By Jess Beech
Looking for the best bras that deliver on support, lift, and style? We’ve got you (and your boobs) covered when it comes to finding the perfect bra, whether it's a sports bra, plunge bra, bralette, or full cup you're looking for.
Shopping for a great bra can require some trial and error—from examining measurements to sifting through thousands of styles. To help you find the perfect fit, we’ve tested and hand-picked the best bras across styles, from t-shirt to push-up bras. Our curation caters to a wide spectrum of cup sizes, body types, and budgets, so there’s something for everyone, taking into consideration what makes a truly great bra, including quality of material, design, support, and—arguably the most important factor—comfort. The bras that made our list were a joy to wear—no falling straps, wires digging into the ribcage, and gaping cups here. In addition to our list of the best bras in 2021, we've also got detailed guides on the best strapless bras, best sports bras, and the most comfortable bras.
How we chose 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 to how to measure bra size in mind, we wore the bras through work and weekend, to really test their fit, support, and wearability.
- 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.
As a result, we’re 100% confident that these are the best bras worth parting with your hard-earned cash for.
The best bras as chosen by our experts
Best balcony bras
A balcony bra, also sometimes referred to as a balconette bra, is a flattering choice for all boobs of all shapes and sizes. 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.
1. Curvy Kate Victory Balcony Bra
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.
2. Figleaves Juliette Lace Underwired Balcony Bra
Balcony bras are designed to lift cleavage upwards rather than inwards, making them a great fit for smaller boobs. This stunning Figleaves balcony bra gives smaller boobs a lift without looking unnatural, as opposed to some heavily padded options. It comes in five pretty colors—for every mood or occasion and our tester found this was a comfy bra for wearing every day.
3. Freya Idol Moulded Balcony Bra
A great choice for bigger busts in need of extra support, this bra has full coverage cups and provides impressive support and lift, as well as a sleek appearance that is perfect for under t-shirts—but still feels sexy and luxurious. The fabric feels really premium—we particularly like the subtle stripe detailing—and minimal seams ensure it doesn’t show beneath your clothes, making it an ideal t-shirt bra.
4. Boux Avenue Rosie DD+ Non-Wired Balconette Bra
For such a pretty bra you wouldn't expect the level of comfort that you get from this elegant balcony bra. It’s non-wired so that you don't get any pesky underwire discomfort and the lack of padding makes for a more natural look. We love the pretty lace finish—particularly when paired with the matching briefs. Our only niggle is that the lace isn't the softest and can be a bit scratchy, so we would reserve this for those evenings out when you want a bit of inner confidence and aren’t wearing it all day.
5. Figleaves Smoothing Strapless Underwired Balcony Bra
This bra provides a fantastic, clean shape, with plenty of support—a winner if you’re wearing a fitted shirt, dress, or t-shirt, making this one of the best t-shirt bras too. The cups are padded and full—there’s no danger of spillage. Our tester comfortably wore this bra all evening and, at times, forgot they even had it on. The material is soft and malleable, so the bra adjusts to your shape rather than the other way round.
6. Playtex Flower Elegance Balcony Bra
Everything you’d expect from a balconette bra, the Playtex Flower Elegance is both sophisticated and seriously flattering. The attention to detail is spot-on, from the delicate bows on the shoulders and center to the soft, super-stretchy fabric on the backband. The latter of which is not only really comfortable, but helps eliminate any bulging at the back. Buy yours in black, white, or a range of pretty pastel shades.
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.
1. M&S Rosie for Autograph Silk & Lace Underwired Full Cup Bra
If you’re looking for a fancy bra at high-street prices, the Rosie for Autograph range ticks all the boxes. The signature shapes remain pretty much the same year after year, updated with new colorways and this failsafe shape is a recurring favorite. Our tester 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.
2. Pour Moi Flora Lightly Padded Underwired Bra
Thanks to the lace overlay, the Pour Moi Flora offers the look and lift of a balconette, with all the support of a full-cup bra. It feels sturdy and comfortable while maintaining a pretty appearance. The padding is subtle, not so much as to dramatically change the size of your bust, but just enough to disguise your nipples and create symmetry. We know once you find a bra you love you’ll want to buy it in every color, and luckily this is available in a range of seasonal shades, as well as practical black and white.
