The best bras to support, lift and shape your bust - plus expert advice on sizing and maintenance

We’ve rounded up the best bras for every cup size, body type, and budget for your most comfortable fit yet

three models wearing some of the best bras
(Image credit: Future: Heist / Bravissimo / Triumph)

The best bras should give you support, lift, and style. One of the most important investment pieces in your wardrobe, getting your foundations right can change the way your clothes fit and change your silhouette in an instant. We've tested a host of bras to help you find the ultimate fit. 

With so many styles of bra on the market, finding the best bra can be tough going. From the best strapless bras to super comfortable styles, the design you'll need will differ from outfit to outfit. In addition to this, you'll need to consider your bust size and whether you require a bra for small busts or one of the best bras for large busts, as not every brand and design comes in all cup sizes. Offering a helping hand in lifting and shaping your bust line, you'll want to think about the silhouette you're looking to create. For a more hourglass shape, you might want to consider the best push-up bras or the best plunge bras for fuller cleavage. Trying to create a more streamlined shape? Look out for bras with wide bands to tackle backfat and shapewear pieces with built-in bras for the smoothest of finishes.

We've tested dozens of bra styles, from everyday wear to bra solutions and more. In order to pick the best bras, when testing we looked at the quality of the material, design, support, and arguably the most important factor - comfort. We also took into consideration different body types, cup preferences, and budgets.

The bras that made our list were a joy to wear - no falling straps, no wires digging into the ribcage, or gaping cups. Just great fit, lift, and style.

How we selected and tested the best bras

There's no universally held standard of 'the best bra' - everybody has a different idea of how a good bra should fit, flatter and support. But there are some common qualities we firmly believe all of the best bras should share: 

  • Fit - when it comes to bras, fit is everything. If you're finding that your current bras aren't doing what they need to, then it's definitely time for a new one. With our guide on how to measure bra size in mind, we wore the bras through work and the weekend, to really test their fit, support, and wearability. 
  • The quality of the materials - if cared for properly, the best bras should also prove excellent value for wear. This is why we rigorously tested the quality of their materials, their washability (following expert guidance on how to wash bras, of course), and longevity, to see if they really step up to the plate. 
  • Style - who said supportive bras had to be boring? From pretty lace balcony bras to wow-worthy push-up bras, we tried them all - to help you find the bras that will make your boobs look amazing, both in and out of clothes. 

We’re 100% confident that these are the best bras on the market. For each section, we have picked a 'best' and a couple of runners-up to give you a choice of style, budget and - where possible - we've tried to ensure that busts big and small are catered for in each category, so you can get the fit that's right for you. 

The best bras as chosen by our experts

Best balcony bra

A balcony bra, also sometimes referred to as a balconette bra, is a flattering choice for boobs of all shapes and sizes. One of the most common types of bra, you're likely to already have one tucked away in your lingerie drawer. Balcony bras have wide-set straps and half-moon-shaped wiring at the base of the cups which supports your breasts from beneath and lifts them upwards. They create a full, rounded shape, and are available with or without wiring and padding. The shape of the cups means balcony bras provide less coverage than a full cup style, making them the perfect partner to tops or dresses with a lower neckline.


Black balcony bra

(Image credit: Curvy Kate)

1. Curvy Kate Victory Balcony Bra

The best balcony bra overall

Specifications

Sizes: 30D-44KK
Best suited to: Big boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP: $62 / £33
Number of colors : 6

Reasons to buy

+
A great everyday bra
+
Double layered mesh lower cup for amazing support
+
Changes from two to three hooks from an F cup

Reasons to avoid

-
Bridge may be visible with some necklines

Like most balcony bras, this classic style is designed with the cup cut horizontally, which hoists the breasts upwards, rather than inwards. What you get is a natural lift, over deep, plunging cleavage, enhanced by a four-part seamed cup and sturdy underwire. The Curvy Kate Victory Balcony Bra offers a firm, natural finish, minus padding - a thoughtful inclusion for bigger busts that warrant non-restrictive wiggle room. The cups have a smooth shape that will work underneath dresses and t-shirts alike. Made with quality mesh material it feels sleek and flirty and great against the skin. You can tell that Curvy Kate is one of the best bra brands, as the bra features strong stitching. Having made a name for itself fashioning up the big busted bra market, the Victory bra wins in the style stakes too. Utterly functional for every day, the cut-out detail across the breastbone adds a stylish and sexy twist. The small V hardware between the cups is a nice addition too. 

