Maina Ndung'u has been a fashion consultant and blogger since 2015. Fashion is one of her biggest interests.
A bra offers you coverage and support to make your clothes look better on your body. But there comes a time when you feel you can’t wear a bra with a certain outfit. There is nothing wrong with wearing a dress without a bra. It only takes choosing the right clothes and using some tricks in order to still look good.
Why Wear a Dress Without a Bra?
These are some of the reasons why women choose to wear a dress without a bra.
- Dress has a deep-plunge front
- Bodice has a lace back, front, or side
- Dress is hard to wear with a bra—for instance, strapless and backless dresses
- If wearing a bra results in marks, scratches, and bumps
- Weather is too hot
- Some ladies feel comfortable when going bra-less
- You want a bra-less look
When going bra-less, some ladies require some kind of support while others need to cover their nipples. A good number of them will need both. Regardless of your requirements, below are the 10 most suitable ways of wearing a dress without a bra and still look good.
1. Choose a Dress With Built-In Support
Some dresses do not necessarily need a bra because they come with built-in support. This can be a shelf bra, elasticized lining, or bra cups. Because of breast size issues, these dresses don’t have specific bra sizes. A particular dress size is meant to fit several breast cup sizes.
Most halter-neck style dresses will fall into the category of dresses with built-in bras. This is because they do not pair well with ordinary bras. Some other varieties of backless dresses have in-built support as well.
If your dress can go well with a tank or camisole, wear a no-bra camisole underneath. The built-in bra of the camisole will keep you well supported and covered. Most of the camisoles/tank tops might not be suitable for you if you have a large bust.
2. Sew Bra Cups Into Your Dress
Take an old bra or buy a cheap one and remove the cups. You can also remove the front and use the cups without separating them. Alternatively, you can buy custom sew-in cups.
If you are good at needlework, this should not be a big challenge. Otherwise, you can take your dress to a seamstress and have the work done. If you do the work yourself, first fix the cups temporarily and try the dress on before securing them.
3. Breast Petals/Pasties
Breast petals are disposable sticky flowers that fit over your nipples. They are perfect for concealing the outline of your nipples when going bra-less. They are designed to go well with virtually any type of outfit.
Non-sticky breast petals are also available if you don’t want to deal with adhesives. Their main advantage is that they are reusable. However, they require tight-fitting clothing in order to stay in place.
4. Tape Your Bust
There are a number of tapes that you can use to shape and support your breasts. Medical grade tapes (like band-aids, athletic, or surgical tape) are mostly recommended because they are gentler on the skin. They also come off easily with warm water.
If you must use duct tape, you may need to apply some kind of padding to cover your nipples. This is done to avoid allergic reactions or pain when removing the tape. You can use a piece of cloth or adhesive pads. When using a band-aid, place the padded area over the sensitive parts of your bust.
You can tape your bust either horizontally or vertically, depending on the situation. If you want some cleavage, tape across the breasts. If you are busty and want more support, taping vertically will be better for you.
5. Body Adhesive/Hollywood Fashion Glue
You can apply a body adhesive on your breasts to prevent any movement from your dress or bra cups. This kind of glue is very useful with strapless, low neck, and thin strap halter-neck dresses. It’s a sure way of avoiding any chance of your clothing slipping and showing too much of your bust.
Because fashion glues are meant to be spread directly onto the skin, they will work with almost all skin types with no allergic reactions. A double-sided fashion tape will also work the same way as body adhesive. These types of adhesives work well with clothes that fit well.
6. Adhesive/Stick-On Silicone Bras
There are many types of adhesive bras. Some will stick onto your breasts, while others have sticky wings and no adhesive on the cups. The ones with adhesive wings seem to offer better support. They are hence a better choice for ladies with bigger breasts.
Unlike stick-on pasties, sticky bras are washable and reusable. Some are made of ultra-light materials and are liked by women who are fond of the no-bra feel. Types which are heavier offer better shaping but are a bit uncomfortable.
Stick-on bra cups are separate cups that you fit individually on each breast. They are separate but have an optional center closure. They are perfect for wearing under deep-plunge outfits.
7. Body-Shapers and Bodysuits
Body-shapers and bodysuits come in different styles. Some have straps but do not cover the bust area. The rest have breast support regardless of whether they have straps or not.
A body-shaper with built-in bust support not only smooths your torso but is also ideal if you want to dress without a bra. If your dress is low-cut on the front or back, you will always find a body-shaper that is suited to it.
8. Bandeau Bra/Tube Top
A tube top or bandeau is a form of pullover strapless bra which lacks many features of a normal bra. It has no wires, hooks, or straps. Recently, some varieties have been made to include detachable straps.
Like other strapless bras, bandeaus do not give as much support as regular bras. Rather than lifting the breasts, they mostly work by compressing them. Busty women who need more support should look for ones which are longer on the lower side.
While tube tops have their limitations, they do not create embarrassment when they stick out of clothes. You can wear a bandeau with low-cut armholes or a plunging neckline and not worry even if it shows. For better nipple coverage, choose a bandeau with thicker fabric or lining on the bust.
9. Breast Lift Tape
Breast lift tape is a reusable piece of tape that raises the breast without covering the nipples. Rather than support from underneath, the tape pulls the breast from above. This kind of tape is strong enough to support your bust even when dancing.
Some breast lift tapes are packaged with nipple covers. Otherwise, you have to order pasties separately. Most of these tapes are meant for cup sizes A to D.
10. Go Bra-Less
If you don’t want to use any of the above bra alternatives, you can still go completely bra-less and still be comfortable.
Here are a few points to consider:
- Opt for clothes with flowers and patterns—neutral colors tend to show the outline of the nipples.
- Choose dark-colored tops. Light-colored tops are especially bad if they get wet.
- Wear tops with thick materials rather than thin.
- If your top is of thin fabric, consider wearing layers.
- Don’t wear clothes with materials like cotton, which absorb moisture.
- Avoid low-cut blouses as they might show your breasts when you lean over.
- Avoid tops with big arm-holes.
- Never go bra-less for formal occasions.
If you choose to go bra-less with an intention of showing off your bra-lessness, you have to be really confident. Don’t do anything that may suggest that you are self-conscious. A good example is crossing your arms over your bust.
The key point when choosing a dress to wear without a bra is your attitude. Avoid outfits that make you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. Opt for a dress that makes you feel attractive, and also fits your shape and style. Once you are sure you’ve made the right choices, go out in confidence and enjoy your outing.
© 2018 Maina Ndungu