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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 sets for sale on Etsy or eBay.

Are you convinced of their appeal yet? Take a look at some of TLA's favorite modern-day bralettes below.

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 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!

Cocktail Hour

Be inspired by the golden era of Hollywood, and bring back cocktail hour with 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?

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 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?

Last Updated: December 22, 2016




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Kathryn Wellington

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

7 Comments on this post

  1. Delaney says:

    I wear a size 32G and I have a really hard time finding bralettes. I just wanted a simple opaque lace halter bralette in black and I bought one online in a M. The band was slightly too large, and the cup size was way too small. None of the bralettes in the style I want seem to be sold by cup size- do you have any suggestions?

    • Cora says:

      Hi Delaney,

      Bralettes usually aren’t sold in cup sizes as they’re meant to be unstructured garments providing light support. If you’re wanting something that’s made with your specific dimensions in mind, it may be worth getting something custom, like a bralette from Hopeless or Origami Customs. Otherwise, I’d suggest checking the size chart of brands you’re interested, and sister sizing into the comparable size for your dimensions. Another option might be to search for a wirefree bralette (in the style of Fortnight or similar brands) as opposed to a bralette. I hope this helps.

  2. Kassy says:

    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?

  3. Thursday says:

    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 says:

      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

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