Undergarment Guide: My must-have bras & underwear

I don't post much about bras and undies, so it might come as a surprise that the most common questions I get are actually about undergarments! They are the foundation of every outfit (unless you're a commando kinda girl...) - when done right undergarments should not be noticed, but when done wrong, they can be all someone sees. I've rounded up a number of outfit "situations" below that are fairly common, and the type of undergarments I own and rely on as solutions!

what to wear under a white sheer dress skirt
outfit details in this post

Situation: Sheer skirts / dresses, or unlined skirts / dresses that cling to your legs or tights.
Solution: Half slip skirt. Slips may sound like a thing from the past, but I seriously wear mine all. the. time. As brands are skimping more often on quality (i.e. using thinner fabrics, or only lining half of a dress), a slip can be an easy and affordable way to "rescue" a garment. I especially like them in the winter to keep unlined dresses or skirts from riding up against hosiery. I own the Vassarette 16" slip skirt (under $10!) in both nude & black. If you tend to wear shorter skirts and dresses, it's worth getting your slip skirt hemmed even shorter so there's no chance of an unsightly peek-a-boo.

racerback bra strap convertible clip
outfit details in this post

Situation: Narrow-shouldered, angled neckline, or halter tops.
Solution: A bra with convertible straps that can be criss-crossed in the back (see: convertible strap bras below), or, use a racer-back bra clip to hold your bra straps closely together in the back. You can also try using a large paperclip as a solution in a pinch.

bra strap converter_what to wear under low back top dress
outfit details in this post

Situation: Top or dress with a slight dip in the back.
Solution: An elastic bra-strap converter. Try one of my most popular DIY tutorials, or buy one for cheap like this 1-hook converter in black or nude (here's a wider strap version, too). Please note this solution is only for slightly lower-back garments, not ones with a dramatic dip or nothing on the back. The elastic converter can pull your regular bra band down about 2 inches in the back before the fit of the cups get affected in the front.

convertible bra_what to wear under a strapless off shoulder top
outfit details in this post (top look) + this post (bottom look)

Situation: Strapless, cross-back, halter, off-the-shoulder, or one-shoulder tops and dresses.
Solution: Convertible-strap bra. Nearly all the bras in my closet are nude-colored (save for a few black ones to wear under dark clothing) and convertible. "Nude" is not the same for everyone - the closer the bra is to your actual skin tone, the more concealed it will be under light or white clothing. Convertible straps are also not created equal. If you're shopping online, be sure to look closely at photos and descriptions to see where the straps can clip on or off. Here are some comfortable bras in my everyday rotation with varying levels of convertibility:

Calvin Klein wireless contour bra - straps don't unhook at all, but there is a little clasp to secure the two back straps together at a midpoint. This will work under most racerback-style or narrow-shouldered tops.
- Gap wireless bra or wireless push-up bra - shoulder straps unhook from the back, so you can make them into an X back configuration.
Halogen wireless triangle-shaped bra - same as above.
- Little Bra Company Sascha strapless underwire bra - shoulder straps unhook completely from the front and back, so you can wear it totally strapless, regularly, or with an X back. This also has little removable pads in the cups.

what to wear under a low cut plunge dress
outfit details in this post

Situation: Low-cut tops & dresses.
Solution: A plunge bra. I have this Uplunge bra (cups run small) which comes in both nude and black, and has straps that converts into 3 different configurations!

lace bralette under plunge low cut tops
outfit details in this post

As an alternative, try filling the neckline gap with a bralette or camisole that is pretty enough to be seen visibly. I love my Topshop crochet-trim one! Please note bralettes usually don't have much structure, thus may not work well for those who need more support.

nubra stick on bra_what to wear under a backless dress
outfit details in this post

Situation: Backless, very low or intricate-back garments.
Solution: Adhesive bra cups. An added benefit of these full front stick-on bras is that the adhesive cups can push & keep the girls close together for extra oomph. I have an older NuBra which I've worn several times and it's still going strong. Similar options currently available include the NuBra push-up or feather lite adhesive bras.

breast petals nipple cover band aids
Situation: when any of the above bras just won't work, or, you want the girls to feel "free" without being indecent.
Solution: Nip covers! I don't know a re-usable option that works well, so I still use the quick fix of band-aids. Here is an inexpensive breast petal option ($6), and for swimwear, Bravo makes push-up liner cups that even come in triangle shapes for bikinis.

You guys may have noticed two major categories I didn't cover here: shapewear and undies! For shapewear, I've tried on a few styles from Spanx but they did not fit right and were still visible from the outside. And for underwear, I'm all about the nude panty, but am still in search of the perfect ones that result in no VPL underneath slacks and skirts. Would love to hear about your favorite brands/styles for these, and also about any other must-have undergarments that I missed!

