Best Bras for Hard-to-wear Dresses

Woman wearing backless slip dress

It may be the most frustrating of fashion quandaries — figuring out how to wear a bra gracefully underneath a dress with an open back or a body-hugging silhouette. Yes, you want to show off your sexy back or amazing shoulders or curvy hips. But not at the expensive of support, and without revealing bumpy straps and clasps.

What’s a fashion girl to do?

Thanks to a little ingenuity from our favorite fashion minds, there’s a product to guard against unsightly straps or — worse — sagging topside. We’ve rounded up the best strapless bras, shapewear, undergarments and sartorial tools needed to keep you perky.

Best Backless Bras

The Stick-on

A sexy, backless dress is among the most challenging for women who prefer strong support. Yes, you have the stick-on bra option — but I don’t know any woman who gets even a breath of support from those. They provide the benefit of nipple coverage and that’s about it.

Stick on strapless backless bra
Fashion Forms U Plunge Backless, Strapless Bra, $38, Macy’s. This piece has decent reviews, although bustier women say it doesn’t provide enough support.

The multiway

A better option is a convertible bra with a backless configuration. The strap around your body will sit very low, which makes the shoulder straps very long. But it will feel vastly more supportive than a stick-on bra.

Try an innovative bra converter if you’re bustier to give you a few more inches of skin. Those with less to, ahem, hold up up front, a sticky backless number should do the trick.

The Bustier

If the multiway bra feels too unbalanced, try a bustier model with a low-back. These styles usually have boning, which creates a stronger structure and adds a more supportive feel.

Best for Bodycon: The Bodysuit Bra

When you need to keep everything in place under that bodycon, go for a bodysuit shaper model. Yeah, you’ll have to figure out how to get into it — but once you do, you’ll have smooth curves top to bottom. Just make sure it’s not too tight at the edges. You don’t want to step out with underarm or mid-thigh bulges.

Best for Sheers: The Slip Bra

Sheer is beautiful as a top layer, but completely see-through is not a look we recommend at The Budget Fashionista. You can wear a shaper for that extra coverage — but we like a tried-and-true classic. You can pick up a silky, opaque slip on Amazon for around $20.

Best for the Unexpected: Fashion Tape

A little fashion tape goes a long way. Apply the double-sided sticky stuff when donning drape-front tops and open-sided items to steer clear of wardrobe malfunctions.

Do you have any foundation secrets to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Catherine Brock

Style Editor at The Budget Fashionista
Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on DrLaura.com, Wellness.com and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.
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