Cleavage: What's Appropriate, What's Not

One study says breasts can help women get ahead in the workplace.

ByABC News via logo
February 9, 2009, 6:55 PM

May 29, 2007 — -- The weather's getting warmer and necklines are dipping lower -- sometimes, too low.

From the beach to the mall to the office, women seem to be showing off their cleavage more than ever before. Why? According to Elisabeth Squires, author of "Boobs: A Guide to Your Girls," American breasts are getting bigger while shirts are getting smaller.

"We are seeing more cleavage these days for a few reasons. First, the fashion of the day is tight and skinny. At the same time, women are bigger than they were even 15 years ago. Bra fitters tell me that an E cup is the new C cup," Squires said on "Good Morning America."

"We have to remember that while more women are showing more cleavage, you really have to use your breast power responsibly," Squires said.

What looks sexy for a night out on the town may not be appropriate in the workplace. In fact, Squires said cleavage should never make an appearance in the office.

"It's way too big of a distraction for men and women," she said. "If cleavage isn't in your job description, don't put it in."

But that doesn't mean breasts should stay hidden. According to Squires, the appearance of breasts can help women in the workplace.

"A recent study showed men photos of women in a workplace with large breasts showing cleavage, medium breasts and small breasts. When asked about who looked most professional and personable, the men chose the women with medium-sized breasts," she said.

"You don't have to be flat-chested to be taken seriously," she added. "You just have to be proportionate. For women who are small busted, that may mean a little padding. For well-endowed women, that may mean a minimizer."

Squires suggested that women also keep things respectable at family events, like a kids' soccer game.

"This is not the time to show off your girls," she said. "Your children should not have to compete with your cleavage for attention."

Night is prime time to bring out breasts, but Squires suggested women treat their cleavage as part of their outfit -- not a focal point.