When you’ve got big boobs, shopping for a bra can be challenging. And when you need that bra to be free of straps, the struggle can feel oh-so real. “It doesn’t lift the breasts or it keeps sliding down are the common complaints,” says Olivia Leroux, Marketing and Sales Director for Anita. But does that mean you’re destined to spend a summer never knowing the thrill of an off-the-shoulder top? No way. With the right intel, you can find a strapless bra for a large bust that is up to the task. Literally.
Nailing your bra size is the first step towards achieving upward mobility, Leroux says. “The common rule of bra fitting is that 80 percent of the support comes from the band and only 20 percent from the straps,” she says, “So, when it comes to a strapless bra, you have to make sure the bra fitting is 100 percent accurate. You want to make sure it holds perfectly, so you are not constantly lifting your bra up — a sign that the band’s too big.” Now for real talk: get professional help. Lingerie experts regularly sing the praises of a professional fitting, but getting one when on the hunt for a strapless bra makes a lot of sense. Aging, pregnancy and weight gain or loss lead to continuous changes in breast shape and size, so shopping based on your last bra purchase is never the best tactic. And that goes double with no straps to rely on.
You’ll know you’ve landed on a perfect fit when the band and cups perform well. “The front and back of the bra need to be parallel to the ground, if you lift your arms up, there should be no gap between your rib cage and the underwire below the cups,” says Leroux, “and there should be no gap between the cup and the breast, and no extra room or fabric below the breast.” Design details such as silicone grip around the band or boning on the side wings can help a large chest feel secure in a strapless bra. “In some cases, the side wings should be as wide as the cup width and the back of the bra should feature three rows of hook-and-eye closures to hold properly and lift,” Leroux says. Breast shape can also play a role in finding a winner. If you’ve got shallow breasts (identified as a teardrop shape that drapes lower in the cup), Leroux looks to strapless bras with pre-formed cups, and light padding or spacer fabric, that provide slightly higher coverage. When you’ve found the girls a candidate, get ready to move. In the changing room, Leroux likes to put a strapless bra to the test. “Dance in your bra to see if everything holds!” she says.