And for fellow Pinners, below is a compilation of all the solutions from this post! You can hover over any image on this blog, and a Pinterest button should appear over the upper left corner.must have undergarments for every type of outfit

60 comments:

  1. Thanks for a great compilation, this is perfect. Never knew about the bandaid tip, ha!

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  2. Wow, your post is super helpful! Many thanks for sharing, I must immediately shop what you recommend :)
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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  3. This is such a useful post! My main issue is tops/dresses with revealing cleavage...off to shop for some lace bralettes!

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  4. Very helpful article and can relate to most of it. Thank you.

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  5. My facorite nip covers brand is Nippies! They are re-usable (just simply wash them with gentle soap and warm water), leave them to sry overnight, and they are ready to go the next day! They come in 3 sifferent shades and 2 different sizes so you can find the best fit for you. They're also matte, meaning you can't see them under shirts at all. I swear by these and they are pretty much sll I wear during the summer! Thanks for another fabulous post, Jean!

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    1. I've been considering getting one! Do you use the adhesive or non-adhesive one? Thanks so much :)

      -Amy

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  6. great post!very useful! love it
    Irene
    www.thedailylace.com

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  7. Wow this is such a helpful post! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  8. I have a light blue dress that showed the slightest lines, so I wore nude control top pantyhose the last time I wore it. Only time I've ever gone without underwear! No other way with that particular dress, though.

    As for nude colors, it always bugs me when a brand doesn't keep the same shades across their product line, like I'm fair, so I prefer light nude, but only some bras would be in that color. Always seems dumb when they do that.

    I'm 39, so I grew up with a mother and grandmother that raised me to wear slips and hosiery with skirts and dresses. I'm always shaking my head at the girls that REALLY need a slip to be decent. We always had a full-length mirror in the house and always checked fabric in good light.

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  9. Hanky Panky Bare line. I love all of their collections but the Bare line sounds like what you are looking for.

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  10. La Bijoux Bella | by miaTuesday, August 30, 2016

    A very good essential tips when it comes to under garments. Very helpful! :)

    La Bijoux Bella | by mia

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  11. Also second the Nippies for strapless adhesive bras – they're ridiculously easy to take care of, and like the other commenter above, it's all I wear in the summer! They run about $25 on Amazno.

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  12. Great, useful post! Believe it or not, I have found the best panties with no VPL at Target! I tried a few different brands, including VS, and the Target ones came out on top.

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  13. Uniqlo ultra seamless panties

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    Replies
    1. Ditto on the Uniqlo seamless panties. I wore the panties and thong version several times and love it.

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  14. Thank you SO much for posting this!!! Such great tips!

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  15. The problem I always have with no-VPL undies is that they tend to ride up, which I hate. Someone told me about Soma, and it's basically all I wear now-- they have little strips of clear silicone (like they have on the top of thigh-high nylons) that prevent slipping, so they really stay in place! I love them. They're pricey, but go on sale regularly.

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  16. This is actually so incredibly helpful. It can really be a struggle to find what to wear underneath sometimes!

    Enclothed Cognition

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  17. Very useful and well put together post - thank you!

    Michaela
    www.makingmichaela.com

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  18. Thank you so much for these tips! I will definitely be pinning them.

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  19. Hi Jean, thank you for this helpful post! It is always great to find recommendations for many different dress/top designs. I personally use the adhesive bra cups if I cannot wear a regular bra. I like the lace bralette solution; when I wear wrap dresses I often wear a Gap Pullover Bra over my regular bra--may be more work appropriate compared to lace. Thank you again for the post!
    ~Jessica | http://www.petitestylescript.com/

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  20. I love this post Jean! Really helpful. Noticed you mentioned the Little Bra company. Do you recommend their products? Always in search of a bra that doesn't have straps that fall down. The only thing that's stopping me from the LBC is I can't try them on before ordering.

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    1. Hi Laura - yes I like their products as they really are one of the few companies out there to offer such extended sizes! Shopbop actually started carrying some of their top items (I linked to it within this post), and they have free shipping and returns within 10 days, making it so much easier to try!

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  21. Super thorough and super helpful! I didn't think of the slip skirt. And I got to say, I'm wary about the nip petals. I don't have enough boobage for that haha. itty bitty titty committee.

    www.dressupchowdown.com

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  22. This is such an informative post. I am going to try some of these hacks
    www.sindisosdiary.blogspot.com

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  23. The seamless nude hiphuggers from Uniqlo are amazing under dress pants and whites!

