Smock Dresses for Big Boobs

The main question is, smock dresses for big boobs, yea or nay? First of all lets look at the style itself.

These dresses remain resolutely popular for their informal, figure friendly style. Once the domain of maternity wear, the look has found favour with younger women in particular for a casual, nonchalant, chic look.

This is a style which has undoubtedly improved markedly in the last few decades and has emerged to be popular dresses for big busts.

It is also very similar to shift and tunic dresses and we discuss the differences.

The terms most often associated with it are: over-sized, voluminous, comfortable.

It seems that many women over 40 generally do not like the unstructured look and deem it unfeminine and messy.

Smock dresses have got trendy

Chiffon Smock Dress

However for many others, the loose fitting nature of the garment means it is an absolute winner.

I have always thought these dresses are like Marmite or New York City, you either love it or hate it. Without a doubt this style has improved so now maybe the time to re-visit it. Below I discuss this garment with plenty of photo examples.

What Are Smock Dresses?

A smock dress in a skater style

So what are smock dresses? They are essentially loose fitting, unstructured garments, normally of a light material and with sleeves. It also normally has gathering just below the bust and the material floats out from there.

That said, the example on the left does not have the typical gathering. Also, just to confuse, this retailer does not call it a smock dress.

I am slightly loathe to point it out but it is a bit like a babydoll nightie - see right hand column.

The term originally derived from the (needlework) term, 'smocking'. This is an embroidery technique whereby material is gathered, often with an elastic backing so that it can then stretch. See right hand column.

What are The Advantages of Smock Dresses For Big Busts?

Whilst some feel it is messy and shapeless, many like it because it hides all imperfections, particularly concerns related to hips, thighs, tums and bums (ass, if you prefer).

A+D® Womens Shortsleeve Loose Flowy Stretch Knit Crewneck Tunic dress for big boobs
Fashion Fairies Tartan Ladies Long Sleeve Tunic Dress for big busts

I seem to recall these were once the preserve of awful, flouncy maternity dresses, often with a big pink bow on the front.

Thankfully they have become more versatile and edgy as they have been adopted by younger women. As is often the case with ladies fashion, people call certain styles by different names. The dress above left is classified by the seller as a swing dress.

The vast variety of designs and styles also now means that pregnant women can still look fashionable, which is a vast improvement for womanhood in general.

Go Long

Tunic or maxi dress?
Long flowy Summer tunic dress

The style can be worn long, above or below the knee. Above left is a lovely flowing summer dress with spaghetti straps. If you do not like the straps, you could opt for the wider strap alternative shown right. Interestingly, the seller describes this as a corset dress - another name variation.

Personally i would not class these longer styles as smock dresses but some retailers would. So, you pays your money and you takes your choice.

Short or Mini Style Swing Dresses

Sidecca Retro 1950s Smock Swing DressSwing smock dress
Purpuro Erizo Mini Smock dressA mini smock dress

Again, sometimes these are classified as flare, fit and flare, skater, babydoll or swing dresses. No description is necessarily wrong but it does lead to unnecessary confusion. Remember always to ensure you are picking a style with flattering sleeve lengths - it really makes a difference for busty women.

The dress on the right seems incredibly short. Fine if you are young enough and have the legs for it but a useful reminder to always check the length before buying. We are all so consumed by getting the chest area right that we might rush and ignore the hemline length.

Do Smock Dresses Suit Big Busts?

So do smock dresses suit big busts? I think so as long as you are aware of their shortcomings. The main problem is that they can make you look bulky or frumpy. A smock horror if you will. However there are some tips to creating a better look.

Smock dresses for big bustsOff the shoulder
Ditsy Print Skater DressSkater style

1. Length Matters

If you are young enough you can wear very chic short frocks. If you prefer a longer length, make sure you keep it on or preferably just above the knee, as if it gets too long it will look frumpy. If it has become too short, you might wear it as a top over jeans or slacks.

