Strap In: A Guide to Identifying the Best Plus Size Strapless Bras

Okay, ladies, am I the only one who has tried to hack together plus size strapless bras using my regular bra? 

With the lack of options for plus size women, many of us bigger-boobed ladies are guilty of tucking our straps in to create a DIY bra only to get frustrated at the discomfort and unsightly style.

I’ll be honest; this was not always an issue for me. I was a late bloomer and only fit the plus size category later in life. So, I know how great it feels to walk out of the door with just a bandeau bra on without the girls slipping out.

But as I got older and gained weight, I found the bandeau was more of a bandaid than a bra-aid! 

If you’re like me and need the girls to stay in place, finding comfortable strapless bras can be as tricky as getting my husband to dust around the house!

On a serious note, finding the right plus size strapless bra is key to feeling confident with your curves and rocking that strapless dress or top you’ve been waiting to wear.

It’s always assured me that I’m not alone after watching celebrities at the awards making adjustments and trying to keep their strapless bra in place. It shows that getting the right strapless fit is difficult for all sizes of women, even for those with a professional stylist.

So, if you’re ready to wave goodbye to torpedo boobs and you want your plus size strapless bras to lift and separate so you can look cute and sexy in your strapless ensemble, join me, Elaine Birks-Mitchell, as we tackle this BRA-blem together. 

Common Strapless Bra Problems

Through my journey of finding the best strapless bra, I want to share some of the most common problems I’ve encountered. You’ll probably resonate with at least one of these!

#1 Difficulty Finding Plus Size Strapless Bras

Not only are plus size strapless bras hard to find, but they’re often overlooked as an option plus size ladies, especially those with cups G+. But as plus size women, we still want the option of rocking the sexy one-shoulder top or strapless sundress. 

If you have bigger cups and are worried or have struggled to find a strapless bra, I suggest going to a professional bra fitter in a store that offers plus size bras. They can give you advice and recommend the best style for you.

#2 Slippage and Lack of Support

Strapless bras often slip down throughout the day, especially for plus size women with a bigger bust. The constant adjustments and pulling up are enough to prevent anyone from wanting a strapless bra.

Believe it or not, most of your bra’s support comes from the band. While straps provide a supporting role, if the band is too loose, chances are your tatas will come out to say hi. Unfortunately, I have had this problem before, and I am sure some of you have too!

If you think of the bra band as Beyoncé, then straps are like the backup dancers. The show can go on without them, but they’re there, and they simply give things an extra boost.

#3 Digging and Discomfort

If you’ve ever had the band and underwires of a strapless bra dig into your skin, you’re not alone. The pain and irritation are usually due to the bra being the wrong size or style.

This common BRA-blem comes down to ensuring we are wearing the right size bra – emphasizing the importance of professional bra fitting!

#4 Unflattering Shape

Did someone say uni-boob?🙈

Some strapless bras can create an unappealing silhouette, such as a uni-boob (where breasts are squished together) or torpedo boobs (where breasts are pointed unnaturally outward). 

Certain styles of bras cause these unflattering shapes. Keep reading my tips below to discover my suggestions on how to avoid the dreaded uni-boob!

Our girls deserve better than this!

How many of these BRA-blems have you struggled with? 

Okay, let’s not dwell on the negatives. The good news is that there are some key tips for identifying the best strapless plus size bra for you, and I’ve detailed them below.

Ladies, it’s time to give the girls a makeover!

5 Tips for Choosing the Best Strapless Plus Size Bras

#1 Get Fitted For the Right Size

Ladies, ladies, ladies! 

So, here’s the deal: You’ve probably heard that 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong-sized bra. But here’s the thing – it’s more about the fact that sizing standards for bras need to be more consistent, and most of us haven’t had a professional fitting. 

From what I’ve seen, at least 80% of the women I’ve sized have never been professionally fitted or used inaccurate self-measurement methods.

Trust me, it doesn’t hurt. It’s nothing like your annual women’s health exam. If you find the right bra fitter, she should make you feel comfortable, relaxed, and ready to make you feel like the queen you are.

Knowing your bra size and styles that fit your body type makes shopping for bras a much more enjoyable experience. Otherwise, it can be a nightmare, almost as bad as shopping for a great pair of jeans.

#2. Consider A Wide Band

A wider band provides more surface area to distribute the weight of your bust evenly. This is crucial for support, as the band in a strapless bra is taking on an additional role of the straps.

For us plus size women, this increased support prevents the bra from slipping or shifting throughout the day. Another benefit is the wide band’s smoothing effect, especially on your sides and back!

#3. Try Strapless Bras with Boning

© Oleg / Adobe Stock 

Okay, hear me out… I know bras with boning are not for everyone, but there is a reason for this feature in strapless bras.

The boning helps to create a firm barrier that prevents breasts from spilling out of the sides, which can be a common issue in strapless bras, especially for those fuller-busted ladies!

Styles of bras that have boning are longline bras, corsets, and bustiers.

One of the main reasons for discomfort with boning is when the bra is too small. Make sure you get fit with the right size, ladies!”

#4. Look for Deep Underwires

The underwires in most typical bras have a shallow, semi-circle shape, which provides additional support to the straps.

The underwires in strapless bras are more of a deep U shape, compensating for the absence of straps by offering a sturdier base and enhanced support structure. 

Deep underwires help to shape the bust by providing a defined cup structure. 

They lift the breasts and give a more contoured and natural silhouette. Underwires also help to separate the breasts, preventing the dreaded “uni-boob” effect and reducing discomfort from breasts rubbing together.

#5. Check for Silicone Strips

Gripper strips are typically made of silicone or similar materials and are designed to create friction against the skin, which helps to keep the bra in place. It’s essential to ensure that your skin is dry and that you haven’t applied a lot of lotion or powder, as this can cause the gripper strips to slip.