3. Amoena Mara Non-Wired Padded Bra
If you have undergone a mastectomy, you may find that a specialist bra designed with post-surgery breasts in mind offers the best fit. This bra has been designed without underwiring for maximum comfort, and with soft, molded foam cups to create a smooth shape beneath even form-fitting clothing. In-bra pockets make room to add a breast form, with easily adjustable straps ensuring a secure fit. Extra brownie points for the breathable, sweat-wicking fabric.
4. Boux Avenue Ultra Boost Bra
When Boux Avenue said Ultra Boost, they mean it! This bra is made up of two sections of foam, one at the side, and one at the center of the cup boosts your bust by as much as two cup sizes, for seriously impressive cleavage and volume. It’s a great choice for those with smaller boobs, or if a particular outfit requires a little extra oomph. The thin straps and lace back add a feminine touch to this plunge and push-up bra. A great all-rounder!
5. Wonderbra Refiner Glamour Full Effect Push-Up Bra
This super-sexy bra marries support and comfort with ornate floral lace and mesh, making it the perfect lingerie piece for special date nights—trust us, this is one bra that should be worn to be seen—or occasions like weddings or evening events. This bra offers adjustable straps that can convert to crisscross and features a stunning plunge neckline, so it’s a versatile choice. Our tester also noted this bra is far more comfortable than it looks. Suited to small-medium boobs for a real boost.
6. Intermissi Gioia Bandeau Bra
Admittedly, it doesn't have the greatest size selection—leaving this super-soft wireless bra strictly to those searching for the best bras for small busts. Having said that, this has to be the best cleavage-boosting bra for small boobs we've come across. Intimissimi's Gioia super-padded underwired bandeau bra in smooth-to-the-touch microfiber lifts and enhances cleavage without the uncomfortable rigid bits that can come with other wireless bras. Choose from nude, white or black to match any outfit.
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. It is possible to increase the size of your boobs by more than one cup size when wearing a push-up bra. Most push-up bras are low at the front and similar in shape to a plunge bra.
1. Boux Avenue Mollie Lace Plunge Bra
Mollie is 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. The removable padding in sizes A-DD shapes and accentuates smaller busts, while the plunging shape supports and holds breast sizes DD+. Regardless, the full-coverage cups will boost your confidence, creating a full, rounded shape both under clothes and without them.
2. Victoria's Secret Front Close Push Up Plunge Bra
Victoria's Secret's front-close push-up bra can boost small boobs by up to two cup sizes. It's definitely one of the more decorative picks on this list, but if you're looking for a show-stopping special occasion bra, this one's worth the investment. It's also a lot more comfortable than it looks, with soft finishes and straps that don't dig in, so it can be worn throughout the day with ease. This is a good choice for small-medium boobs, but bigger boobs may want less of a boost.
3. M&S Rosie for Autograph Smoothing Padded Plunge Bra
All the bras in Rosie Huntington-Whitely’s collaboration with M&S are elegant, and this padded plunge style is no exception. It’s almost like a bralette in shape and design, with triangle-shaped cups and no underwiring. It’s relatively high coverage for a plunge bra, sitting high on the cups but low in the center. For us, the fabric is the star of the show, with a smooth, glossy finish that feels really premium. Opt for creamy opaline or chic khaki.
4. Wonderbra Ultimate Backless Bra
Our favorite backless bra, this unique shape allows you to wear backless tops and dresses while still enjoying firm hold and lift. Our tester loved the shape of her bust in this bra, as creates a round and full effect, while still managing to provide some comfort. Wonderbra's signature hand-support in the cups creates an uplifting effect that means your boobs will stay pert and secure throughout the evening. It's quite the contraption, so more a bra you would wear on special occasions rather than for every day.
