When I tell you that Leah is in the middle of a move and her landlord has insisted on re-painting their current apartment while they’re still living there, I think you’ll understand why she wasn’t able to give us an Off the Rack column today.

Here are some everyday, non-swim uses that I’ve found for bikini tops and tankinis. I made these discoveries on Tuesday as I prepared to venture into the 90+ degree heat to the oven-like subway. At first I planned to wear a navy cami over my Fauve Lucia and hope the Luciana straps were pretty enough to get away with it, but I wasn’t looking forward to sweating in that bra. Then I took pictures for my tankini post and came up with better options.

First, I tried the Madame Butterfly bikini top with my black Elomi Isis briefs, but I didn’t like the combination enough to keep the top. However, I wondered what it would look like beneath my navy cami instead? Now this is a combination that I like! The straps actually add pizzazz to my otherwise boring outfit.

madame butterfly as heat wave bra

I’m including the far left and far right photos as a before-and-after reminder that less fabric = less boobs. In the far left photo, all I could see in the mirror was a Mound of Boobs. Then I realized that the back of my cami was lower than the front, so I turned it around and wore it backwards instead! (I cut the tag out after I finished taking the photos for today’s post.)

Even though I liked the combination a lot, I decided to return the Madame Butterfly top after I tried the cami over my Isis swim bra and liked that look, too. My practical self knew I wouldn’t get that much wear out of the Madame Butterfly because it would only go under two camis that I own.

swim bra bra straps

As a regular bra, the seams in the Isis were a lot less noticeable than I remembered them being in Sarasota, and I didn’t feel self conscious about my bra straps looking too bra-strappy, which is how I would have felt in my Lucia (the Lucia’s bra straps are pretty, but not pretty over the entire strap, and the edges curl). And here’s another bonus: if the back of my cami were to dip down to reveal my bra band, it would show only the bikini clasp instead of columns of hooks. I discovered this later in the day when I sat behind a woman on the bus whose tank top fell far below her wide black bra strap with its three columns of three rows of hooks.  I’ve already written about what I think of the display of the back of a boring bra band–it’s just too “underwear-y”! Even the underwear-as-outerwear and lingerie-that’s-meant-to-be-seen trends seem to require something more than the ordinary for display.

I did not mind sweating in the swim bra. It seemed to absorb the moisture and keep me reasonably dry. I find that regular bras seem to trap a layer of sweat between my skin and the bra, which tends to make me very grumpy. Also, the swim bra was comfortable for far longer than the first time that I wore it as a regular bra. It definitely hasn’t begun to stretch out yet.

Finally, I liked the Captiva tankini so much that I considered wearing it as a top that day. I credit Tina for this idea after she posted a pic of her wearing her tankini as a top in Tuesday’s Corporate Curves. I think the Panache strappy tops are great, but there are so many great-looking tankini tops out there to expand our options, especially if you choose one that’s more top-like than obviously a swimsuit.

captiva front with denim skirt

I also tried the Elomi Flora top with my denim skirt. I prefer it as a top than as a swimsuit top, but I’m not excited enough about the styling to keep it.

 elomi as top front with hand on hips

I’m curious to hear what you’ve done to accommodate your big boobs while dressing for hot weather.