When Is Showing Your Bra In Public Appropriate?

cate blanchett dress

As we all know, Cate Blanchett could wrap herself in woven string cheese and Saran Wrap and inexplicably land on everyone’s “Best Dressed” list. Except it wouldn’t be inexplicable. It would be explained by the sentence, “Because she’s Cate Blanchett.” But her look last night for a luncheon celebrating Blue Jasmine? Well, I completely love it, but I have no idea whether or not it is something any mere mortal such as myself can pull off.

The sheer black dress clings to her gorgeously, and its nude fabric underneath the overlay keeps her from exposing too much. However, it appears that some sort of bra thing is going on underneath the top portion, which is a little confusing. Unfortunately, we don’t have photo access to the full dress (a better photo is here!), but this pic posted to Instagram — which includes cute Philip Seymour Hoffman and Bobby Cannavale cameos! – showed the main portion I’m referring to. (Better pic here, though!) Basically, she looks wonderful. But is this look for everyone?

With all the sheer, lacy clothing trends that come about every other season, it’s hard to know when you should go for the gold with the see-through thing or wear a tank top underneath. My general rule: for work or work-like situations, I’m generally careful not to expose my bra. If I’m going out to, say, a concert, I’m significantly less concerned what anybody thinks of my outfit. I’m not about to run around at Coachella in the sun with three layers on, ya feel me?

However, I am totally torn when it comes to fancy events. You can constantly see celebrities’ bras under dresses on the red carpet, but…well, they’re celebrities. They do weird things. They wear weird stuff. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think that because I look at celebrities on red carpets every day, often wearing see-through garments, I’m more adjusted than I should be to the idea.

So, dear readers, what do you think? Is the visible bra a big no-no or can it work for certain events, at specific times and (perhaps saddeningly) on only a few people? Or, even better, is it a universally awesome trend that works all across the board? I personally think it looks great, but…yeah. Help! I am completely clueless, which should come as no surprise to anyone, but I trust your judgment to guide me in the right direction.

Photo via Instagram.

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    • http://poorgoop.com/ Samantha

      I like the idea of a bra as a fashion garment. It makes me feel better about wearing one. Granted, I have really small boobs, so I can go without one in a lot of fancy dress situations. But if I could incorporate it into my actual look as an accessory as much as a foundation garment, I’d do it.
      Of course, like any fashion trend, some looks are better than others, so go for it and find what works. It’s better than peplums.

      • Muggle

        Everything is better than peplums.

    • Elizabeth Alexander

      I’ve always thought of the exposed bra as very rock-n-roll. which is awesome if that’s what you’re going for. but when you’re at a fancy even trying to look chic and sophisticated it’s just too distracting. so yeah. kind of context-specific. but attitude really is everything, so rules don’t always matter

    • MammaSweetpea

      I’m curious as to why the bra is visible but not the panties. Is there a lining in the dress at undies level?
      And a question: what is the proper pronunciation of ‘Coachella’. Is it Co-AH-chella or Co-chella? I’m not sure why I even have a doubt about how to say, it’s just one of those things about me.

      • anna

        i say co-chella but you’re making me doubt myself

      • MammaSweetpea

        Lol! Sorry, didn’t mean to do that! Disregard this conversation….I’m generally curious about how to pronounce names I’m unfamiliar with. I’d only heard about Coachella a year or so ago. I’m still working on how come Arkansas isn’t “Ar-kan-sus” :)

      • anna

        Ha, until I was 18 i said ar-can-saws and ill-a-noise! no one ever corrected me! I sounded like such a redneck

      • Samantha_Escobar

        I always say Co-chella, but I pronounce a lot of words wrong, to be completely honest. :(

    • anya

      to me, it’s less about the person wearing it and more about the style of bra. I think its a good look, depending on the bra

    • La

      I think the rules are the same as for mini-skirts; circumstance, place, and time matter. You can wear them to dinner, to an event, or in another playful setting, but not at work, formal events, or special functions. They are usually better worn at night than day. You should not wear them while speaking to a crowd or meeting someone new or important to you. Also, fit is especially important in undergarments. Make sure it gets noticed for the right reasons.