Bra problems… Even the savviest of us have them.
And based on the comments and emails we get from you guys, that includes you too. Recently M&S invited me to go deep on the subject of bras, and being someone who’s worn their bras since living in London, I enlisted their help to answer that age old question: ‘What bra should I wear with this outfit?’. In case you’re new to this bra series, you can see more about finding the perfect bra fit here.
Different Bras and their functions
Are you in a bra rut? You’re not the only one. For years I pretty much wore the same style of bra day in and day out, meaning I was often presented with outfits I couldn’t wear because my bra arsenal didn’t have any versaility. I often found myself saying ‘I can’t wear that’ or spending hours in front of my wardrobe trying to find an outfit to suit the bra I had put on.
Are you like I was and have, say, two styles of bras you wear? Maybe it’s time to branch out… And I don’t mean you need to buy 200 bras, because obviously less is more and I’m all about quality over quantity. What I mean is that you need a few different styles that provide versatility and also support (excuse the pun!) your individual needs. Below we’ve put together an illustration for you so that you can understand more about all the different types of bras out there and their functions.
Bra Staples In My Wardrobe
As I’ve mentioned here before, something I’ve really embraced in the last few years is a lighter, triangle style bra that gives me some level of lift but is also super comfortable and can be worn for long period at a time, say on a longhaul flight. If your breasts are on the larger side, choose one that has enough structure.
Best for full coverage, structured outfits like button down shirts, dresses with thick fabric and t-shirts.
Try this: Athleisure Bralette
The Soft Cup
This one’s a new one for me but I’m totally into it… A soft cup bra that has an underwire and gives you some lift without any padding. This style I find perfect for work days and weekends.
Best for structured outfits that require lift but not too much shaping or nipple coverage.
Try this: Trellis Lace Bra
The trouble with the bralettes and soft cup bras is that sometimes they don’t give you enough shape, particularly if you are wearing a clinging outfit. This is where I reach for a trusty t-shirt bra – moulded cups that give just enough shape without too much cleavage.
Best for outfits that require more shape like clinging dresses and tops, but also cover enough of the body that you can still wear straps.
Try this: Underwired Balcony bra
I’ve had a love hate relationship with strapless bras in the past (more on that soon!), but they are completely necessary for cami style tops and my beloved off the shoulder silhouette. I always go a size smaller in the band so that they stay up!
Best for off the shoulder styles or camis with spaghetti straps.
Try this: Smoothlines Strapless Bra
One bra I have fallen for is a convertible bra, one that has plenty of options for when you’re wearing one shoulder, a low back or a low front. Before I had one of these I found that I always pulled out my strapless bra, but the convertible one is great because depending on how you place the straps you get lift whilst also having versaility.
Best for low back tops, or tops that show a lot of skin.
Try this: 100 Ways To Wear Multibra
Tips for Choosing The Right Bra For Your Outfit
Now, on to the main game. What bra should you wear with your outfit? We’ve put together a bra cheatsheet for you, as a reference depending on what you are wearing. I obviously need to preface this with saying that the below solutions may differ depending on the size/shape of your breasts… Obviously if yo have a smaller bust you might be able to go sans bra in some of these outfits (so jealous of you) and if you have bigger breasts you’ll find that some types of bras won’t work for you. But this is a broad overview of bra solutions, hope it helps!
This post is in collaboration with M&S and shopping links. Infographics by Natalie Ong.