Updated January 2022
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Buying guide for Best push-up bras

You get a more flattering fit in certain tops and dresses if you have the bust to fill them out. If you don’t, however, a basic padded bra isn’t your only option. With a push-up bra, you can make the most of your natural bust so you look your best in your favorite clothes.

Push-up bras lift and press the breasts closer together to enhance the cleavage. Some bras have padding, while others rely on underwire to provide the push-up effect. You can find push-up bras in many styles, including strapless and racerback, which makes it easy to find an option that fits under any dress or top. However, finding the right size and fit is crucial, which can make finding a good fit a little tricky. Most push-up bras have a tighter fit than regular bras, so making sure you know your true measurements is key.  

A push-up bra can get uncomfortable if you wear it too long. In most cases, it’s best to wear a push-up style for just a few hours at a time. 

Key considerations


If you’re not sure whether a push-up bra is right for you, it helps to understand the benefits of wearing one. 

Enhances cleavage: A push-up bra lifts your breasts to help boost your cleavage. 

Feels comfortable: Even though it presses your breasts together to make your cleavage more impressive, the bra is still reasonably comfortable, so you won’t be tugging at it all day.

Flatters any size: Push-up bras work especially well if you have a small bust that you want to appear larger. However, it can also be flattering if you have larger breasts and want to give them a more lifted appearance. 

Offers versatility: Many people also appreciate how versatile push-up bras are. They work well under a wide variety of clothing styles, including basic T-shirts, blouses with plunging necklines, and formal dresses.


Push-up bras are available in several different styles depending on the look you want to achieve for your bust. The most common types include the following:

Molded push-up bras are the most common style you’ll find. Their cups give your breasts a more rounded shape while pushing them up to help them appear larger. 

Non-molded push-up bras aren’t as popular because the push-up design can show through more easily and create bumps under your clothing. These bras also have a fairly firm structure, which may cause your breasts to sit unevenly.

Petite push-up bras are designed for smaller breasts or breasts that are spaced farther apart. This type of bust requires a more dramatic push-up effect to help boost the look of the cleavage. 

Full push-up bras are for those people with larger breasts who don’t necessarily need their bust to look larger but want a more lifted appearance. 


Most push-up bras have some type of padding to help enhance the push-up effect. The level of padding determines how dramatic the push-up effect is.

Light push-up bras only have padding through about a third of the bra. It provides a relaxed, natural lift for your breasts, so it works well for those with a full or medium bust (D, C, or B cup). This level of padding typically adds a half-cup size or less to your bust. 

Moderate push-up bras have enough padding to cover the base of the breasts to just beneath the nipple. They provide greater lift and support and boost the size of your bust more dramatically. They work well for those with a medium bust (C or B cup).

Maximum push-up bras offer the most padding of any push-up bra, often providing more than twice the effect of a light push-up bra. They can help you go up two cup sizes, with padding that covers three-quarters of the bra. They work well for those with smaller breasts (B or A cup) and provide the most dramatic push-up effect for your cleavage.

Staff Tip
When you’re wearing a push-up bra, check the sides to ensure there isn’t any bulging. That’s usually a sign you’re wearing a bra that’s too small. 



With some tops and dresses, the straps of a bra can ruin your entire look. Some push-up bras have a strapless design that still lifts the breasts and boosts your cleavage. Instead of using straps for support, a strapless bra provides support from the band around the ribcage. Some strapless push-up bras come with removable straps that you can add or remove based on what you’re wearing. 

Since there are no straps to conceal, these bras pair well with strapless or halter tops and dresses. Strapless push-up bras work best for those with smaller busts, especially styles that have a balcony cut. However, you can find a few strapless push-up bras designed for larger breasts. 


Many people are not fans of underwire bras, so wire-free push-up bras can be an excellent option if comfort is your primary concern. These styles generally don’t offer the same support and lift that wired push-up bras do, but they’re usually more comfortable and work better if you need to wear your bra for prolonged periods. Most wire-free bras have molded cups that help lift the breasts and give them a more flattering shape. 

