The 8 Best Unlined Bras of 2023 That Are Supremely Comfortable

Thirdlove’s 24/7 Second Skin Unlined Bra lived up to its name and we wore it again and again

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The Best Unlined Bras That Are Supremely Comfortable

InStyle / Alli Waataja

Bras are one of the most polarizing garments out there. Everyone who wears a bra has an opinion about what’s comfortable, undetectable under clothes, and well-designed. Unlined bras, as opposed to padded options, are having a moment: People love them for their freedom of movement, unrestrictive feel, or the push-up effect that a lined bra can often add.

For Laurel Pantin, fashion director at large of ByGeorge, the appeal of an unlined bra is the overall comfy feeling. “It kind of feels like I'm not wearing a bra. I don't like the feeling of heavily lined or padded bras. I feel much more like myself in a minimal or wireless bra.” 

If you’re team anti-stiff cups and harsh silhouettes, then an unlined bra may be exactly what you need. Our best overall pick? Thirdlove’s 24/7 Second Skin Unlined Bra for its classic appeal, comfort, and versatility. However, it wasn’t the only winner. If you’re considering switching things up, here’s our list of the best eight unlined bras to try now.

Best Overall

Thirdlove 24/7 Second Skin Unlined Bra

Thirdlove 24/7 Second Skin Unlined Bra

Thirdlove

What We Love: It’s available in half-cup sizes, ensuring you’ll find a bra that really, truly, undeniably fits. 

What We Don’t Love: It comes in only two colors.

We will be the first to admit that our everyday bras are … kind of frumpy. For some reason, comfort and design rarely seem to go together, especially when it comes to undergarments. 

Thirdlove’s Second Skin Unlined Bra, however, proves this combo can exist with its plunging shape, soft and sleek material, and thoughtful design. It’s subtle enough to disappear under clothes, yet it’s flattering enough to be seen on purpose, too, if that’s what you want, thanks to cute gold hardware and comfortable straps. 

Plus, we can’t say enough about Thirdlove’s half-cup sizing, which is innovative and helpful for anybody who struggles to find their exact fit with traditional cup sizes. Band sizes for this bra run from 32-44, and there are bras that go up to band size 48, making this one of the most inclusive brands we got to test. We think it’s not just the best overall, but one of the best bras period.

Price at time of publish: $72

Size Range: Band 32-44, cup A-H (½ sizes available) | Colors: 4 | Material: Microfiber | Type: Plunge

Best Splurge

Journelle Romy Demi Bra

Journelle Romy Demi Bra

Journelle

What We Love: This bra nails the romantic look.

What We Don’t Love: The band runs small.

Our first thought while unwrapping this bra was that it is beautiful. It’s Romantic with a capital R — the subtle floral lace, muted warm colors, and alluring scoop neck shape are enough to make any fashion fan fall in love. It also has stretchy wings to combat spillover and provide more structure and clever seaming in the cups to help disguise nipples while providing more support. It disappeared beneath our test T-shirt (a sheer white V-neck) but felt more elevated than an everyday bra. It’s nice to get a little fancy sometimes. 

Price at time of publish: $98

Size Range: Band 30-36, cup A-G | Colors: 7 | Material: Lace | Type: Scoop neck

Best Plus Size

Savage X Fenty Cotton Essentials Unlined Bra

Savage X Fenty Cotton Essentials Unlined Bra

Savage X Fenty

What We Love: The most inclusive size range we got to test.

What We Don’t Love: The odd pricing scheme.

Too often bras for larger bodies force us to choose between functional or cute, so if you, like us, are sick of getting the short end of the stick when it comes to this undergarment, take a look at this Savage X Fenty as a plus-size bra option. 

The Cotton Essentials bra is comfortable, on-trend, functional, and it goes up to a band size 46. It also features a sturdy underwire and a wider band to provide support, while the cotton material and unlined cups provide comfort. It’s casual, but at the same time, the prints are eye-catching. We tested the pink floral one, and while it certainly didn’t disappear underneath lighter-colored clothes, it did make us feel cute wearing it. 