5. Maidenform Love The Lift Push-Up Bra
Maidenform's Love The Lift push-up is designed with soft yet durable fabric that rests seamlessly underneath garments without peeping through or chafing. If you want to create a natural lift that's not too over-the-top, then this option is most definitely for you. If, however, you want to create the illusion of breast augmentation or breast implants, you'll want to opt for a full-coverage alternative. For medium-sized breasts that need extra support, this bra features a sturdy, thick band that doesn't feel too cumbersome and weighty.
6. Gossard Superboost Lace Plunge Bra, $50/£37
If you're blessed with a bigger bust, maximize your assets with this boosting bra from Gossard, a tried-and-true brand that ups the ante in the lift and support department. The bra leverages contoured foam plunge cups that lend a precise and comfortable fit for your breasts. It also incorporates soft mesh throughout the back wings, preventing chafing you'd normally experience with irritating fabric.
Best strapless bras
A strapless bra is, as you might have guessed by the name, 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, instead of the straps, strapless bras can be uncomfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time - especially if you’ve been blessed with a bigger bust. That being said, resist the urge to size up. Wearing your strapless bra too loose will mean it’s more likely to move around, increasing the risk of a wardrobe malfunction.
1. Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless Bra, $54/£40
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. Its unbudging band is patterned with small silicone dots, which prevent the bra from slipping. This brand excels for 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. Still, we love this failsafe bra for moments when your bust needs extra support.
2. Sexy Illusions by Victoria’s Secret Lightly Lined Strapless Bra, $49.50/£44.03
We've always been a little suspicious of multi-way bras. After all, if they can be worn so many ways, surely they're sacrificing support? Well, this VS bra will totally change your mind. The Sexy Illusions sleek bra can be worn in five ways: the traditional two-strap route, racerback, halter-neck, strapless, or asymmetric. However you choose to wear it, the fabric quality will leave you seriously impressed. It's smooth as silk and virtually undetectable underneath tight clothes. Moreover, the bra uses a patented, non-irritating adhesive, which provides all-day support and comfort.
3. Curvy Kate Luxe Strapless Bra
This failsafe multiway bra is a reliable option for all sizes. As one of the best strapless bras, the Curvy Kate Luxe Strapless bra is a joy to wear—the fit is perfect, and its silky satin feels luxurious against the skin. The cups have a smooth shape that will work underneath dresses and t-shirts alike. Balconette bras are designed with the cup cut horizontally, which creates a lift upwards rather than inwards. The classic balconette style moves away from a deep cleavage towards a natural lift, with sturdy, adjustable straps and a three-part seamed cup. A great strapless lingerie option for wearing every day without any discomfort.
4. Boux Avenue strapless padded plunge bra
It’s refreshing to see so many different variations of the classic 'nude' shade catering to different skin tones. Reviewers agree, with multiple shoppers praising Boux Avenue’s inclusive approach to colors, happily expressing how it feels good to find a bra that works for their skin tone at a reasonable price. The bra itself is super streamlined, with a minimal design, supportive waistband, and smooth, seamless cups—the plunge style results in a natural cleavage.
5. M&S Lace Bandeau Strapless Bra
This may be one of the best bralettes and less sturdy than other options, but it's still a solid choice for a strapless bra and the double lining and light padding do offer something in the way of support in comparison to other bandeau styles. For those with smaller boobs, the light padding may provide enough support, but for those looking for a reliable strapless bra in anything above a C, consider one of the other options in this guide.
6. Maidenform Speciality Strapless Minimiser Bra
The Maidenform Speciality Strapless Minimizer Bra is free from padding and low on lift, with both of these details working in tandem to make your bust appear smaller. That’s not to say it’s not supportive, with molded underwiring and a wide back band. Sticky edging at the top of the cups helps to keep them in place, and there’s the option to wear the bra with or without the detachable and adjustable straps.
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 the size and shape of your bust.
1. Figleaves Juliette Lace Non-Pad Bra
It’s easy to think that this dainty, lace-styled bra wouldn't be supportive thanks to its light and lacy 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 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 shirts.
