An Introduction to the Bralette

The beauty of the bralette is that it’s lightweight, soft, and easy to wear — but best of all, it has no underwires. While many women find underwire bras necessary in their daily lives, abandoning them can bring about a sense of freedom and empowerment. Even if you can only wear a bralette on the weekends or lounging around the house, they are worth the investment.

Bralettes are nothing new — soft cup lingerie was most popular in the 1920s, when the straight “Flapper” silhouette was the ideal figure. The delicate undergarments of this era were exquisite and crafted from handmade laces, fine silks with delicate straps, and an assortment of pastel hues. Often the bralette was worn with tap pants to complete the set. If you’re lucky, you can still find these for sale on Etsy or eBay.

Are you convinced yet? Below are some of my favorite modern-day bralettes.

Everyday Comfort

While these bralettes lack underwires, they still offer structure and support. Ideally, the bralette should have bra cups as opposed to soft fabric cups. Moulded cups are perfect for this style of bra and will offer modesty (if you prefer). The underbust frame should feel supportive. Look for styles that have a full underbust band (like the black Freya bra, shown below), as opposed to a narrow elasticated band only. The shoulder straps should be fully adjustable. The best fabric for this style is a soft cotton blend.

The Lovable bralette is a personal favourite. Whilst not the prettiest of bralettes, you will never wear anything as comfortable as this. It has moulded cups that offer a slight push up. The Nikki, also by Lovable, is a prettier version with a spot print and stretch lace trim. The Eberjey bralette is 92% Cotton/ 8% Spandex, making it a very comfortable everyday bra. The Freya Deco Moulded soft cup bra is not technically a bralette, but is a great style for ladies with a fuller bust who would like to go wirefree.

 

The Weekender

It’s Sunday. You’ve slept in and are now going out for breakfast. You’re feeling relaxed and carefree. This is the best occasion to abandon underwires and wear a bralette. This particular style does not need as much structure and support. You could try a print, a beautiful lace, or an interesting colour — anything to help you embrace your carefree self!

The Eberjey Painted Spirit bralette is so pretty, with stretch lace and soft cups featuring zigzag Ikat print. The Deborah Marquit and Cosabella lace bralettes are such lovely colours, perfect for embracing the weekend sunshine. Finally, everyone needs a White lace bralette for summer, and this version from KateXTee is delicate and refined.

Cocktail Hour

Be inspired by the golden era of Hollywood, and bring back cocktail hour — and put on some especially luxe lingerie for the occasion. The ideal bralette for your cocktail hour (real or imaginary) should be as fancy and luxurious as you desire. After all, what is life without a little glamour?

The Bisou Bisou bralette from Mimi Holiday in jewel-like teal looks good enough to feature in an old Hollywood movie. The Fleur of England Blush Guipure bralette is reminiscent of frothy cocktails and pink lemonade. There is nothing sweeter than the Sweet Pea bralette from Lilipiache. This bralette is crafted from silk and lace with two buttons at the front. It reminds me of 1930s-style loungewear. The Zinke Silvi bralette is glamour at its best. This exquisite rose gold symphony is perfect for wearing whilst sipping a glass of champagne. Lastly, there is nothing more decadent than Carine Gilson’s Decoupe soft cup bra. Dove grey silk with a lace applique is pure indulgence.

In the Boudoir

When considering a bralette for the bedroom, support and structure are not as important. However, fabrics should be luxurious. Lace, mesh, and bows are perfect for this type of bra. In addition, the boudoir bralette can have much narrower straps.

The first one by La Perla has straps that tie at the shoulder. The Gilda & Pearl bralette, featuring raspberry silk and black lace, has a bow at the front that begs to be untied. Chantal Thomass’ Secret D’Alcove bralette is refined sophistication for the bedroom, and features pleated bows and nude tulle. The Araks bralette is crafted from silk chiffon and charmeuse, and is the ultimate in bedroom luxury. The Fleur of England Amour Boudoir bralette is a classic red, and has a tie front like the Gilda & Pearl bralette.

The Vintage Original

Why not buy the original if you can? Finding your size can be tricky, but keep an eye out on Etsy and eBay. Check online vintage stores, as they can occasionally carry lingerie pieces. Look for lingerie in good condition and check the measurements. Sizing tags from the 1920s and 1930s will not be relevant to sizing of today. Remember: vintage lingerie is much more delicate, so be careful and handwash.

What are your thoughts on bralettes? Do you enjoy wearing them everyday or are they an occasional bra?

Kathryn Wellington

Kathryn Wellington

Kathryn is a lingerie and swimwear garment technician from Sydney, Australia. Lover of all things vintage and lacy.

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5 Comments

  1. Thursday
    16/07/14 at 5:42

    The last three categories are where it’s at for me – rich tones, sumptuous fabrics, lovely details. For lounging around the house or taking it easy on the weekend. I also love the Van Doren bralets from Kiss Me Deadly – wire-free, but with some padding and surprisingly supportive.
    I also find it’s handy to pack a lightweight bralet when travelling on longer trips. They take up very little suitcase space, and can be worn when you’re doing your laundry or relaxing during some downtime.

    • Kathryn Wellington
      19/07/14 at 2:06

      Hi Thursday, thanks for your comment. The Van Doren bralet does look very comfortable. I will have to give this one a try! Thanks for your suggestion

  2. Kassy
    16/07/14 at 12:41

    Thanks so much for this post! I am a larger cup size(F 34) and I always want to wear a bralette, but I am not confident enough in purchasing one online. I need a bit of support, but not too much. I have worn the Freya no wire bra, and it is nice. However, I loooooooooooove vintage-y lace items! Do you have any brand recommendations for someone with a larger cup, and wearing probably an XL?

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