The Kim Kardashian Boob Tape Bra Trick Is Really That Good


Plus sticky bra reviews, and the wonders of Gaffer Tape

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

boob tape gaffer strapless bra in skin tone on brunette

Last month, I was in a family wedding (mostly as a child wrangler, but still). In some flush of optimism, I picked a strappy dress with a plunging neckline. The only issue is that I’m in the range of a D(+) cup, and after two pregnancies and two rounds of nursing, my boobs no longer defy gravity. But for some reason, even though I know better, I let myself be seduced by the idea that stick-on bras really work for busty ladies. (Spoiler alert: They don’t, but I gotchu more details on that below.)

The week before the wedding, I kept looking at the stick-on bra box, and feeling panic. If it didn’t work at the last minute, THEN WHAT?

But I kept circling back to what happened when I was getting ready for prom. I’d bought the ’90s version of a stick-on bra, and even for my at-the-time B cup, they were a total last-minute fail, and I needed support. So with my theatre kid ingenuity, I dug up some Duct Tape and… Duct Taped by boobs. I feel like the story should end here with, “And I really don’t recommend it,” but it was more or less fine. Not sexy, very tin man, but fine.

So last month, I kept circling around this idea. Had someone finally made a more fashion appropriate—or at least in-a-variety-of-flesh-tones—version of this product? Was this idea totally bonkers? I work in a fashion adjacent industry, WHY DIDN’T I KNOW THE ANSWER?

I’d like to say that I solved the problem with my in-depth googling skills and stylist connections. But I didn’t. I solved it by ordering a pile of stick-on bras and fashion tape from Amazon, and then having a screen pop up that said, “People who ordered these things also ordered flesh colored Gaffer tape.” And in one SECOND, I knew why. (And not just because I’m a theatre major who’s used Gaff tape to stick down any number of cords to the floor and to spike any number of stages.) A quick google search of Gaffer Tape Bra, lead me to “Kim Kardashian’s boob tape trick,” and I was like, “THERE IS A REASON THAT I’VE ALWAYS FELT AN AFFINITY FOR KIM, AND NOT JUST BECAUSE I LOVE KANYE.”

But as it turns out, while a few people have tested out the Gaffer Tape trick (and Buzzfeed has a great article demonstrating how it works on a variety of cup sizes), only Kim Kardashian was willing to show the world how it looked (and worked) on her actual boobs. Well, till now, because now it’s gonna be Kim and me on the Internet with tape on our boobs.

After wearing Gaff Tape at the wedding (it worked like a charm), and y’all asking me to share more details, we whipped up a little test in the APW laboratories. First, we tried out two of those stick on bras (I would test more for you, but it became very clear it was pointless). Then we tested out two different tape patterns for Gaffer Tape: one for a deep-plunge backless dress, and one for a strapless backless dress. And we also tested to see how form fitting a dress could be before the Gaffer Tape would show. Here are our results.

WHAT NO BRA LOOKS LIKE

woman in long deep v pink dress

Because we’re scientists (of boobs), we had to start with a control. This is what the dress with no boob support at all looks like. The dress is pulling really wide at the top, and the waist is… well, it’s not good.

closeup of deep v neckline in pink dressIn short, this is not a look I’d gladly go out in public in. (Though for some reason I’m fine immortalizing it on the Internet, in service of all of our boobs.)

The Le Lusion Bra Review (For A D+ Cup)

First up, the stick-on bras. I tried two styles: the Le Lusion bra, and the deep U-plunge strapless backless bra. There are other varieties of stick-on bras, including the pull-together bra (Buzzfeed reviewed it on different cup sizes), and other bras that claim to be backless, strapless, and push up. I didn’t test them all, because I can tell you conclusively from the tests that I did, that for a D+ cup (and probably sizes below that), stick-on bras are many varieties of garbage. (Cosmo can give you a full rundown of all the awful sticky bras on a D cup, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

But let’s start with the Le Lusion bra, which may be the single most unflattering thing I’ve ever put on my body.

4 images of woman upset in stick on bra and pink dress

What is this? Somebody please explain. Instead of offering any support, the Le Lusion bra pulled my boobs away from my body, flattened them, and then dragged them floor-wards. Instead of fighting gravity, they helped gravity out. Plus, at least with this neckline, they showed on the side. Maybe these work for a smaller cup size (though frankly, I have my reservations about that), but clearly they should never have been made for a C-cup or above.

