A Lingerie Expert Shares Her Favorite Strapless Bra Alternatives

For when a bra just won't do.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Aimee Song in a backless top

Getty Images

Finding the perfect strapless bra is already like searching for a needle in a haystack. But then, they can still be limiting — so many of our favorite styles are backless or plunging, or maybe we just don't want to wear a bra with them at all. So, what happens when you’re looking for some basic support without all the wires and hooks? Enter the growing world of strapless bra alternatives. 

If you haven’t paid a visit to the lingerie department for a while, chances are you may not have first-hand experience with products like nipple covers, pasties, boob tape, or backless bras There are so many new and improved products that were made for wearing with backless dresses, plunging necklines, and sheer fabrics, especially when a traditional strapless bra is just not an option. But, knowing where to begin, what to wear, and when to wear it can be challenging, especially for those devoted to a classic underwire bra

Fortunately, we connected with Sapna Palep, CEO of New York City and Chicago lingerie destination Journelle, to help us better understand strapless bra alternatives and when to wear them. Keep scrolling for Palep’s expert advice, plus a few products in each category to try the next time you reach for a top with a super low neckline, barely there dress, or just feel like changing things up for fun — you know we’ll support you no matter what.

Sticky Bras

Rosalia in a backless dress

Getty Images

Beginners, start here. Sticky bras are typically made with an adhesive silicone material that gently clings to the skin. According to Palep, sticky bras are an excellent alternative to traditional strapless bras, particularly when wearing an ensemble that has a lot of straps, cutouts, or a low back where the band of a strapless bra would show. She recommends Nubra’s seamless style for the best fit, and the brand’s push-up that provides nipple coverage along with great cleavage and lift. 

Sticky bra

Our Pick: Nubra Seamless Bra at journelle.com ($47)

VS Pink backless bra

Our Pick: Pink Backless Strapless Bra at victoriassecret.com ($25)

Nipple Covers

Poppy Delevingne in a sheer top

Getty Images

Unlike sticky bras, most nipple covers provide zero lift and provide minimal coverage, so they may not be the best choice for people with bigger busts. Palep recommends this type of seamless bra alternative when you don’t need any support but want to cover your nipples to create a seamless, modest look. The aptly named “Nippies” are particularly comfortable and made of 100% silicone, so they’re also reusable. They also come in a “lift” version that works well for those with small to medium cup sizes. 

Nipple covers

Our Pick: Nippies Skin Lifting Nipple Covers at journelle.com ($33)

Hollywood nipple covers

Our Pick: Hollywood Fashion Secrets Silicone Coverups at amazon.com ($14)

Boob Tape

Kate Hudson in a plunging pantsuit

Getty Images

Among strapless bra alternatives, boob tape is favored for its ability to create the most natural look. As it adheres, the material adjusts to your breasts and it can be cut into strips to create customized coverage and support for almost any style of garment. 

Palep notes that with practice and the right application, boob tape can provide coverage and create a nice lift, too. “Boob tape is great for deep plunge front tops, tops that reveal a lot of cleavage in the front, and unique back or necklines where other options will be too visible,” she explains. The product disappears under clothes so it looks like you are wearing nothing, but can feel confident knowing that you are covered and slightly lifted.

Palep also suggests pairing boob tape with nipple covers to achieve the most seamless, covered appearance under delicate fabrics (and, for the record, it doesn't hurt to add a layer of separation between the adhesive and your nipples).

Nue breast tape

Our Picks: Nue Breast Tape at revolve.com ($25)

Tape bra

Our Pick: Nood Game Changer Lift & Shape Bra at lovenood.com ($49)

Petals and Pasties

Doja Cat in a black gown with pasties

Getty Images

For tops that don’t necessitate a bra but risk your nipples showing through, Palep recommends wearing simple pasties. “Those that have really prominent nipples sometimes choose to wear these under tops with built-in shelf bras, or under bralettes and bandeaus for added coverage,” she instructs.

Breast petals

Our Pick: Fashion Forms Breast Petals at nordstrom.com ($10)

Alternatively, more ornamental styles can be worn with an open-cup bra, or under a sheer top or dress for a dramatic effect. After all, as Doja Cat demonstrates, these decorative pasties are designed to be shown off.

Black embellished pasties

Our Pick: Bluebella Karina Nipple Pasties at revolve.com ($28)

Can You Reuse Strapless Bra Alternatives?

Yes! Because many of the above products are reusable, Palep also shared her tips for care and cleaning: 

  1. Always apply your sticky boobs, boob tape, nipple covers, and pasties to clean, dry skin with no moisturizer or oil applied.  
  2. Wash your sticky bra after each wear to help the sticky feature regenerate. Use mild soap in the sink with lukewarm water, then wipe with a soft cloth or air dry. 
  3. After cleansing and the product is completely dry, store it inside a drawer in a temperature-controlled environment. 
  4. Keep Nippies in the case they come in to help retain their shape and use the original packaging when possible for other brands and products to achieve the best results.
Related Articles