You know when you’ve just found a dress you love that you can wear to that special event, and it makes you feel fabulous, and then you realize your bra straps show/you need a strapless bra/you need a plunge bra/you want shapewear/you need to buy something, anything else to make it work? I’ve been there. I love getting dressed up for holiday parties this time of year, but very often the dresses don’t seem to be designed with underwear in mind, particularly for those of us who wear fuller cup sizes. Luckily, there are some great solutions out there this year, so I want to share some of my favorites!
Deco Shape by Freya
The Deco juggernaut moves along, as Freya releases color after color after color. I think one of the best things they’ve done with this, one of their most popular yet not-exactly-thrilling styles, is to release the “Shape” collections: a multiway bra (can be worn halter-style, racerback, or as a regular bra), a strapless longline bra, a high-waist shaping brief, a short, a thong, and a strapless/convertible shaping slip, all of which use the beloved molded plunge bra as a starting point. I reviewed the ivory version earlier this year, but I think I like the black even more. I’m short-waisted enough that the high-waist brief rises up to meet the band of the longline bra, essentially making a two-part basque. Of all the D+ strapless bras I’ve tried, the Deco is my favorite; I just wish Freya would put sturdier side bones in (I find mine bend fairly easily), and I SO wish they would put boning in the bands of their longline bras to keep them from rolling up!
Satine Nouveau Basque by Bravissimo
I asked for a convertible basque in my full-bust wishlist, and Bravissimo have delivered! “Satine“, a beautiful lightly-padded plunge bra available up to a UK J-cup (which is a US M-cup), is one of Bravissimo’s most popular styles, and I love the multiway “Satine Nouveau” basque they’ve created for this Winter. This would make a fabulous, streamlined option underneath a plunging halter gown as well as a stunning bedroom piece.
Maria by Elomi
Available from a 32 DD up to a 42 H and a 48 E (UK sizes), the Maria basque offers one of the greatest size ranges for a strapless style I’ve ever seen. The cups feature light boning and spacer fabric, all trimmed with gleaming, silky fabric. I’ve heard that this can be a bit of a tricky fit, so consider trying on a few different sizes until you hit the one that works best for you. There’s a lovely review over at the Helen of Troy Bras blog.
Marilyn by Goddess
Like the “Maria” styles above, Goddess’ “Marilyn” also features light boning in the cups, which helps to shape and support fuller busts.
Evie Basque and Strapless Bra by Panache
While the Deco Strapless works best for me personally, it’s not necessarily for everyone. One of my good friends much prefers Panache’s beautiful Evie style (pictured in ivory; bra also available in beige and black), available up to a UK-H cup. I found this style to run a bit small in the cup, while she found it to run true to size, so again you may find it worth your while to try on a few different sizes in order to determine the best fit.
Masquerade: Utopia, Antoinette, and Alice
I’ll be honest: I’m not in love with Masquerade’s A/W 2013 line, nor am I in love with the campaign images. The images seem so cold and cranky to me, and the season’s colors feel drab and half-hearted instead of sleek or sophisticated. Nevertheless, I love that Masquerade doesn’t shy away from offering beautiful occasion pieces. The Utopia bra brings strapless bras out of the basics territory and into the spotlight, the Antoinette basque is back (with suspenders, like I asked for, though unfortunately in an un-fun oatmeal color), and the Alice slip features a stunning embroidered deep plunge bra combined with a sexy shaping slip. I wish Masquerade would take more of their exciting styles up to an H-cup or beyond, but for the D-G crowd they’re something really, really special.
Lace Bustier by Goddess
Like the “Marilyn” strapless bra above, Goddess’ lace bustier features light boning in the cup, the better to shape and support heavier breasts. I can’t be 100% sure but I’m almost positive I had one of these as a teenager, and it worked really, really well. It’s also available in band sizes from 34-50, a wonderfully wide size range.
Ultimate Strapless by Wonderbra
I haven’t tried this bra myself, but Busts 4 Justice gives it rave reviews! This bra features “hand”-shaped technology in the cups, designed to look and feel like your breasts are being lifted up. It also features more of a plunging neckline and a slightly lower back, which can be really hard to find over a DD cup. I’ve heard from some women who struck out with both Panache and Freya and found their best fit with Wonderbra, so if you’ve been searching, consider giving this style a try.
What do you think? I hope these are helpful for those of you looking for party dress solutions. Have you tried any of these styles before? Any big plans for the end of the year? Anyone know of a good New Year’s Eve event in NYC for three single ladies who have awesome dresses but as of yet no actual plans? I’m asking for a friend. 🙂
6 Comments on I Have the Dress; Now What? Full-Bust Party Solutions
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Erica of A Sophsticated PairDecember 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm (9 years ago)
Great round-up of strapless/longline options. There are a couple other great ones too. If you need something for a lowerback, the Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless recently debuted a low back longline which is awesome. Furthermore, the Parfait Jeanie strapless is pretty great too and comes with clear straps. Finally, I know it’s full coverage, but the Fantasie 4530 Strapless is a tried-and-true staple. The generous cup can also allow some H+ women to wear it too.
SweetsDecember 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm (9 years ago)
Thank you! Those are great suggestions– I’ve definitely worn the Fantasie one before, and it’s a powerhouse.
Julia LambertDecember 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm (9 years ago)
I’m very intrigued by that Wonderbra one. I have, more than once, scooped myself into a shape that would work under a dress and thought, “if I just had a bra that did that, instead of my hands.” This “hand-shaped technology” thing sounds ludicrous but possibly miraculous. I’ll have to give it a try!
SweetsDecember 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm (9 years ago)
I’m really curious too– I kept hearing about the “hand” thing, and I was dismissive, but now I’ve heard from more than one person that yes, actually, it kind of feels like a hand, holding up your boobs. The bands run tight, I’ve heard, so again it’s one of those try-on-a-few-sizes things. But intriguing!
JessicaDecember 15, 2013 at 6:17 pm (9 years ago)
Great list! I am waiting for one of the full bust brands to debut a clear back strapless for sheer and low-back dresses (please include H cups) . So far I am loving the Elomi Maria. I find it to be snug in the back and slightly generous in the cups. Panache porcelain strapless is great for those who want a smooth look and works well for those who are average or full on top.