2. Elomi Matilda Plunge Bra
Worried a plunge bra won’t offer enough support? Well, worry no more. Elomi has managed to achieve two feats in one, combining form-fitting four-part cups with a low neckline that’ll work with wrap dresses and tops. The wide straps provide extra straps with minimal niggling. If you find your straps have a frustrating tendency to slip off of your shoulders, use the handy clip to create a closer-fitting racerback.
3. Freya Deco Moulded Plunge Bra
Freya has created a bra that gives you your bust, just better. Boobs look fuller, rounder, and perkier with the help of this plunging style—just what you want when wearing lower tops. The design is fuss-free and low on detail, with the only exception being a subtle lace trim to the back and straps. Those who lack fullness at the top of their boobs will see the biggest difference with this bra, as it does a great job of pushing the bust upwards.
4. M&S Collection Sumptuously Soft Padded Plunge T-Shirt Bra
Truly, this is one of the few bras you could forget you’re wearing. The fabric is among the softest we’ve come across, on both the outer and lining, with a super-stretchy back made from material akin to your most-loved t-shirt. The cups are sleek and smooth, providing a good level of support. It works with nearly all necklines, and won’t show through even your closest-fitting outfits. A great all-rounder!
5. Thirdlove 24/7™ Classic Uplift Plunge Bra
The 24/7 Classic bra is a best-seller that leverages the best qualities of a push-up bra created by Thirdlove, a beloved lingerie and loungewear behemoth with over 9,000 positive customer reviews. To ensure a proper fit for each bust, this brasserie harnesses smooth memory foam cups to minimize gaping, which typically happens when your bra is too big. Not to mention, shoppers love its cozy feel, durable support, and versatility for casual and formal events.
6. M&S Collection Sumptuously Soft™ Non-Wired Plunge T-Shirt Bra
Sumptuously soft by name and nature, M&S's plunge non-wired bra is made from a smooth polyamide mix and decorated with a non-irritating lace around the band. This fuss-free option does exactly what it says on the tin: provides light to medium support, shapes the bust for a lifted, smooth look under clothes, and remains soft through wash and wear. We can promise this one will be a stalwart in your lingerie drawer, whether you wear it with one of the best dresses or a loose, linen shirt.
Best multi-way bras
A multi-way bra is a bra that 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. Use yours to create a solution to almost any wardrobe dilemma. They can be worn to disguise straps beneath a top with a narrow back, a halter neck 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.
1. M&S Collection 100 Ways to Wear Multiway Bra
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.
2. Curvy Kate Superplunge Multiway Padded Plunge Bra
Finally, a multi-way bra that won’t leave those with bigger busts aching to take it off by 5pm. Lightly padded cups work in tandem with underwriting and wide straps for a firm, supportive fit. The straps are easy to adjust to create a halter, racer, or crossover back, while the plunging shape means it works well beneath V necklines too. The included extender is a handy touch, letting you lower the back of the bra by as much as two inches.
3. Uniqlo Multiway Wireless Bra
Having one good multi-way bra in your arsenal is a must. Going far beyond the call of duty of your everyday t-shirt bra, Uniqlo's versatile multi-way allows you to wear it as a cross-back, halter neck, and strapless bra, too, meaning it will work well underneath any outfit. This handy bra comes in two colorways and fits like a dream. Our tester loved the smooth finish and comfort, especially considering the low price tag of this product. A great all-rounder for smaller boobs.
4. Maidenform Speciality Strapless Minimiser Bra
The Maidenform Speciality Strapless Minimiser Bra is free from padding and low on lift, with both of these details working in tandem to make your bust appear smaller. That’s not to say it’s not supportive, with moulded underwiring and a wide back band. Sticky edging at the top of the cups helps to keep them in place, and there’s the option to wear the bra with or without the detachable and adjustable straps.
5. Victoria's Secret Uplift Strapless Bra
This crowd-pleasing strapless bra from Victoria's Secret with detachable straps also made it into our round-up of the best multi-way bras on the market. Our tester loved the versatility of this bra and how and it was comfortable enough to wear all day—and night. The bra can be worn in five different ways, making it the answer to any wardrobe dilemma.
