White tank, black bra

In my last post about the dreaded High Collar, I made reference to the white shirt/black bra combination, i.e. the easy win.  While this look can no doubt be worn elegantly, the win is made all the more easy the more easy you make yourself look.  I.e., make that white shirt a vest (tank top for my American readers) with the bra black underneath, and you’ll get your man.

Pardon the pun, but this is not black and white territory – there is a lot going on here.  First, men can use some pretty base language to describe a woman they see in such an outfit. Slutty. Sexy. Low class. In fact, this style is a real bone of contention for my male friends.  When I suggest it turns them on, they reflexively insist it’s trashy and sloppy and that they don’t like it.  All of them, and I say all because my track record is legitimately 100% on this, return to the subject a few hours or even days later, sheepishly admitting that on reflection, they agree with me. ‘It’s kind of hot.’

I think there’s a perceived wildness to wife beaters and black bras that also has a certain appeal – a sense of reckless abandon. See tights, ripped for similar effect.  Actually, there is no ripped tights entry.  I just like that mechanic.

Men get as much of a sniff of the crazy and think they are in for a carnal feast. They imagine toys, acrobatics, being tied to the bedpost and, they hope, a penchant for anal. Of course, what they often miss is that crazy can mean insecurity.

You know me by now, so let me restate that a confident woman, happy in herself and her body, is going to deliver the sexual goods ten times better than a nail-biting lunatic and she might not even write cringe-inducing poetry if she doesn’t get a call back. But men usually figure that one out for themselves. In time.

So maybe that’s why, despite all the negative connotations of a black bra and white shirt, I see value in this look. First, it is a statement of sexual empowerment. A woman showing her bra so outwardly is beating men to the point. She knows she has breasts; she knows she has half decent bras; she’s okay with the rest of us knowing, too.

There’s also a confidence piece. If you rock a dark bra under something as casual as a white vest, you either picked up what was closest to you (this might have the morning after appeal described in my post on the Smokey Eye) or aren’t necessarily dressing to impress in the first place. (Of course, you still will want to read my blog, won’t you?)

Finally, it is a way of letting your dark side show, and let’s face it, we all have one. It keeps things interesting and sometimes, it’s the reveal of those depths that drive the deeper connections. That – and it probably drives better music collections, too.


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  1. #1 by Marianne Moulson (@mammymole) on March 12, 2012 - 7:39 pm

    SJP rocked a white lace dress with a black bra last week in Paris looked good#whitetankblack bra

  2. #2 by jennamilly on March 12, 2012 - 10:27 pm

    Also love a Soho Speaks staple of red bra with black tank. That look is HWAT as well!

  3. #3 by Mister Chappers on March 13, 2012 - 12:54 am

    Hey Soho.
    When I was about 19, as a wee young gosling coming out to the world, I thought it best to attract male attention in a similar way, but my black/white combangation was more along the lines of white linen (wouldn’t-say-palazzo-but-my-god-they-were-floaty) pants couple with a black man G-string. Ok. It wasn’t ‘Along The Lines Of’. It actually was…
    I hear ya Soho. It left people intrigued. It left people revolted. It may well have left certain people with a venerable Chubby.
    Either way, I left them in the late 90s.

    • #4 by sohospeaks on March 13, 2012 - 8:26 am

      Palazzo pants? Oh where was my blog back then? I could have helped… I could have done more.

  4. #5 by Carol Clark on March 13, 2012 - 8:59 pm

    Two words: Black lace.

    I bought a skirt at the Salvation Army for 3 bucks last week and just wore it to a waltz dance. It is a stretchy, swingy black skirt with black lace gores all around it that come dangerously up the thighs. I had strange men coming up to me to compliment me on that skirt, including one who asked to try it on (ha, just kidding about that last one). Got lots of good dances, too. So, gosh, if you want a man to look at something, just drape it in black lace. I feel bad for poor Angelina who didn’t know and just had her bare leg hanging out at the Oscars.

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