We’re in the midst of arguably the best season of the year (sorry, winterheads, I’ll never relate) but as with most good things, there are a few pitfalls. The pleasure of breezy, effortless clothing that shows more skin comes with the pain of razor rash, sunburns, chafing, and unsightly bra straps (ugh). Regardless of the fact that everyone on the planet has them, women—for some illogical reason—have to worry about our nipples making an unexpected appearance on a daily basis.
For anyone who wants to conceal their nips (who doesn’t love a little mystery?), it can be quite the hassle figuring out when displaying certain features of our god-given body is appropriate for the setting. We’re 100% #freethenipple, but there are certain situations (e.g. in the office, at a christening, or in wedding photos) when the goal isn’t to draw attention to yourself and your tatas. Those of us on the more ample-bosomed end of the spectrum have fewer options when it comes to attractive undergarments that also support and conceal. Unsightly bra straps draw more attention to the issue, and nobody wants to be taping up their tatas with duct tape (though it works in a pinch), to then have to bite down on your leather sandal strap at the end of the evening when the time comes to rip it off.
With this quandary in mind, I set out on a noble quest: to find a pair of perfect pasties. I tested a handful and consulted with a few knowledgeable friends, including a professional stylist and some pals that go to more than three weddings a month. The top contenders hold up in high temps, feel comfortable, and are easy to remove, and the one thing they all have in common is that they transform you into an anatomically ambiguous Barbie, taking areolas completely out of the equation—which is fun to think about, in an existential Kyle XY sort of way (he didn’t have a belly button). I put these tiny titty hats through the ringer: through soaring temperatures, hiking to a waterfall, and under a plain tee in the freezer aisle, and I have deduced that not all nipple covers are created equal. These are some of my absolute favorites for styling under bare-shoulder outfits, white T-shirts, and even swimsuits.
The nipple covers that don’t feel like anything
I was personally amazed at how well these thin little patches held up. I wore them while hiking to a swimming hole in Vermont, and needless to say, after a few hours I had sweat and swam quite a bit—and the Gatherall’s were still intact. The best thing about this particular option was that they are barely noticeable. Out of all the options I tried, I quickly forgot I was wearing these and went about my day as a comfortable, confident, braless person. I even submitted these to one of the toughest tests: nipping out in the frozen food aisle while deciding what kind of fruit to buy for this week’s smoothies. My arms were covered in goosebumps, but under my white tank, I was still completely incognito.
The best cheap nipple covers
Fashion stylist Ali Kornhauser uses these affordable silicone pasties for everyday wear, and always has a pack in her kit. They get the job done (zero show-through), are reusable, and come in a pack of three, so you definitely get a bang for your buck. Plus, they come with nipple pads to protect extra-sensitive people from any rubbing or discomfort.
The best luxury nipple covers
“The price point for these is really high, so I only buy them for celebrity clients and myself,” jokes Kornhauser. “They are thin but firm, which gives your boobs a really nice shape. They also get thinner towards the edges, so you never see the line through clothes.” Even though they’re on the more expensive end, Kornhauser says you will get a lot more use out of the Nippies than cheaper brands—plus, they offer the widest variety of shades.
The best drugstore nipple covers
If you’re in a pinch, or looking for a cheap silicone pasty in a variety of colors, Hollywood Fashion Secrets is Kornhauser’s honorable mention. If you don’t care about them lasting a long time, but want something affordable and effective, these “work surprisingly well for a drugstore brand,” says Ali.
The best boob tape
All my big-busted besties know that a little silicone hat for your headlights is doing next to nothing for the girls—so if you like a little extra lift (or a whole lot of support) while concealing your nips, Nippies makes super-stretchy tape, made from premium nylon and medical-grade adhesive, which is gentle on even the most sensitive skin types. It’s also hypoallergenic and water-resistant, which make it great for extremely humid weather and wearing under swimsuits.
Go forth, braless babes and titillating tata-tamers, and relish in the freedom of no nip-slips!
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.