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How to wear your Retro sequin boob tube for great summer fun

August 27, 2018

There is no event, place or time in life for which a retro sequin boob tube is not the perfect piece of clothing. Sure, some people will tell you that you shouldn’t turn up to a funeral in one, but even dead people like glitter. Likewise for work: tell me a job which wouldn’t be enhanced by a flash of sequins. Bus drivers, government minister, street cleaners, dog walkers – they would all look so much better with that little bit of retro joy. Team with a really sharp black suit for maximum impact.

 

80s red sequin tube top from Blue17 vintage

80s red sequin tube top from Blue17 vintage

How to wear a retro sequin boob tube

A versatile and attractive key peice in womens evening wear, a retro sequin boob tube adds sparkle and fun to a Woman’s outfit. An original retro sequin boob tube from the 70s or 80s is very simple: an extra-wide piece of strong elastic with sequins incorporated into it, sewn together with one seam into a stretchy tube. It is the same width front and back, strapless, and has no internal structure, so no bra shelf or boning to stay up on its own. There’s not even any lining. But because it’s so wide all the way around and made of a heavy elastic, it will provide some shape and support anyway, and tends to cling in place.

 

You can, of course, wear it over a bra if you want to, strapless or with straps. Who cares if the bra straps are showing? If it does bother you, get some clear bra straps. Or it’s really easy to add some straps to the boob tube itself made from ribbons over the shoulders or tied at the back of your neck as a halter neck.

 

Red sparkly bandeau top and 80s grey leather skirt from a selection at Blue17 vintage

Red sparkly bandeau top and 80s grey leather skirt from a selection at Blue17 vintage

The Co-Ord

 

There are so many ways to style this piece of fun clothing. At the moment, many people are going for the co-ord, and for that you want to find a matching skirt, leggings, trousers or hot pants to go with your top. True vintage versions of these are fairly rare: a body con skirt or hot pants might be your best bet here. If you go for classic gold sequins, silver sequins, blue sequin, black gold or hot pink sequins you’re more likely to find a close match, even if they weren’t specifically made to go with each other.

 

It’s also possible to get two boob tubes and wear one on top and one on your bottom half. If, for example, you’re a size small, try getting a size medium to wear as a (very brief!) skirt, or you can convert that into hot pants.

 

If you can’t find the fully sequinned co-ord you’re looking for, you can get basics in the right colour and sew a strip of sequins to it. For example if you want some sequined leggings, sew a length of sequins to the outer seam. Don’t worry, you don’t have to sew them on individually. Sequins are available by the metre already linked together.

 

Otherwise, there’s two ways to go. You can do a full vintage repro look, or you can do it your own way.

 

Animal prints in sequins.

Animal prints in sequins.

The Disco Repro

 

Disco was all about tight clothes. For real 70s style, you want to find the really shiny nylon kind of lycra leggings or ski pants. They need to be high-waisted, too. Wear with stilettos and extra glitter.

 

If you want a vintage 80s look, you can layer. Try the Cyndi Lauper favourite of multi-coloured net skirts with the sequin boob tube, or underneath a net t-shirt.

 

Doing it your own way

 

A more modern look is to just add it to your existing wardrobe. Boob tubes look great with cut offs, jeans, or more casual trousers. Wear it in place of a t-shirt or your usual going-out top, under a jacket if you like.

 

If you want to add a bit of matchy-matchiness you can do it in a cooler way by perhaps matching to your Converse. My all time favourite basketball boots are the ones with the silver sequins. It’s a low-key way to look chic.

 

80s black boob tube top and blue denim skirt

80s black boob tube top and blue denim skirt

What colour should I pick?

 

Any colour! Boob tubes are so inexpensive you can choose several. They come in a rainbow of block colours, and often patterns too like stripes, fades and chevrons. Also, a favourite effect for 80s sequins is the holographic colour change effect. This is actually great for sunshine as well as the night because the sun seems to intensify the colours in a way that electric light does not.

 

A retro sequin boob tube is generally available in great condition because it seems to be surprisingly hard-wearing. If the shine wears off a few sequins it’s not a big deal anyway. It won’t affect the overall look, you’ll still be shining like a diamond. It’s also, by the way, easy to wash the boob tubes and keep them in good condition. Just throw in the washing machine.

 

Black sequinned butterfly 80s top

Black sequinned butterfly 80s top

The boob tube alternative

 

Boob tubes were so popular in the 80s that many versions of them appeared. You could get dresses with a tight sequinned top, silk sequin, sequin butterfly top, heavily beaded and sequin top, a sequined top blouse, long-sleeved boob tubes, boob tubes with shoulder pad, and many variations thereof.

 

Maxi dresses appeared in the disco years, and knee-length body con in the 80s. For a special event, there’s also the fully sequinned fishtail dress, more like a ball dress than anything else. But that’s definitely not for casual moments. Unless you like to casually do the gardening in a ball dress, that is. I’m all for that.

 

So anyway, if you’re not comfortable in a tight top that bares your skin, there’s lots of other options. Here’s Frazey Ford and friends showing several ways to do it.

 

Of course, you can always wear the original retro sequin boob tube with another top layered over, just showing glimpses. That’s perfect for your favourite other top which shows just a little bit more cleavage or side boob than you’re comfortable with. Or the white top that insists on being see through, no matter the colour of the nude bra you wear. Just wear the boob tube as a glamorous base layer. Any flashes look entirely deliberate.

 

Beaded and sequined knee length 80s cocktail dress

Beaded and sequined kneelength 80s cocktail dress

What UK size of boob tube?

 

Well, boob tubes aren’t designed to be worn loose! Don’t go oversize on this. They are very stretchy too so will fit a range of sizes. But a sequin top size could be bigger, so that you can wear it loose. Look on the site map for guidance.

 

80s silver boob tube from Blue17 vintage

80s silver boob tube from Blue17 vintage

 

Club wear

 

Of course, the natural home for a boob tube is in the club. Sequins, glitter and shine look amazing under strobe lights. They catch the light and fling it back at whoever’s watching. Just like on a summer day, you can pair it with something casual like denim cut offs, or go for the matching co-ord. In the club you can also get away with being more dressed up, so add loads of eyeliner and makeup, glitter and strobing make up effects.

 

Again with this you can wear it matching or mismatched, you can layer your retro sequin boob tube with glitter or lame or diamante or any other shiny thing you find, or just wear it with plain jersey.

 

A Retro sequin boob tube for Festivals

 

Festival time is also glitter time. The boob tube makes an amazing accessory for a touch of over the top glamour, and at the same time is comfortable for dancing, good in the sunshine, happy to be worn on its own or covered up, and in general looks great.

 

Plus, if your only desire is to dress up as a mermaid, fish or peacock you have some ready-made scales without resorting to the cliché of a shell bra. Happiness all around.

 

 

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