These shapes are turning backless and strapless bras into wardrobe basics — several do both, some using adhesive.
"What's important with any of these adhesive bras is you cannot wear any body lotions, oils or powders, or they won't hug," said Susan Nethero, founder of Intimacy stores in nine cities.
•Some of the latest innovations: Victoria's Secret 100-Way Bra ($50, victoriassecret.com) boasts 44 slits, three sets of straps, a low-back converter and a clear, low bridge between the cups. Shape fx has a low-back convertible bra style too ($29; shapefx.com). Intimacy's Marie Jo "Tom" bra ($100; see myintimacy.com for locations) has fabric-disc straps that snap into halter style or slip into standard slits.
•Don't want to spend much? Intimacy stores carry an adapter, the Low Down by Braza ($8), which converts any basic bra to an around-the-waist contraption that's as much as 3 inches lower in the back than a standard bra. For tank tops, Intimacy has Embrace ($8.50), a plastic disc that secures basic bra straps in a racerback configuration. For bikinis, try Pure Style Girlfriends' silicone Smooth 'em Nipple Concealers ($17; barenecessities.com).
•Smaller bust? Strapless bras with adhesive wings that end under the armpits work best. Variations include the Sassybax Very Bare ($78; sassybax.com) and Fashion Forms Infinity Push Up Seamless Backless Strapless Bra ($36; macys.com).
Leaders of the packAmong several bras with backless features that a C-cup tester tried, these stood out.
BIG BUSTS Bra: Victoria's Secret 100-Way Bra
Description: Boasts 44 slits to position any of three sets of straps (regular, clear and halter). Includes a low-back converter. Bridge between cups is low and clear. In nude, white and black.
Praise: Versatile! The wide low-back converter band feels secure without binding the waist and doesn't thrust the cups out from the rib cage. Multiple slits are discreet.
Quibble: The cups seemed a tad wide-set.
Sizing: 32A-C; 34-36A-DD; 38C-D.
Price: $50; victoriassecret.com
SMALL BUSTS Bra: Fashion Forms Infinity Push Up Seamless Backless Strapless Bra
Description: Fabric covered with adhesive gel on the wings under armpits. Can be worn up to six hours at a time; 25 times with proper care.
Praise: Felt more secure than three other adhesive backless bras tried (Sassybax Very Bare, NuBra, The Natural Shaper bra). Bridge between cups sits lower than others. Style boosts cleavage.
Quibble: Sticky wings might be visible under arms with some sleeveless tops.
Sizing: A-D cups.
Price: $36; macys.com