Strapless unmentionables: A “minus size” round up

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I loved reading Andrea’s advice for finding plus size long line bras. However, I happen to be at the opposite end of that spectrum. After seeing a few comments requesting a “minus size” round up, I thought it was time for me to step in and represent those of us who are not as, erm “well-endowed.” (FYI this post has pictures of ladies in their undergarments so it’s probably NSFW.)

Buying bras can be quite tricky. I want a bra that supports and shapes, but I really don’t like padding. Although I may be smaller chested, I’m proud of what my momma gave me! I don’t like all these fancy schmancy water bras and miracle bras that add two cup sizes! No thanks — I’m all real, baby. The problem is that most bras for smaller chests are super padded.

Right now I own the Multi-way Bra from Victoria’s Secret. I liked it because the cup is lighting lined and there is no padding. However, without straps this proved problematic. The band stays in place, but the actual cups are so flimsy that they slip down all the time, which means wedding day nip slips and weird square boobs. No one wants that!

I’ve tried a few strapless bras with no luck. I tried on the Le Mystere Women’s Shameless Strapless Bra but didn’t like how it felt like a shelf yet it did no lifting. The bra practically swallowed my chest. Also the Natori Memory Convertible Underwire Bra fit well but it had seams that totally showed through my dress. Not to mention it felt very constricting.

However, my new favorite strapless bra is the Calvin Klein Perfectly Fit Strapless Bra. This bra is great for most strapless style dresses. The cups are lightly lined with only a tiny bit of padding at the bottom. That padding helps lift to create a more rounder and fuller shape. Also, the band stayed up really well. I haven’t worn this one yet but I did a few jumps and twirls in the dressing room to test it out. No slippage! (Which you should totally do if you’re going to be dancing at your wedding.) Plus, the cup connector (what the heck is that thing called?) is low so it would work with both a tube-style or strapless sweetheart top dress. You can get this one at Calvin Klein or Nordstrom.


In the case that your dress has a low back or if the material of your dress is thin, I would recommend the Le Mystere Bustier. It is made of nylon and lycra so it can stretch which creates a surprisingly comfortable bustier, while smoothing any unwanted lumps. It is seamless so it cannot be detected under your dress. Also, the cups have underwire which keep the girls securely in place. It doesn’t have any padding and the lining is relatively thin, which I liked for the above mentioned reasons. I wore this bustier for over six hours, under a huge strapless ball gown and I felt great. I didn’t have to adjust it at all. Also, this bustier comes with removable straps as well, so if you’re wearing a one strap gown, or halter you can adjust accordingly.


If your dress is extra fancy you may need to go with this one: the nubra . It is literally two silicone cups attached by a clasp in the center. The cups are adhesive so they stick directly on your chest. This bra is good if your dress has an extremely low back or a plunging neckline (as you can unclasp the two cups). It lifts and helps shape. I’ve personally had success with this bra. I wore it on a few occasions and once for about five hours (while dancing and sweating profusely) without any problems. You can order it from Lula Lu, which is a great website that specializes in bras for smaller cups sizes, mainly AA-AAA.

Like Andrea said, it is important to be flexible with your bra size when it comes to strapless bras. They can be very tricksy! I almost always go down one band size, just to ensure it will stay up. However, if you aren’t careful, going down a band size can create some unwanted lumps. Also, it helps if you can bring the dress with you when trying on bras and definitely bring the bra to any alteration sessions. Lastly, a little love and support goes a long way. So be patient and find something that properly contains or displays your ladies in a way that you’re comfortable with.

Comments on Strapless unmentionables: A “minus size” round up

  1. Ah, thank you for this! I was resigned to going braless in my dress until I just saw your review of the NuBra. I’d love to have a little lift and shape even with my low low back.

    (even though I’m a leeeetle scared of the totally adhesive bra. i’m assuming you would have disclosed any painful removal issues…!)

        • The adhesive for these is kind of like those sticky toys you get out of the egg-dispenser machines for a quarter. It’s the perfect amount of stickiness, in my mind.

          I had one of these bras (whatever brand they sell at Target) and it was awesome.

          • I really need to get something like the Nu-bra for my backless dress, but how do you get them symmetrical? I’m worried that one will be more lifty than the other!!!!

  2. I love this post!! I have teeny tiny boobs and its so hard to find a stapless bra, but I finally found one at a store call Aerie. Its the Audrey Bra. It has a demi( or half) cup which is great because full cups can gape at the top, Its lightly lined, and it comes with 3 sets of straps. It’s a win for me. 🙂

  3. I love NuBras and the cool thing is that most fabric stores (i.e. Joanns, Michaels) have offbrand versions that work just as well. I used to wear one for the burlesque show I was in and even during a two hour show with dancing, sweating, and costume changes it never moved. Be extremely careful with them though because they will stick to everything if you aren’t. Also, you can go up a cup size with the nubra if you do want padding and it comes out looking extremely natural.

  4. Thank you for giving the small-chested of the bridal world a voice!

    I’m super small chested and found the Girl’s department is my friend when bra shopping. Not only are the colors are more fun than the Woman’s, but they are cheaper too. My favorite everyday strapless so far is made by Maidenform for Girls, and it has removable straps so you can wear it all different ways.

    Still I’m going to seek out a few of the bras listed above to wear on my wedding day, especially that nifty looking bustier.

    • I loved the bustier! I highly recommend it. I ended up going down a cup size than I normally wear and it was great.

      • Thank you for a very helpful set of suggestions! After trying out the American Eagle strapless mentioned somewhere in the comments (thanks!), I will be going with Carnival Invisible Plunge Longline, available for $35-40 on Amazon. Not sure where the ‘invisible’ part comes in as the boning is visible thru my fairly thin bodice: this look works for my dress, which already has some boning, but may not for other dresses. It has a very low back. Another nice thing is that while long it doesn’t go all the way down to the hips.

  5. I would just like to suggest Lula Lu as an overall site for the more petite girls! The site is great, because they have unpadded options, but lacy and pretty, with many strapless options.

  6. Awesome!!!

    I use the NuBra during my performances! And for us pierced beauties out there, I can even keep my nipple rings in wearing this and they are perfectly fine!

  7. I love my strapless bra by Lily of France. It has a touch of padding at the bottom of the cups to allow the girls a little lift. My favorite everyday bra is by Calvin Klein and it makes my girls look fabulous!

    • I really think that Calvin Klein makes some of the best undergarments. The use the nicest fabrics and I love the way their bra cups are lined. Not to thick but usually just right. It really contours to your body. (or mine at least!)

  8. While I am at the opposite end of this post (36G & yes I HATE it), I have worked with lingerie for the past ten years. For those girls who don’t really want to deal with a bra, I highly suggest silcone breast petals. They are basically pasties that smooth everything out. Also, I don’t recommend Victoria Secret. Not only are their cleanliness ethics… um… questionable… but they treat their employees rather unfair 🙁 I worked there, so that’s my personal opinion. As far as strapless bras go, many companies [like Fredericks] offer bras with removable padding. Just be sure to try it with & without before you commit. Oh, and never ever underestimate good garment tape! Good luck 🙂

    • I bought the stick on plunge bra at VS because it was the only backless plunge bra I could find. First I bought a B based on what their size charts said and it was too big. So I bought the A one. The A one fit ok, but it would not even stay on for the fitting. The sticky bras are no return at VS so that was 100$ down the toilet

  9. Just be wary of the stick-on bras – a friend’s mother wore one to my friend’s wedding and only discovered after she’d worn it all day that she was allergic to the adhesive. She blistered all over! Please, test it first!

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