Triangular neckline means you can wear a variety of collars without revealing the bralette. Lined just enough to provide some modesty without feeling bulky or like a push-up bra. Lightweight and comfortable.
Bottom band has a tendency to roll up, and some wearers say the padding is noticeable through shirts.
Smooth material and tag-free design makes this bra a top choice among those with sensitive skin. Microfiber lets skin breathe through it. One of the easiest bralettes to put on and take off.
Several reports of inaccurate sizing, and the removable cups can look a bit out of place if you don't adjust them.
Available in over a dozen colors for easy matching beneath tops. Given its wider back strap, it offers more support than some other bralettes. Nylon and spandex blend is lightweight and breathable.
Seams around the cups may unravel after a few washes.
Wide band is comfortable and won't irritate sides or underarms. Fits larger bust sizes well with a full-coverage design. Wearers are thrilled these bralettes are available in an extensive size range that includes harder-to-find sizes.
Despite its high degree of coverage, those with larger cup sizes don't always feel there is enough support.
Light padding and lace overlay offers a feminine touch. One of few bralettes with a convertible back, which means you can wear it with racer backs and strappy tops. Ideal for those with larger busts.
Lace detail can be irritating to some wearers, particularly the part just below the bust line.
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Bralettes are a comfortable alternative to bras. Also known as soft cup bras, bralettes contain less underwire and padding than the typical bra. They’re made from similar materials as conventional bras, but they’re designed to be lightweight, and some are even suitable to wear while exercising.
Before you commit to a bralette, however, you should consider a few factors. Breast size matters; some bralettes are more comfortable than others. You’ll also want to think about what kinds of activities you intend to do while wearing the bralette (lounging versus exercising). Think about material, breathability, and overall coverage too.
At BestReviews, we’re pleased to help inform your decision. Below, our buying guide details the key information you need to know as you shop for bralettes. Whether you’re shopping for someone who plays a lot of sports or a teenager with budding breasts, we’re confident you’ll be able to find the bralette that best meets your needs.
The main factor that distinguishes a bralette from a bra is the lack of structure. The majority of bras are designed to support your breasts as you go about your day. This means that underwires and padded cups are common in bras. But both can render a bra uncomfortable after a day’s wear, hence the reason many women take off their bra after a long day at work.
While the bralette’s lack of structure can be a positive, it does mean that it may not support a large bust the way that a regular bra would. But it’s still entirely possible to find a comfortable bralette for large breasts if you search for ones that include foam padding. You can also opt for wireless bras that offer more support and more comfort.
Unlike bras, bralettes don’t use cup sizes. Bralettes typically run from XS (or XXS) to 3X, depending on the brand. But as a loose rule of thumb, those with a 30- to 32-inch bust can wear an XS bralette; a 34- to 36-inch bust can wear a small bralette; 38- to 40-inch bust can wear a medium, and so on. Size is also affected by cup size. In general, a C cup or bigger should wear a bigger bralette than an A or B cup. So, for example, someone with a 36C bust likely needs a medium rather than a small bralette.
Sizing isn’t consistent across bralette brands, so when in doubt it’s best to look for a size guide on the seller’s website.
Bralettes and bras are constructed from similar materials. These can include lace, nylon, and cotton, though the materials usually include a bit of stretch, such as Lycra, for optimal fit. The fabric varies depending on the bralette’s primary purpose (see below), but a bra made for lounging may be mostly cotton, while a bra made for athletic activity may use Lycra or spandex instead.
Different bralette styles fulfill different needs. Here are a few common ones:
Athletic bralettes are similar to sports bras. These are designed for physical activity like working out or playing sports. And similar to sports bras, these bralettes are made from moisture-wicking materials to keep the wearer cool and dry. Some sports bralettes, like sports bras, can be worn on their own. Since these are bras to move in, some contain a bit of padding for extra support too.
