Undergarment Guide: My must-have bras & underwear

I don’t post much about bras and underwear, 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 in this undergarment guide!


what to wear under a white sheer dress skirt

Item Details

outfit details in this post; slip skirt

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 wear them with all unlined white dresses, and 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

Item Details

outfit details in this post; bra strap converter clips

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 strap clip to hold your bra straps closely together in the back. BONUS: wearing your bra straps in a racer-back style using these clips can also help “lift” the breasts a bit and create a little more cleavage.

bra strap converter_what to wear under low back top dress

Item Details

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

Item Details

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 – I love the comfort of wire-free bras. These 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

Item Details

 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

Item Details

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

Item Details

outfit details in this post

Situation: Backless, very low or intricate-back garments.

Solution: Adhesive bra cups. A key 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 this push-up NuBra which I’ve re-worn several times over years and it’s still going strong. Shop all NuBra options, including this more affordable feather lite option.

Undergarment guide

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. If you don’t need much chest support, just stick these on in lieu of strapless bras, plunge bras, etc for nip coverage. They’re so comfortable, you’ll forget they are there. These covers are a little pricier than some, but in comparison, 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. I 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.

Boston style blogger, Extra Petite shares the best undergarment guide. Check out these must-have bra and underwear pairings for every outfit situation.

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

For Daily Posts

Leave a Comment


  1. Jowongster wrote:

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

    Posted 9.1.16 Reply
  2. Grace Ng wrote:

    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!

    Posted 8.31.16 Reply
  3. TradsLoft wrote:

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

    Posted 8.31.16 Reply
  4. Unknown wrote:

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

    Posted 8.31.16 Reply
  5. Great post and much needed tips! Thanks for sharing!


    Posted 8.31.16 Reply
  6. Debbie F wrote:

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

    Posted 8.31.16 Reply
  7. Olyvia wrote:

    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!

    Posted 8.31.16 Reply
  8. Judy wrote:

    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.

    Posted 8.31.16 Reply
  9. Unknown wrote:

    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

    Posted 8.31.16 Reply
  10. Pei Wang wrote:

    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!

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  11. Pei Wang wrote:

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


    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    Soma Vanishing Edge. So Good.

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  13. Angela wrote:

    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?

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    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

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  15. Carrie wrote:

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

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  17. megalob wrote:

    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 🙂

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  18. Lorena wrote:

    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 🙁

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  19. Definitely need to try the low-back strap converter and stick-on bra! Great post!

    Jen | affecionada

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  20. Joyce Pak wrote:

    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

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  21. Melissa wrote:

    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!

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  22. 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.



    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  23. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  24. Ashley Lau wrote:

    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!

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  25. Sasa Zoe wrote:

    Great! Thank you for sharing:P

    Shall We Sasa

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  26. Patty wrote:

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

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  27. This is such an informative post. I am going to try some of these hacks

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  28. BW02 wrote:

    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.


    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  29. Extremely helpful. Thanks!!!

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  30. Laura wrote:

    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.

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  31. 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/

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  32. Kim wrote:

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

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  33. Michaela wrote:

    Very useful and well put together post – thank you!


    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  34. Keri H wrote:

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

    Enclothed Cognition

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  35. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  36. J wrote:

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

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  37. Anonymous wrote:

    Uniqlo ultra seamless panties

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  38. Susan B wrote:

    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.

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  39. Emily wrote:

    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.

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  40. La Bijoux Bella | by mia wrote:

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

    La Bijoux Bella | by mia

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  41. McKristie wrote:

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

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  42. Carla Krae wrote:

    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.

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  43. Sarah wrote:

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

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  44. great post!very useful! love it

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  45. Amanda Li wrote:

    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!

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  46. Ev wrote:

    Such a great post!

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  47. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  48. This is such a useful post! My main issue is tops/dresses with revealing cleavage…off to shop for some lace bralettes!

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  49. Wow, your post is super helpful! Many thanks for sharing, I must immediately shop what you recommend 🙂
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply
  50. Thanks for a great compilation, this is perfect. Never knew about the bandaid tip, ha!

    Posted 8.30.16 Reply

Get the newsletter!

What updates would you like?