Advice + Ask The Edit

Ask the Edit: Strapless Bra Solutions

Hi Belle,

I’ve been out shopping for summer clothes recently, and bought a silk cami that will be great for dressing up outfits a bit.  However, regular bras and bralettes look weird under it; I think my best bet will be nipple covers (I don’t really have the money to replace my strapless bra right now, and haven’t been able to find one that’s supportive without the wire digging in and driving me mad). 

Any suggestions?  Thanks! Meghan

First, let me answer your question, then we’ll talk about strapless bras a bit.

Nipple covers are a good strapless solution for women who can live unsupported.  I understand that not everyone has this option, but for those who do, the easiest solution is a pair of breast petals ($6).  If your nipple can’t be concealed by what is essentially a glorified band-aid, try a reusable silicone pair ($15).

Like many women, my breasts need a bit of lift to look their best.  If I need as little coverage as possible, I use Fashion Forms Ultimate Boost Adhesive Bra ($15).  They lift a little, shape a little, and can be reused six times.  They claim they can be used on women up to DD, I can only testify that they work for a small C.

Adhesive Bras. Another option, if you wear a lot of backless styles, is Fashion Forms Go Bare Ultimate Bra ($40).  It looks like a regular strapless bra in the front, but adhesive in the cups and on the sides holds it in place.  I own one, and I’ve worn it four or five times with no difficulty.  Though I will admit, even though it is secure (you can dance at a wedding in it), it does not feel that secure.

The leader in the adhesive bra business is NuBra.  They were the first, and some will attest, are still the best.  Their UltraLite Bra ($40) and Silicone Adhesive Bra ($75) are still very popular.  I used to wear the UltraLite, and it works well.  I just prefer the Fashion Forms because it better complements the natural shape of my breasts.

Strapless Bras.  This is a conversation we have had several times on the blog, and one bra almost always comes up the winner in the comments, the Wacoal Red Carpet Bra ($65).  The second place finisher is the Chantelle Intimates Vous et Moi bra ($78).  Both of these bras are very highly rated on Nordstrom, and beloved by The Work Edit commenters.

As for my choice, I recently bought the Natori Truly Smooth Strapless Bra ($64), and I am loving it.  I can’t tell you how many times a silk dress has shown the over-sized wire of a strapless bra, so the wide, smooth band is great.  I also love the internal silicone grippers to keep it up.

Good strapless bras are expensive.  The idea being that you buy one and wear it for years.  However, if you need something under-$50, the Felina Body Luxe Bra ($44) is the highest rated one on Nordstrom.com.

For plus-size ladies, I have little to offer you in the way of help, because this is an area where you need first hand experience.  Hopefully your fellow commenters can jump in.  As for petite ladies, several friends (and readers) rave about the Little Bra Company for all your strapless needs.  Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

Update. Someone asked in the comments about those “cinch bras” you see on Facebook (video).  I bought one last month, and I can honestly say, a bigger waste of $25 has never been made.  First, the bra portion is a flimsy cheap polyester.  It has almost no shape or support to it.  Second, the adhesive is about as sticky as Elmer’s Glue.  Third, and most importantly, the cinching cord that is supposed to give you lift is a shoelace.  A shoelace!!!  Not only is it uncomfortable, it will show through any top you are wearing it under.  Learn from my mistake, save yourself, pass on this social media darling.

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    29 comments

  1. KLC says:

    For plus size ladies, the strapless bras from Lane Bryant are actually great. The line is Cacique and they’re pretty reasonably priced, and also go B2G2 during their semi annual sales.

    June 13, 2017/Reply
  2. DM says:

    Target had adhesive bras for a lower price point if you wanted to try one out before investing in a more expensive version. Can confirm that support larger Cs/smaller Ds.

    June 13, 2017/Reply
  3. Sarah says:

    I work 2 mins down the street from Troussau in Vienna and have an appointment to go in next week and get a new strapless bra. I am so excited!

    June 13, 2017/Reply
    • KP says:

      Trousseau is amazing. I absolutely recommend them, well worth the drive out there.

