I Never Understood Why My Mom Showed Off Her Cleavage ... And Then I Tried It

I come from a long line of proud cleavage-barers.

My mom and my grandmother, both of whom grew up in Italy and shared a love of all things Sophia Loren, were delighted by their "ample bosoms," which seems like the best -- and maybe the only -- way to describe your grandma's breasts. They wore and still wear fitted sweaters and low-cut dresses that look like they were ripped out of Sofia Vergara's closet.

As a child, I thought nothing of the way my mom dressed. She didn't wear mini skirts and didn't resemble Peg Bundy. She just had big boobs and I guess I figured they weren't going anywhere, no matter what she wore. It wasn't until a guy friend commented to me many moons later that the bodysuit (yep, bodysuit) she wore to my Sweet Sixteen was kinda ... hot. That's when I realized there was probably a good reason why I favored turtlenecks and long scarves for so many years.


I'm not nearly as well-endowed or curvy as some of the women in my family. But I've always felt like my boobs are just fine the way they are. Some silly quote by supermodel Naomi Campbell about how perfect breasts fit into a champagne glass resonated with me as a teen. Maybe seeing so much boobage all my life just turned me off to it. Maybe coming of age at a time when women like Gwen Stefani and Kate Moss, both of whom have modest-sized breasts, were idolized had something to do with it. Whatever it was, I never understood the allure of the overexposed cleavage.

And then I became pregnant. It was as if I'd eaten magic beans. My chest suddenly exploded by two cup sizes, and I now have cleavage I've never before had in my life -- not even during my first pregnancy. I know I'm just renting these babies and will have to give them back after birth, so a few months ago, I thought: Well, hell, why not enjoy them? The problem was I had no clue how to dress them up.

I looked at old pictures of my mom for inspiration and decided a low-cut boat top was in order. It would still be classy but would serve as my first lesson in Cleavage 101. Then came V-neck tops. An empire-waist dress cut open practically to my navel (okay, I'm exaggerating). The point is: my scarves have been stored in my dresser for months and I find that turtlenecks only make me feel shapeless. 

And why is it that no one in my family ever shared with me the odd, amazing power you feel when you expose just a bit of your cleavage? This feeling has nothing to do with grabbing the attention of men either because, trust me, at seven months pregnant, that's not happening. I just feel more feminine than before. And I don't think it would matter one bit if I were a D-cup or a B-cup. Feeling pride in your subtle or ample curves makes you feel just a teeny bit more powerful.

I'm not sure if I'll show off this much after I give birth. It's odd now to think my friends noticed my mom's breasts enough to wax poetic about them 10 years after she wore a bodysuit. But I now see the allure of cleavage-baring outfits and vow to not dismiss them outright.

Do you think it's okay for moms to wear low-cut tops and dresses or should they be given up after a certain age? 


Image via Eddie Bauer

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