How many times have you put on a top or a dress, looked at the mirror and thought, “Ugh, what bra do I wear with this?”
Back in the summer of 2010, I was in an Aritzia fitting room (this was at the start of my Aritzia obsession which is whole other story), trying on a slew of racerback tank tops with large arm holes. After trying each one, I’d lift up my arm, turn and look at my back in the mirror and think, “Man, the back of my bra is just blatantly out there”. I called one of the sales associates and asked, “Is this how it’s supposed to look or do I need to wear another tank under this?”
There’s nothing wrong with exposing your normal bra, if that’s your thing, or with throwing a tank on underneath. But layering a basic tank under the racerback one that I was trying just seemed boring to me.
The sales associate came back to my fitting room with a few of these so-called “bralettes” and told me to swap my bra out for them. “They’re meant to be seen”, she said.
The bralettes were made of thin lace and felt as flimsy as they looked, but I decided to buy one anyways to play around with when I got home.
It’s now been 8 years since I first tried one, and if you couldn’t tell by the fact that I’ve written a post about them, I love them.
A bralette is a great option for any outfit that makes you think twice about what bra you’ll wear, e.g., strappy tanks/camis, tees with big or low necklines, racerback or muscle tees with big arm holes, dresses with low-cut necklines (front and/or back), sheer turtlenecks and blouses, <whatever else you think of>, all of it. Check out the list below for different types of bralettes to try.
Regardless of what’s linked in this post, each bralette type is available in multiple sizes, colors and styles such as underwire, padded, balconette, and push-up. And if there’s a non-padded version that you like, add your own inserts to give you the support you need.
For those of you who thought bralettes were only meant for petite folks, I hope this encourages you to give them a try! And for those of you who are nervous about cleavage, check out the bandeau section below or try a button down bralette as mentioned in the last section.
The links below are for bras available in the US, but the bras themselves should be available globally as all of these stores ship globally or have global locations. But, if you like anything that has expired or isn’t available your location, please let me know and I can help you find something that is.
I qualify “classic” bralettes as the basic lace, triangle bra with regular straps because that used to be the only type available when they first came out. Since then, so many varieties have been created that it’s hard to say what’s classic anymore, but what was and always will be the classic bralette to me is the one above – the Talula Monterey from Aritzia. It used to only be available with basic straps, but now also comes with a clasp to make it wearable as a racerback.
Options for other classic styles include: Lace Bralette from Madewell at Nordstrom, Hanky Panky Padded Bralette from Nordstrom, Topshop Cordelia Lace Underwire, Topshop Denim Underwire, Natori Highlight Wireless Bra from Nordstrom, and this H&M Push-up Bralette.
My favorite type of bralette are racerbacks mainly because they’re supportive and add another element to a basic skinny strap tank or dress.
The one above is the Topshop Patchwork Balcony Bralet. Other options include: Free People Intimately FP Lace Racerback from Nordstrom, Flora Nikrooz Showstopper Bralette from Revolve, and this H&M Lace Push-up Bralette (their names are not vert descriptive…)
A longline bralette is a bralette with a band that extends down to the waist or hips. For those of you who are a little apprehensive about exposing a thinner band, you should definitely give these a try!
The one pictured above is the Free People Intimately FP Adella from Nordstrom and it comes in a variety of colors. Other options include the Topshop Floral Lace Longline and the Topshop Lydia Eyelash Lace from Nordstrom.
Going strap-happy is a perfect way to add another dimension to your top or dress. The H&M Lace Balconette Bra pictured above, for example, would be really fun underneath a top or dress with low necklines and/or long arm holes. Other options include: Halogen Strappy Bralette from Nordstrom, New Look Geo Lace Trim from Asos, and for something super strappy, check out the Asos Florence Strappy Molded Bra as pictured below.
For those of you who are intrigued by the concept of bralettes but are nervous about cleavage, bandeau bralettes are a perfect option. Check out the Free People Reversible Lace Bandeau from Asos as displayed above or one of the following: H&M 2-pack lace bandeau bras, Wilfred Morville from Aritzia, Madewell Edie Bandeau Bralette from Nordstrom, or the Free People Intimately FP Lace Bandeau Bralette from Nordstrom.
Yes, there are nursing bralettes! Finding them was a complete game changer for me post-baby because I could still wear so many of my tops and dresses without worrying about my not-cute nursing bras peeking. I have the Oh La Lari Lillian Lace Nursing Bralette from Amazon as displayed below (they run small, but I really like them anyways).
But other options include: Asos Heidi Klum Sabine Maternity Nursing Bra, H&M MAMA Lace Nursing Bra, and Cosabella Girlie Racerback Nursing Bralette from Nordstrom
Still not sure?
If you’re looking for something other than lace, something that doesn’t look like anything you have or perhaps a bralette where you can add your own strapless and still layer under your tops and dresses, don’t fret as there are still many options to consider!
For a shiny option, check out the OW Intimates Yves Bra from Revolve as pictured above, the the Missguided basic Satin Bralet, or the Lurex Bralet, Shimmer Bralet, or Glitter Striped Bralet all from Topshop.
Or for something with a print, check out the Topshop Polka Dot Denim Bralet, the Eberjey Bettina The Sleepy Frilled Gingham Bra, the Upside Zoe Printed Sports Bra (yes, sports bras can make for wonderful bralettes too), or the Le Petit Trou Audre Flocked Bra all from Net-A-Porter.
Whatever you decide to try, and I really hope you feel inspired to try one of these, always remember that fit and feel will always vary based on brand. So if one doesn’t work, just give another a try. Good luck and let me know what you think!