Fashion Faux Pas?
July 1, 2011 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Can I wear a white bra under a white shirt/tank top?

Is that tacky?
It's not terribly visible with my shirt of choice, but you -can- still see it, and it probably depends on lighting as well (going to be outside mostly, but also in a restaurant and at a musical).

I'm also not horribly conscious of it or anything, but I'm home for a couple weeks, and my parents can tend to be overly critical of things like low rise jeans, etc, so I'd feel a little more confident with -them- if I knew whether or not this was generally accepted.

Also going to be wearing a dog collar, so it's not like people -aren't- going to look...and then, depending, look down. *Shrug*

posted by DisreputableDog to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What other color bra would you wear? Flesh tone?
posted by k8t at 10:45 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

well, sure, you can wear it. But it is a little tacky for your bra to be visible when it isn't specifically meant to be (like, it's not like it's a sheer layer over interesting underwear). A nude (your shade of nude, that is) bra would be less visible. My mom would harangue me about it, sounds like your mom might hassle you about it, too. It's just up to you if you care, is all.
posted by peachfuzz at 10:48 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

I would do it.

(And may I say, I <3 your username)
posted by tuesdayschild at 10:49 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you are asking for permission from the internets, then I hereby bestow it upon you. If you are asking about relative visibility, this is only an issue if your natural skin tone is dark enough to provide noticeable contrast. If you are asking about issues of style, I would recommend a flesh tone bra instead.

Also please note that some shades of white undergarments glow with especially alarming whiteness under blacklights, even when a white shirt is worn over them, so there is the chance of brightly glowing boobs if there is any of that kind of lighting at the musical.
posted by elizardbits at 10:49 AM on July 1, 2011

If the white shirt is pretty see-through, a white camisole under it might make you feel more comfortable. Personally, I don't think catching glimpses of a bra under a very slightly sheer white blouse is tacky, as that's just the way white clothes are. I think it's a bit silly to buy a nude bra just for this purpose, but YMMV. And I'm cheap, so there's that to consider.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:50 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you don't want people to see your underwear wear a flesh tone bra. If you do, then I think trashy (black bra) is better than tacky (white bra). I don't think white on white like that looks stylish in any context, more like a careless mistake.
posted by powerbumpkin at 10:51 AM on July 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

But prove me wrong!
posted by powerbumpkin at 10:54 AM on July 1, 2011

When I see women wearing white bras under white shirts, I usually assume it's because they don't know any better, that they mistakenly think "Oh white shirt --> right thing = white bra!!" Because if they want people to see their bra through their shirt on purpose, why wear white? Red or purple or leopard or even black would be more interesting. So I assume it's by accident, because you can almost always see a white bra under a white shirt.

There are tons of variations on the "nude" bra. I have kind of tan skin and I find that mauves work well, but so does heather grey, and all the permutations of tan, buff, cocoa, camel, blush, etc. Basically anything is better than white.
posted by thebazilist at 10:56 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

*Blinks* So people -do- wear colored/flashy bras under white shirts? My friend was trying to convince me of this a few months ago, but I was unmoved. ....... I -do- have a lacy, turquoise and black leopard bra......
posted by DisreputableDog at 11:01 AM on July 1, 2011

White is pretty much the worst color of bra ever. Gets dingy quickly, shows up under everything, looks yucky with darks, looks yucky with lights.... Treat yourself to a new bra, it doesn't have to be a great match for your skin tone just less obvious.
posted by anaelith at 11:02 AM on July 1, 2011 [10 favorites]

In general I think it's ok if a little bit of bra shows (strap that slips, glimpse through shirt, etc) unless you're in an environment where that's unacceptable. (Conservative office or black tie event or something.) Women wear bras, everyone knows that, so whatever - it's not scandalous the way it used to be for one to show. But thebazilist makes a very good point about people thinking you might not know better. So I guess if it looks intentional, wear it, and if not just wear a nude one. But if you can't get a nude one, I wouldn't worry too much about it, either.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 11:05 AM on July 1, 2011

Black bra under white tank top goes perfectly with dog collar. But your parents won't like it.

powerbumpkin is my favorite new user name in a while.
posted by yarly at 11:10 AM on July 1, 2011

I'd say that if you're wearing a dog collar, any undergarment visibility will read as intentional rather than tacky. You mean punk dog collar, right, and not a colloquialism for some sort of priest-wear?