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Best padded bras

A padded bra is any bra that features padding on the cups. The extent of the padding can vary from bra to bra, and padded bras are available in a wide range of shapes. There are many benefits to a padded bra and a number of reasons why you might opt for one. A lightly padded bra will ensure your nipples aren't visible and create a smooth, symmetrical shape beneath clothes. A bra with more padding will give your bust a boost, making your boobs appear bigger than they are. You may want to wear a padded bra every day, or only wear one to fill a particular top. The padding can add extra warmth, so you may want to avoid a heavily padded bra on the hottest days of the year. 


Black padded bra

(Image credit: M&S)
Best padded bra overall

Specifications

Sizes: 30A-40E
Best suited to: Small, asymmetric or low boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
Machine washable: Yes
RRP: $49 / £28
Number of colors : 4

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable to wear 
+
Made from quality fabrics 
+
Attractive design

Reasons to avoid

-
Only goes up to an E cup 

If you’re looking for a fancy bra at an affordable price point, the Rosie for Autograph range ticks all the boxes. British clothing brand M&S is well-loved for its lingerie department and is well known for making some of the best bras. A failsafe option, the signature shapes remain pretty much the same year after year, updated with new colorways and this padded bra shape is a recurring favorite. We found that the Silk & Lace Underwired Full Cup Bra provided plenty of coverage and lots of support. The light padding and underwiring worked together to lift and boost the bust, while the luxe silk straps kept the fit comfortable. The smooth, lace-free cup felt sexy and sultry but utterly practical too. The sleek finish means this padded bra works well under t-shirts and other close-fitting fabrics too. The plain black design also ensures you can team it with any of your best underwear pieces too. 

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Best push-up bras

Want to give your bust some extra oomph? A push-up bra may be the style for you. A push-up bra differs from a padded bra in that the bulk of the padding tends to sit in a 'C' shape around the outer edge of the cups. This pushes your breasts upwards and inwards, creating impressive cleavage and the illusion of a bigger bust, and it is possible to give the appearance of a larger and fuller bust by more than one cup size when wearing one. Most push-up bras are low at the front and similar in shape to a plunge bra, this helps to angle the bust forward and together for a more curvaceous bust line. 

Black lace push-up bra

(Image credit: Boux Avenue)
Best push-up bra overall

Specifications

Sizes: 28A-44G
Best suited to: Small, low or pointy boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP: $42 / £20.80
Number of colors : 9

Reasons to buy

+
Boosts cleavage on smaller busts
+
Removable padding 
+
Inclusive size range (up to 44 back)

Reasons to avoid

-
Comes up a little small 

Mollie is one of Boux Avenue’s bestseller, with one bra purchased every 10 minutes. Hailed as one of the best push-up bras, this lingerie staple works for cup sizes across the spectrum and is available in nine colorways. The removable padding in sizes A-DD shapes accentuates smaller busts, while the plunging shape supports and holds breast sizes DD+ to a G cup. Regardless, the full-coverage cups will boost your bust, creating a full, rounded shape both under clothes and without them. Great quality and a fantastic price, we love that it's available up to a 44 back size too.

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Best strapless bras

A strapless bra is, as you might have guessed by the name, is a bra that’s free from straps. More of an occasion piece than an everyday essential, it’ll go undetected beneath tops with either no straps or narrow spaghetti ones. As the bulk of the support is coming from either underwiring or the backband, they can become uncomfortable if worn for long periods of time as they have to be relatively firm fitting on the underband - especially if you’ve got a bigger bust. That being said, resist the urge to size up, as that will mean your strapless bra will offer lower levels of support and your bra will be too loose, risking a wardrobe malfunction. While the best strapless bras used to be reserved for those with a small bust, thanks to engineering and hard work, whatever size your bust, there is now a strapless bra to suit. So when you're looking for what to wear to a wedding this summer, you certainly can go strap-free. 

(Image credit: Wonderbra)
Best strapless bra overall

Specifications

Sizes: 30D-38G
Best suited to: All boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP: $54 / £40
Number of colors : 2

Reasons to buy

+
Stays in place well
+
Creates impressive cleavage 
+
Timeless design

Reasons to avoid

-
Feels slightly restrictive

From shoppers and lingerie experts alike, Wonderbra’s Ultimate Strapless Bra has long been hailed as the best on the market. We're pleased to confirm that it's worth every single bit of the hype. Incredibly sturdy, its unbudging band is patterned with small silicone dots, which prevent the bra from slipping. This brand excels due to its unique hand-shaped system, designed to lift your bust from the inside. Admittedly, this makes it not the most comfortable option to be wearing for long periods of time, but if you're looking for unparalleled support and a discreet style, then the people at Wonderbra know exactly what they're doing. Available up to a G cup this bra does work for larger busts, although the underband only goes up to a size 38. 

