Many have claimed that the pandemic has effectively weaned them from the confines of their bras—suggesting that this is something close to a universal experience—but I’m still pretty dedicated to my underwire. My Simone Perele full-coverage bra is still my holy grail, and my sheer Gossard bra has been my go-to this summer for wearing under t-shirts and dresses—both have kept me comfortable and moderately cool during this extremely humid New York City summer. When I need to bring in the big guns, I’ll pull out my trusty Panache sports bra.
But as reliable as these staples are, they don’t account for every situation a big boob-haver might find themselves in. Most people with large breasts will tell you that spaghetti straps, halter tops, and anything backless or strapless is largely a no-go. Sure, they’re wearable, but only if your honkin’ thick bra straps and bands are also on display. Not only can this be one hell of an eyesore, but it immediately takes me back to middle school, when letting your bra straps show under the straps of a camisole tank top with a useless built-in bra was very much The Look. Meanwhile, as an H cup, I find most strapless bras to be an absolute joke, especially those stick-on silicone ones that look like shiny raw chicken cutlets.
But since I’m only human, the allure of a thotty summer dress—complete with those very same skimpy, barely functional straps and a low, low neckline—has become too enticing to pass up. At 30, I’m more comfortable with showing some skin than I ever was 10 years and four dress sizes ago. And so I recently did something bold: In preparation for an upcoming trip to Miami, I bought a little black dress and a jumpsuit that ties up in the back. Both have spaghetti straps.
What’s a woman with big ol’ honkers to do when she wants her breasts supported without a bra? Tape. Tape is the only answer.
Years ago, I saw that viral photo of Kim Kardashian’s boobs forced into a gravity-defying upright and seated position with a shit-ton of masking tape. In the years since, the market—and my Instagram feed—has been flooded with user-friendly breast tapes that boast both comfort and hold without looking like they were picked up at Office Depot. A cursory search of boob tape on Google pulls up brands like Boob Hold, NOOD, Brassy Bra, Neuboo, and Goodlines. For a time, Kardashian also sold body tape through her fashion line, Skims.
I went with Goodlines. After reading a ton of reviews and noting that, in its instructional videos, the tape seemed to work on a woman with very large breasts, I was sold.
I purchased their Party Pack Boob Tape Kit in “Champagne” (a cute way of saying beige) since “Mocha” was sold out.
The kit came with one roll of boob tape (three inches thick to accommodate larger, heavier breasts, though two-inch rolls are available for smaller breasts); six pairs of pre-cut and shaped boob tape (three larger, three smaller); and nine pairs of nipple coverings. I went with the DD/E size, the largest Goodlines offers. If your cup size is larger than that, don’t let that stop you. Remember, I’m an H cup. The brand’s sizing only refers to the pre-cut and shaped boob tapes; according to Goodlines’ sizing chart, their straight tape accommodates up to a 42 J cup.
I decided to try the tape before my Miami trip and gave them a whirl before a night out with my boyfriend. I was worried that it would take several times to work, but it’s pretty easy to get the hang of after you check out the instructions. It’s pretty much a choose your own adventure approach after that, but here’s what I did:
1. Slap on the nipple coverings.
2. Apply one of the larger pre-cut and shaped pieces of boob tape. I used one hand to keep my breast lifted while slowly taping the shape over my breast, starting from where my underwire would normally rest. I had to readjust the nipple covering at one point because it was getting a little wrinkled, but it wasn’t a big deal.
3. OK—so that one pre-cut piece provides a good base for lift and shape, but only so much. I proceeded to cut strips of the straight tape and applied them across the front and sides of my breast, encouraging lift and smoothness so that my breast didn’t look wonky.
Here’s what it looked like with just one on. The difference is a lot more noticeable without clothes on, but take a look:
4. I proceeded to do the same thing to the other breast.
5. I threw on that jumpsuit I mentioned earlier and checked its coverage. I moved around a bit so I could find out whether strips of the tape popped up. They did, here and there, so I simply peeled the tape back a bit and cut accordingly with a pair of scissors. This was a painless process.
The result: My 36 H cup boobs looking perky as hell without a bra.
I felt... powerful? That’s a really corny and Girl Boss™ thing to say that about some an item of—OK, not even clothing, it’s literally just adhesive. But I loved the lift this tape gave my breasts, and I’m overwhelmed by the whole new world of clothes at my disposal, items that I never would have thought about until I actually gave boob tape a shot. The tape didn’t lose its strength throughout the night either, which I was convinced would happen given how sweaty I get.
But then came the part that gives many people pause: Removal.
Goodlines is very firm about saturating their tape in oil for at least 15 minutes before removal. I followed their instructions, mostly.
Okay, I’m not going to lie to you: The removal process was messy and somewhat annoying. I’m an idiot and decided to see just how removable the tape was without oil at first. Removing the straight tape without oil was easy enough on the lower half of my breasts, but I flew too close to the sun: Once I got to some sections of tape covering the upper bits of my breast, where the skin is super thin, a couple of tiny patches of skin ripped clean off. It’s nothing that some hydrogen peroxide and a Bandaid couldn’t take care of, but let this be a lesson to you: Don’t get cocky! Just drench the tape in oil, as instructed.
I didn’t have any coconut oil or baby oil or anything, so my lazy ass hopped into the kitchen and grabbed the extra virgin olive oil. It wasn’t a pretty process, but it worked like a charm. After a few minutes, it was easy enough to ease off the sections of tape that were doing most of the work.
The most painful part by far was removing the nipple coverings, but that’s only because I have large areolae. For you tiny areolae people, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. But if you’re like me... you may want to check out some nipple cover alternatives that are larger.
But please, don’t let the removal process scare you off. Putting oil on my body and slowly removing tape is probably one of the less painful experiences I’ve undergone for beauty purposes, and the hours of lifted boobs beforehand are absolutely worth it.
Is this a product I would wear on any ol’ day? No. My experience has underscored that boob tape is generally best for special occasions, or those days when you really want to stunt in a new top that would look like shit if you wore a bra with it. If you’ve been going back and forth on it, here’s proof that it really does the trick. I’ve seen the light.
I’ve recommended the tape to my fellow big tiddy pals, and responses to my before and after photos ranged from “Waaaaiiiit” to “Omg ?!???????” to “Im sorry WHATTtTt?” (the last one was courtesy of Jezebel EIC Julianne Escobedo Shepherd). One friend even showed me her proof of purchase, adding, “I always free boob it, but sometimes it’s still nice to be artfully arranged.”
I, for one, am very excited about having my boobs look artfully arranged walking around Miami—head empty, N95 mask in hand, and my boobies absolutely sitting.