5 Different Ways to Wear a Strapless Dress
Updated: Feb 13
Strapless dresses a one of my favorite dresses to style for date night, formal events and special occasions. A strapless gown can add some effortless sophistication to your look and the exposed décolletage adds a touch of understated sensuality. Strapless dresses are proof that you can be sexy without being naked or in lingerie.
The good news is that strapless gowns do not need to be reserved for a formal event and they can also be worn during the colder months. In today’s blog post, I would be sharing different ways to style a strapless look using pieces you most likely already own.
I would also be showing you how to re-purpose your strapless dresses to create winter-friendly outfits. The cold weather should not stop you from wearing your favorite strapless top or dress and I will be showing you how to add layers to create chic Fall and winter looks. If you’re looking for some major strapless dress outfit inspiration, you have come to the right place.
I would first like to address a major concern a lot of women have when it comes to strapless dresses:
What bra do I wear with a strapless dress?
As someone with a larger bosom, I completely understand the struggle it can be to wear a strapless dress when you don’t have the right bra to wear with it. A strapless dress tends to call for no bra (shoutout to the women who can go braless) or a supportive strapless bra.
If you want your strapless look to be smooth and sophisticated, it is time to invest in a good bra that would support the girls as well as stay smooth underneath your dress.
A lot of women dread the words strapless bra’ and I don’t blame them. They’ve gotten a bad rep for being the worst kind of bras. The digging into your bust, back and waist, the general lack of actual support and then there’s the sliding down are all reasons we tend to roll our eyes at this type of bra. My fellow D-cup and above ladies know exactly what I’m talking about, right? The right kind of strapless bra can however serve a mighty purpose and could be a little less daunting.
i) If your breasts are on the smaller to average size, then you are likely able to get away with these silicone 3D gel cups from Revolve. They would keep your bust line firm and lifted, allowing you to rock that tube top or strapless dress. I find that these gel cups work best for women who are a C cup and below.
ii) If your cup size has double letters but between a 32-36, Natori has this underwire bra featuring a lace trim detail that has really good reviews. It would provide enough support when you decide to go for a strapless neckline. It’s always a good idea to go with an underwire bra if you are going strapless as it provides additional support.
iii) Parfait has designed this beautiful strapless contour bustier which is a good idea to go with if you’re wearing a strapless wedding dress. It would also work great with a high waist skirt or a white pantsuit thanks to its longer length. I also love that it is available in sizes 32C all the way to 42G meaning you’re more than likely to find your bust size!
iv) Spanx is already a household name in the shapewear department and so it’s no surprise their name would figure on this list of best strapless bras. You can keep the hourglass figure going by pairing your Spanx shapewear with this Spanx strapless bra with a smooth finish.
It can also be worn as a regular bra with straps and boasts of an innovative SmartGrip technology which prevents it from falling down. I also love that it is available in the triple DDD sizes, making it inclusive of the big bust community.
v) Lively has this delicate strapless lace bra that would be a great choice to pair with a blazer or a soft strapless dress. I love that it comes in DDD sizes, allowing big busted ladies to pull off a strapless neckline.
Now that I’ve provided you with a list of strapless bras that could provide you with enough support, let’s talk about the different ways you can pull off strapless styles. The most important thing is to have a great foundation (bra) so now we can keep building our looks.
If you have broad shoulders, you can always play around with different cover ups or dress styles to take attention away from your upper body. Check out my post on how to wear a sleeveless dress all year round for some inspiration.
1) With high heels
The best way to show off your curves in a strapless dress is by pairing it with heels. I love to add a statement necklace such as a bib-style necklace to really polish off my look and opt for an updo to show off my neck. A strapless silhouette is already a sexy look you don’t have to do much with but if you really want to stand out, opt for a form-fitting dress. Show off your hourglass shape in a strapless bodycon dress and a pair of strappy sandals.