In the dress, they offered more support than nothing, but also made my boobs look pointy and lumpy, so I’m not calling that a win.

The Verdict: Literally the most unflattering thing I’ve ever put on my body. These can go die.

the deep U-plunge strapless backless bra REview (For a D+ Cup)

Next up, the deep U-plunge strapless backless bra.

stick on bra held over chest of pink dress

Unlike the Le Lusion bra, this was not the worst thing I’ve ever put on my body, but it was still a short step away from useless.

collage of Strapless stick on bra failing under pink dress

In the five stationary minutes I spent in this bra, I spent 90 percent of my time thinking about how it felt like it was definitely about to peel off and that I was going to flash someone. And in the additional five ambulatory minutes I spent in them, they actually did start to slide off my body, in a way that felt alarming when I wasn’t out in public. It also showed on the side of the dress, which was much more obvious in person.

Did it offer some support? Yes. But given the fact that it seemed like it was going to remove itself from my body before I even tried to do anything (like say, dance), and it showed under my dress? I was not a fan.

The Verdict:

This is better than no bra, if only marginally so. Even better would be not wearing a dress that necessitated a stick on bra, that would consume most of my brain space with concerns about flashing a crowd.

In short: Stick-on bras are not made for women with a lotta boob, full stop.

Gaffer Tape Bra Review (For a D+ Cup)

Next up, the Gaffer Tape bra. Not to spoil the plot here, but this hack is, in fact, everything it’s cracked up to be. It also means that I can finally wear all those plunge and backless dresses that have been firmly on my no-list for twenty years. Here is how it works.

closeup of gaffer boob tape bra trick

How To Apply A Gaffer Tape Bra:

Cut strips of Gaffer Tape, and affix them to your body one at a time, using the tape to sculpt the bra (and cleavage) you want. Expect to get really handsy with yourself, moving your boobs around to get them exactly where you want them.

happy woman with gaffer tape lifting and separating D+ cups

While it’s wise to try to keep the Gaffer Tape smooth as you put it on, it’s never going to be completely smooth. So if you’re wearing a dress with less forgiving fabric, remember that you can put a few strips of tape on top to help smooth everything out. (You can also use less tape than I used here, depending on how much lift and security you’re going for.)

closeup of scissors cutting gaffer tape bra down to size

Next up, check your neckline, and then take scissors and trim the tape so that nothing shows. (Once the bra is sculpted, you can cut a shocking amount of the tape off and still have it work well.)

closeup of fashion tape being put on neckline of pink dress

Finally, use fashion tape. You probably don’t want anyone to see that you’ve covered your boobs with a product found at Home Depot, so use fashion tape to affix the dress to your skin to make sure it doesn’t move around.

closeup of pink neckline with boob tape bra under it

Enjoy.

happy woman in long pink deep v dress

Answers To All Your Other Pressing Gaffer Tape Questions:

woman in deep v pink dress running fingers through brown hair

How Much Support Does It Offer? I’m a D+ Cup. That said, Kim has a lot more boobs than me, and I can pretty much guarantee you that Bey’s post-kid boobs are not holding themselves up with #Slay power, so this trick works for those of us with way more than a handful.

sideview of strapless gaffer tape bra on brunette

What Necklines Can You Wear This With? We tested this out with two necklines: the backless deep V (you can also see me wearing it with a backless plunge V here), along with creating a strapless backless bra. Both worked shockingly well.

The surprises were that the tape is so strong that you don’t need to use over the shoulder support to get it to work. Beyond that, the backless strapless bra that I crafted felt more supportive (and frankly more comfortable) than my regular strapless.

woman's bare back with a small piece of tape showing

How Long Does It Stay In Place? Since I’d already worn one to a daylong wedding, I knew that without a doubt it would offer support and stay on even through sweat and dancing.

How Comfy Is It? A lot has been written on the Internet about how uncomfortable it is to wear Gaffer Tape on your boobs, and I think the hype is a little overblown. Again, during a daylong event, I found it totally fine. But that said, it does feel like you’re wearing tape on your boobs. It does not, in any way, feel like slipping into an oversized t-shirt and watching Netflix. So if what you’re looking for is comfy and effortless, then for goodness sake pick a dress that allows you to wear a normal bra. I found it somewhat comforting to feel tape on my boobs all day, because it let me know that I was still supported and not flashing anyone.

