There are very few bras out there that we're actually excited to wear (but here are a few of our faves!), but strapless bras have always ranked pretty low on our list. Alas, they're a necessary evil and an intimates staple that comes in pretty handy when you're wearing a top or dress with a tricky neckline.
If you're tired of striking out every time you go shopping for a strapless bra, you've come to the right place. Shop TODAY consulted several bra-fitting experts to get some tips for finding a comfy style that doesn't suck — and we've also rounded up a few options we think you'll love. You can thank us later!
Why are strapless bras so uncomfortable?
Have you ever wondered why strapless bras are so unpleasant to wear? They never seem to fit quite right, for starters, and they have an annoying way of suffocating our boobs. But why exactly are they more challenging than typical bras?
"A strapless bra has to provide support without the benefit of straps to aid in lifting and supporting the cups," Dora Lau, founder and president of Dora L International, told us. "The lack of bra straps presents the challenge of how to hold the cup up while still having it close to the body. There is also the challenge of gapping between your body and the cup, and of cups that can slide down."
How to find the perfect fit
Bra brands typically have a different fit from one another, so it can take a bit of trial and error before you find the perfect one for you. But there are a few tips to keep handy while shopping for your next strapless bra:
- Strapless bras aren't supposed to be painful: "Just like everyday bras, the ideal fit is firm but comfortable," Mila Stojanovic, professional bra fitter and manager at New York City's Bravissimo, said. "You should be able to embrace the strapless style without worrying about spilling out of the cups or having your bra slide down!"
- The band is key: "The band is the most important part of fit since 80 percent of the support you get from a bra comes from the band," Lively Creative Director Sarah Sullivan said. "If the band is digging into your skin, making it hard for you to breathe or restricting you from moving in a full range of motion while on the loosest hook and eye setting, size up."
- Padding can help: "The front pads should have a bit of stretch in the pads for comfort," Lau said. "When there’s no stretch, you can’t wait to take it off."
- They should fit like a regular bra: "Technically, a strapless bra should [be] the same size and cup size as your regular everyday bra," Lau continues. "With plus-size bras, I sometimes suggest trying one band size smaller to anchor the cups. But if you try this, it should never be uncomfortable."
- What to do if your regular size doesn't fit: "Some strapless styles may fit a little tighter than others, so you may need to consider your sister size (one size up in the band and one size down in the cup) to find a better fit," Stojanovic said.
- Sizing up? Seek out these features: "Look for components on the bra like a silicone trim at the top of the bra to help with staying power, or more hook and eye enclosures as you go up in size for added support," Sullivan said.
- In between sizes? Here's what to do: "It's usually best to go with the size down," Sullivan said. "Even if it's a little snug when you first try on the bra, chances are it will loosen up and become more comfy after a couple of wears. When you're in-between sizes for the cup, go with the size up or try a smaller band."
Most comfortable strapless bras, according to shoppers
Available in two colors, this strapless bra comes in band sizes up to 46 and cup sizes up to K. It has removable straps and hooks so you can get the most bang for your buck, transforming it into the style that best suits your needs.
Coming in at less than $20, the price tag might be the first thing that caught your eye with this set of three bandeau bras. But the fun doesn't stop there. Reviewers of all sizes and body types love how comfortable they are and their ability to stay in place while keeping the girls looking good with or without the padding. They also offer a lace version of the set.
This highly-rated strapless bra comes in five different colors and has cup sizes available ranging from B to I. "It is the only strapless that I will ever wear, and want to encourage anyone interested to go ahead and try it out, because you will most likely not be let down," raved one verified five-star reviewer.
Coming from a brand best known for its flattering shapewear and popular faux-leather leggings, it's no surprise that Spanx creates comfy strapless bras, too. It's listed as a bestseller on the brand's site, which explains why sizes are flying in and out of stock in taupe, but there are plenty of sizes available in black.
This Vanity Fair pick has over 10,400 verified five-star ratings and it looks like the site can barely keep it in stock! Luckily, Kohl's is also selling it and we're pretty sure you'll dig the four-way stretch fabric that helps smooth backs and the no-poke underwire with no-slip silicone.
Looking for a bargain-friendly strapless style that still has all the bells and whistles that the high-end brands do? This one from Maidenform features a ComfortGrip lining that feels smooth and secure against skin. You can wear it five ways and the fact that it's wireless also makes us smile.
The best bras feel like they're giving you a warm embrace rather than sucking the life out of you, and this strapless style from Soma definitely has comfort on the brain. The multi-way bra is made with a soft fabric and has a plush underwire that won't dig into you. Foam cups and silicone along the back offer an added dose of comfort, too!
Available in two colors and a plethora of sizes, this strapless bra from ThirdLove is made with soft support foam cups and has a smooth band that has silicone along the edges to keep you comfy and supported. It also comes with two sets of removable straps, which makes it a versatile multitasker.
The name says it all — this is technically a bra, but it sure won't feel like you're wearing one. The popular convertible style has a Satin Comfort wire system that pads the underwire for optimal comfort and an elastic power-band that stays locked in place (in the best way).
With almost 8,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, this is one strapless bra that's made a lot of shoppers happy. The popular style puts a focus on comfort with its silicone-coated underwire, breathable mesh material and slightly padded cups that offer extra support.
Over 4,000 verified Amazon shoppers have given this strapless bra a five-star rating and it's easy to see why. We adore the sweetheart neckline, for starters, and the comfy, wide band. The fact that it's convertible and offers support without extra padding is also pretty sweet.
For more stories like this, check out:
- I thought I'd hate 'flared leggings' — but this pair won me over
- Need a new bra? These 20 options are perfect for small busts
- Fitness experts share tips for picking a comfortable sports bra — plus 21 to shop