6. Curvy Kate Luxe Strapless Bra
This handy strapless bra also makes it into our list of the best multi-way bras, with detachable straps that offer more support when needed. The straps are thin enough to be worn under strappy dresses and tops and are easily removed if your outfit requires a strapless option. Our tester felt comfortable all day in this bra, practically forgetting it was on, thanks to its soft, breathable material and sturdy cups. As a full-cup bra, this style caters well to bigger boobs—but bear in mind cup sizes start from a D, so this bra isn't suitable for smaller boobs.
Bralettes are a type of bra, but have become so popular in recent years that they've become a 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. 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. 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 bralette for days for slow-paced days and at-home wear.
1. Spanx Bra-llelujah! Unlined Bralette
The Bra-llelujah! Unlined Bralette resembles a modern-day sports bra, featuring a plunging triangle shape, supportive shoulder straps, and a wide, hosiery-style back. It’s crafted from a long-wearing Lycra mix for the softness of a t-shirt and the stretch of a pair of tights. Those with bigger busts might find it doesn’t offer enough support for all-day wear, however, it still works well as a sleep bra and as one of the best bras for small busts.
2. M&S Louisa Lace Longline Bralette
While this bralette is recommended wholeheartedly for lounging and sleeping in, our tester also felt comfortable wearing this day to day with t-shirts, shirts, or dresses—the seamed cups create a lovely shape, even for a bigger bust. Our tester tried the bralette in their usual size and it was a little snug—this is especially important if you're on the hunt for one of the best bras for back fat.
3. Skims Fits Everybody Crossover Bralette
Figleaves is always ahead of the curve as an industry leader in the lingerie space. The Millie Lace Bralette is not only one of the brand's most popular styles, one that's become a media darling among social media influencers. On a larger scale, it's evolved into one of the best bralettes on the market. This low-coverage bra fits more like a crop top, featuring semi-sheer, unlined fabric. It's also longline, finishing two inches beneath the bust. Ultimately, this extra fabric makes the bra incredibly supportive and secure, especially for larger breasts.
4. Figleaves Millie Lace Bralette
Figleaves is always ahead of the curve as an industry leader in the lingerie space. Case in point: The Millie Lace Bralette is not only one of the brand's most popular styles, but it’s also a bra that's become a media darling among social media influencers. On a larger scale, it's evolved into one of the best bralettes on the market. This low-coverage bra fits more like a crop top, featuring semi-sheer, unlined fabric. It's also longline, finishing two inches beneath the bust. Ultimately, this extra fabric makes the bra incredibly supportive and secure, especially for larger breasts.
5. Calvin Klein Modern Cotton Bralette
Some days, you just gotta give your boobs a bit of a rest. Our solution? Calvin Klein's iconically soft bralette. It's the perfect working-from-home pick, with breathable and comfortable material that offers the support required for sedentary days. With a racerback fit, no padding, and no lining, this one probably counts more as loungewear than it does bra, but it does a great job of helping you feel just that little bit more put together for days when you won't be moving much.
6. Sloggi Zero Feel Bralette
With its second-skin-like claims, the Sloggi Zero Feel bralette has become one of the best bralettes on the market. The super-thin material feels like a lightweight bikini, but it still manages to support even busts that are on the heavier side. It's a comfortable pick for when your bra sizing changes throughout your cycle too and it blends smoothly under clothes. It also features removable padded cups that give boobs a nice lift and shape and there are lovely colors to choose from.
Best sports bras
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. High impact sports bras tend to have thick, padded straps, a racerback, and high coverage. Wear yours when running, trampolining, or 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.
1. Panache Sports Moulded Underwired Bra
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 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 ensure that boobs not only feel super supported, but look great, too—both underneath clothes, and while wearing the bra alone. But it's the comfort that makes this one a real winner in our eyes.
2. Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra
The Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra is one of the best bras to skip in, crafted from lightweight, breathable fabric with perforated mesh sides, this is a bra that works hard to keep you cool. Even better, both the cups and band are lined with a super-soft toweling cloth for maximum comfort. Free from padding, the cups on the Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra are made in three separate parts. This not only ensures each breast is fully encapsulated in the cup for spill-proof support but creates a rounded feminine shape. Housing three sets of hook and eye fastenings, the wide back band is bulkier than your average bra but worth it for the high-level support.