TL;DR: Gaffer tape feels like the opposite of a stick-on bra. Instead of the feeling that the bra is falling off your body, you have the feeling that the bra is VERY STUCK on your body. But all in, totally fine for an event.

Will It Hurt Your Skin? I have sensitive skin, and took tape on and off myself three times in one afternoon to shoot this, and my skin wasn’t particularly irritated. It feels a bit like ripping off a not-too-sticky Bandaid. That said, you are putting GAFF TAPE ON YOUR BOOBS, so if you’re not into going the extra mile for fashion, this is not for you.

Should I Try This If I’m Allergic To Adhesives? No. Please, no. In fact, if you know that you have any relevant allergies or sensitivities, do a patch test first. (Note: I have generally hyper-sensitive skin, and had no issues, but I don’t have any related allergies.)

closeup of woman in silver drop shoulder dress

Will It Show Through Your Clothes? I tried this bra with this sleek Halston Heritage gown, since it’s the kind of dress that likes to highlight every lump and bump on your body. While you could probably guess that I had something under the dress if you looked at my chest very closely (but why are you looking at my chest that closely?), no normal non-chest-starer would have noticed anything out of the ordinary. I wouldn’t use this (or any other) trick under silk or satin, however, since those fabrics show literally everything. And I would only use it under a darker colored and heavier scuba fabric.

woman in long silver dress with high slit

The Verdict:

Would I wear this day to day, just to get a deep plunge blouse to work? Hell no. It’s industrial tape. On my boobs. But for an event, as long as going the extra mile for clothes is something that you’re down for (and probably, let’s be frank, used to), this trick is a Godsend. After twenty years, I’ve realized that I can finally wear all those backless, strapless, plunging neckline dresses and tops, and I am so, so, excited.

Bonus? It’s cheap AF. Unlike those expensive and worthless stick on bras, my roll of Gaffer Tape cost me exactly $16.71, and it’s going to last me the next decade (or until I lose it in a hotel room somewhere).

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • CMT

    Well how about that. If you PROMISE it doesn’t hurt too much taking it off, I’d totally try this. There are a lot of dresses I’ve passed up because I couldn’t wear a normal bra with them.

    • kazeegeyser

      Maybe that’s why women in movies always go to the bathroom to “freshen up” before the action starts.

      • Now I’m imagining a scene where the woman slips away to freshen up and then you hear, Riiiiiip! Riiip! and muffled wimpers….

    • I really didn’t find it painful at ALL.

    • Lexipedia

      That would be AMAZING.

  • Zoya

    With the caveat that I am a “normal bra or GTFO” girl…would removing the tape in the shower help with the ouch-factor? This is what I do with the physio tape I wear for dancing, and it’s the difference between “peels right off” and “you might remove a layer of skin.”

    • No, it just didn’t really hurt. I mean, MAYBE it would be less of an issue in the shower, I don’t know, but it isn’t uncomfy enough to really need to strategize. I do remember it coming off easier after a long sweaty day, but I took it off 3 times in a row the day we did the shoot, and didn’t feel anything afterwards.

  • Mary Jo TC

    Do you put anything over your nipples to protect them from the tape?

    • Nope. It honestly just wasn’t necessary. Gaff tape isn’t THAT sticky. It’s designed to stick things to the floor and be ripped up without doing any damage, so it’s basically doing that for your boobs.

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    YAAAAAAAAS THANK YOU!

    • Lisa

      Just echoing thanks Meg!! You’re our hero!

  • penguin

    Thank you so much Meg for posting this! I’m convinced of the magic of gaffer tape, I’m so impressed with it.

  • Yael

    So I know you said you have sensitive skin, but how would it work for someone with a latex sensitivity/allergy? Regular bandaids make my skin rash if I’m lucky and if I’m not, peel. Not that I’m all that likely to attempt this any time soon, but I’m sure I’m not the only one with issues like this.

    • I think if you have an allergy that extends to any kind of adhesive, this would be unwise. But check what’s in Gaff tape, because I don’t think it’s latex?

      • Yael

        Thanks! I have never used Gaff tape before so have no idea what it uses, and it would be a shame to order and then it be unusable.

        • Jess

          On the up side, it’s extremely usable for other things, like taping cords along the corners of walls/floors so children and puppies don’t tug on them. So if you do get it and patch test it and it doesn’t go well… There are still uses!

