This summer, we’re seeing a huge rise in “complicated” clothing that requires a bra situation that’s also more complicated than your average. Between cool cutouts, backless dresses, and the latest “napkin top” craze hitting the fashion world, I wouldn’t be surprised if you found yourself searching for strapless-bra alternatives more than usual lately. At least, I definitely am.
The problem I have with traditional strapless bras is that they’re not always completely invisible, and even the most supportive ones tend to slide down eventually. So I set out to find the best alternatives that still do the job and landed on the below 18 items I’m sharing here. From adhesive bras and pasties to Kim Kardashian–approved boob tape, these options have me ready to ditch my strapless bra.
If you too want to forgo strapless bras without totally abandoning the support and shape they offer, keep scrolling to find some excellent alternatives that have earned tons of glowing customer reviews.
Bra for dresses
Of all the formerly commonplace things you’ve missed most during quarantine (i.e., restaurants, sanity, human contact), wearing bras is probably last on the list. However, with social reunions and outings on the horizon in some states, you may be refamiliarizing yourself with clothing that doesn’t double as pajamas—bras included.
Despite summer style sparking an instant mood boost, it can also give you a headache—especially when it comes to hiding your undergarments beneath particularly tricky outfits. As the collective love affair with sweatsuits comes to an end, one-shoulder numbers, backless dresses, and lightweight tanks come into focus, which means it might be time to unearth sneaky bras that won’t distract from your look.
The summery trend has made its way into fall and winter dressing, which means we’ll probably be seeing this neckline everywhere come New Year’s Eve. Luckily, the proper undergarments are actually pretty straightforward — if you get the right fit.
Luckily, brands have become progressively more size-inclusive, which amounts to strapless bras in larger sizes that still provide support.
“They finally came up with a J-cup strapless bras,” says Iris Clarke of Brooklyn’s Iris Lingerie, “which is important, because strapless bras don’t fit the same way as regular bras. You want the bra to hold you.”
The Cher Horowitz “Show A Little Skin” Dress
Spaghetti straps and a low back might be subtly sexy, but they’re also a pain in the ass when it comes to finding the right undergarments.
“The straps and the band of the bra are what supply the structure and support,” Kaplan says. “If you take both those things away, well, gravity is still the strongest force in the universe.” Luckily, with a moderately low back, you can still find some supporting options…For a strapless, yet supported, bra, bustiers might be your best bet, as the boning provides more support while allowing the back to go lower. “It won’t go all the way down to the butt, but it’s a very low back,” Clarke says.
If you can wear straps with your dress, but have a plunging back line, you could buy an adjustable strap that lowers your bra line. Careful, though — this could also make the front of your bra ride up and “sometimes, the elastic cuts in,” Kaplan says.
The Even Lower-Backed Dress
If you’re showing off everything from your neck to the small of your back, it’s likely that you won’t be able to wear much shapewear — or you could go braless. But if you prefer some sort of support, you’re going to have to stick to, well, stickies.
The opposite of the low-back plunge, the deep V dress shows off your décolletage — and requires much more than a push-up bra to pull off.
The Deep V
The opposite of the low-back plunge, the deep V dress shows off your décolletage — and requires much more than a push-up bra to pull off.Luckily, bras have been created specifically to work with deep-V necklines. Case in point? The U-plunge bra, with seamless finishes and a deep neckline to hide under that dress.
You could wear pantyhose under that high slit dress for some warmth this season, as Clarke recommends. But if you prefer to show your skin…You’ll have to wear a thong. If it’s a particularly unforgiving fabric, there are control thongs you could wear with a high slit, Kaplan says.Alternatively, a G-string can be nicely concealed. “You could hike the straps up to above the hips so you wouldn’t see a line,” Kaplan says.
Of course, you could also just go for a seamless bra and some laser-cut underwear. “A lot of underwear now is laser-cut, so there’s no elastic and it lays totally flat against the body,” Kaplan says. “Most of them are hipster style.”
With buying underwear, however, you need to have the right fit — lest you end up with visible panty lines when you don’t want them. “Bikinis come up well under the belly button, so if there’s a roll there that’s not the right shape for you,” Kaplan says. “You want something that is high-waisted.”
If your underwear is bunching up or riding up, on the other hand, Kaplan suggests finding a size down, or opting for a stretchier fit that grips under your butt. “Full coverage would not be good for someone with a problem that something rides up,” Kaplan says, “But I would say bikini or thong.”