Removable padding

For the most versatility, you might want a push-up bra with removable padding. When you don’t want a particularly lifted effect, you can take out the padding and wear it as a regular bra. On occasions when you want more noticeable cleavage, you can simply put the pads back in. 

Most push-up bras with removable padding have a small pocket in each cup that holds the foam, gel, or water-filled pads. They work extremely well for people with uneven breasts because you can take the padding out on one side to create a more balanced look. They’re also an excellent option for anyone whose breast size tends to fluctuate with changes in their menstrual cycle.


Push-up bras come in several different styles. The one you choose will depend on the clothing you plan to wear with it. Some typical style options for push-up bras include the following:

T-shirt push-up bras provide more coverage for a smoother look under T-shirts. 

Plunge push-up bras have a deep V between the breasts, so the bra won’t show when you’re wearing a low-cut or V-neck top. 

Demi push-up bras are another option for wearing under low-cut tops. They have cups that don’t provide full coverage, so the edge won’t peek out from under your clothing. 

Racerback push-up bras have straps that cross at the back. They can work well under tank tops and often provide effective support for heavier breasts. 

Sports push-up bras are exactly what they sound like: bras that keep your breasts from bouncing around when you’re working out or playing sports but still provide a slight push-up effect for enhanced cleavage.


Push-up bras are available in a wide array of colors, so you can usually find any shade you want. However, most come in basic neutral or skin-tone colors. You can find many white and black options, as well as beige, tan, brown, and even peach. Lighter pastel colors like pink and lilac are also fairly common. 

Push-up bras aren’t the best option to wear under button-down shirts. The added padding and lift can cause the buttons to gap. 



Push-up bras vary in price based on the type, quality, and amount of padding. Most bras cost between $12 and $90.

Inexpensive: The most affordable push-up bras are usually non-molded styles with light padding or those meant for smaller busts. They typically cost between $12 and $30.

Mid-range: These push-up bras are usually molded styles with light to moderate padding. You can also find some bras for larger busts in this price range. You’ll generally pay between $25 and $60 for these bras.

Expensive: The priciest push-up bras are usually molded styles with moderate to high padding. There are also plenty of options for larger busts in this price range. You’ll typically pay between $60 and $90 for these bras. 

Staff Tip
The key to keeping a push-up bra in good condition is to wash it properly. Always follow the care instructions on the label. 


  • Find the right size. Having the right size push-up bra is key to ensuring that it provides the most lift and isn’t uncomfortable to wear. To make sure it’s the right size, you should be able to wear it comfortably fastened on the middle hooks. 
  • Find a professional bra fitter. If you’re having trouble finding the right size for your push-up bra, it might be worth getting measured by a professional bra fitter. You might be surprised to discover what your true cup and band sizes are.
  • Get the most flattering look. Fasten your push-up bra in the back and then lean forward. Use your hands to scoop under your breasts and push them into the center of the cups. That helps place your breasts securely in the bra once you stand up.
In warm weather, a push-up bra made of cotton is an excellent option. The fabric is highly breathable and can help keep you cool. 


Q. Who can wear a push-up bra?

A. There’s a common misconception that push-up bras are only for those with small breasts. It’s true that they are ideal for a smaller bust because they can help make the breasts look fuller and larger. However, they also work well for fuller breasts because they provide excellent lift and support. 

Q. What tops can I wear with a push-up bra?

A. You can wear a push-up bra with any top or dress that showcases your cleavage. It works well with any low-cut top, including V-necks, scoop necks, and halter tops. 

Q. What materials are push-up bras made of?

A. Push-up bras are made of the same materials as regular bras, including cotton, microfiber, spandex, lace, and satin. The included padding is usually made of foam or gel. For the best look under clothing, make sure your push-up bra is made of a seamless material that won’t show through your top. 

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