Lounge bralettes are best for relaxing around the house or possibly running errands around the neighborhood. These bralettes may lack padding entirely and just consist of a layer or two of cotton. These bralettes are a fine choice for small busts that don’t need much support. Lounge bralettes also work nicely as sleepwear.
Lingerie bralettes are lacy and designed to flatter the bust. These are commonly made of lightweight fabrics like silk, satin, and lace, often with a plunging neckline to show off cleavage and décolletage.
Fashion bralettes are meant to be seen. Some offer more coverage, similar in style to a camisole. Even with additional coverage, the style is still cropped to stop above the belly button. Some fashion bralettes are made of a knit material like macrame or crochet.
The key factor when looking for a bralette is the fit. If it’s uncomfortable, the bralette’s purpose as casual wear is defeated. Some points to keep in mind regarding fit include the following:
Band: The bralette’s band is the foundation of all support. The band should lie flat on your ribcage without any puckering or riding up. You can tell whether the band is too tight by lifting your arms above your head. If the band rides up, it’s too tight.
Cups: The bralette cups should be completely filled. If you find yourself spilling out of the cups, they’re too small. But if there are gaps, you should try a size smaller.
Straps: The straps shouldn’t dig into your shoulders, nor should you be able to lift them more than an inch away from your shoulders. People with a bigger bust may opt for a bralette with thicker straps so that they won’t dig into or chafe your shoulders.
One advantage bras have over bralettes is better adjustability of the band and straps. If you intend to wear a bralette as a bra, opt for one that has a front or back clasp and adjustable straps rather than one that slips on over the head.
Bralettes come in a variety of styles. You can choose from a multitude of necklines.
Plunging: This neckline is sexy and reveals more cleavage, which is common in lingerie bralettes.
Crew: This rounded neckline covers most of the chest. These bralettes work great as outerwear.
Scoop: This neckline is similar to a crew neckline except that scoop necklines are low and U-shaped to expose the collarbone. The scoop neck is common in lounge bralettes and bralettes meant for everyday wear.
Halter: This bralette has straps that loop around the neck, leaving the back largely exposed.
Not all bralettes include closures: some you just pull on and off like a T-shirt. Others have closures like those you find on bras.
Back-clasp closures hook together at the back. The band of the bralette may have a single hook-and-eye closure or a few of them.
Front-clasp closures hook in front. Some people find bralettes with front-clasp closures easier to remove.
Hook-and-loop closures are less common on bralettes, but they’re a great choice for people with pain or limited mobility in the hands or wrists.
Bralettes vary widely in price depending on material, purpose, and style. Bralettes are very affordable with most priced between $10 and $80.
Inexpensive: You have several options at the $10 to $25 price point. Most of these bralettes are made of cotton, and the cheaper ones likely don’t include much support. If you have smaller breasts and you’re simply looking for a cotton bra replacement, this is the price range for you.
Mid-range: Spending $25 to $50 widens the options for those with larger breasts, particularly DD cup and larger. You’ll also find some sexier lingerie and fashion options in this range. Bralettes that offer exceptional support may also fall into this price point.
Expensive: If you want to spice up your lingerie, you can spend $50 and more on a pretty lace bralette. That’s not to say you can’t find one that’s cheaper; just that lingerie pricing varies. At this price point, you can find higher-quality lace or silk bralettes. Some popular name brands fall in this price range as well.
Note that if you’re wearing a bralette as a bra, it’s recommended that you alternate bralettes each day. Wearing the same bralette multiple days in a row can stretch out the material and affect the fit over time.
A. No, that’s an old myth. There’s no proof that wearing an underwire bra prevents sagging either. Sagging is a natural part of the aging process as collagen and elastin break down. Nothing can really prevent this process.
A. We don’t advise it. Like bras, bralettes are made of materials that can warp and deteriorate with heat. We recommend washing your bralette on the delicate or gentle cycle or hand-washing them. Then hang them up to air-dry.
A. Absolutely. For those with a B cup or smaller requiring less support, a bralette can be a welcome option.