Also, IME you can dye most bras with Rit - depending on your skin tone, anywhere from a tablespoon to a half-bottle of a tan or a brown should make the bra blend in a lot better if you're worried about it.
posted by Frowner at 11:11 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, a punk one. I was going to wear a white tank with a white-with-spikes-and-ring dog collar, and a shortish black skirt, and then probably comfortable walking shoes. And maybe a white almost business suit like two-button-up over shirt for personal irony.
posted by DisreputableDog at 11:19 AM on July 1, 2011

I have a lot of flashy bras, too, but I only wear "nude" colored ones under tops where you'd be able to see through, and I'm very fair-skinned. I thought that was very common and not unusual at all. Unusual to me are bras with clear straps. (what's the consensus on those anyway?)

I'm not super conservative or anything, either, but usually I'd rather not have my underwear visible more than straps showing. If you think your mom will hassle you, just invest in a flesh-toned bra (I thought that was the most common color next to black and white?) You'll be thankful for it if you find yourself in a professional environment. I do kind of facepalm for girls with visible bras who clearly didn't realize they'd be so visible. (eg the white on white) I like powerbumkin's comment.

All that being said, if you're dressing to have a visible bra, go with the leopard print. :P
posted by Sayuri. at 11:20 AM on July 1, 2011

Well, I don't wear flashy bras under white shirts, but I am a stodgy old lady in many ways, clothing-wise, and generally think your underwear ought not to show (with some leeway for straps and/or slips peeking out of skirt vents and the like). I wear nude bras under white/light colors, and black the rest of the time, and hate white undergarments under all circumstances.

Clear-strap bras are, in my estimation, horribly tacky, and it's not like those clear straps don't show-- it just looks like you've got packing tape on your shoulders. Ew. If you're wearing something that just won't work with straps, buy a strapless, for god's sake!

Also, you kids get off my lawn! You're not a lady unless you're wearing the appropriate slip under your dress! [/grandma]
posted by Kpele at 11:32 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I agree with thebazilist: a visible white bra under a white shirt isn't scandalous, but it does make me think "oh honey, we need to talk about your outfit."

A visible multicolored bra under a white shirt usually makes me think "ohhh honey, we need to go to Target and get you a mirror." Unless you're clubbing, and sometimes even then. So if you have doubts about that look, might as well not do it.

If you can't change the bra or shirt, pick up a cheapo strappy tank/cami to wear between the two. White is okay for that.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:51 AM on July 1, 2011

Yea, in general, my "light for subtle wear" bras are all flesh-toned. I haven't bought a white bra in ages because a) it shows awkwardly well (in some case, more so than black) under white or certain sheer fabrics like landing beacons on my chest and b) it gets dirty and dingy really fast.

From a purely fashion perspective: Don't know what your style is, or what style of shirt this is, but going off of the only clue from your question, it depends on what you mean by collar. Punk style dog collar? Or just one of those choker/collar-esque necklaces? Either way, if you're talking about a slightly sheer fabric (whether the bra is purposefully meant to be visible or not), a white bra would look kind of odd and not well-thought or coordinated with the overall look. I'd rather opt for just black, or even better, some other interesting color that pops and works with the overall outfit. Just be sure the design of the bra isn't too ostentatious. Again it depends on the shirt and complete outfit, but something like a demicup bra with ruched fabric encrusted in rosettes, looking vaguely like something from a bridal catalogue, it'll look weird showing through a simple button-down white shirt, as opposed to a nice simple lacy bra.

Basically, if shirt is sheer and underwear is meant to be worn as outerwear you have a bit more leeway, but it's always best to go simple. For example, the trend now that I see a lot is for very loose, sheer, deeply cut tank tops, or tank tops with cut-outs/ties, and usually what gets paired with those are colorful, but simple bikini tops, lacy bras and bralettes like this or this. So you see a little peek of it in the back or on the side, and the thin straps don't stand out too much against the top like a traditional bra would. Either that, or just bandeaus or strapless bras.
posted by kkokkodalk at 11:52 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Flesh-toned bra will be the least visible through a white shirt. But the people who would judge you because of this kind of thing are probably going to judge you on the dog collar first and after that their minds are going to be made up about you.
posted by hepta at 11:56 AM on July 1, 2011

Wear whatever you want, but:

My wife ONLY wears nude bras under white shirts so you can't see them.

