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bralette vs bra

When it comes to undergarments, the options really are endless. With so many bra styles to choose from, many of us are wondering: what’s the difference between a bra and a bralette? Well, let’s dive right in!

A bra is one of the oldest intimate wear items for women. It is generally worn in order to support the breasts. A typical bra consists of two separate cups varying in coverage, padding, wires, straps and closures. Bras are typically meant for functional wear and support. Bralettes are often worn for style and comfort. Most bralettes are wire-free and lightly padded. They provide a light layer of coverage and are a comfortable alternate option to bras.

Historically, many experts believe a version of the bralette came first before the bras we see today. In Ancient Greece, specifically during the Classical Period, women wrapped fabric around their chests, draping one or both breasts in a band of linen or wool to create a fashionable, slightly supported shape. Today, bras are much different than they were in 400 B.C.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between modern bras and bralettes.

What Is A Bralette?

When it comes to a bralette, it is meant more for shape than support. Also known as soft cup bras, they are an easy-going, softer, wireless version of a bra. They are most often better suited for women with smaller breasts as it gives definition and shape along with comfort.

Since they lack any type of wire or padding, they typically are not worn by women with larger or heavier breasts because they don’t provide the same support a bra provides. For a long time, bralettes were seen as garments worn by pre-teens or teenagers, however today women of all ages and sizes are wear this comfortable undergarment option.

Unlined bras, which may or may not have wire, offer minimal support without extra bulk or weight from padding that is found in conventional bras. For many, this is a plus to wearing them. They typically are made from lace, microfiber or a cotton blend material, anything soft and smooth. Designed to be lightweight and comfortable, they serve a purpose for women looking for some support without any extras.

These unstructured bras are far from new and according to bra experts, they were worn as far back as the 1920s. Many believe these bralettes are a facet to the new era of body positivity evolving.

how to wear a bralette under a shirt

What Do You Wear Bralettes With?

So what do you wear bralettes with? The concern for many women is how to wear them without feeling exposed.

Many women wear them as a top with a button-down shirt that is left unbuttoned and let bralette show as a part of their outfits. Others wear them under sweaters, summer dresses, and lightweight shirts, leaving a little to the imagination.

Ultimately, there is no limit to what you can do with a bralette.


Related: How To Wear Bralettes and Unlined Bras


Is A Bralette For You?

Honestly, this will depend on what type of support you need and in turn, what you’re looking for. These unlined bras provide little to no support.

For women with a bit more cleavage, they won’t do much for support or overall look, but will be comfortable and are perfect for lounging around the house or wearing out while running errands.

If you’re full busted, look for bralettes with molded cups or a full underbust band, which will give a little lift. If you’re small busted, you can get away with triangle cup bralettes and non-padded styles.

Ultimately, many women opt to make the switch to bralettes for a few reasons. They might find conventional bras uncomfortable, they may want to embrace their body more and not hide it, they might prefer a more natural breast shape, they might like the freedom a bralette provides, or they might find that regular bras just didn’t make them feel sexy anymore.

Let’s face it, the lingerie you choose to wear is your own personal choice and yours alone. Whether you choose to wear a padded full coverage bra or an unlined wireless bralette, it’s up to you. Embrace your intimate wear options and choose what works best for you and don’t be afraid to give bralettes a try. You might just switch to bralettes and never go back to wired bras again!

how to wear a bralette under clothes


Related: How To Shop For Plus Size Bras and Bralettes


We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!


Featured image lingerie:
Parfait Matilda Contour Plunge Bra P5311 in Bisque | Parfait Jeanie Plunge Molded Bra 4801 in Java | Parfait Aline T-Shirt Bra P5251 in Nude | Parfait Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra P5351 in Cameo Rose
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