3. Lululemon Energy Bra Long Line
Designed for those less-intensive workouts, the Lululemon Energy Bra supports while being comfortable and non-restrictive. The lightweight fabric is sweat-wicking and cool to the touch, meaning you remain comfortable throughout your activity, and with removable cups, you can adapt the overall aesthetic of how the bra shapes. With a wide range of sizes and colors, anyone looking to add some style to their gym wardrobe should give this one a go.
4. Women's UA RUSH™ High Sports Bra
This bra is a great choice for those looking for the ultimate support during their workout without compromising on how it looks. The buttery fabric feels comfortable against your skin, without rubbing, and with added mesh panels increases ventilation. It stayed put, even though some tough at-home workouts and dried quickly. Although the color choice is limited for this one, the overall look of this bra was really attractive, and with built-in cups, it lifts and supports without being restrictive. Our tester found that this sports bra was a good all-rounder for all types of activity, from light exercise to intense workouts.
5. Runderwear Easy-On Running Bra
This bra might have been designed with running in mind, but we can confirm it more than stands up to the challenge with other high-impact exercises too. We tested ours when trampolining, cycling, and playing badminton and we're seriously impressed by the level of support. Padded shoulder straps and a wide under band are comfortable and thoughtful touches, especially if you have a bigger bust. Two separate, encapsulation cups mean that larger cup sizes don’t feel squashed or flattened, instead of creating a flattering shape. It does come up high at the front compared to other sports bras, which has its pros and cons. It means there’s spill-proof security and minimal cleavage, but also that it’s slightly on show when wearing a vest.
6. Under Armour Mid Armour Crossback Sports Bra
If you’re after a compression sports bra that will give you plenty of security, this is our top pick. From the minute you slip it on your bust feels supported, comfortable, with the seamless design snuggling into place like a second skin. The under-the-book elastic is tight but not restrictive, and the pads within the cups mold to fit the contours of your body. It’ll keep your chest firmly in place during exercise, which makes for a far more comfortable, and far less self-conscious, running, or gym experience. It is a little on the small size, so might be worth sizing up if you’re on the cusp of sizing. The fabric is breathable and soft, with the keyhole detail at the back adding a fashionable finish.
Best t-shirt bras
A t-shirt bra is 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. 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 shape. To max out your cost per wear, and ensure your new t-shirt bra does undetected beneath your clothes, choose one in black, white, or nude.
1. Calvin Klein Women's Perfectly Fit Full Coverage Bra
Voted the best t-shirt bra by New York magazine, this perennially popular memory foam bra is a small cleavage's best friend for everyday wear. Lightly lined to offer shape and support, it gives soft and comfortable coverage while still going undetectable underneath clothes. Having said that, there are undoubtedly some better bra options out there if your goal is lifting. But as far as great, everyday bras go in our current stay-at-home age, this one takes the cake.
2. Triumph Body Make-up Essentials Wired Padded Bra
Everything you want from a t-shirt bra, and more. The silky smooth fabric and a design that’s welcomingly devoid of any detail make for a bra that can be worn discreetly beneath any outfit. The lightly padded cups and shaping wires create a flattering shape. It also features Triumph’s ‘spacer cup technology’—which layers fabric for maximum breathability without adding any extra volume.
3. M&S Collection Sumptuously Soft Padded Plunge T-Shirt Bra
Truly, this is one of the few bras you could forget you’re wearing. The fabric is among the softest we’ve come across, on both the outer and lining, with a super-stretchy back made from material akin to your most-loved t-shirt. The cups are sleek and smooth, providing a good level of support. It works with nearly all necklines, and won’t show through even your closest-fitting outfits.
