It’s been a while since I’ve analyzed Oscar looks, but yesterday on my way to the gym, I idly googled “Taraji Henson 2018 Oscar dress”, expecting to find her in something elegant, solid and V-necked; so you can imagine my shock when this custom Vera Wang creation came up in my results.

Unless she’s gotten a reduction since I last wrote about her, Vera Wang–who I always considered off-limits to full-busted women–has worked magic. There isn’t a bra strap in sight. How did she do it?

I obsesed over it until I came up with this explanation that I shared on the Campbell & Kate blog today (where I also cover 27 other big-bust friendly looks from the recent awards ceremonies):

As you might suspect, there is definitely fashion tape [affiliate link] involved. In blue below, we’ve outlined one of the little bra pads that keeps Taraji’s lifted shape. Only double-sided tape will keep her large breasts from spilling out of them.

To keep her breasts separated so that major cleavage isn’t on display in the red zone above, the yellow-outlined band of fabric provides important structure. It spans the outer width of her large breast so that the shirred bodice can rise from a narrow point on her waist and attach to a wider point under her arm (in purple). This keeps everything covered AND provides a base for securing the bra pad and breast tissue away from the center of the dress. The mesh panel also helps. Finally, a band across the back of the dress acts as an anchor for these important pieces.

What do you think? Did I get it right?

Here’s hoping that more designers will be inspired to stretch the parameters of what busty women can wear.

P.S. It’s worth noting that Christian Siriano dressed SEVENTEEN Oscar attendees this year, in addition to guests at the Vanity Fair after-party (including Rachel Bloom). I loved listening to a live webcast of him at the Fashion and Physique Symposium on February 23. I will try to link to the interview when they post it on YouTube. So many thoughts after listening to this and other sessions . . . .