    • I have the same issue with bandaids (at least the fabric kind, the plastic ones don’t irritate my skin nearly as much). For me the problem isn’t solved by being latex free, it appears so be something in the adhesive of the flexible fabric. Since gaffers tape is a fabric, I would tread realllly lightly.

    • april

      I wonder if you could use kinesiology therapeutic (KT) tape for this? It’s strong stuff – it’s made for relieving pressure/pain in athletes, and they make versions for people with latex allergies and other sensitivities. https://www.amazon.com/SpiderTech-Gentle-Therapeutic-Kinesiology-Sensitive-x16-450mmx5m/dp/B00GB0H290

  • Jess

    Well, damn. All the dresses are now open to me and my pointy boobs that don’t fit in anything but one specific and standard-fit bra. Bring on the plunge necklines!

    (Also: do you get bonus points for making your husband help tape you up as foreplay? Because I would *definitely* require assistance)

    • I did not require assistance (or want it), but ripping it off could make some magic…

      • Jess

        Ha, I’m here for it!

        Good to know that you can place the tape one handed while holding things up! I’m even more encouraged.

  • sage

    Thank you for posting this Meg! I previously bought a roll of Gaffers tape to use for this exact purpose but to this day have been too nervous to try it out for a big event. I’m so doing this now!

  • Sara

    I have a FF sized chest, so this seems like a great plan for those backless dresses I covet. I did buy a corset a few years ago that I love for strapless dresses and it works wonders, but it doesn’t help with a plunging back.

    • penguin

      Ooh do you have any recommendations on corsets? I haven’t found a good corset to wear underneath clothes (just ones that are visible, like in renaissance faire costumes).

      • Sara

        Mine is from Elomi and I love it. I’ve had it for a couple years now and it shows no real wear. I did go to a local lingerie shop and got fitted properly with a lot of recommendations from the owner.

  • Jan

    I’m wishing I had this trick before my wedding. I couldn’t find a decent and comfy strapless bra that didn’t add volume to my breasts to save my life (I’m a 36DDD, I need to push the suckers up, not pad them, folks). I ended up with one that was really not flattering underneath my dress and it makes me sad every time I see a picture that could have looked better with a stronger boob game.

  • Please please please test the tape on your skin before going whole hog on this thing. If you have troubles with fabric bandaids, KT tape, nipple petals etc you will likely have trouble with gaffers tape.

    • Always do a patch test is like, my most reluctant-yet-imperatively learned lesson of adulthood to date.

      • Ask me how I learned that I couldn’t wear petals. Hint, it had something to do with flower shaped welts on my boobs. ;)

        • Maddie Eisenhart

          NOOOOO

          • It was equal parts horrifying and hilarious.

    • Yes, if you have an adhesive allergy, this is generally not even a thing you should CONSIDER.

      • Erin Register

        Maybe amend the original post to mention this? It would be terrible to discover the allergy on a huge swath of the body and a patch test could ellimate suffering, and scarring!

        • I can, though if you know you have an allergy to adhesive, I would hope you’d NEVER try this.

  • I love everything about this.

    Also the scientist in me wants to find the limit on boob size that this works for – like can you go up to an Fcup? an Hcup? Inquiring minds (mainly mine) want to know!

    • I mean, you can go up to Kim and Bey’s cup size, which is more than me. But SCIENCE has answers.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Buzzfeed tested this on several cup sizes and one went up to an…F, I think, and I was surprised at the gravity defying results!

      • Lena Mattsson

        But, an “F” cup doesn’t mean anything without the band size. I wear a 30F (UK size, that would be 30G in US sizes), and that is the exact same cup volume as a 40C, just with a smaller band.

        An F cup can be anything from quite small boobs to very large and heavy.

        • I’ve always been told by bra pros that that’s not actually accurate. My band size and cup size are irrespective of each other. AKA if I can’t find a bra in my size, sure I can go up or down a size and change my cup by one degree (usually to some degree of discomfort) but if I try to wear a 42C instead of my usual 38G, I will end up with a bra that technically “fits” but I will be spilling out all over the place.

          However, for the purposes of this comment, I meant that the Buzzfeed article went up to real big boobs that made me go “Oh I might actually be able to try this!”