This bra also has a surprise: It’s made with pre-consumer Repreve recycled fiber, which is certified for recycling content by Scientific Certification Systems. Repreve is the world’s number one brand of recycled performance fibers (polyester, in this case) and is made with 100 percent post-consumer plastic bottles and pre-consumer waste. It’s a purchase that feels good on your body and the planet.

Price at time of publish: $40

Size Range: Band 32-46, cup A-H | Colors: 3 | Material: 95% cotton | Type: T-shirt

Best Value

Lively The Dot Mesh Unlined Bra

Lively The Dot Mesh Unlined Bra

Lively

What We Love: The thoughtful details create multiple options for wear. 

What We Don’t Love: The sizing options are limited. 

You’ve seen the ads and you’ve probably seen your friends wearing them at this point: Lively bras are everywhere. Well, we can officially report that this brand’s offerings are, indeed, all that — although not for the reasons we expected. 

While nice, the colors, shapes, and patterns aren’t what set these bras apart. Rather, it’s the thoughtful details that are usually confined to bras sold at far higher price points than $45 (though you’ll save even more when you buy more than one). 

The Dot Mesh Unlined Bra consists of soft mesh fabric with tiny polka dots. It’s available in harbor green or black, and — get this! — the straps adjust in the front; this means no more twisting around trying to reach your shoulder blades with no idea if you’ve adjusted the length equally. You’ll also find a gold J-hook in the back that allows this bra to be worn racerback, too, essentially giving you two bras in one. 

Price at time of publish: $45 

Size Range: Band 32-38, cup A-DDD | Colors: 2 | Material: Mesh | Type: T-shirt 

Best for Larger Breasts

Bra-llelujah! Unlined Full Coverage

Spanx Bra-Llelujah! Unlined Full Coverage

Spanx

What We Love: The support, the softness, and the smoothing band are our favorite features.

What We Don’t Love: The shoulder straps are not adjustable.

First of all, we love a pun. Second of all, this bra lives up to the name — this was one of the most supportive bras we tested. It’s a full-coverage cup with wider, buttery-soft shoulder straps that didn’t dig at all (at all!). While they’re not adjustable, they were stretchy enough to fit us perfectly. This bra has a front clasp for ease, making the back of the band feel smooth, soft, and stretchy. There’s also added strap support in sizes over a 36C, so Spanx’s Bra-Llelujah earns the title for the best unlined bra for larger breasts.

Price at time of publish: $68 

Size Range: Band 34-38, cup B-DDD | Colors: 2 | Material: Nylon blend | Type: Full coverage

Best for Smaller Breasts

Cosabella Soire Confidence Molded Bra

Cosabella Soire Confidence Molded Bra

Cosabella

What We Love: The barely there straps. 

What We Don’t Love: The very limited band sizes. 

Cosabella’s Soire Confidence Molded Bra is exactly what it appears to be: an unlined, taupe-colored, mesh bra with underwire. The style is subtle enough to disappear underneath clothing, and the shape is flattering on various body types. 

In general, it’s a good bra for almost anyone, but the seaming is what makes it our top choice as a bra for smaller breasts. Those shiny, soft, flat-lock elastic seams are designed to lay flat to the body, which helps eliminate any gapping or looseness when worn by those with a smaller bust. It’s that same detail that ensures there are no lines beneath clothes that call attention to themselves. It’s a great choice for anyone who wants a minimal bra with just enough support.

Price at time of purchase: $78 

Size Range: Band 30-36, cup A-G | Colors: 16 | Material: Mesh | Type: T-shirt

Best Minimalist

Cuup The Plunge Bra

CUUP The Plunge Mesh Bra

CUUP

What We Love: The semi-sheer look is pretty, and the structure is supportive. 

What We Don’t Love: The brand tends to run small in the cups. 