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  24. These are the best nipple covers I've used, lasted for awhile before i had to replace! BRISTOL NIPPIES. Comes in a cute little box for storage too!
    https://www.amazon.com/Nippies-Reusable-Silicone-Pasties-ADHESIVE-/dp/B00CX547FE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472575960&sr=8-1&keywords=bristol+nippies

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  25. I love Hanky Panky Bare Boyshorts and petite low-rise thongs. I made the switch 2 years ago and never reached for anything else in my undie drawer.

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  26. The self-adhesive bra is actually the one I have been interested in for some time, it is definitely a must-have, glad to hear your opinion on that.

    Marina

    www.marinasummers.com



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  27. I never thought of buying a slip skirt (have always seen my grandma wear one tho!) and now I must sty it especially for less than $10! Thanks for this post! And also lovin' the comments section, lots of recommendations I definitely want to try out. Have a great day everyone!

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  28. Love all these tips, they're so helpful! I'm looking into the plunge bra, the low back strap converter and the convertible bra clips!

    Characters & Carry-ons

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  29. Definitely need to try the low-back strap converter and stick-on bra! Great post!

    Jen | affecionada

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  30. Very nicely presented, sometimes we forget that we have all of these options.
    I bought a couple of slips a while ago and felt like a grandma because of it and its actually one of the best purchases I have made. Clothes look better and feel better.
    Oh and plunge bra and stick ons never worked for me :(

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  31. I think I commenting before asking you to write about slips and I'm so happy you actually did! Thank you! These are very helpful tips :)

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  32. Love this post! For undies, definitely second what a commenter mentioned above - Uniqlo has some great seamless options. Patagonia has a similar style to theirs as well, though much pricier.

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  33. This is a truly, amazing post. I learned so much from you today.... things that I never thought were possible. Thank you very much.

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  34. For VPL my secret is panties with lace trimmings or cotton but with edges that don't hug in if you know what I mean. I got to VS since they have a big selection and have found good deals at Target too! ~ Eileen

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  35. Convertible bras are nice, but the only thing is that the straps loosen over time because they get stretched out from the different forms! Any tips?

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  36. Soma Vanishing Edge. So Good.

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  37. I rely heavily on my nude undies from Uniqlo - they're called Ultra Seamless Hiphuggers! They're so comfortable and don't show any panty lines for me!

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  38. DKNY has best no-show underwear! I can also often find this style at Nordstrom Rack: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/dkny-fusion-hipster-briefs-3-for-30/3398106?origin=category-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=LACQUER

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    Replies
    1. Agreed! Although sizing starts at a small. I have 36" hips/25" waist and the small fits me perfectly... ladies with smaller hips may find the small too big.

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  39. Thank you for this post! I second (err, third?) the comments above about Uniqlo! The Boston store had a sale on the underwear a few months ago and I stocked up then.

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  40. Yay! love it when you do these tips & tricks informational posts! my favorite seemless panties are also at Target! Love the Gilligan & O' Malley micro bikini, gives good butt coverage and less panty lines than any other panties i've tried. I have -34 inch hips and the size xs fits snug!

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  41. This post is so helpful, Jean. Thank you for all of the great options.

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  42. Great post and much needed tips! Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.bluelabelsboutique.com
    http://www.fashionnotfear.wordpress.com

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  43. Such a great post, thank you for all of the tips and tricks! Will definitely pin your summary.

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  44. Excellent post. I am really interested to know where the sequin dress is from. The link seems to be directing to a different post.

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    1. Thank you for letting me know! Just fixed it

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  45. Such a helpful blog, thank you Jean! I am going to order the bra for the low plunging neckline, I have always gone braless but I prefer not to!

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  46. Thank you so much, really helpful!

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  47. I've got to get that low plunge bra. Didn't know that existed. These panties really don't show lines: https://www.victoriassecret.com/pink/all-panties/no-show-cheekster-pink?ProductID=193077&CatalogueType=OLS

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  48. Such a useful article! Every girl needs this post in her toolbox/Handbag! Thanks for the tips.

    Sincerely,
    Lauren | Guardthevineyard.com

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  49. This was such a helpful article! I have always wondered what to do for low back dresses and low front dresses for that matter. Such a great post!
    April | http://thebluehydrangeas.com

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  50. Love this post! So helpful!

    xoxo
    Sharan
    www.MyGoldenBeauty.com

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  51. Uniqlo Ultra Seamless underwear are comfortable and do not show at all! http://www.uniqlo.com/my/store/women/innerwear-lounge/underwear.html

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