What is a Backless Bra?

T. Alaine
T. Alaine
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The world of women’s fashion often produces outfits with diverse necklines that require special undergarments. One such contraption is the backless bra, which is designed to be worn under garments which have a low or nonexistent back. Backless bras offer coverage for women who are uncomfortable not wearing a bra, and are available in a few different varieties.

Many women, especially those with larger breasts, are uncomfortable going bra-less in public but do not wish to be restricted to only wearing clothes that are compatible with traditional bra styles. Often, the thought of wearing a bra that would be exposed in conjunction with one of these outfits is an equally unacceptable option. Wearing a backless bra allows women to make broader fashion choices without sacrificing the security and support of wearing a bra.

One style of backless bra has no traditional back band, but does have shoulder straps like a traditional bra. Typically, the straps of a traditional bra attach to the top of the back band and the top of each cup. Each strap of this variety of backless bra, however, attaches to the top and bottom of each its respective cup. This way, a loop is created on each side of the bra for the arm to slide through, and when these straps are positioned over the shoulders the cups are secured in place. Some women feel more secure in a backless bra with straps, although this style is only helpful if the garment being worn has straps or sleeves.

Garments with low backs that do not have ample strap coverage require a strapless backless bra. Usually, this style of bra has supportive, molded cups that are lined with a silicone adhesive. Employing an adhesive is necessary to hold up the bra, because there are no straps and no back band to help with this task. Sometimes the cups are connected to each other by fabric or a clasp, and sometimes they are completely separate from each other. Strapless backless bras are only meant to be worn lightly, perhaps for special occasions, because they are difficult to clean as a result of the adhesive.

Both of these styles of backless bras can be challenging for women with larger chests because they do not provide a great amount of support. A third option that is better suited to this body type is a low-back bra as opposed to a completely backless bra. Low-back bras have a back band, but it dips much lower in the back than a traditional bra. Some styles even wrap around the waist and lower back for additional comfort and support. Similar to regular backless bras, the low-back option can be available with or without straps, and is suitable for wear with most backless or low-back garments.

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      Woman holding a book