stock, in both red and black.

Setting aside the fact that this is a bustier, not a corset, and embroidered, not appliqued, this orange and white floral style is super picnic-y, with its fresh and simple daisy motif.

This bra isn’t really much of a longline, but it was so on point for my 90s girlpower inspiration (okay, mostly Selena) that I had to include it. “It’s not a bra, it’s a BUSTIER!” Bonus: it’s on sale, and most of the sizes are still available.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t include at least one handmade item on this list. The Cotillion Crop Top by Honey Cooler Handmade is so beautiful and perfectly summery in its crisp, white, swiss dotted glory. (Yes, it’s slightly sheer, so if you want to wear it out you may want to consider pasties or a nude strapless bra. This piece would make a versatile choice for day, lounge, or sleep.

Are you comfortable wearing lingerie as outerwear? How would you style a longline bra into a daywear look and where would you wear it? Give us your take in the comments below!

Marianne Faulkner

Marianne Faulkner is the designer of Pop Antique, a clothing and corsetry line specializing in sustainable materials and comfortable curves. She is based in San Francisco where she earned her MFA in fashion design at the Academy of Art University, and has been a columnist at The Lingerie Addict since 2011.

3 Comments on this post

  1. […] a huge obsession with beautiful underwear, and underwear as outerwear? Don’t get me started. The Lingerie Addict broke down chic bras to wear as a staple part of your outfit; but if you’d rather keep your bra your little secret (like me), that’s fine […]

  2. Estelle says:

    I’m not big on the lingerie as outerwear trend (more of a high necklines and knee-length skirts kind of girl!) but very recently I bought a floral cropped top / bralet and matching harness from Flash You+Me and it would totally work as outerwear. It doesn’t look like a bra because it’s completely unstructured, so great for those uncomfortable obviously wearing a bra as outerwear.

    • Marianne Marianne says:

      Sounds cute! I usually don’t wear any lingerie except my corsets as outwear (lately I’m really into just-above-the-ankle length skirts, and I’ve always had a fondness for turtlenecks) but I do have a tendency to juxtapose different style elements a lot, which is why I like the cropped top with a high waist look. I feel like they balance each other out really well.

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