      June 13, 2017/Reply
  4. Chris says:

    What about those “cinch” stick on strapless bras? Has anyone tried those? They stick on your breasts and you cinch the middle to create cleavage?

    June 13, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Oh let me talk about that bulls++t, the one you see on Facebook is complete garbage. Garbage. The cinching strap is a shoelace, a damn shoelace. Would show through any shirt you wore it under. And the adhesive was completely ineffective. Garbage.

      June 13, 2017/Reply
      • Mary says:

        I think that’s the most times you’ve used the word garbage in a single post or reply in the 4 or so years I’ve been reading your blog 😛

        June 13, 2017/Reply
        • Belle says:

          I’ll say it again, garbage. I’ve never gotten a purchase and that, how flipping awful is this thing?

          June 13, 2017/Reply
          • Valerie says:

            I thought for sure the cinch things were a shoelace…but I’m glad to know this before I wasted any money trying it out. I’m a D-cup, so most of the adhesive options aren’t really an option for me, but I try to give creative solutions a shot.

            June 14, 2017/Reply
  5. Allison says:

    I like Panache’s strapless bra. It comes in a huge range of sizes, and is easily the best strapless bra I’ve ever tried. I wear a 30G, and had given up on ever wearing anything that required a strapless bra. Then I loved their Elan strapped bra so much I decided the strapless version was at least worth a try. It was wardrobe-changing.

    June 13, 2017/Reply
  6. AOK says:

    How about some good solutions for larger cup sizes? F/G/H/ and up? (besides Lane Bryant/Cacique)

    June 13, 2017/Reply
    • Amanda Chojnacki says:

      LIlyette minimizing strapless bra, it is pretty good.You can buy it at lower end department store like Macys or Kohls.

      June 14, 2017/Reply
      • Theresa says:

        Go for the Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless and never look back. I bought this online two years ago and it was the best money I’ve ever spent on underwear, not to mention being cheaper than a lot of competitors. It has these great hand-shaped wires built into the cups (I know it sounds weird, just Google it because it’s amazing) so the girls stay right where you want them. I’m a 32DDD and I always have a hard time in general when it comes to bra shopping, but strapless in particular has always been extra hellish. This one is so wonderful.

        June 15, 2017/Reply
  7. Anna says:

    My biggest beef with strapless bras is that they make me stick my stomach out since I feel they’re sliding down. I have a pretty hourglass shape so they sit on a part of my body that is angled in, and I’ve yet to find an option that doesn’t eventually start moving downwards. The thick band on the Natori is intriguing. Long-line bras and tops usually aren’t flattering cuz they tend to hit me right at my waist, but that looks like a good compromise.

    June 13, 2017/Reply
    • LS says:

      I’m also an hourglass and I had really good luck with the Wacoal Red Carpet Bra. I went down a band size and up a cup size and it says really snug, even on the loosest hook. It felt tight, but not like I was being strangled.

      Another benefit for me is that it’s lined with shaped cups, but not push up. I’m on the larger side so a well-fitting, not push up bra is a huge win.

      June 14, 2017/Reply
  8. KS says:

    I have the silicone petals linked above and I love them (I am small chested). They last for multiple wears if you wash with soap and water, then let them air dry.

    June 13, 2017/Reply
  9. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this review. I have gone through the cycle of adhesive bras- from Target to Nubra. This was so helpful! I ordered the fashion forms per your recommendation because I agree, sometimes the Nubra placement contorts my breasts in a somewhat awkward way, probably because of my natural breast shape. This is coming from someone who has worn every variety for over 10 years now, from the Deep South to DC. The adhesive only lasts so long is the humidity. I’ve heard the same thing about the cinch bra! Shows you the seedy underbelly/chicanery of so much of online/social media marketing.

    Anyway, very excited to give your recommendation a try. I also purchased a strapless bra from Le Bustiere Boutique in DC a couple years ago, and it has held up nicely – I believe it is the le mystere line. I would definitely give the wacoal red carpet a try though, I don’t think the le mystere is quite the holy grail.

    June 13, 2017/Reply
    • Anna says:

      I’ve had the most success with the Fashion Forms bra, though the adhesive does eventually wear away. The ones where the cups are silicone just get so insanely sweaty.

