When it comes to lingerie, there's almost nothing harder to find than a perfect strapless bra. I can't count the number of times I've sworn them off after spending an embarrassing evening hoisting them up (not chic) at weddings and other fancy 'dos. But when you want to wear your favorite off-the-shoulder dress, what are the options? Now, you could just say go braless, but if you're not exactly small-chested, this can pose a problem, not to mention it can leave you with quite the backache. The only other option? Thanks to the abundance of shoulder-baring tops and low-back dresses around right now, I decided to go on a mission to find a decent strapless bra that would fit me without any embarrassing moments.
I visited some of the biggest and most trusted lingerie shops to see what would fit me and what would stay put. Before all that, however, I also spoke to one lingerie expert on how to find the correct strapless bra. Eloise Rigby owns The Pantry Underwear shop in Islington, which caters to cups from A to K and is launching the first underwear department in Liberty. She gave me a few helpful rules to stick to.
1. Go for one back size smaller than usual. Without shoulder straps, cups are only supported by the back strap, so this needs enough pull to keep the cups in place. To compensate, you'll (probably) need to go up a cup size.
2. Start on the loosest set of hooks. This will ensure the longest life from the bra, so you can move inward as the back strap stretches.
3. To check if a size works, pop an arm behind your back, and use the thumb to pull the strap outward. You should be able to pull it back only half an inch with resistance for a strapless bra.
4. You also want to make sure the cups aren't gaping at the top of the breast. And, depending on the style of the central section of the bra, the wires that meet in the middle should be sitting flat.
Ready to shop strapless bras? Keep scrolling for the best that won't fall down.
Rigby & Peller
I tried this bra on in old-school lingerie shop Rigby & Peller, aided by the store's incredible fitters, who only do it by sight. They knew instantly what size I was and which brand would work for me, and this fit me perfectly. I felt supported, it didn't pull away from me, and it left no nasty side bulges.
Marks and Spencer
This is one of M&S's best-selling bras right now and is a continuous retail winner. While I didn't try this one on (you'll see my selection later on), this has gained over 100 five-star reviews on the M&S website.
Both Selfridges and Harrods say this Chantelle bra is one of the best selling, and it's easy to see why. It's low enough to wear with plunging tops; plus, it's not lacy, so you'll be able to wear a variety of different tops with it for a seamless effect. Selfridges lingerie and fit expert Clare Basche says that when this line launched, it sold out within two weeks.
Another all-time best seller in Selfridges (and Harrods) is this bra from Simone Perele. The molded cups mean you won't see any of the underwire, and its seamless appearance means you'll be able to wear any top or dress without a problem.
Called the Red Carpet Bra, this Harrods best seller is probably ideal for when you've got a mega event ahead (brides-to-be, this one's for you). You'll find that you can also adjust the straps to fit any kind of gown (or top) you're wearing.
The truth is that no stick-on bra is ever going to feel 100% secure, but many women do swear by Fashion Forms' creations. This review provided by Macy's to Amazon gives you a bit of context:
"I wore this with a backless dress on a night that involved a lot of dancing and possibly too much alcohol. It fit great and was in place all night, I never had to worry once. You do have to make sure to remove all lotion on your chest first, and follow the steps:
"1) Take covering off of cups.
"2) Bend over slightly at the waist.
"3) Line up underwire under breasts and make sure each breast is lined up to where you want them.
"4) Press firmly from the underwire up, hold cups in place for 5 seconds.
"5) Stand up straight and one by one, take the adhesive cover off of each side and bring the sides up to where you'd like them placed (ideally) BEFORE adhering to your body.
"6) Hold in place for 5 seconds."
There are times when you need to order a strapless bra quickly. Thankfully, there's Amazon for that, which stocks this five-star-rated bra from Wonderbra. Eloise from The Pantry Underwear also recommends the brand as stocking great strapless bras.
This post was originally published on Who What Wear UK.