We’ve all been there. You’ve found the perfect dress for a big night, but your bra is showing! While some women might be happy to go braless, others are not comfortable or simply can’t do without the support. Disaster? It doesn’t have to be, because there are now so many styles of bra from strapless to stick on and everything in between that there’s almost certainly a solution out there. And, if you can’t find a bra that fulfills your requirements, there are all manner of clever little accessories that can transform your trusted favourite into a versatile bra for all sorts of dresses and tops.
Here’s the Fashion Bust guide to your essential lingerie solutions…
Necklines have plunged so low in recent seasons that the Telegraph Fashion dubbed them ‘waistline-necklines’ at the end of last year, and to wear them you need a bra with a very low v shaped front plunge. Try the Convertible U Plunge bra from Fashion Forms, £19, B-D cups, from Figleaves.com. The deep front lifts and shapes and the bra has pockets for inserts in case you want an even bigger boost. The convertible straps also allow you to wear the bra as a halterneck or with the straps crossed at the back.
Wonderbra’s Ultimate Plunge bra, £16 from wonderbra.co.uk A-DD, also comes with convertible straps, and features the brand’s hand technology for boost and shape, while a discreet clear strip joins the cups, meaning you can get away with super low necklines. Or try Ultimo’s Miracle Frontless Plunge bra can be worn 12 different ways and comes with an interchangeable clear or diamante front joining the cups. It comes in sizes D-G (£30) and DD-G (£32), both from Ultimo.co.uk.
Fashion Forms also has an adhesive version of its deep plunge bra (£28, Net-a-porter.com) if your dress is also backless and strapless, or you might want to try individual cup support in the form of Freedom Forms from Magic Body Fashion (A to C cups), £11 from Amazon.co.uk, which are light, adhesive straps that are designed to support your breasts as a bra would while allowing you to go braless for those super-revealing evening gowns.
Now, we’ll be the first people to admit that adhesive bras don’t look great, but since the whole point is that no one sees them, we’re fine with that. Adhesive bras work best in smaller sizes, up to a D or DD at the most and many only go up to a C cup, but if you fall within this size range and you’re looking for a backless, strapless adhesive bra, there are a number of brands you can try. Be aware, however, that these bras are usually non-refundable, so do your research and read reviews before you buy, and take care how you wash them.
Magic Body Fashion has several adhesive bras and its best-seller is the Eve’s bra, A-D cups, £24. It combines zero straps with a push up effect provided by the front fastening of the cups. The Go Bare Backless Strapless Push Up Bra from Fashion Forms, £28 from Figleaves.com, is a moulded, underwired bra that goes all the way up to an E cup, while Boux Avenue offers a backless, strapless bra up to a 38D. £22 from Bouxavenue.com.
Strapless and multiway bras for fuller busts
While it can be easier for smaller busted girls to work lingerie miracles with their bras, there are plenty of options out there for DD cups and above. Fuller figure brand Elomi’s Smoothing Underwired Foam Moulded Strapless Bra, £32.49 from Uppercup.com, is a fab bra for larger sizes. Designed to fit curvy figures comfortably and supportively, it comes in either black or nude and gives great lift and shape up to a GG cup and a 48 back.
Curvy Kate has a lovely, flattering multiway bra, Desire, that offers halter and racerback options and is great for sizes up to a J cup and down to a 28 back. Buy it in black or ivory for £30 from brastop.com. And if you want a bit of smoothing and shaping with your strapless bra, look no further than Freya Lingerie’s gorgeous Deco Shape Longline Strapless, B to GG cups. With its pretty floral print and seamfree cups, this is a stylish and practical choice. £40 from Leia Lingerie.
If you don’t want or can’t afford to buy an array of different bras, bra clips are a handy, cheap and easy solution that work for many outfits. You can use them to convert a standard bra to a racerback style to hide straps, and you can position the clip as high or as low as you like to suit your outfit. Bra clips are also great for stopping your bra straps from slipping off your shoulders.
Magic Body Fashion sells bra clips in packs of four (two black, two clear) for £5 from MagicKnickerShop.co.uk. By Wishes offers bra clips in two different sizes – £3.99 for a four pack, from Amazon.co.uk – while Boux Avenue’s bra clips come in two different styles and offer ‘a little extra help’ with your cleavage. £6 for four clips, two black, two clear, bouxavenue.com.
Ingenious ways to transform your bra don’t just stop at bra clips. There are all kinds of clever straps and additions that mean you can wear your normal bra in more ways than you thought.
Try Magic Body Fashion’s low back converter, £8, which turns any bra into the perfect solution for low-backed dresses, or pick up Debenham’s Secret Straps set, a handy pack of goodies that includes a low Back converter plus bra extenders – ideal for adding a little bit of extra comfort room to tight bras – clear silicone straps and a bra clip. It’s a steal for just £5, and you can pick it up for £4 in the retailer’s current sale.
Alternatively, secure your clothes in place so you don’t accidently flash your bra – or lack of one – with Fashion Forms’ double-sided dress and lingerie tape, £6, also from Debenhams.