When the Chantelle Absolute Invisible Strapless Bra ($78) arrives at my desk, I'm already expecting failure. The vast majority of intimates marketed as "soft" and "plush" are hugely disappointing. The moment I run my fingers across the cups of the Absolute Invisible bra, I know it stands apart. Straight out of the packaging, the garment feels like the the treasured sweatshirt you've run through the wash a million times (although, it's definitely not raggedy or faded). It's the texture of a warm embrace.
For the past month, the bra has been my sidekick on many tricky outfit mission, from rocking a spaghetti strap dresses to a rainbow of different color tanks. (And even a tube top!) To be clear, the bra still contains every boob duos' nemesis—underwire. It's redeemed by a fluffy layer of padding that keeps it from digging into your flesh. You'll still get the support, but no pain! How novel! How wonderful! Servicing another oft-cited strapless bra issue, the Absolute Invisible bra is also slip-free. (I tested it with a dance party, just to make sure.)
The bra is size inclusive, ranging from A to G cups. However, the hues leave much to be desired. It's available in black and "nude" (which is really only "nude" if you're caucasian.) The company told Well+Good to expect a more exhaustive range of skin tones represented by the bra in the near future. In the meantime, I asked Maggie Mee, Trunk Club’s head of merchandising, for some hot tips on buying strapless bras that are just as comfy as they are useful.
How to choose a comfortable strapless bra
1. Make sure the band is tight enough
"A large band will cause the bra to shimmy down," says Mee. "Band support is the best way to provide lift, create an hourglass shape, and keep you comfortable in your strapless bra." When you're in the dressing room, make sure the band feels secure (but not rigid!) against your skin.
2. Go up a cup size
Many people may opt to go down a band size when choosing a strapless bra, because of the aforementioned slippage (for example, go from a 38C to a 36C). When you do so, the expert advises also increasing your cup size. "As you go down in the band, the cup size gets smaller too. Maintaining that ratio will make the bra fit well and look good under your clothes," says Mee.
3. Look for rubber grips
"You also want to look for gripping rubber on the inside of the band to help the bra stay in place," says Mee.
4. Try it on with clothes
When you're in the dressing room, make sure you don't just survey the bra's look sans-clothes. Instead, slide your outfit on back over the bra so you can see how it will look under your wardrobe.
Remember: Stocking your closet with undergarments that support you is a journey (whether we're talkin' undies or bras). Trial and error will be necessary, but eventually you'll emerge victorious with, say, a bra so supportive that you consider evicting slipping straps from your life for good.
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