      June 13, 2017/Reply
      • Belle says:

        So sweaty.

        June 13, 2017/Reply
  10. R says:

    For larger sizes, the strapless bras can still feel unsafe. If you can find a convertible one (i.e. with detachable straps) that is otherwise comfortable and supportive, swappig the regular straps for transparent plastic ones (there are lots on Amazon) can be one solution. Yes, they are still visible up close, but they mostly disappear into the background.

    June 13, 2017/Reply
  11. Lisel says:

    I’m curious about the silk camis/tops actually – where can I find them? I can’t stand polyester in the summer, but I haven’t had luck looking for silk besides Grana/Everlane. Any suggestions are appreciated!

    June 13, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Everlane is my go to, but also Cuyana.

      June 13, 2017/Reply
    • LS says:

      Just curious, what’s wrong with Everlane and Grana? Together, they have a huge selection of colors.

      June 14, 2017/Reply
  12. EC says:

    Although I’m not a big MLM product fan, I recently bought a convertible cami (which can be worn strapless) from Ruby Ribbon and it is amazing! [Product description here: https://www.rubyribbon.com/PublicStore/stores/mayaleon/AM/product/Original-Convertible-Cami,1064,199.aspx ]

    You don’t need to wear a bra under it – it serves as a bra (and fwiw I’m a 38D – so not somebody who can typically shun support and underwires). It is comfortable and actually gives lift and definition. Unlike a lot of shapewear and strapless bras, it stayed put (silicone band stays “stuck” to your skin). Once it was on I barely remembered it was there until I took it off at the end of the day. Next on my list to try is the convertible slip

    June 13, 2017/Reply
  13. V says:

    Strapless bras are the bane of my existence, as a plus-size gal with H-cup breasts. The only thing I’ve had any luck with are long line bras that hit at the waist (any shorter and the resulting spare tire is not attractive).

    This is the one that has gotten me through multiple rounds of strapless/spaghetti-strapped bridesmaids dresses: https://www.barenecessities.com/product.aspx?pfid=ElomiEL8502

    Caveat: I have usually only worn it with formal dresses that are structured and well fitted in the bust. It would still probably hold up well (heh) with a less structured dress but probably not well with anything clingy, due to the lace and boning.

    June 13, 2017/Reply
  14. Erin says:

    Thanks for another excellent post. I recently bought a third love strapless and wore it to a wedding. I was very happy with the cup shape and support. Not the cheapest option in this list at full price, but with a coupon code I got it for around $75.

    June 13, 2017/Reply
  15. JRB says:

    Really appreciate the readers jumping in to offer their their advice on options for the “plus-size ladies.” As you can see, there were many responses, which indicates that it would have been worth it to a significant part of your readership to do a little research, at least so that your treatment amounted to more than “I have no experience with this, sorry” and outsourcing the work to your readers. Plus-size is average size, even if we aren’t the more visible among the petite denizens of the Hill! I really enjoy much of your blog and do take note of your nods to plus-size options elsewhere, but this felt very dismissive to me. Thank you Belle.

    June 16, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      When it comes to something like a bra, I didn’t want to guess what would work. I can do all the research in the world, but that doesn’t mean I actual know how it’s going to fit. It’s fine to say that a dress looks nice or a jacket looks like the misses size one, it’s something else entirely to recommend a product for women who have different needs than I do without any way to know whether the results of my research are accurate. How many times have you bought a product that the Internet said would be salvation and it kind of sucked?

      I trusted my readers who wear plus-size to know from first hand experience what worked, than me guess.

      June 16, 2017/Reply
  16. Sadie Marie says:

    Someone on corporette suggested the silicone pasties to me and I can’t even bring myself to follow the link to find them. Here is why: today several men in my office were wearing very light coloured summer shirts and I’m sure if I cared to look hard enough, I could see their nipples. I suppose I am bitter that I do not want to wear material that could be used as an oven mitt over my very small breasts simply because I am a woman. So I guess I’m barred from wearing cute tops this summer.

    July 11, 2017/Reply