This is especially important for plus size ladies, as the additional weight of the bust requires more robust measures to prevent the bra from slipping.

Gripper strips can also prevent the bra from shifting and causing discomfort, and ladies, you’ll know this one is important for keeping the girls in check!

#6. Choose Bras with Multiple Hook-and-Eye Closures 

Multiple closure options allow for a more secure and customizable fit, essential in preventing the bra from slipping or shifting throughout the day. I recommend at least 4 hook-and-eyes.

Ladies, If you want to reduce discomfort while getting that all-important lift and shape, multiple hooks distribute the pressure more evenly across the back, giving you the confidence you need to wear your favorite strapless top or dress!

#7. Break It In First  

This is one of the most important tips I can give you. If you are like me, I purchased my strapless bra for a particular outfit I wanted to wear. It’s not so different from when you buy a new pair of shoes… they need breaking in before you wear them to the big event. 

If this isn’t right, a test run gives you enough time to return to the store for a different size or style bra. There’s nothing worse than getting an hour into your event and realizing you’re stuck in an ill-fitting, uncomfortable bra for the rest of the evening—yikes!

This is your opportunity to take the “no-way-in-hell” test to see if you can survive wearing this bra for at least an hour.

To test out your bra, I suggest trying one or more of these:

  1. Raise your arms and make sure your bra doesn’t slip down.
  2. Bend over and make nothing spills out
  3. Sit in a chair and make sure you don’t feel like you are being stabbed
  4. And most importantly, put on your favorite song and dance around. See how often you have to pull up your bra as you move.  

My Recommended Alternatives for Plus Size Strapless Bras

As a woman who has struggled with strapless bras, I understand that these tips might not work for every body shape or boob size. So, I wanted to share my top alternatives to give you as many options to feel confident and sexy!

Longline Bras

Longline bras with wider bands offer added support and coverage, making them an excellent alternative to strapless bras. They are often confused with bustiers and corsets, which are very structured and form-fitting.

However, longline bras also typically extend further down the torso to cover the waistline and are much less likely to slip down or ride up. 

They offer smooth lines, enhanced support, and a combination of bra and shapewear, which are beneficial for women aiming to achieve a specific look. 

I have tried a longline bra, which works well for me, mainly because it helps smooth out my sides and back. 

Convertible Bras

Smooth Strapless Multi-Way Bra at CurvyCouture.com

Convertible bras come with straps that can be adjusted or removed to suit different outfits, providing versatility and support. I have a convertible bra that works very well for me because it is the right size and provides the necessary coverage for most of my outfits that need a strapless bra.

Corsets or Bustiers

Corsets or bustiers offer additional lift and support, which makes them perfect for special occasions. While they’re usually longline, it’s important to note that corsets and bustiers differ from longline bras. 

These strapless bras accentuate the bust with a demi-cup shape and typically have an adjustable band secured by laces or several rows of hook-and-eye closures.

Bandeaus with Underwire

Many bandeaus with underwire feature reinforced bands and side boning for enhanced stability and shaping, ensuring a secure and flattering fit for fuller busts.

I still wear bandeau bras with underwire and strapless sundresses with built-in padding. They give me that extra lift, separation, and support in case I am dancing the night away and something slips.  

Boob Tape

Boob tape lifts, shapes, and holds your breasts in place. People typically use it when other plus size strapless bras are not an option because they show through your outfit. Ladies, if you are a G+ cup, you may find boob tape more of a challenge than the other alternatives. 

I personally didn’t have a good experience with breast tape when I had smaller breasts, as it irritated my skin. However, I’ve heard that some women like it.

If you decide to use it, follow the directions for applying and removing it. Look for a brand with great reviews, especially regarding painless removal.

The most important thing to note is that not all options will be comfortable for everyone, but it’s about finding what’s suitable for you that makes you feel beautiful. 

Ready to Ditch Your Uncomfortable Bras?

Finding comfortable plus-size strapless bras can feel more like a chore for plus-size women, especially when it seems that nothing fits right or feels comfortable.

I hear you, ladies… It’s a struggle! But hopefully, with the tips I’ve provided above, you will feel more validated and confident about starting to shop for your new strapless bra.

If you’ve tried many plus size strapless bras in the past that just haven’t been the right fit, you might be wondering what to do with the ones you no longer need.

Fortunately, as the CEO and Founder of The Bra Recyclers, a social enterprise dedicated to recycling lingerie, I have just the solution for you.

Before upgrading, consider decluttering your drawers and recycling your gently used bras to help provide this much-needed resource to women in need. 

Your support will help homeless women and girls who may need a bra for protection against sexual assault, as well as survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking who have fled terrible circumstances with no belongings.

In third-world countries, women face horrific practices, such as breast ironing, aimed at preventing sexual assault by flattening the breasts. By recycling your bras, you can help provide a resource to stop practices like these and give women back their freedom.

Finally, we proudly support Title 1 school students facing underwear poverty. Plus size bras are one of the most requested yet least recycled items – meaning young plus size girls are bullied for their breast size.

So, if you have unwanted bras, there is an opportunity to make a massive difference in these people’s lives.

Ready to get out with the old and in with the new while making a difference?

I hope this guide has helped you (and your “girls”) find the best plus size strapless bras. It’s important to be kind to yourself and avoid making comparisons when something doesn’t work for you. Instead, celebrate your unique style—nobody is you, and what’s more comforting than that?

So, do yourself a favor—get rid of old bras that no longer serve you, recycle them, and increase your confidence in your next new fit!

Stay tuned for more plus size bra hacks, tips, and tricks next month!

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