I recently wrote a blog touting the many fit and support advantages of seamed bras, and one our readers, Catherine, lamented that although seamed bras fit better she often cannot wear them during spring and summer because they do not blend well under the more heat-friendly fabrics required by her climate. As a result, I want to kick off the week with some helpful information on what characteristics enable seamed bras to actually blend seamlessly under knits as well as to highlight what style tops give your lingerie drawer more freedom.
When looking for a seamed bra that will work under knitwear or thinner materials, I recommend examining the bra for two things: design details and construction. As beautiful as embroidery, ribbon, and stiff lace can be, these fashion elements often appear bumpy or raised under less forgiving fabrics:
Some manufacturers, like Curvy Kate, have been perfecting ways of taking an ornately designed bra and utilizing tighter stitching, flatter embroidery, and smoother details to create a style that is surprising versatile. However, in most cases, bras with lots of frill and embellishment won’t cut it under a tee shirt and are better as a supplementary style for tops and dresses with thicker fabrics.
But don’t swear off designs with lace just yet as some of the better, more discreet styles use a soft and flat stretch-lace on the top portion of the cup, which contours beautifully to many breast shapes and lays smooth under clothes:
The construction of the bra, specifically the technique used to sew the seams, can also alert you to whether the style will work under knits. More designers are adapting to the demands of consumers and using discreet seaming that is smaller and tighter so that as you fill the cup with your breast tissue, the seams pull across and lay smooth. To determine if the seaming will be unobtrusive, examine the exterior and interior of the cup. On the exterior, the seaming should form a thin line that isn’t significantly raised from the rest of the fabric as with the Freya Faye:
Let me preface this section by saying that I am not a fan of tissue weight tees or thin knitwear as I feel like these fabrics border on sheer and tend to have a more relaxed drape that doesn’t work for my body type. If you do like this style, then there may not be a happy medium with a seamed bra as the fabric will be too light to support it.
For tee shirts, I am always stalking companies that use a heavier gauge cotton, especially Pima cotton as it’s thick enough to support some of the sexier bras. Currently, I’m loving the J. Crew Perfect-Fit Tees, Ann Taylor’s Ballet Neck Tee, and Boden’s Knits (BodenUSA.com coupon page). All of these retailers utilize a more substantial cotton that conceals seams, lasts multiple seasons, and fits well.
As a fellow southern-residing lingerie enthusiast, I can appreciate the unique challenges presented by the unrelenting heat, and I’ve found that opting for natural fabrics can be one of the best ways to enjoy fancy lingerie but still keep cool. In addition to tees, my wardrobe consists of:
Cotton Button-Fronts: I can wear these alone or with a thin cotton cami layered underneath for more protection:
Shirts with Boobage Details or Patterns: Printed tops are a little more forgiving than solids since the pattern camouflages the seams, and design elements like ruffles or pleats can either cover the seams or distract the eye from them:
Structured Fabrics: I have a few tops and dresses in more structured fabrics (usually cotton) that are breathable but give a lot of leeway for what bra I can wear. For example, the dress below uses a slightly heavier fabric construction made from cotton/silk with an added cotton lining (plus there’s a slight pattern too):
To be fair, natural fabrics can be a pricier option, which is why I tend to watch sales and focus on building a fairly small wardrobe (all my “out of the house” clothes will fit into a mid-sized suitcase).
If you have trouble locating a tee shirt bra that fits properly but finding ways of working seamed styles into your summer wardrobe is a daunting prospect, try unconventional tee shirt bras like those that use spacer fabrics or memory foam for the cups instead. The material won’t be as rigid or predefined as most foam cups, which means it will contour more to your shape. Good options include the Elomi Hermione, the Fantasie Rebecca, the Fayreform Profile Perfect, and the Natori Calais.
Now, it’s your turn! There was a lot of love for seams on the last post. Do any of you ladies have some extra advice for how to make seamed bras work into your wardrobe?