Style & Error: One woman tests the trends of the day.

Trend Bandeau practice.

Why? Bottega Veneta, Issey Miyake, Richard Chai Love and Yigal Azrouël are doing it.

Trendology Bandeau tops go back to Roman times but resurfaced as a fashion enabler in the ’20s, when flat chests were de rigueur. In the ’40s, they were incorporated into two-piece swimsuits. In the ’70s, they were made of ruched elastic cotton and elongated into tube tops, which were revolutionized in the following decade with the introduction of spandex.

Test drive

Every other season, fashion designers conspire to out our underwear. To which I say: Keep our Wonderbras under wraps, shall we? But this year’s variation on the theme is the more interesting bandeau bra. Untwisted and unornamented with the circle clip in the centre, the classic bandeau top is a strip that runs straight across your breasts like it’s censoring them. In vintage Archie comic books, Betty and Veronica frequently wore bandeau tops with short shorts and platform sandals. But that’s not the look we’re striving for this season. I tried a white spandex one under a sheer white lace Dolce & Gabbana blouse and mini-peasant skirt. This outfit—with
Chanel platform sandals and a startling personality change—could inflict years of psychoanalysis on my loved ones. Still, the bandeau was about as minimalist and androgynous as a bra top could be, making me feel less like I was reprising circa
’80s Madonna and more like I was bandaging my chest to get ready for the big fight. In Bottega Veneta’s black crocodile bandeau, I was definitely going to win. Although it has more in common with a belt than it does lingerie, the BV bandeau still makes you wonder if it will keep everything buckled in at all times. As my friend Yana says, “Bandeau tops are for girls who don’t have to do anything.” For example, I felt relatively confident opening a bottle of wine while wearing the bandeau. But after pulling the cork out of, say, five bottles of wine, would I still be fully contained? Could I ride a bike? Take out my keys and open my front door? How about signing a cheque? At least the coral
Jil Sander jacket I was wearing over it would provide some cover in case of slippage.

Can the bandeau be worn with anything? That and the verdict on the next page …

Image above: Ricahrd Chai Love (; Issey Miyake (; Bottega Veneta (Marcio Madeira).

Which brings me to another point: The BV bandeau, I am happy to announce, goes with every single thing you put it with. In fact, I challenge you to find one thing it doesn’t look good with. I tried it under a vintage YSL tux, with high-waisted
Stella McCartney trousers, with a slouchy pair of Céline trousers, with a Jason Wu pencil skirt, under a diaphanous black tulle-skirted Chloé dress, with striped high-waisted Yigal Azrouël shorts and so on. Each time, Yana would nod and say “Yep, looks good.” It would look good for about 10 minutes before it started migrating south or twisting clockwise. So, my regretful verdict? The BV bandeau is sexy, modern, clean and minimalist. Too bad the damn thing just won’t stay put.


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Image above: Ricahrd Chai Love (; Issey Miyake (; Bottega Veneta (Marcio Madeira).