You probably didn’t have “find the best strapless bra” on your summer bucket list, but here we are. Warm weather’s here, and with it comes a calendar of events and outings befitting your favorite sundresses, off-the-shoulder tops, and spaghetti strapped outfits.
Strapless bras get a bad rap for good reason. The worst of them dig into, roll over, and slip along the chest and back, and require regular adjusting. Let’s not even get into the unwanted boob sweat (*cue the collective groan*). One friend called strapless bras torture devices. Another said, “Oh hell no, never again.”
The good news is that finding a great, well-made strapless bra is possible! But getting one with a good fit is critical. Strapless bra design has to defy the laws of physics because they have to perform like a traditional bra without the assistance of shoulder straps. They also have to provide lift and shape that’s natural-looking, while offering coverage and support at the same time. And for those of us who’ve gone through pregnancy and breastfeeding, the girls aren’t exactly, ahem, as perky as they used to be. So how do you find the best strapless bra?
What’s the correct fit for a strapless bra band?
For all the reasons mentioned above, a strapless bra isn’t going to fit exactly like a traditional one. Courtney Killpack, owner of Bra Fittings by Court and Bosom Besties, recommends getting professionally fitted for these special occasion bras. “A well-fitting bra can change your life and it’s a worthy thing to invest your time, energy, and money into because you wear these things every single day,” says Killpack.
The band has to provide nearly all of the support, so it should be snug on the loosest set of hooks so you can tighten it as the bra naturally stretches out over time. “The lower the band is in the back, the more supportive you’ll look in the front,” says Killpack.
Start with your normal bra size, and adjust as needed for support. Support increases with bandwidth, so for those with larger cup sizes, look for bras with thicker bands and three to four hooks.
What’s the correct fit for strapless bra cups?
Strapless bra cups have to support the weight of your breasts without straps, stay put, and be comfortable all at once. Getting your accurate cup size will make your silhouette look natural under your clothes, which is especially important if you’re wearing a figure-hugging dress or top.
Killpack recommends looking for a bra with a gore — the middle area where the two underwires meet in the center front — that lays flat against the chest. “You want to have at least 1/4″ space between your breasts and the underwires, this will make it so when you move you don’t come out of the bottom of the bra, and the underwires aren’t digging into your breasts on the sides,” she says.
Balconette or demi cups and padding will up the sexy factor with some push-up action, but pay attention to fit and feel. Lift and separation are good, spilling out the sides, not so much. If your cups runneth over, try going up a size.
Do a Google search for a professional bra fitter in your area, or use Killpack’s bra-sizing calculator to fit yourself. Now that you have the tools to get a custom fit, it’s time to pick out a great strapless bra! We’ve sourced some of the best for all shapes and preferences, including plus size and full-figure silhouettes. And while you won’t be running a marathon in a strapless bra, there are a couple of sportier strapless bras for your next yoga sesh on the list too.
Best Strapless Bras
Cheers to Vanity Fair for this versatile full figure or full coverage bra. Four-way stretch nylon and spandex fabric helps smooth out the back and sides while staying put. Seriously, this thing doesn’t budge. Lightly lined cups offer shape without the push-up effect. This strapless bra gets especially high marks for comfort and lift during all-day wear. Choose from black, white, or beige from sizes 34D to 44DD. Use the included removal straps for clothing that requires a criss-cross, halter, one shoulder, or traditional style. They’re available in packs of two or three so stock up!
If you want to smooth things out on top for fitted tops and dresses, the minimizer strapless bra by Bali is a good choice. Its design reduces the bustline up to 1.5 inches and offers a nice sculpted look. Wide-band invisible boning and underwire offer support, while silicone grips at the sides make sure the bra stays put. Those with D and DD cup sizes especially sing the praises of this bra and love the amount of support it provides. Says one Amazon reviewer, “Omg!! This is the best strapless bra ever. I am a 34DD and have been looking for a good strapless bra that provides support for a while now.” It’s also a convertible! Wear it as a demi, halter, or criss-cross.
Made for special occasions yet comfy enough for daily wear, the Wacoal underwire strapless bra keeps the girls in place. It can be tough to find a strapless bra for larger bust sizes that’s supportive and doesn’t feel like it’s cutting off circulation. The Wacoal bra is about containment, separation, and comfort because its design works with its sturdy center panel and cushioned bottom band. Foam cups give shape without adding unwanted padding. Seamless nylon and spandex maintain a smooth silhouette under party dresses or everyday t-shirts. The bra is available in four colors in sizes 30D to 44G.
There’s no slipping or sliding in this gripper of a bra (that’s not uncomfortable!). Maidenform is known for affordable quality bras, and at under $25, this one’s a bargain. They call it a power band, we call it magical because it’s so supportive—the criss-cross band at the center front maintains lift and stays put. It hugs and snugs in all the right places so you don’t have to pull, tug, and readjust.