A rather shy (believe it or not) friend of mine only wears neon-colored bars on white shirts and I think it's incredibly awesome.

Personally, black-bra-under-white-shirt is my personal favorite. There is even a restaurant near me where this actually their uniform: Black bra under white blouse, and black skirts.
posted by TinWhistle at 12:28 PM on July 1, 2011

For all the white-bra-haters: spare a thought for those of us with difficult to fit/hard to find sizes. I'd argue that a properly fitting bra, even if it's white, is better than a poorly fitting one in nude. I'm not a fan of white bras, but if it's the only color in my size, I'll take it.

In this case, though, I'd go with the leopard print.
posted by ambrosia at 12:35 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

*Blinks* So people -do- wear colored/flashy bras under white shirts?

Oh, yeah. The thinking is, if you've got a white shirt which is thin enough to show the bra no matter what color it is and you wear a white or nude bra, people will see it and think you were trying to hide it and failed. If you wear your lime green bra, you can go with the attitude of, "Yeah, this is my lime green bra. Whatcha gonna do about it?"

that's what I do, anyway.
posted by frobozz at 12:39 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, you may. It's non-traditional if you're a guy, but times are changing. If you're female, this is No Big Deal.
posted by theora55 at 12:44 PM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

In that outfit, whatever choice you make is gonna be taken as style. That said, I'd do a dark, noticeable bra under it if you like your boobs, white or flesh tone if you don't.
posted by NoraReed at 12:53 PM on July 1, 2011

I do it all the time and basically don't care. That said, my workplace is casual and I typically go for a sort of "effortless semi-bohemian" aesthetic. I also mix prints, don't match my handbag to my shoes or belt, wear black tights with everything all the time, fail to iron linen, and commit plenty of other fashion faux pas.

So maybe this means you shouldn't?

But I would.
posted by Sara C. at 1:05 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think a white bra visible under a white shirt is tacky. However, a slightly visible lacy white camisole over a white bra under a white shirt is not tacky.

A black or patterned bra under a white shirt is unspeakably tacky.

A bra that matches your skin tone and is thus invisible is the best solution under a white shirt. A skin-tone camisole over a skin-tone bra gives you the most imperceptible lingerie look under a white shirt.

A strapless bra is a better solution than a regular bra under a tank top. I think double straps are a little bit tacky, but I understand that there are some people who need more support than a strapless bra provides. In that case, I give them a pass on double straps. But in the case of double straps, they really need to match the color of the straps of the tank top.

I find clear-strapped bras also tacky. They put me in the mind of stripper shoes. They're not at all imperceptible...I think they actually draw *more* attention to themselves than would a bra with straps the same color as the tank top.

However, in all of this I realize I might be a little bit old-fashioned...I'm 35, but I've been wondering for at least ten years why women are not wearing slips any longer, since they make one's clothes so much more flattering.
posted by jocelmeow at 1:09 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

^_____^ Thanks everyone! I decided to wear the white bra under the white tank. I asked my mom and dad individually, since I was curious; they both said they wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't said anything (and they actually shrugged and said they don't care as much as I thought, but I'm very happy I asked on here.

XD Thanks Tuesdayschild.

On a side note, I agree about the clear strapped bras. I only change out for a clear strap when it's going with, let's say, a one shoulder shirt or dress, for which it goes -under- that strap, but there's the chance of the dress sliding just enough to reveal it (and when I don't feel comfortable that day with wearing a completely strapless bra or just lifting tape or those nipple pad things).

*Amused* I'm about due to go to Victoria's Secret anyway, so maybe I'll get one flesh tone bra and one "outer wear" style to play around with.
posted by DisreputableDog at 1:19 PM on July 1, 2011

Thanks everyone! I decided to wear the white bra under the white tank. I asked my mom and dad individually, since I was curious; they both said they wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't said anything (and they actually shrugged and said they don't care as much as I thought, but I'm very happy I asked on here.

This particular clothing decision fits more in the category of "what's the best way to put together my look" rather than "good grief, my parents are going to give me shit."

White bra under a white shirt isn't analogous to very low-rise jeans, it's not immodest or scandalous. It's more like wearing a skirt that bunches up from static cling. No big deal, but the outfit could look better.
posted by desuetude at 3:53 PM on July 1, 2011

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