Carola Long: Joan Holloway and the ‘Mad Men’ effect remind us that cleavage is a better accessory than an ‘it’ bag'

Absurd fashion news flash No 99: breasts are back. Yes folks, even a part of one's body that can only be altered through dramatic changes in weight or surgery isn't immune to the trend mill. At the Prada show, the emphasis was firmly on the décolletage, as full-skirted, Fifties dresses with rows of mini ruffles at the bust were modelled by Victoria's Secret models with the requisite curves to show them off. Meanwhile at Louis Vuitton, Elle 'The Body' MacPherson (below) and Laetitia Casta wore dresses with New-Look style skirts, and structured bodices with moulded cups that, well, overflowed. Call it the 'Mad Men' effect, as the cantilevered charms of Joan Holloway remind everyone that cleavage is a better accessory than an 'it' bag.

However, despite Lib-Dem politician Lynne Featherstone's comments about Joan being a great role model, the less hourglass among us can see that her traffic-stopping embonpoint is completely unattainable unless you are born with it.

Or is it? The high street has just come up with some ambitiously – and some might say absurdly – padded new bras; the most extreme being Marks & Spencer's Two Sizes Bigger bra and La Senza's Triple Gel bra. My tests revealed that the effects of these two contraptions are dramatic, but despite the claims of unprecedented lightness, wearing them feels a bit like having four breasts because there is so much extra padding. Also, while pretty much all pursuit of self-improvement via clothes and make-up could be seen as false advertising, this is an illusion worthy of David Copperfield.

Personally, I'm more taken with a subtle lift. Less dramatic than the Two Sizes Bigger genre, but more flattering, are Calvin Klein's Seductive Comfort bras (from £30.50, asos.com), Wonderbra's Ultimate Strapless (£33, figleaves.co.uk), which has funny hand-shaped supports to keep things up and the excellent value Second Skin push-up bra from Figleaves Basics (£15, figleaves). I also like M&S's Perfect Fit Memory Foam range which moulds to your body. Just don't be put off by the fact that typing Memory Foam into a search engine also brings up some not so alluring mattresses and slippers.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
people
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

    Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

    Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

    Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

    £15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

    Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us