2. Keep it light

A soft, light, floaty fabric gives an air of delicate charm. Avoid heavy, rigid materials which create an impression of bulk.

3. Avoid Fuss

I have already mentioned my pathological hatred of those awful big maternity frocks with their big ribbons. You will see very little detailing on the dresses on this page as the key is to KISS; keep it simple sweetheart!

So avoid big ribbons or puffy sleeves

4. Avoid Big Patterns

Keep patterns muted and low key or go for monochrome colours.

5. Team with Leggings

Originally these frocks were very much standalone items but their adoption by younger women has seen them successfully teamed up with leggings for a chic look. Equally they can be worn over jeans or slacks.

6. Add A Belt

This might actually be sacrilege and it may no longer technically be a smock but if you want to define your waist or feel that it is just too flouncy, you might wish to accessorise with a belt.

7. Watch those sleeves

You will note that many of the outfits shown on this page have narrow sleeves or are sleeveless. This is subtle trick but a means to avoid adding more bulk your torso. Therefore avoid any frock that has bulky sleeves unless they are of a very light or see through nature.

Smock dresses for big boobsLoose fit
Do smock dresses suit big busts?Overlap sleeves

Are They Similar to Shift Dresses?

What is the difference between shift dresses and smock dresses? Not a lot! As you can see from the photos below.

The length, sleeves and shape of these shift dresses are similar if not identical to many of the smock frocks on this page. The principal difference, if any, is the fact that there is no gathering beneath the bust.

That said, many retailers, manufacturers and fashionistas mix and match the terms. So if you are considering this style, do not forget to check out shift dresses too.

Sue&Joe Women's Fit and Flare Dress V-neck Ruched Flowy Pleated Cap Sleeve Dress
Sidecca Retro 1950s Polka Dot Smock Swing Dress-Plus Size

There is also not a great deal of difference to some high waist skater dresses and tunic dresses too. So if you like this style, cast your search far and wide and try those search terms too.




Did you like this page, did you learn something, maybe it reinforced you own views? I want to give as much (hopefully helpful) advice to the busty sisterhood as I can.

Please remember, we are all different. You may like to wear certain clothes and styles which I am suggesting that you should not. That is your absolute right. Do what makes you feel good. This site undeniably goes for the more modest approach because I feel all busty ladies already know how to be more racy if they wish.

It would really help me improve the site profile if you would click the Facebook 'Like' button. Pretty please! Susan

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It Is A Bit Like A Babydoll Nightie!

So what are smock dresses?A not so distant cousin

It may not be the most academic answer but when asked what are smock dresses? I often suggest it is a bit like a babydoll nightie.

I am simply talking about the overall shape, length and fact that it flows out from beneath the bust.

(Wipes sweat from brow and swiftly moves on.)


The History Of The Style

Smocks originally started as loose fitting, rural garments popular in the Middle Ages with agricultural workers.

Often heavy linen or wool and worn over other layers to protect them and provide warmth. They remain favoured by artists and fisherman as working clothes.

A traditional agricultural smockHistorical derivation

The actual dictionary definition is a loose dress or blouse you wear over your clothing to protect it.

There is also a verb. 'To smock' is too gather pleats of the material, and reduce it to about one third of it's size, usually on the neck or upper sleeve. 

They are similar to a pinafore which was also conceived as a working overall but pinafores are sleeveless and are open at the back.


The Strapless Look

Beach smock dress

The frock shown here is designed as beach wear. It is nevertheless useful to see a strapless variation.


A Smock Waist Dress

Gypsy Boho Cap Sleeves Smocked Waist Tiered Renaissance Maxi Dress for big boobs
Peach Couture

This Gypsy style or Boho cap sleeves smocked waist, tiered Renaissance maxi dress is a best seller on Amazon.


Wear It With Leggings

A smock dress with leggings

Wear it with leggings in colder weather. A small child is an optional accessory.



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Susan