I have to laugh because it was exactly a year ago today that I posted my futile and overwhelming strapless bra search for a large chest . . . which led to Marit’s excellent post about what she’d tried and found, plus my own workarounds to completely avoid wearing a strapless with a big bust. Now you can add my Old Navy alteration hack to the list!

However, before I found a way to avoid a strapless this year, I tried two: the Fantasie Aura which hit stores last November and had no reviews on the Bare Necessities website (it now has three raves), and the Wacoal Red Carpet that came to my attention when I surveyed my favorite lingerie store owners for their favorite strapless for a full bust.

(Note that the links to these bras are to Amazon affiliate links, and clicking them may lead to commissions paid to Hourglassy. However, all opinions are my own.)

I sister-sized by ordering the Aura in UK 32G and the Red Carpet in US 34H (equivalent to UK 34FF). They each fit perfectly, and their shape was identical–rounded cups that give a slightly flattened profile up the middle if you study closely. I was happy with how each lifted.

But they completely diverged when it came to comfort and security. Initially, I thought the Aura might be less comfortable because I’d ordered the 32 band, but adding an extender didn’t mak a difference. When I told Marit how much I liked the Red Carpet, she told me she finds it so comfortable she wears it as an everyday bra with the detachable straps. So it wasn’t my imagination!

It was only as I packed the bra to return it that I think I discovered the secret–actually two secrets.

First, there are two stays on each side–one near the cups where everybody puts theirs, and another closer to the hooks. Do me a favor and check your own strapless bra in another brand–does it have this? I couldn’t see it on the Curvy Kate Luxe when I studied other bloggers’ reviews.

Second, there are TWO LAYERS OF POWER MESH in the bands. I’m trying to demonstrate this by rumpling the layers apart in the photo below.

Contrast this with the Aura below–one stay + one layer of power mesh = less secure feeling.

I’m assuming the Red Carpet would only have 3 hooks on a 32 band (does anyone know?), but I do love the 4 hooks on the 34 band. The Wacoal 34 band felt as tight as the Fantasie 32 band to me.

I’d love to hear about your own strapless finds this summer!