Wearing a bra can do a lot for your outfit. Whether you’re looking to enhance your breast shape underneath a certain dress, or elevate your work-from-home routine altogether, bras are there to help with it all. While there are numerous benefits associated with wearing a traditional bra, some of its elements are not ideal for every outfit or occasion.
If you prefer to skip the underwire, padding or lining typically found in traditional bras once in a while (or
all the time), a bralette is a fantastic alternative! Here’s everything you need to know about bralettes and how
to wear them.
What Is a Bralette?
When it comes to the spectrum of bras, the different options range from styles with maximum coverage and support
to those with barely-there material and cuts. Somewhere near the middle lies the
bralette style, which stands as a stylish and happy medium between wearing a traditional bra and going
without one altogether.
A bralette is a type of bra that is lightly lined with no extra padding. It typically features soft or stretchy material that moves well with the body and rarely includes an underwire. Because they are free of underwire and larger clasps or hooks, bralettes are known for their extreme comfort. Many styles feature a pull-on design that creates a general smoothness during wear. These comfy bras are commonly found in soft, thin fabrics like cotton, mesh and lace.
Bralettes are also popular due to their stylish designs and accents. They are available in a range of colors, from minimalist neutrals to bold, bright shades that stand out. Speaking of standing out, bralettes have become a bra style that is totally acceptable when visible underneath your clothing. Their fun colors and lace, mesh or textured features can add an extra bit of flair to any cute outfit you choose.
If you haven’t worn a bralette before, it could be the perfect addition to your wardrobe. A bralette pairs well
with a comfy outfit on a rainy day at home because it provides just enough coverage without uncomfortable
compression. It’s also a great option when worn with strappy tops or loose, flowy dresses in the spring and
summer months because it looks more like a part of your outfit and not a regular bra that you might want to hide
under your clothing. In short, bralettes are versatile, stylish and fun!
Comparing Bralettes vs. Bras
Before you buy or style a bralette, it’s important to know how it differs from a regular bra. While both options are useful and are, indeed, similar in a few ways, there are a few key differences between the two that are important to distinguish before shopping.
Most importantly, you need to know that the word “bra” is an umbrella term that covers all different types of bras, including bralettes. When the word is used to describe a certain type of bra, as it is here, it’s referring to a traditional bra with size-specific breast cups, stretchy shoulder straps and an undercup band that is sized in inches. It’s the typical image you might see in your head when you think of a bra.
On the other hand, a bralette refers to a specific kind of bra, much like push-up bras, balconette bras and other popular styles. A bralette is different from a regular bra in a few ways, but the two can be separated from one another by their main design elements.
Traditional bras include breast cups that are made from an initial layer of foam or a similarly squishy material. These cups are padded with more or less layers depending on the bra style and feature a “U” shaped portion of metal wiring beneath each cup to shape and support the breasts during wear. Bralettes almost never, ever include underwire and feature little to no padding or lining in the cup area.
In addition to more practical design features, the bralette vs. bra debate
continues with the inclusion of style elements. While regular bras might feature a hint of lace around the top
of each cup or a tiny satin bow in the middle of the front section, they are usually designed to be smooth,
seamless and undetected beneath clothing. Bralettes are meant to be seen! They feature intricate designs, mesh
or lace details and necklines that range from sky-high to plunging and pretty. To wrap it up with a more concise
comparison, a bra is meant to offer shape and support underneath clothing, while a bralette offers a stylish bra
alternative made with minimal lining or wiring.
How to Wear a Bralette: Different Bralette Styles
Now that you know a little bit more about bralettes, you might be wondering how and when to wear them. The truth
is, these comfy and versatile garments can be worn just about anywhere, anytime. They offer just enough coverage
and support to make you feel like you’re wearing a bra, but without most traditional bra features. From casual
outings and cute outfits to romantic settings and beyond, here’s a look at the most popular bralette styles and
how to wear each one:
Perhaps the most iconic of all bralette styles, the lace bralette embodies every essential feature of the bralette itself. There is no compromise on comfort here, as the lace or lace-covered fabric that makes up the bralette is soft and stretchy. A lace bralette offers coverage where you need it and even typically includes cute pieces of textured lace trim around the cups, band and straps. This type of bralette is both cute and functional.
High Neck Bralette
This bold bralette style features everything you know and love about a bralette with just a little more coverage. Instead of a triangle or plunging cup area, a high neck bralette features fabric that rises all the way to the collarbone. Though this bralette style is technically big on coverage, some versions may include peekaboo-style mesh inserts, cutouts or other flirty features to keep the designs looking stylish and flattering.
Styling Tip: A high neck
bralette can absolutely double as a cute crop top when the weather is nice and warm! For your next sunny
day outfit, consider a cute denim skirt or a pair of high-rise denim shorts paired with a high-neck bralette in
your favorite summer color. Add sunglasses, sandals and sunscreen and you’re ready to head out the
Though padding is another uncommon feature in traditional bralettes, there are some styles that include it. At Leonisa, we’re committed to helping every woman find her perfect bra. That’s why we offer hybrid styles and nontraditional takes on classic bralette options like this one. Not everyone wants or needs a full-coverage bra in a traditional style with underwire and padded cups. For those who love the stylish simplicity of a bralette and the soft foam cups of a regular bra, we’ve got you covered.
Styling Tip: You can wear a bralette with foam cups or extra padding any way you would wear a normal bra.
The great thing about this particular style is that it can enhance your breast shape without wiring, meaning you
have more flexibility of movement during wear. Wear your padded bralette with an athleisure outfit, a cotton
dress or any casual look to keep you moving comfortably all day.
Multi Wear Bralette
It would be correct to say that all bralettes are multi-wear bralettes when it comes to their comfort level, coverage and light support. From the couch or the car to the office and beyond, bralettes are true chameleons because they can be worn in multiple different settings.
In this sense, however, a multi-wear bralette refers to a style of bralette that can be worn in multiple ways to create different effects. Leonisa multi-wear bralettes feature elements like pockets in the cup area so you can add a little enhancement if you like. Similar options feature moveable straps to create a criss-cross look in the back in addition to a signature bra strap look.
Finding Your Best Bralette
Shopping for a bralette is like shopping for any other bra or garment. The most important part of finding the
perfect bralette for your body involves the understanding of and attention to sizing. When it comes to bralette
sizing, you might see a nonspecific size like small, medium or large on the tag, but some bralette styles also
come in a letter and number size like regular bras.
Before you start searching for bralette options, make sure you know your cup size (A, B, C, D etc.) as well as
your bust measurement in inches, which should be taken just below your breasts. Knowing your current cup size
and measurements will help you determine which bralette size to buy and can be especially helpful when shopping
It’s also important to consider your options when shopping for bralettes. Take a moment to think about or write
down what you look for in a bra, whether it’s a certain level of padding, a
comfortable band or something else. Then, consider what draws you to the bralette style in particular. Is it the
soft materials, minimal lining, cute colors or the exclusion of underwire? Look for styles that check off
everything on your list and match your personal style!
Once you find a bralette in a style you love that fits you perfectly, you can get creative and have fun styling
it however you like. Wear it as a top in the summer, underneath a sweater in the fall for a pop of lace at the
shoulder or as your go-to comfy travel bra. Shop the Leonisa bralette collection and find your new favorite