Ever feel like you needed a bra for an outfit but really didn’t want to wear a bra? This is our pick for those moments. Cuup’s The Plunge Mesh Bra is our best minimalist bra due to its comfort, wearability, versatility, and zero unwanted extras. The design is so thoughtful and beautiful that it can absolutely be worn in place of showy lingerie, but at the same time, there are no frills, florals, or extraneous fluff. It’s very much a bra that just emphasizes breasts’ natural shape, whatever that may be. 

The mesh material is also very soft and very sheer, with no seaming and very subtle stitching. The hook closures are designed to lay flat on the body, and there isn’t a single annoying tag you’ll have to keep tugging at all day or night. Plus, this design comes in a wide variety of neutrals that cover many different skin tones, although if you’re hoping for a print, there’s a leopard option as well.

Price at time of publish: $68

Size Range: Band 30-44, cup A-H | Colors: 23 | Material: Mesh | Type: Plunge

Best Maximalist

Understance Naomi FlexWire Balconette Bra

Understance Naomi FlexWire Balconette Bra

Understance

What We Love: The floral embroidery is gorgeous.

What We Don’t Love: The size range is oddly specific.

The Naomi FlexWire Balconette bra is a date bra because it is just so beautiful. The overall bra is made of a sheer mesh material with colorful, embroidered florals all over the top of the cups to create a scalloped edge. Even the seaming is pretty, with a front seam for shape and a seam crossing over the top of the cups to prevent spillage. 

However, it’s not just about looks; this bra also lives up to its name. The FlexWire is actually flexible (even the side-boning!), which allows the bra to bend to the wearer’s natural shape. Although the design is far from subtle, it does lie flat under clothes. But when something is this pretty, why hide it? 

Price at time of publish: $59

Size Range: Band 30-42, cup C-DD | Colors: 2 | Material: Mesh | Type: Balconette

What to Keep in Mind

Fit

To clear up a common misconception, unlined bras can provide just as much support as more traditional lined bras. The majority of the support in a bra actually comes from the band, which means it needs to fit snuggly, yet comfortably, to the wearer. Once that detail is squared away, it’s all about the shape of the cups, which can make the overall fit vary.

Shape

Balconette, plunge, and T-shirt bras were the most popular shapes we tested, but there are many more options on the market. Unlined bras often follow the natural shape of the wearer’s breasts much more than traditional options, but seaming and boning are a few design elements to look for if you’d like a little more structure. 

Your Questions, Answered

Do unlined bras show your nipples?  

It depends on the bra. Here’s where we have to get specific: The key difference between an unlined bra and a lightly lined bra is the amount of fabric lining the cup, so some unlined bras, like those made of a mesh or sheer material, will result in visible nipples. However, there are many brands (maybe even most brands) that disguise them with color, cleverly placed seams, or even embroidery. Regardless of your comfort level in freeing the nipple, there’s an unlined bra for you. 

Are unlined bras supportive? 

Absolutely. The majority of support in a bra actually comes from the band, not the straps or cups. The weight of the wearer’s breasts should be primarily resting on the band, which is why it’s so important to find one that fits well. 

“My bra size is 42DDD, so I need supportive bras so my breasts don't give away to gravity, which can make them feel heavy,” says Shammara Lawrence, freelance writer and cofounder of The Power of Plus

Unlined bras can provide that support, provided the wearer has the right fit for their body. 

Are unlined bras the same as bralettes? 

Unlined bras are not the same as bralettes, although there is a bit of crossover. Bralettes are usually less structured, lined rather than padded, and offer a more natural shape. Unlined bras, on the other hand, have more structure. The ones we tested all had underwire (although there are options without). The underwire structure makes unlined bras ideal for people who want more support than a bralette provides but without the traditional constriction of a heavily lined bra. 

Why Shop With Us

Isabel Mader is an established writer, poet, and educator with interests spanning many genres, from fashion to motherhood to child education. For this piece, she tested every unlined bra mentioned in the story, ensuring each feels comfortable and fits well. To provide the best styling tips, she interviewed style experts Laurel Pantin and Shammara Lawrence.

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