Strapless garments pose a challenge for most women. It’s hard to think of any other design associated with so many fashion fails. Take a look at the latest photos from any red carpet event. You’ll see plenty of flattened breasts, armpit and back bulge, not to mention the dreaded “cups running over.”

If Hollywood starlets can’t get it right, is there any hope for the rest of us? Yes! Pulling off a strapless style simply comes down to finding a well-fitting strapless bra. The right bra will make you look more polished, feel supported and enjoy a better, fuller shape. You might even forget you’re wearing it.

A lot of women think they need to go down a size when it comes to strapless bras. Some fitters even encourage this, but it’s absolutely not true. That’s why I always tell women a strapless bra is the ultimate test of a true bra size – it doesn’t allow the straps to cheat and carry the load of your bra’s support.

Manufacturers make strapless bras to fit the same size as all of their other bras. If, for example, your regular bra size is 36C, you’ll want to buy a 36C strapless bra. This is where the test of your true bra size comes into play. Let’s say you wear that 36C strapless bra out on the town and you spend the entire night tugging to keep it up. Well, guess what?  You’ve just learned something very important about the fit of your regular bras – they’re too big.

Britney Spears trying to keep her dress in place.

Geri Halliwell pulling up her strapless corset-style dress.

The solution is to go down a band size across the board. Going down a band size also means you need to go up a cup size to maintain the same cup volume. Your new and improved bra size: 34D. The 34D lets you keep your original cup size while giving you a tighter band. To get help determining your bra size, see my bra fitting guide.

Keep a few other things in mind as you consider different types of strapless bras:

·       A band provides 80 to 90 percent of a bra’s support, so wider is better. Thin bands also tend to create bulges.

·       For underwiring, you’ll want taller wires that curve inward to enclose the breasts. This provides better support and reduces slippage. A strapless bra without underwires is a bandeau and has much less support. It often gives an unpleasing, droopy or floppy shape to your breasts as well.

·       Opt for a nylon/spandex blend when choosing fabric. Some of the best strapless bras also feature silicone gripper tape along the edges. This gripper tape is becoming very common now. I personally wouldn’t buy a strapless without it.

·       Try a longline version. These work well for every woman, and allow you to move freely without having to constantly make adjustments. What’s more, a longline is both a bra and shapewear in one. You get great support plus a smooth, bump-free silhouette.

·       And, if you’re worried about finding a strapless bra to wear with really low-cut necklines, the strapless plunge just might be the answer.

Hope these tipshelp in your quest to find the perfect strapless bra. See which ones HerRoom.com customers voted best of 2013: Calvin Klein Naked Glamour Strapless Push Up Bra F3493, Jezebel Lace Attraction 7 Way Convertible Bra 22242, Panache Evie Strapless Bra 5320Fantasie Smoothing Seamless Strapless Bra FL4530, and  Wacoal The Red Carpet Full-Busted Strapless Bra 854119.

Still have questions about strapless bras? Let me know.