Two words: vertical seams. They are magic and what set apart this strapless bra by Curvy Kate, a company that’s known for high-quality lingerie for cups D to K. Vertical seams along the cups and support panels give the lift and shape you want for special occasions or daily wear. “If you want to be shaped really well, go with bras that have seams in the cups, this will shape the breasts the best,” says Killpack. We love the pinstripe detail on the fabric for a sophisticated yet playful look. Side boning and silicone gripper strips keep the bra from shifting and rolling. Note the UK sizing for the bra, so you’ll need to review the size chart to confirm your cup size before ordering.
Butter soft fabric is the highlight of this strapless bra from Harper Wilde. Microfiber is silky smooth and keeps you cool all day. The x-bridge band in front gives just the right amount of lift and separation. Boning and no-slip seams keep it all together. Cups offer a little padding to help you defy gravity for a little push-up action. Says reviewer nenokai, “I absolutely love this bra, and keep coming back for more colors. It actually stays put, and gives great shape and support without feeling like I’m being strangled with underwire.” Lucky for us, it comes in four shades and sizes from 32A to 42F.
Best Plus Size Strapless Bras
Tight but not too tight, supportive but not a straightjacket, the DELMIRA is juuust right thanks to its contoured band, four hooks, and silicone strips on the top and bottom. It’s the Goldilocks of strapless bras that has the ideal amount of coverage and keeps breasts lifted. Thousands of five-star reviews are a testament to this bra’s cult following. Says Amazon reviewer Eskoite323, “It fit like a glove! This is the first strapless bra that stayed in place and didn’t fall down! I put the dress over it and it looks amazing. Keeps the girls where they belong!” Most strapless bras only come in three to four colors, but this one offers a whopping 28, including patterns (animal print is a fave). It’s a good thing, because many reviewers are buying more than one, and after you give this bra a try, so will you.
For a simple, no-frills bra that gets the job done, the strapless multi-way by Cacique is a good bet. The lightweight construction is just what you need to look cute in your favorite spaghetti-strapped tops and dresses. Super smooth cups also make for a nice t-shirt bra! Increase support by adding the included straps. Reviewers were happily surprised the bra doesn’t ride up or slip, and some even include it in their daily wear. Available band sizes run from 34 to 46, cup sizes from B to K.
Keep the girls high and mighty with the DotVol strapless bra. Underwire strength increases with cup size for a more customized fit. Side spillage isn’t an option thanks to its sturdy boning and paneling. This bra’s great if you want a little push-up that looks shaped and natural. Get a little more cleavage from the smaller bridge (the middle part of the front band between the cups). From Amazon reviewer Amanda, “FINALLY! A strapless bra that stays up. Went to a wedding danced all night never pulled it up once.” The DotVol bra comes in a range of sizes from 32C to 44DD.
For those who hate strapless bras, the Wingslove may be the one that makes you change your mind. Its design focuses on providing as much support as possible. Cups are a little higher up top for maximum coverage to prevent wardrobe malfunctions, and reviewers agree that it’s a great bra for fuller busts. “I’m not spilling out the top or sides – I feel like it covers well and supports and without looking like a Mom Bra,” says one Amazon reviewer. For the record, we think mom bras are awesome.
Life is short, wear sexy bras! We love how the Olivachel strapless bra delivers some va va voom with its balconette design with just the right amount of cleavage and separation. This bra is a great fit for low-cut dresses and tops. A three-hook closure, silicone strips, and contoured band feel like a supportive hug without that too-tight feeling. And it’s available in hottie red, rich navy, and deep purple—finally a strapless bra that looks as luxe as some of our regular ones!
We can’t leave out lace in our strapless bra recommendations! Why are there are so few fancy strapless bras these days? Utility is nice, but we want to feel pretty under our clothes too. We are smitten with the lace bra from Iris & Lilly because it’s gorgeous and super supportive. Its lightly padded underwire design offers shaping with little push-up. There are more ways than one to wear this crowd pleaser—wear racerback, halter, or off-the-shoulder outfits using the included straps.
Best Strapless Sports Bras
Bandeaus are for the eff-the-underwire camp and we totally get it. Sometimes the girls need a break from the wire, boning, and hooks. Bandeau strapless bras offer a more natural feel while providing some support. For those new to the bandeau brigade, it’s essentially a tube top for your boobs, and the stretch fabric compresses them a bit like a sports bra. The set by Boao is nice and lightweight and will let you wear all your off-the-shoulder numbers. They’re great for yoga and other low-impact exercises. Removable pads help prevent that ‘shelf’ look and smooth out the bust (no nipping on chilly days!). Bandeau sets are a steal for under $20 and come in sizes small to 3XL.
Looking for a no-bra bra that’s softy, comfy, and looks smooth under your favorite yoga tops? The Ah Angel bra offers all the comfort of a bandeau with the support of a regular bra. Don’t let the underwire turn you off! It provides a little extra lift that comes in handy for all-day wear and low-impact exercising and stretching. Underwire also prevents that uniboob look that can happen with bandeaus. We especially like that this bra comes in many different skin tone shades, something all bra manufacturers should offer.