8 Types of Bras Every Woman Should Own
It's time to clean out your collection and invest in the essentials.
There are a handful of spots in our home that could use some organization, and one of the top offenders is definitely our underwear drawer. Aside from boy shorts and briefs that have seen better days (TMI?), our bra collection is in need of a serious overall. Whether we own too many or too little, there have been times where we’ve struggled to find something just right — which is why we’re starting from scratch and rounding up the best bra types every woman should own.
From your typical T-shirt bra to something that’s strapless, we’re sticking to essentials. We’ve enlisted the help of stylist Britt Theodora, who has worked with stars such as Barbara Palvin and Sailor Brinkley Cook, to help us figure out when, exactly, we should break out what.
So if you’re up for the cleaning challenge, these eight (just eight!) options are the only bras you’ll ever really need. Honestly, our mornings feel less stressful already.
The T-Shirt Bra
This is the ultimate underwear drawer essential. It can be worn with a variety of tops — not just tees — and is the bra type you'll likely get the most use out of. “So many brands make beautiful, seamless options,” Theodora says, adding that ThirdLove sells a great one in a variety of nude tones. “Owning a T-shirt bra in your skin color and one in black is a sure way to cover your bases."
The Strapless Bra
Peek-a-boo bras can be fun, but on days when you're hoping to keep things hidden (like when you're wearing a strapless dress to wedding), a strapless bra comes in handy. For those with larger busts looking for a sturdy option, Theodora has the answer. "Look for strapless bras that have extra underwire support, like Maidenform's Stay Put bra. This one also comes with a strap, so it's dual function!"
If you're not familiar with the name balconette, not to worry. "These are an elevated version of the standard T-shirt bra," Theodora explains. According to the stylist, they're "a little more fashion forward" and have no padding, and while we're partial to this semi-sheer one from J.Crew, Theodora prefers a different material. "I love a lace Balconette bra under my favorite button-downs."
If underwire isn't your jam, or you're looking for a bra that could also pass as a top, make sure to invest in a bralette. Theodora says she prefers silk options, since they're lightweight and feel luxurious, but bralettes are also available in cotton and sheer materials, too. "There are so many beautiful patterns and styles available, you can have fun with a look and show a little bit of bra," she adds.
The Sports Bra
While we tend to associate sports bras with working out, that's not all that they're good for. They can actually take the place of your everyday option, too. "Sports bras are trickling their way in to a lot of women's wardrobes because comfort is becoming a key priority when styling everyday looks," Theordora tells us, saying that brands have started offering fun silhouettes, rather than sticking to simple designs. "I like to have fun with my sports bras and mix and match prints!"
A bandeau is another bra type that tends to be pretty versatile, whether it's replacing your trusty strapless bra or being worn by itself. "I always keep a black and a white bandeau bra in my styling kit as an alternative to a tank top for a low-cut blazer or jacket," Theodora says, before sharing a few shopping tips. "Look for a bandeau bra with a back-hook closure to customize the fit."
The Stick-On Bra
If your outfit is too revealing for a strapless bra, a great alternative is a stick-on bra. "They are perfect for bodysuits and backless tops," Theodora tells us. "Finding a stick-on bra in your skin tone is best for a super-clean look. I also love Nippies. I often do camera flash-tests with my clients in fittings to make sure you can't see through their tops when they are being photographed on a red carpet. These are the best for giving that no-bra illusion!"
Whether you like to wear one every day or save 'em for special occasions, a push-up bra is perfect for providing a little boost. "When shopping for a push-up bra, comfort is key and a little bit of padding can actually go a long way," Theodora advises. "I love Aerie's push-bras because they are seamless and full-coverage."