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how to wear bralettes

Do you know the difference between a t-shirt bra and a bralette? What about the difference between a t-shirt bra and an unlined bra? The language of lingerie can be tricky, but we’re here to make it a little easier.

So how do you know if you need a t-shirt bra, bralette, or an unlined bra for your outfit? Read on for the differences between these three popular bra styles.

What is a t-shirt bra?

T-shirt bras are typically bras with molded, contour cups with underwire, adjustable shoulder straps, and a plain, supportive band. This bra style is designed more for function and comfort than beauty. They may or may not have lace trim along the cups or band. The purpose of a t-shirt bra is to provide undetectable support under clothing (similar to a seamless panty or thong).

T-shirt bras may have moderate (demi t-shirt bra, balconette t-shirt bra) to full coverage. T-shirt bras can also be constructed with push-up padding or without push-up padding and are often constructed with fabrics such as microfiber and modal for smoothness and comfort. Many women choose them as their go-to bra because they like the smooth, moulded look and rounded shape that they provide under clothing.

what is a t-shirt bra

Emma Plunge Padded Bra P5490 | Emma Hipster P5495 in Bare

What is a bralette?

Bralettes are typically wireless or wirefree bras with supportive bands and beautiful details. With their lightly supportive fit and less restrictive shape, bralettes can be made of almost any fabric – including lace, mesh, cotton, and modal. Bralettes were once seen as a fad, but have quickly been a staple in most women’s’ lingerie wardrobes in just a few short years. Their popularity is further enhanced by their versatility and overall prettiness, which lends a delicate and feminine look to any outfit.

Bralettes may or may not be lined, so some women choose to wear a bra underneath for coverage, shaping, and lift (which is entirely up to you). But most women embrace the beautiful, natural shape that a bralette provides and prefer the freedom of a bra without wires to one with.

what is a bralette

Adriana Lace Bralette P5482 | Adriana Bikini P5483 in Black

What is an unlined bra?

Unlined bras are typically non-molded bras with supportive bands and adjustable straps. Contrary to their name, most unlined bras have lined cups, even it’s a thin lining for comfort (like with lingerie mesh, for example). Unlined bras include bras with multi-part cups and those without. Unlined bras are just as supportive as t-shirt bras. They are a popular lightweight yet high-supportive choice for women who wear a D cup or larger as they won’t add any bulk or make their breasts look larger under clothing. Some unlined bras can be worn under a t-shirt, provided they’re constructed with smooth, seamless cups.

what is an unlined bra

Romina Unlined Wire Bra P5522 | Romina Hipster P5525 in Quartz Pink

Related: How To Wear Bralettes and Unlined Bras


T-shirt bra vs bralette

What’s the difference between a t-shirt bra and a bralette? Bralettes look stunning when worn under slouchy sweaters, loose-fitting tops, or as outerwear under a chic blazer or cute cardigan, while t-shirt bras shine under fitted shirts, body-skimming tops, and bodycon dresses. Opt for a t-shirt bra when you don’t want your bra to be on display. Bralettes give you more leeway to play around with the design as they often feature beautiful design details that are too pretty to be kept hidden (like intricate straps, for example).

t-shirt bra vs bralette

Emma Plunge Molded Bra P5490 in Bare | Adriana Lace Bralette P5482 in Pearl White

T-shirt bra vs unlined bra

What’s the difference between a t-shirt bra and an unlined bra? An unlined bra typically enhances more of a natural shape, while a t-shirt bra “molds” breast tissue into a symmetrical, rounded shape. The cups of a t-shirt bra can be thin (seen in a spacer bra) or thick (as in a fabric-covered foam cup), but both can provide coverage and prevent nipples from showing through clothing.

t-shirt bra vs unlined bra

Emma Plunge Molded Bra P5490 in Black | Romina Unlined Wire Bra P5522 in Mediterranean Blue

Where to buy new bras

Your local lingerie store is the perfect place to shop for new bras. Lingerie boutiques help women of all sizes (from A cup to K cup and beyond!) find bras that fit well and feel good. To find a local lingerie store near you, check out our store locator here.


Related: How To Find A Local Lingerie Store You Will Love


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:
Adriana Lace Bralette P5482 | Adriana Bikini P5483 in Sky Blue

Published by

Katie Donnelly

Katie Donnelly is a full-time freelance writer, content manager, and founder of Katie Rose Creative. An experienced bra fitter, Katie has helped hundreds of people shop for lingerie. Her favorite bra is the Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra.

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