Get the look HERE
This would be a great option for a cocktail dress and you could also wear it for date night. If you’re insecure about your stomach when wearing a form-fitting gown, read my blog post on how to wear a bodycon dress without a flat stomach for some inspiration. If it’s a little chilly, drape a chic shawl or scarf across your shoulders and you’re ready for your red carpet moment.
2) With a blazer
If you want to tone down your strapless look but keep things professional, you can add a structured blazer to your look. If your dress is in a solid color, try playing around with a blazer in a fun print such as floral or a leopard print. The reverse applies if your dress is the one in a bold color or print. The strapless bust line would still make your outfit very feminine and sexy.
Get the look HERE
This is also a great way to style a strapless top if you’re insecure about your broad shoulders. Try opting for a strapless bustier instead of a bra if you want to achieve the strapless style with a skirt or a pair of jeans. For footwear, you could opt for heels, ankle boots or even a pair of flats, depending on the occasion.
3) With a kimono
Layering your strapless dress with a kimono is probably the best way to style it if you’re unsure of what the dress code is at an event. If you show up bare-shouldered, it could be too much and a kimono Is easy to take off and carry around in case you want to look dressier. They type of kimono you choose would also determine how casual or formal your look is.
Image source here
Short kimonos in floral prints tend to be reserved for casual events such as festivals, pool parties and barbecues. A formal event calls for a long kimono in a solid color. It could be paired with a midi or maxi dress along with a statement piece. This could be a pair of chandelier earrings, which would make your neck appear longer. Don’t forget to wear your hair up!
I also have a post on how to wear a kimono HERE
4) With a sweater
You can carry your strapless dresses into the fall and winter and the best way to do that is by adding a sweater to your strapless dress outfit. The sweater could be worn on top of the dress or underneath it to create different looks. If you are choosing to wear it under your strapless dress, I recommend going for a more fitted sweater to avoid unnecessary bulking and bulges.
Image source here
If wearing your sweater on top of a dress, you can go with either a fitted or oversized sweater. An oversized sweater would give your look a more casual vibe and you could pair it with Chelsea boots or a pair of white sneakers. Accessorize your look with some layered necklaces.
I also love this set HERE
5) With ankle boots
Ankle boots are always a great choice of boots to go with dresses worn in the fall and/or winter. You could wear a strapless dress with a pair of sleek heeled ankle boots to a Fall wedding or cocktail hour. Whether you’re layering your dress with a kimono, shawl, cardigan, blazer or sweater, ankle boots are the perfect choice of footwear to go with when it’s colder outside.
Image source here
If your strapless dress is above your knees and you have thick calves, I would recommend opting for really low ankle boots to make your legs appear longer. Petite women should avoid boots that cut them off mid calf to avoid appearing even shorter.
6) With a maxi skirt
A fun way to style your strapless dresses is by wearing a skirt on top. I especially love going for skirts with an empire waist to make my torso appear shorter and my waist appear even smaller. The whole look appears more stylish thanks to the contrasting top and skirt. You could even pair your strapless dress with a tulle skirt to give yourself a Carrie Bradshaw moment.
The strapless dress and skirt look makes it seem like you’re wearing a dress and so you could keep doing this with different skirts to make it seem like you’re wearing a new dress each time. This also works with midi and mini dresses so feel free to try those looks out too.
Image source here
I hope you have gotten some strapless dress inspiration, regardless of your body type. Remember that the best outfit begins with a solid foundation and investing in a supportive bra is the first step towards achieving a great look. Necklaces are your best jewelry type to pair with a strapless dress because of how bare your neck is with this dress type.
Strapless silhouettes are one of the sexiest out there and believe me, you can pull it off, irrespective of your body shape. The right undergarments would have you confident rocking the perfect dress and any of these looks.
Let me know which of these was your favorite.
You may also want to check out my post on how to wear a sweater over a dress if you enjoyed this.
Do check out my post: How to look good in a tight dress if you're insecure about wearing one.
Trying to keep warm in a cocktail dress? Check out my post: 8 items you can wear over your cocktail dress to stay warm.
Until the next post,