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. Vassarette makes some simple and functional half slip skirts (under $10!) in nude, white & 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 option or this wider strap option. 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:

– 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.
– 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.

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. Please note bralettes are usually just like half tank tops and don’t have much structure, thus may not work well for those who need 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! After trying so many brands and styles, my friend introduced me to one that definitely stands out from the rest. I’ve been wearing these Bristol 6 “nippies” covers SO much in both the adhesive or non-adhesive (which still stay on well) options. If you don’t need a lot of chest support, just stick these on in lieu of strapless bras, plunge bras, etc for nip coverage without any discomfort. These covers are a little pricier than some, but they are thicker, seamless, and can be reused dozens of times without losing adhesive power.

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


62 thoughts on “Undergarment Guide: My must-have bras & underwear

  • Pei Wang August 30, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    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!

  • Unknown August 31, 2016 at 12:17 am

    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

  • Judy August 31, 2016 at 12:38 am

    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.

  • Olyvia August 31, 2016 at 12:41 am

    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!

  • Debbie F August 31, 2016 at 7:14 am

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

  • Kristie Glenn August 31, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Great post and much needed tips! Thanks for sharing!


  • Unknown August 31, 2016 at 9:40 am

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

  • TradsLoft August 31, 2016 at 9:41 am

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

  • Grace Ng August 31, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    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!

  • Jowongster September 1, 2016 at 1:54 am

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

  • Helen Ricky September 1, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Thank you so much, really helpful!

  • Anonymous September 1, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    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.

  • Lauren September 2, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    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

  • Aisha S September 3, 2016 at 4:52 am

    Awesome stuff. Thanks Jean!

  • Guard The Vineyard September 3, 2016 at 9:42 pm

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

    Lauren | Guardthevineyard.com

  • April September 4, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    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

  • Jean September 5, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    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!

  • Jean September 5, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you for letting me know! Just fixed it

  • Sharan Kaur September 7, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Love this post! So helpful!


  • Anonymous September 10, 2016 at 12:26 am

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

  • Allie June 10, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you for this post, it's so helpful!

  • Valeri June 17, 2017 at 3:54 am

    Yes. Thank you. This was so helpful.

Comments are closed.