          • Lena Mattsson

            Yeah, I was only referring to cup volume, an that its impossible to refer to a certain cup letter. But just as you say, using a sister size while bra shopping could MAYBE work if you say go up one band size and down one cup size. A bigger change than that might not work because the band will obviously be too small or too big, but the cup will also be wider/narrower. :)

            I found this chart made by some lovely people over att reddit’s ABraThatFits:

            http://i.imgur.com/icjrPvV.png

            Wouldn’t it be cool if this community together with that community made a post about bra fitting? They have some serious knowledge about underwear for special occasions as well as every day, and are a great group of feminists that care much about inclusion and diversity, just like you guys!

  • Eenie

    Officially my favorite APW post ever. So tempted to do this instead of my strapless bra for my next event.

  • Sarah E

    Are the earrings you’re wearing with the first dress from RTR as well? They are divine.

    • Nope, both sets of earrings are mine, from Anthro.

  • Jessica

    I need fancy parties to go to so I can get this dress and make my books look amazing ASAP. https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/designers/nicole_miller/blue_speckled_jacquard_dress

    • Jessica
      • Jess

        THAT DRESS. I would wear it always.

      • GET DAT DRESS

      • Claire

        You absolutely must get that dress to wear to the rockin’ birthday/divorce party I’m gonna throw in your honor.

    • Sarah E

      Damn, that first dress is yet another example of Looks Awful on Model and Amazing on Real Customer Photos.

      • Jessica

        She doesn’t have enough boob or hip to do it proper justice.

        • Sarah E

          Totally. Or else they were photoshopped away? Because even the skinnier people in the photos looked 1000% better in the dress than the model

          • Jessica

            Proportions is the name of the game!

  • anony-nony

    I remember a theatre student revealing this to me in college – like you she used duct tape! But thank you for this because even though I was aware of the trick I’d never actually seen it DONE. I’m a 32I, and I think maybe this could work for me! (YAY!)

  • Inquiring DDDD mind

    Ummm, do you cover your nipples first? Cause inquiring minds want to know. That said, given that even that hollywood tape gives me blood blistery rash when I pull it off, I may have to pass for my giant boobs.

    • I’m wondering if one could you a round cotton pad or something on that area so that when it rips off, at least it won’t rip there…. I’m also wondering if some sort of cup, like the flimsy liners in bathing suit tops, could be used under the tape to minimize how much contact the tape has with such sensitive areas…

  • Erin Register

    While sounds awesome, I’d advise people to do a a patch test with the tape overnight before wearing out. I’m allergic to a number of adhesives and can’t even use many that are supposed to go on your skin, let alone something from home depot. I end up with patches that can last for a few months and sometimes even scar in the shape of the tape/band-aid whatever.

    Put a piece on the inside of your elbow as a trial run before covering a huge part of your body!

  • suchbrightlights

    I had to resist CAPSLOCKING HOW MUCH I WAS WINCING about the idea of PULLING GAFF TAPE OFF OF MY BOOBS.

    I mean, Meg, you do you, and thank you for addressing this point, but I CANNOT EVEN.

    *clearly I did not resist too hard

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  • Ella

    “So if what you’re looking for is comfy and effortless, then for goodness sake pick a dress that allows you to wear a normal bra.”
    What I’m looking for is comfy and effortless, i.e. allows me to wear no bra :,( Thanks to another comment I’ve discovered that nipple petals are a thing, so maybe this can happen…

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  • Anna

    OMG, fantastic post! Super psyched to try this on a cute-but-plungey dress I just got for an upcoming wedding. Thanks as always, APW!!! On a different note, Meg, your lipstick is amazing–can I ask what it is? <3

  • This is an amazing trick if you want a proper fitiing of the breast. I surely going to try the same to check whether it will work on me or not.

  • Hey! this can be a good opportunity if you are looking for good quality of bras. Sticky bras notoriously offer even less support than a strapless one. It literally sticks to your breasts to provide the support of a bra without being visible in your strapless/backless/ clothing. Always wear good fitted bras.

  • bind safe folks

    likelihood that transmasc people are reading the comments on this article over a week after it was published? small. likelihood that those transmasc people who are are not already aware of safe binding practices? also low. HOWEVER! if you’re thinking of using gaff tape to bind your chest flat!!! DON’T. it has no stretch, and so it will harm your ribcage and/or make it hard for you to breathe effectively. Don’t do it. Other bad choices: duct tape, ace bandages, too-small sports bras. don’t crush your ribcage. you can and will end up with years of rib pain even after you stop binding.

  • Christine Nguyen

    Thank you for posting this! Excited to test it out for my low-back, strapless wedding dress. Also, did you post a link to this dress you’re wearing? It is absolutely gorgeous!