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Best plunge bras

Plunge bras are cut low at the front, making them easy to disguise beneath sweeping or V-necklines. The cups are angled, pushing your boobs upwards and towards each other. This will create cleavage and provide lift, especially for those with smaller busts. Plunge bras can be padded or non-padded, and wired or non-wired. These choices are up to you and will depend on personal taste and the size and shape of your bust.

Lace plunge black bra

(Image credit: Figleaves)
The best plunge bra

Specifications

Sizes: 30B-38GG
Best suited to: Big boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: No
RRP: $33 / £25
Number of colors : 4

Reasons to buy

+
Pretty, feminine finish 
+
Great support for a fuller bust 
+
Natural-looking push-up effect 

Reasons to avoid

-
Fussy strap details 
-
Semi-sheer finish may limit outfit suitability 

It’s easy to think that this dainty, lace-styled bra wouldn't be supportive thanks to its light material. But once you try on this crowd-pleasing piece of lingerie, you’ll soon be proved wrong. The Figleaves Juliette offers a secure fit and good support, thanks to its clever double lining and sturdy underwire. Since it's a plunge style, the bra provides a flattering shape underneath t-shirts and your best shirts. The pretty lace design makes this feel a little bit more dressed up and while it is discreet under clothing, a flash of the lace under a blouse won't be seen as a fashion faux pas when your bra is this pretty. With a lower price point, this bra is fair quality for everyday wear. Available in four colorways, there are neutral hues for basic wear and bolder iterations such as red and pink for when you want to feel a little more glam. One of Figleaves most loved styles, it's worth noting it comes up a little small. 

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Best multi-way bras

A multi-way bra can be worn in a variety of different ways by adjusting or removing the straps. They’re super versatile and an incredibly handy style to have in your underwear drawer, and can be used as a solution to almost any underwear related wardrobe dilemma - such as disguising straps beneath a top with a narrow back, a halterneck or an asymmetric neckline. A multi-way bra can also be worn as a strapless bra, or with the straps straight, à la your standard bra. Multi-way bras are suitable for all bra sizes, although those with a larger bust may find the typically narrow straps dig in a little.

Nude multiway bra

(Image credit: M&S)

1. M&S Collection 100 Ways to Wear Multiway Bra

Best multi-way bra overall

Specifications

Sizes: 32A-36DD
Best suited to: All boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP: $39 / £22.50
Number of colors: 2

Reasons to buy

+
Can be worn in so many different ways
+
Padding in the cups gives your bust an extra boost
+
Great price point

Reasons to avoid

-
Not available in larger sizes

There are multi-way bras, and then there’s an M&S multi-way bra. Going above and beyond, this is the most versatile multi-way bra we’ve seen to date. Aside from the usual options to wear with a halterneck, one shoulder, or cross-over straps, there’s also an impressive 12 eyelets on the inside of the cup, all of which you can attach a strap to. Choose between transparent or opaque straps and backband depending on your outfit. While we love the versatility of this, its biggest drawback is its limited sizing range. Only available up to a 36 back (which is smaller than many of the best French lingerie brands) it also only fits up to a DD cup. One of the best bras for small busts when it comes to multi way wear designs, we've got options for larger busts below.

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Best bralettes

One of the most comfortable bras, bralettes have grown in popularity in recent years, particularly during lockdown, becoming a huge bra category in their own right. Interpretations can vary from brand to brand but a bralette tends to refer to a lightweight bra that's free from wiring. If you've debated bras vs bralettes, you might be interested to know that modern bralettes can now offer as much support as a traditional non-wired bra, whilst also delivering on comfort and style. Shapes can range from a high-coverage crop top to a barely-there triangle shape. In most cases, bralettes are made from feminine fabrics such as lace or silk, although the best plus size bralettes or bralettes for larger busts might feature sturdier fabrics for extra support. If you have a smaller bust, a bralette should provide enough support for all day wear. But if you have a bigger bust, you might find that it's not giving you enough lift and hold to keep you comfortable. If that sounds like you, save your bralettes for slow-paced days and integrate them into your best loungewear looks. They also make some of the best sleep bras too, if you need added night time support. 

