How to take the plunge... and still stay stylish
With Jennifer Aniston's plunging neckline turning heads, Deirdre Reynolds has the low-down on how best to flaunt your assets
Jennifer Aniston is the latest star to take the plunge -- and we don't just mean by getting engaged to hunky beau Justin Theroux.
The 43-year-old actress stepped out in a slash-front Tom Ford frock at the LACMA Art & Film Gala in LA at the weekend.
But not even her mega-bling eight-carat engagement ring could distract from her daring neckline.
Jen isn't the only one to seemingly put her frock on back-to-front lately.
Heidi Klum, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway are just some of the celebs braving the cold front this winter.
Meanwhile, former Corrie star Helen Flanagan -- who hit headlines in an eye-popping Jean Paul Gaultier gown earlier this year -- told how she'll never put her 32E assets away.
"Sometimes I think maybe I do bring the attention on myself because I like to wear low-cut dresses," says the 22-year-old.
"But have you seen what some girls my age wear when they go out on the town? I am really happy right now and I will wear exactly what I want."
So how low can you go?
Here, a panel of top fashion, beauty and fitness experts reveal the golden rules of taking the plunge.
"Jennifer Aniston looks fantastic in her plunging Tom Ford dress," says Galway-based blogger and stylist Erika Fox of RetroFlame. blogspot.com. "Generally, if you're bigger than a C cup, you should steer clear of this trend. However, smaller-busted women need to exercise caution too, as it can make you look even more flat-chested
"So somewhere in the middle, just like Jennifer, is ideal.
"Go for a structured, stretchy fabric -- which offers more support than a flowing one."
Alternatively, wear a pair of statement earrings so that the whole focus isn't on your cleavage.
"The whole idea is to create a peek-a-boo effect," she adds, "not run the risk of a wardrobe malfunction! If low-cut styles simply don't suit you, remember that a backless number can be just as sexy."
"My biggest advice is to stand up straight," says celebrity personal trainer Pat Henry of HenryWellness.com
"The human head weighs around 11lb -- so if you're going around with your head sticking out like a duck, then your boobs, tummy and everything else droops forward too.
"Standing up straight -- with your head in the right position and and your shoulders back -- gives you a perkier bust and smaller waist instantly.
"When it comes to exercise, as there's no actual muscle in the bust, concentrate on strengthening the pectoral muscles and shoulders," he advises.
"There's a difference between looking braless and going braless," says Roslyn Ellis, Brown Thomas lingerie buyer.
"With this season's plunging necklines, some customers prefer a natural look, while others want more oomph.
"My advice is to bring the dress into the store with you, so you can try on all the different options until you achieve the desired effect.
"Some of our most popular solutions include Fashion Forms Adhesive Bra Cups (€15), reusable stick-on cups that you shape yourself into, and the new Stella McCartney Supernatural Bra (€53), which goes in a 'U' shape at the front.
"Fashion tape, which holds your dress in place, and nipple covers are also a must for the party season."
"If you're going to show off your décolletage, it should look as good as your face," says beauty therapist Lesley Barrett of The Skin Clinic in Cork.
"You could have a stunning dress, hair and makeup, but if your décolletage is dry and crepey, it ruins the whole look.
"For perfectly polished skin, microdermabrasion -- which gets rid of any 'crocodile skin' -- is the way to go.
"Younger women can help prevent the damage in the first place by wearing SPF 30 every day, even in winter."
"Lighting and shading is the big thing with the chest area," says freelance make-up artist Keara Kelly of Make-up by Keara in Meath.
"Use bronzer strategically rather than applying it all over the décolletage.
"For instance, to make your bust look more voluminous, sweep some matte bronzer in an 'M' shape across the bustline, then apply some highlight powder to the exposed part of the breast.
"Your foundation should match the skin tone on your neck and chest," she adds.
"If you need a little extra coverage, simply work the leftover foundation on your brush down on to your chest."