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5 Accessible and Stylish Front Close Bras

When I first heard that bras could close in the front, instead of in the unreachable, unscratchable spot on my back, I was overjoyed. Since then I’ve bought bras with front closures when I stumbled into them, but I was often unimpressed by their design; in brick and mortar stores, they tended to be rare and a little plain, without much variety.

This is the conundrum of the front-closing bra: it’s ridiculously convenient and there’s nothing inherently un-stylish about a front closure, yet it's hard to find. And for people with impaired mobility or chronic pain, front-close bras are helpful and sometimes essential, as Donyae Coles points out in her article on bras for people with fibromyalgia. In a forum post, fashion students at DeMontfort University also point out that "The range of front fastening bras available on the high street is very limited, and is... split between medical looking high necked contraptions, or overtly sexual front closure bras." That's a lot to contend with if you just want some cute lingerie.

Luckily, the front-close bra is evolving. Online retailers have a growing number of options, from sporty to subtle to elaborate. Many of these choices feature elements that may be useful if you're living with pain or mobility issues. If you love (or need) a front-close bra but want some more style or visual interest, check out some of these, which are anything but boring.

Sporty: Heat Gear Protegee Bra

This bra is one of several zip-close options. Available in white or black with a variety of lining colors, it's got a little bit of padding and a little bit of compression. It emphasizes comfort in the description (there's a panel under that zipper so it won't chafe on your skin) but I'm impressed with how sleek it looks. This bra would be a good fit for athletes, for people who suffer chronic pain (since it delivers steady pressure with no narrow bands or rough closures) or people who are both.

 Patterned: Kensie Kimberly Bralette

This bra is insanely cute, and it has no underwires, boning, or padding -- just a lining for comfort. I'd be tempted to wear it as a shirt on hot summer days. It's a front-close longline that will never jab you with a bit of plastic or metal, which is amazing. The one drawback is like most bralettes, it may not offer support for larger breasts, and comes in small, medium and large instead of specific cup sizes. The plus side? Kensie's size chart suggests that their large size can hold up to a 38D cup.

Colorful: Wacoal Lace Kiss Bra

This bra from Wacoal is reminiscent of the Marisela by Agent Provocateur. I love that Wacoal has made the front closure here a selling point with that contrasting stripe of pink. This bra might present some issues if you’re sensitive to lace, but it may be a good fit for people with mobility issues. And it’s incredibly sexy. You can get it at Herroom if you want the pink-and-blue version, or Bare Necessities, if you're looking for more color selection -- or if you want a sale, find it on Freshpair. It's everywhere!

Racerback: Lilyette T Back Bra

The great thing about front-close bras is that they often allow for elaborate back details. This one by Lilyette is available in up to a 42DD right now. There seem to be a lot of lace racerbacks on sale right now for under $30, in a variety of colors and styles; if you've been wanting one, check out this one from Maidenform or this unique Parisa design.

Sexy: Lascivious Bang Bra 

Baby Likes to Pony is a site I've never run into before I started searching for "front-close", but they have a surprising range of bras, panties, and other goods that can be fastened from the front, all of it somewhere between high-fashion and fetishwear. The Bang Bra looks exquisite and features a halter shape. It's also available in a range of larger cup sizes, and it's on sale right now, along with this one! Oh my gosh. I might have to get one, but I have no idea how to choose.

I'm starting to think the front-closure design actually gives designers more options for tinkering with the overall shape of a bra. Who knows, maybe we'll be seeing more of these in retail stores soon. Until then, did this article help you find options that suit your needs? What other design elements make lingerie more accessible for you, especially if you have a physical disability?