9 Essential Bras for Everything in Your Wardrobe
Avoid unattractive bra lines and wardrobe malfunctions with these nine types of must-have bras.
It’s pretty much the opposite of classy to have bra lines showing through a thin t-shirt. That’s why the t-shirt bra exists. Its silhouette is specifically designed to look seamless and invisible under your clothes, whether you’re wearing a tight tank top or a silky blouse. But the best part? They’re specifically designed for comfort, since they’re meant for everyday wear. When it comes to fit, comfort, and appearance, the winner in our book is Harper Wilde, a line of high-quality, comfortable bras without embellishments that would otherwise show through your favorite tees. Their everyday bra, called The Base, has front-adjustable straps for easier access, super-soft cups with light lining, and J-hooks to convert the bra to a racerback style; it comes in sizes from 30A to 40DD, and is invisible under even the wispiest top. Here are the signs you need a new bra.
Strapless bras can be a pain—no one wants to spend the night hiding behind plants to yank it up—but they’re often necessary when wearing strapless evening gowns or cocktail dresses. Here’s how to get the best fit, according to Linda the Bra Lady’s blog: “When buying a strapless bra, you should size down in the band and up in the cup. The reason for this is that the band is the only source of support, so it has to fit snug to keep the bra, and the girls, up.” Look for a strapless bra that is specifically constructed for small or large cup sizes. Aerie and Cosabella are great for small cups, while Freya specializes in larger bust sizes.
Sports bras are a must for workouts, which would otherwise be painful. The type of sports bra you wear depends on the rigor of the activity and the size of your chest. The more strenuous the workout and the bigger your chest, the more support you’ll need. For maximum support, seek out thicker straps and/or built-in cups. For a bounce-free exercise session, we love the Ultimate Sports Bra from SheFit. The high-impact bra zips up the front, so it’s easy to put on and take off; it’s fully adjustable so you can personalize your fit and level of support; and it comes in a range of sizes all the way up to 48I!
Racerback bras, which have straps that form a T or Y shape in the back, are ideal for racerback tops and dresses. “Racerback bras have great back support and can be worn by women of every size and shape,” says Linda the Bra Lady on her blog. “They’re also fantastic for women with sloping shoulders who have trouble keeping their bra straps in place.” Plus, racerback bras give your bust a bit more lift than a regular bra. Though you might not wear one every day, the racerback bra is definitely a staple every woman should have in her closet. If you think you’ll need one only on the rare occasion, look for bras that can convert to a racerback using a simple hook. Here are common bra mistakes you may be making, and how to fix them.
Conquer any fears you may have about wearing plunging necklines with a U-plunge bra. The front of the bra forms a U shape, to give the illusion that you aren’t wearing a bra. You can get a backless version, which has sticky sides to ensure it stays on. Or, you can go with a long-line version, as the longer band will give you more support. Fashion Form U-bras even come with removable straps for versatility.
Stick-on bras are for perhaps your trickiest tops and dresses, especially if they’re backless or low-back cuts. But stick-on bras can be tricky, especially for women with larger chests. Unfortunately, because they come in a package, you typically can’t try them on. In order to ensure they remain sticky, make sure not to apply moisturizer to your skin before attaching them. The Nubra is a notoriously sticky and affordable option that comes in sizes A through D.
If you’re wearing something with a low back, but feel like you need more coverage and support than a stick-on bra can give you, a low-back bra may be the best choice. Typically, these bras have straps that cross at the small of your back and wrap around to the front of your torso to keep your back free of any bra lines. The company Fashion Forms even makes straps that can convert any bra into a wrap-around, low-back bra. This is what your bra choice may say about your personality.
Hiding your bra straps and bra lines is a classic fashion rule, but the bralette trend is one exception. Bralettes are meant to be seen, and they come in all different colors, patterns, and fabrics. Plus, they’re incredibly comfortable. Fashion designer Anine Bing told Glamour that the look works best under low cut v-neck t-shirts, sheer tops, or sleeveless t-shirts. That way, you can see just a bit of lace detail peeking out, which keeps the look tasteful. Aerie and Free People make bralettes that are both elegant and affordable.
Sometimes called pasties or breast petals, these are great for smaller-chested women who are unable to find a bra that works with a complicated outfit. They create a smooth, streamlined look without the need to wear a bra at all. Fashion Forms makes reusable gel, or one-use disposable versions.