Many of us think of bras as a part of our overall wardrobe, but lately I’ve come to realize that your lingerie drawer is a wardrobe onto itself—one that complements the collection of beautiful pieces you wear in daily life. When it comes to bras, many of us steadfastly cling to the unfortunate albeit practical notion that every bra you own should work under every top, every dress, and every sweater in your clothing arsenal.
Like the tops and blouses themselves, bras serve different purposes, highlight different features, and utilize different cuts and fits, and it can be useful to build a lingerie wardrobe composed of bras and shape wear that make the most of your outfits—not necessarily just “work” underneath them. As a result, I wanted to share with you several types of bras that can function well within a woman’s lingerie drawer and outline the advantages and disadvantages of each.
The T-Shirt Bra: Usually a smooth, molded foam cup bra, the T-shirt bra has become de rigueur for most bra wardrobes because it’s touted as the bra that will work under everything. The seamless design means it blends perfectly under tee shirts, and the foam offers protection from chilly offices. The drawback, however, is the molded cup. T-shirt bras are notoriously difficult to fit because it requires the woman’s breast and the bra’s cup to have identical shapes—a tough proposition especially if you’ve lost firmness in your bust because of pregnancy, weight loss, or age. In fact, many women will find that their breasts sink to the bottom of the cup, leaving unsightly gaping at the top and near the strap.
The Plunge Bra: Plunge bras are perfect for v-neck tops and dresses, especially those of the cocktail variety where you may want to amp up the sexy factor for a night out on the town. Ranging from full to moderate coverage, many plunges offer natural, rounded cleavage that’s guaranteed to stop traffic. Nevertheless, because plunge bras are usually a lower cut style, you may not feel as supported on days spent moving or bending over often.
The Cut-and-Sew Bra: Cut-and-sew bras, as their name implies, utilize fabric cut into several pieces and sewn together to make the cups. With an abundance of styles including basic balcony bras and sexy plunges, cut-and-sew bras offer superior fit to their molded cup cousins (with or without the foam). Because the cup is composed of multiple pieces of fabric, it can contour better to your unique shape—eliminating gaping and puckering issues in the process. In fact, if you look at the bras available for ladies in the higher cup sizes (think K cups), you’ll note all of them are cut-and-sew styles where the seams act like construction beams, lifting and supporting the tissue. The downside for these bras is unfortunately the very thing that makes them special: the seams. They don’t blend as well under clothes as tee shirt bras do, but I think you would be pleasantly surprised at how well they can camouflage.
The Spacer Bra: Offering a better fit than molded cup styles while still giving a smooth appearance and moderate nipple protection, the spacer bra encapsulates a thin layer of air between the fabric for an amazing fit and incredible comfort. With features like lace, patterns on the cup, embroidered wings, and beautiful colors, a spacer bra can easily become something fashion-forward and fun. However, spacer bras are usually pricier, and their size range is smaller. If you’re not in the “mainstream” sizing, it could be difficult, if not impossible, to find a spacer bra in your size.
The Sexy Bra: Never underestimate how a beautiful piece of lingerie can make you feel—even if it is only your favorite tee shirt bra in a hot new color. There’s something mood boosting about leaving the house knowing you look and feel great in your bra. With exciting materials like lace, satin, embroidery, and printed fabric, there’s a fashion style out there for every taste and every budget.
The Convertible Bra: Capable of being worn multiple ways, the convertible bra (also know as the strapless bra) can be your saving grace for cocktail or bridal attire as well as for the hot summer months when the neck and shoulders get more screen time. A well-constructed convertible bra can open you up to a new world of flattering tops and dresses even if you are fuller busted!
The Sports Bra: Ranging from low to high impact, the sports bra is wardrobe essential if you do any kind of exercising because it protects and maintains your Cooper’s ligaments, which are the series of connective tissues responsible for maintaining your breast’s lift and shape over time. Sports bras also have useful features like a fuller coverage design and moisture-wicking fabric to pull sweat from your body and prevent chafing or rashes.
The Soft Cup Bra: While some women are forced to wear soft cup bras for medical or comfort reasons, even the underwire girl can find something to love here. Soft cup bras can be a great weekend bra for hanging around the house or cleaning, but they can also be a nice sleepwear option for the woman who wants to sleep in her bra. Since sleeping in an underwire bra isn’t healthy for your breast tissue, investing in a pretty soft cup is a practical and comfortable alternative.
What do you ladies think? Do you treat your lingerie drawer as a distinct wardrobe, or do you prefer to focus on stocking up on one kind of bra?