For most of us, strapless bras aren’t for everyday wear. They’re typically something you track down for a special occasion – an outfit for a wedding, your prom, a black-tie event or even your next summer holiday.
Regardless of what the event in question might be, you’ll need a strapless bra you can rely on: the order of the day is support.
However, that shouldn’t come at the cost of comfort – you want to be able to enjoy yourself, rather than worrying about said bra slipping or pinching you with every move. To find the best ones on the market, the IndyBest team wore these bras while working from home and on lockdown walks. They also, of course, employed the “jiggle test”.
The best strapless bra for you will ultimately depend on your shape and size – smaller busts may find a lightweight style does the trick, whereas larger cup sizes will likely need something with a bit more structure.
We asked Suzanne Pentland, Wacoal fit specialist, some of the most important questions to consider before investing in your next strapless bra.
How do strapless bras stay up?
“It is essential to wear the right-sized bra on all occasions, but especially when wearing strapless to ensure the bra stays secure and supported,” says Pentland. “Some people use straps to hold the boobs up, when actually the majority of breast weight should be supported from the band of the bra – that is why we need a snug fit on the underband.”
To check this, Pentland suggests performing “the two-finger test” – “check you can only fit two fingers under the band and slightly pull”, she advises. “It helps to visit your local store for a fitting or to have a virtual fitting to check the size of your bra. Many strapless styles offer gripper elastic to aid the fit, or flexible elastic bustbands.”
What’s the best type of strapless bra for small boobs?
“For smaller busts, light padding can help smooth and offer a naturally rounded shape,” Pentland says. Shirring at the centre front, meanwhile, can “help with definition and separation”,
What’s the best type of strapless bra for big boobs?
“For fuller busts it is better to have strapless bras that offer firm support and a rounded shape,” Pentland continues. “A wide, deep underband anchors onto the torso, allowing the weight of the breast to be evenly distributed. Flex-bones can be added at the back to offer additional support without digging in. Wide gripper elastic can also be found on the back to offer support and anchorage. On all bras, more coverage will help minimise any spillage.”
Which strapless bras are most comfortable?
Pentland stresses how important it is to choose the right size: “Having a correctly fitted bra will make all the difference to comfort and support,” she confirms. “This too will make you feel secure in your bra and in return will aid your confidence and comfort.”
Some bras offer cushioning on the cup and wiring, which can also help with comfort.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Wonderbra ultimate strapless bra
The tag line “never lets you down” is a bold claim to make in the context of strapless bras. But this really is the ultimate strapless bra. It is the most impressive bra that we’ve ever tried, with incredible support.
The single-piece moulded shape lifts, but the full cup also offers complete coverage, creating the perfect smooth silhouette (no “four boobs” here).
What is unique about this bra is the padding, which has been specially designed to look like a hand with three fingers. It gives extra support on the outside edge of the cup, which helps lift. Also, there are tiny silicone dots on the straps as well as a thick strip under the bust, which all help keep the whole bra in place.
We felt entirely supported, even during a jump test, and think this is the bra you need if you’re looking for serious support. There’s three hook-and-eye fastenings at the back, sizes range from 30D-38G and there are seven different colours.
Wacoal red carpet strapless bra
Supportive, structured and with a deep band that made it so much more comfortable than many of the others we tried (even some from the same retailer), this is our top pick if you want to invest in a great all-rounder of a strapless bra that will last you for years to come.
We really felt strapped in in this style, but without feeling restricted – a tricky balance to strike for something that can’t rely on straps to hold it up. This bra did, however, come with straps, so you can turn it into a more versatile everyday option if you like. It’s available in both black and nude with band sizes 30 to 44 and cups B toG.
Skims fits everybody stretchy bandeau bra
Bandeau bras are not every wearer’s cup of tea because of their very simple design, which can often lack any form of decent support. But for our tester (who usually wears a 36D) we found this to work well, especially in summer under floaty and strappy tops, long dresses and baggy sleeveless tops. Kim Kardashian’s range is known for its great colour range, sizing and smooth lines. Unlike many other bandeau bras, this is completely free of lace or anything else that might show through some tops, which we really liked.
The super stretchy material offers more support than other similar bandeau styles we’ve tried before. There’s a thicker band at the bottom for added support (and helps you identify which way round it goes, as after washing the white printed label inside comes off). The only issue we found is that after one wash, the colour did fade a little. It’s available in nine skin tones and in sizes from XXS-XXXXL.
M&S body non wired strapless bra
Similar to the Wonderbra, this is a one-piece moulded bra with a smooth finish – no wire and no lace – giving a super smooth shape under clothes. What is different to the Wonderbra, though, is that it comes with detachable straps so you can wear it with an array of tops.
We loved the non-wired design of it, which doesn’t dig in on the breast bone. It has thin padding at the top, meaning it sits flatter to the skin than others we tested, while the bottom is slightly thicker, giving more support and a great cleavage, too.
The fit is very supportive, and the back is very well fitted yet still comfortable (but it does mean it’s a little tighter to do up in the first place). We wore it for most of a day under a shirt and found we weren’t desperate to take it off like we are with other strapless bras. We didn’t feel like we had to pull it up constantly either, and it also survived our jumping test. This is a really affordable alternative to the Wonderbra that has a very similar fit and support. It’s available in black, white and opaline in sizes 32B-40D.
