As someone with a bigger chest, I’ll be the first to say the struggle to find a good bra can seem daunting. I woke up at age ten with full B-cups, and graduated quickly from training bras to heavy-duty, underwire contraptions—let’s just say I never had to worry about splurging on the Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Bra to give my cleavage any added oomph.
Over the past year, though, some major life changes resulted in unexpected weight gain, and in just a few months, my chest grew from an easily concealable D to a more noticeable E. Suddenly, my bralettes and crop tops were a little too revealing, and my sports bras borderline suffocated me. Shopping trips went from exciting to irritating; it seemed I could no longer shop according to my style, and instead had to cater to what was appropriate for my new, curvier frame. Convinced that my strapless bra days were gone, I stopped buying off-the-shoulder shirts and tube tops altogether.
So when the lingerie brand Simone Perele offered to give me a complimentary fitting for a strapless bra, I was skeptical. At first glance, their Eden Strapless Underwire Bra ($89; nordstrom.com and saksfifthavenue.com) looked like the others I'd encountered: smooth cups with a small bow in between and a pretty scalloped lace trim around the band. I had tried on other strapless bras like this in the past, and always experienced uncomfortable, saggy results.
So, imagine my surprise when I slipped it on and actually liked how it fit. The cups didn't pucker at the top, the three-hook closure felt secure, and the band didn't create an unflattering bulge. While no strapless bra can give you the lift of a bra with straps (thanks, gravity) my chest looked good. In the past, clunky strapless bras had pulled my perky boobs down and made them look saggy because of the bra’s weight. But this bra added lift and security, no strings (or straps) attached. Thrilled, I immediately purchased it in nude.
Convinced I had finally found the strapless bra for me, I decided to put it to the ultimate test: I splurged on some new tube tops and off-the-shoulder blouses and packed them all for a long weekend away. In the past, when I had liked the fit of a strapless bra, it only took about an hour of wear until I felt uncomfortable enough to vow to never wear one again—this time, I wore the bra for three consecutive nights, and it felt absolutely perfect with each wear.
If there’s ever a situation where I need my bra to be working overtime, it’s on vacation. I’m sensitive and sunburned, lotioned up to prevent peeling, and about to slide on a tube top and hope for the best. I wore this seriously cute American Eagle smocked bandeau cami ($19; ae.com) and matching hi-low maxi skirt ($30; ae.com) to Easter dinner, and my strapless bra worked its magic. To me, a bra is great if it’s comfortable enough that I’m able to forget I’m wearing it, and this Simone Perele passed my test all weekend long with flying colors. After my trip ended, I started looking for opportunities to wear my off-the-shoulder tops more often, confident I could rock the look and still feel fabulous and supported.
Everyone’s body and breasts are different—for example, I have full, dense, side-heavy boobs, and a 5’1 frame with very little torso to spare—so I can’t guarantee a one-bra-fits-all miracle, but my experience with this strapless has been so positive that I’ll soon be switching over to Simone Perele for my regular bras and lingerie, as well. If you have a larger chest, or are just on the hunt for an amazing strapless bra for spring and summer, this under-$100 option might just change your life—and your wardrobe—for the better.