Your Guide to Sticky Bras: When and How to Wear Them

These sticky undergarments are a lifesaver.

<p>Witsanu Patipatamak/Getty Images</p>

Witsanu Patipatamak/Getty Images

From shapewear that hugs just right to period panties that are a freaking miracle to thin, adhesive bras that hold up even large chests, there’s a lot to be thankful for when it comes to undergarment technology and advancements. Today we’re zero-ing in on sticky bras, which come in clutch for certain garments that don’t pair well with regular bras. Here’s everything you need to know, including what sticky bras are, how to wear them, and when it makes sense to do so.

RELATED: The 8 Best Backless Bras, Tested and Reviewed

What Are Sticky Bras?

Sticky bras are thin, adhesive-lined breast covers that serve as an alternative to traditional bras. They’re typically worn when a garment doesn’t allow you to wear a normal bra—like a completely backless dress or a shirt with a super deep V—but you still want lift, support, and nipple coverage.

“Thanks to technological advancements, manufacturers have been able to create more flexible and comfortable options that are less cumbersome, as well as less damaging to the skin,” notes Jessica Pfister, an undergarment expert and president of Komar Intimates.

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate different needs. For example, there are sticky bra cups that lift up each breast and can even create some cleavage, simple nipple covers (ideal for sizes A to C cups) who just need a little modesty, and silicone versions that have a more conical shape along with padding. (Adhesive boob tape is an adjacent category and works by hoisting up your breasts and securing them in place for your event.)

“I would say unless your skin is extremely sensitive, these products are safe for most people,” Pfister says. “If you have a latex allergy, then make sure to read the fine print to ensure the products are latex free.”

When to Wear Sticky Bras

Wearing a sticky bra makes sense when you can’t wear a traditional bra due to the cut of your garment, but you don’t want to completely forego a bra.

“The sticky bra you should choose depends not only on your mood but on your garment,” says Margaret Gormon, bra expert and founder of januarydecember. “The most common use of sticky bras is to provide a solution for backless tops or dresses, deep-v tops, or dresses where your typical bra would be in full view.”

Another time you’d wear them, she says, is for moments when you don't feel like wearing a bra but still want support, or when you don't want to have your nipples on display. In these cases, you can opt for a simple adhesive nipple cover to conceal nipple visibility or apply breast tape so you still have some lift.

How to Wear Sticky Bras

Follow this simple, step-by-step guide on how to wear sticky bras:

  1. Clean and dry your chest. This removes dirt, oil, and lotion from your skin so the adhesive sticks better.

  2. Peel off the protective film.

  3. Position the bra (and/or each cup) over your breast—sticky side facing your chest—press gently to adhere.

  4. Depending on the sticky bra style, connect the clasps or drawstrings for your preferred lift and cleavage.

  5. Adjust as needed for comfort and support.

Sticky bras aren’t really meant to be worn for long stretches since they can become uncomfortable, Pfister notes. In other words, they’re not meant for everyday, all-day wear but instead best for events. Once you’re done wearing the bra, carefully peel it off and clean/store according to the bra’s label instructors.

Can People With Big Boobs Wear Sticky Bras?

One of the most common myths about sticky bras is that they’re a no-go for large-chested people. Gormon says that’s just not true. “It's all about proper application and correct sizing,” she says.

Just follow the instructions above (especially making sure the skin is clean and dry) to ensure excellent sticking power, and make sure to use a sticky bra in the size that fits your breasts.

Pfister adds to read up on reviews before purchasing, as well. And if you’re just not feeling the sticky bra but still want to wear your garment, she says to consider a low-back bustier or supportive strapless bra instead.

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