Boux Avenue strapless padded plunge bra
High street lingerie stalwart Boux Avenue is always a reliable bet for affordable and good-quality undergarments, and this strapless bra is no exception. Made from microfibre with bagged out wings for extra comfort, the bra held us in without digging in. The wide strap was comfortable on our back and we found we didn’t have to yank it up as frequently as we do other strapless bras.
Worn for a day while working from home and then on a lockdown walk, we almost forgot we were wearing it. The silicone tape edge prevented any slippage while the padded cups created just the right amount of lift when paired with a bandeau top. The plunge design creates a cleavage effect that might not be for everyone, but the fit worked well when paired with low cut tops. The bra comes in a number of colourways including bronze, black, nude, white and chocolate.
Curvy Kate luxe strapless bra
Anyone with a bigger bust knows that strapless bras are usually the enemy. Many that we’ve tried offer no support, meaning spills and slips are abundant. Plus, they are notoriously uncomfortable. We therefore tested this bra with scepticism, but can now see why it’s award-winning. Our tester was seriously impressed with the lift it gave without any straps, and that it stayed flush to their bust without any gaps or overspill. The thick band has a slightly tacky lining to keep it in place, and the inside of the cups have a sling lining, pushing the boobs forward to aid lift and support.
We did the jiggle test, jumping up and down to see if everything stayed in place, and miraculously it did. Another issue we find with strapless bras is them looking bulky under slinkier tops, but this didn’t – instead it gave natural shape and lift. Available in D-J cups, we often find Curvy Kate’s sizing a bit on the smaller side, so would suggest sizing up if you’re in between. There are four colours to choose from, and it comes with detachable straps, meaning you don’t have to reserve this for strapless days. At £35, we’d say this is good value for a high-quality bra that’s a dream for bigger busts.
Rigby & Peller marie jo jane padded bra strapless
Another great strapless bra, this time by the Queen’s bra fitter and luxury lingerie retailer Rigby & Peller. What first drew us to this style was the fact that, unlike most other models, it is finished with elegant details such as a shimmering string of pearls on the centre panel and a delicate embroidered trim, meaning it looks just as good worn with or without the accompanying removable straps.
But there’s more to this option than just its good looks. The bra felt comfortable, looked discreet under clothing and left us feeling fully supported while also enhancing our cleavage, even without the straps. In our experience, most strapless bras tend to inch down over the course of the day, but this one didn’t budge at all. While it is a pricey investment, this bra is a worthy one, should your budget allow. It’s available in sizes 32B-38E.
George at Asda multiway strapless bra
A good strapless bra doesn’t have to be expensive and this one proves it. A style you can pick up at the same time as your weekly shop, Asda’s no-frills offering has all the features you’d expect from a strapless style, but what makes this one stand out is just how comfortable it feels.
Made from a soft material, it has lightly padded cups that create great shape and a seamless finish that means you can wear it under a variety of different tops. We found it comfortable enough for all day wear, despite it having a supportive underwire, and did not experience any of the pinching or side bulges that often come with strapless styles.
We also liked the fact you can move the straps into multiple positions depending on your outfit and that it’s available in a wide range of sizes to fit a variety of body types (34B-42F). It comes in three different colours: black, nude (£6, Asda.com), and black and white (£6, Asda.com).
Next smoothing longline multiway bra
We tried a number of strapless bras from Next for this article, but this was by far the best – although options start from around £15 with this particular brand, it’s well worth paying a little extra for the upgrade in quality and support.
The longline design trumps its rivals in a number of ways – it was comfortable as soon as we slipped it on, and we found that the “smoothing” claim was accurate, as this bra looked seamless under a range of different outfits, and didn’t cause any unflattering spillage in either the cup or under the band. This is a good mid-price option that will serve you well, staying up on the beach, the dancefloor or wherever you might need it to stick around. It’s another one that comes with optional straps, too.
Victoria’s Secret uplift strapless bra
Having spent years trying to find the perfect strapless bra, we were sceptical when the brand claimed this had been “designed for the perfect fit”. But, from the moment we put it on we were impressed. Thanks to the non-slip technology, it was secure and stayed put, and while we couldn’t test it out in a nightclub, we think it’d do a good job at staying in place while boogieing. What’s more, we almost forgot we were wearing it – a particularly good sign considering other strapless bras have been too uncomfortable to wear for the duration of a night out, let alone a full day.
It’s worth noting that there is a small amount of padding here, which might not be for everyone, but we found it to provide the perfect push and lift. It also comes with straps, should you need them. Our only gripe is that we’d have liked it to come in more colours to accommodate a range of different skin tones.
The verdict: Strapless bras
As strapless bras are notoriously uncomfortable – with wire digging into your breastbone or them simply not staying up – we take our hats off to Wonderbra’s ultimate strapless bra, which we think couldn’t be more aptly named. Sometimes you need to wear a strapless bra for long periods of time if it’s to go with a certain outfit, and we found this one to be comfortable and supportive over the course of a day. Yes, it’s not the most affordable, but it won’t let you down. The M&S non wired strapless bra was a very similar design too, and only £18, if you’d prefer something cheaper
We’ve taken the stress out of finding the right fit with the best online lingerie shops
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