Black bralette

(Image credit: Spanx)
Best bralette overall

Specifications

Sizes: XS-XL
Best suited to: Small, perky boobs
Wired: No
Padded: No
RRP: $48 / £36
Number of colors: 4

Reasons to buy

+
Stretch fabric for perfect fit
+
Hosiery-style back smooths out lumps and bumps
+
Sleek and sporty look

Reasons to avoid

-
Only goes up to a DD cup  

The Bra-llelujah! Unlined Bralette resembles one of the best sports bras, a thoroughly modern silhouette, it features a plunging triangle shape, supportive shoulder straps, and a wide, hosiery-style back. Known for making some of the best shapewear, the Spanx Bra-llelujah! offers a lovely smooth finish and is crafted from a long-wearing Lycra mix for the softness of a t-shirt and the stretch of a pair of tights. Only available up to an XL and with quite a low cut at the front, while this bralette has stretch, it really is more suitable for those with a smaller bust, offering too light a level of support for bigger busts. The stretch fabric means you can pull this bra on and off, and the smooth, fasten-free back will help to smooth out any lumps and bumps.

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Read our Figleaves Millie bralette review here.


Best sports bra

Sports bras have been specially designed to wear when exercising. They offer support to your bust through two key methods - compression and encapsulation. Compression works by holding your breasts close to your chest, while encapsulation provides support by encasing your bust in two separate cups. A sports bra can use one, or both of these methods to reduce movement and bounce. The level of support your sports bra offers will depend on the type of exercise it was designed for. Low impact sports bras tend to have narrower straps, less padding, and lower coverage and are suitable for activities such as Pilates and yoga. The best high impact sports bras tend to have thick, padded straps, a racerback, and high coverage. Wear yours as part of your best running gear, for trampolining, or when taking part in a sweaty HIIT class. Medium impact sits between the two and can be used for aerobic exercise classes, cycling, and long walks. 

Colorful sports bra

(Image credit: Panache)

1. Panache Sports Moulded Underwired Bra

Best sports bra overall

Specifications

Sizes: 28D-40J
Best suited to: All boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP: $70 / £42
Number of colors: 13

Reasons to buy

+
Underwiring offers extra support
+
Cushioned strap and band 
+
Great cup size range

Reasons to avoid

-
Comes up a little small 

We've found the best sports bra for supporting, rather than squashing boobs, and we won't be letting it go any time soon. If you're looking for a sports bra that won't immediately rid you of your shape as soon as you slip it on, then this is the one for you. The light padding, underwiring, and molded encapsulation cups of Panache's Sports Moulded Underwired Bra give it a crop top style feel and ensures that boobs look great and feel super supported too - both underneath clothes, and while wearing the bra alone. As sports bras need to offer a high level of support, some can find a wired and molded design a little tight and uncomfortable, but this bra offers supreme comfort and is a true winner in our eyes. Worn for everything from yoga, boxing, skipping, and running, we can confirm that the Panache sports bra kept boobs in place. Made from high-quality fabrics, this bra is built to last, even with regular washing.

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Best t-shirt bras

The best t-shirt bras are a brilliant choice for every day. The exact shape of a t-shirt bra can vary slightly, but all feature molded cups, which create nice smooth lines beneath your clothes - even form-fitting ones, and generally feel soft and comfortable. They’re a good choice if your boobs are different sizes (don’t worry - almost everyone has one that’s bigger than the other) as the molded cups will create the illusion of a more even and rounded shape. To max out your cost per wear, and ensure your new t-shirt bra goes undetected beneath your clothes, stock up on classics such as black, white and flesh tones. A molded cup might look daunting but it offers instant and easy shaping. If you have a bigger bust and don't want to add too much to your silhouette, then opt for molded cups with a very slim layer of padding. You might find that very fitted clothes, without stretch in them can be a bit tighter if you wear with a t-shirt bra, as these bras work best under fabrics with a little bit more give. 

Beige t-shirt bra

(Image credit: Figleaves)

1. Figleaves Smoothing Sweetheart Full Cup Underwired T-Shirt Bra

Best t-shirt bra overall

Specifications

Sizes: 30D-40F
Best suited to: All boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP : $28 / £28
Number of colors: 1

Reasons to buy

+
Smoothing fabric
+
Flattering neckline
+
Available up to an H cup

Reasons to avoid

-
Thin straps

One of the best t-shirt bras for a bigger bust, the Figleaves Smoothing Sweetheart bra launched a few years ago and has become an integral part of the Figleaves collection (and lots of underwear drawers too). Supremely comfortable and at a great price point, this sweetheart neckline bra is cut low enough to be discreet under clothing and work with V and scoop necks, but high enough to offer fantastic support. With a two hook back, but smooth and decently deep back panels, it's also a great bra for smoothing out back fat. Incredibly comfortable, this t-shirt bra is ideal for everyday wear. Made of high-quality, second-skin soft microfiber, as well as a light foam lining and smooth cups you'll wonder how you got dressed without this beauty in your bra arsenal. Available for D-F boobs, and back sizes 30-40, Figleaves provide excellent bras for bigger busts. 

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