The perfect bra for every type of summer dress, according to the experts

9th Aug 18 | Fashion

Whether it's halterneck, backless, strapless or sheer, there's a bra for every outfit, Katie Wright discovers.


From sexy little festival frocks to elegant evening gowns, summer provides ample opportunity to get dolled up, but at the same time, it brings with it a whole host of underwear conundrums – particularly this year, when backless, bandeau and spaghetti-strap dresses are so on-trend.

Going bra-less might work for some people (lucky them), but if you need some support in the boob department, or don’t want your nipples to be visible beneath a light fabric, it’s not an option.

So how do you find a bra that’s discreet but doesn’t let you down – literally?

“When wearing any type of bra – especially one you want to be discreet – it is essential that you get the fit right,” says Debby Duckett, Boux Avenue buying director.

Crisp and Clean ✨ @ladyaddict wearing @Zara Fringe Dress (2488/005)

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“A correctly fitting bra will not only be more comfortable, but also more supportive, therefore giving you a better shape under clothing. So when looking for a new ‘solution’ bra, it is always worth getting professional help from an expert bra fitter.”

From backless to sheer, here’s what you need to know about choosing a bra for every dress, no matter how skimpy…

Richard Quinn Blue Textured Floral Print Bardot Neck Midi Prom Dress

Richard Quinn Blue Textured Floral Print Bardot Neck Midi Prom Dress, £100 (was £125), Debenhams

1. Backless dresses

“In the summer months, backless and low-cut dresses are what everyone wants to wear to keep cool. Finding the perfect underwear to go with these is the hardest part about getting ready,” says Victoria Shelton, garment technologist at Figleaves.

“A plunge, backless, strapless, self-adhesive bra solves all these problems. This bra is the perfect foundation under any summer dress, designed to lift and shape with a deep plunge for ultimate confidence.”

Fashion Forms U Plunge Backless Strapless Bra

Fashion Forms U Plunge Backless Strapless Bra, £28, Figleaves

Missguided Nude Secret Stick On Strapless Bra

Missguided Nude Secret Stick On Strapless Bra, £15

2. Halter neck dresses

A ‘multiway’ bra is best for halterneck dresses according to Duckett: “With an adjustable clip, it can be worn as a regular bra, halterneck or racer back and comes with a low back converter, so it’s good if the dress has a really low back as well as a halterneck.”

You can also buy converters separately to attach to any bra.

Boux Avenue Ultra Boost Bra
(Boux Avenue/PA)

Boux Avenue Ultra Boost Bra, £28

Perfection Beauty Natural Low Back Bra Converter

Perfection Beauty Natural Low Back Bra Converter, £6, Debenhams

Magic Bodyfashion Va-Va-Voom Lace
(Magic Bodyfashion/PA)

Magic Bodyfashion Va-Va-Voom Lace, £26.50

3. Strapless dresses

“A strapless bra is a key asset in everyone’s lingerie drawer, no girl should be without one,” Duckett says.

“Opting for a strapless or multiway bra will provide the support needed, whatever the neckline of the dress, whether it’s strapless, bardot or one shoulder,” Shelton advises.

Cleo Koko Moulded Strapless Bra

Cleo Koko Moulded Strapless Bra, £36, Panache

The Collection Natural Underwired Padded 24 Hour Strapless Silicone Free Multi-Way Bra

The Collection Natural Underwired Padded 24 Hour Strapless Silicone Free Multi-Way Bra, £25, Debenhams

4. Sheer dresses

Sheer and silk slip dresses have been a huge trend this year, but the combination of fine material and thin straps can prove tricky.

“In the summer months you want to feel comfortable in what you are wearing,” says Shelton, recommending a T-shirt bra if your dress has thicker straps because, “it offers support while appearing invisible under clothes – perfect for thin materials worn in the hot weather.”

Another clever alternative is stick-on nipple covers, which create a smooth silhouette under clingy materials and are available in a variety of skin tones.

Gossard Glossies Sheer Bra

Gossard Glossies Sheer Bra, £29, Figleaves

Missguided Silicone Nipple Covers

Missguided Silicone Nipple Covers, £6

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