4. M&S Collection Sumptuously Soft™ Non-Wired Plunge T-Shirt Bra
This bra also makes the list as one of our favorite t-shirt bras thanks to its smooth cups and seamless design. The pretty lace looks lovely, but is undetectable under clothes. Wear with confidence that you'll not see any harsh lines or detailing, with a smooth, seam-free finish that offers a discreet look. The under band is flexible and durable, meaning it's comfortable to wear all day. Bear in mind that this t-shirt bra isn't as supportive as others, so you may want to opt for a more sturdy choice if partaking in some more active activities.
5. Figleaves Smoothing Sweetheart Full Cup Underwired T-Shirt Bra
There are the bras you want to be seen, then there are the ones you want to sit quietly beneath your clothes and work their magic. This is one of the latter. Undeniably comfortable, it's made of second-skin soft microfiber, as well as a light foam lining and smooth cups that secure breasts in place. The bra also integrates a flattering neckline, a thoughtful detail for everyday and elevated wear.
6. Boux Avenue Ultra Boost Bra
This smooth booster bra also makes it into our round-up of the best t-shirt bras thanks to its discreet, seamfree appearance. Where this bra differs is that it's a good option for providing a bit of oomph, if you want to maximize your boobs under a t-shirt. Thin straps and the lace back won't show up under clothes, and you can opt for white or black depending on the outfit. Our tester felt comfortable wearing this bra all day, making it a great everyday choice.
Best non-wired bras
Non-wired bras are any bra that is free from underwiring. They can come in a variety of different shapes, from plunge through to balcony, and can be padded or non-padded. Non-wired bras tend to be a more popular choice for those with smaller, perkier busts, which don't need the support of underwiring. Those with bigger busts may find that a non-wired bra is a more comfortable choice, as wiring can have the potential to dig in. You may even want to wear a wired bra during the day and switch to a non-wired one for lounging and sleeping.
1. Fantasie Helena Balcony Bra
This Fantasie bra is almost a hybrid between a bra and a bralette. Their bras are designed to support large busts—all while boasting gorgeous designs. And while their side support offerings are particularly special, with their ability to create an enviable shape without any padding in sight, we love this non-wired design that uses sturdy material to support the bust. This nifty bra even comes with a padded hook and eye clasp for extra comfort—they really have thought of everything.
2. Heist The Sheer Bralette
Offering light to medium support, Heist has used supportive paneling to boost your bust without the need for wiring. Made with soft and smooth material, it's designed to enhance natural lift, all while keeping breasts secure in place without spilling out. If you're seeking a more pronounced push-up, this may not be the best option—if however, subtlety is your jam, then we say add this to your cart. A great bra for lounging or sleeping in.
3. Sloggi Zero Feel Bralette
Another double winner! Sloggi's comfy non-wired bra is also one of our favorites in the category, in fact, it’s one of the most popular bras we tried. As well as being a good option for gentle sports and yoga, this comfy bralette is perfect for lounging in. The fabric is soft and breathable, meaning it could also work as a great sleep bra for larger busts, too. This bra has a firmer hold than some of the other non-wired bras our tester tried, meaning its also suitable for days when your schedule is more active.
4. M&S Collection Cotton & Lace Non-Wired Full Cup Bralette
As one of our all-time best bra brands, we know we can all rely on M&S for all our bra needs, so who better to go to when you're in need of comfortable bras? The old reliable of course has some of the best t-shirt bras that will keep you comfortable throughout the day, but we think this pretty bralette is one of their underrated stars. It's lightweight and non-wired, with the brand's Supima cotton-blend fabric that uses their Cool Comfort™ technology to keep you cool and nix any sweat. And the bright colors and pretty lace finish are sure to give you a confidence boost.
5. Triumph Fit Smart Bra
There are so many types of bras around, but this one merges the standard bra design with a more comfortable bralette style. Featuring 4D stretch lace this pretty non-wired bra will move with your body without feeling restrictive and the wide straps make for a more considerate fit that won't leave you with painful digging material. We love the pretty colors that are available too!
6. Spanx Bra-llelujah! Unlined Bralette
We all think of Spanx as our best shapewear brand but they actually know what they're doing when it comes to comfortable bras too and this brilliant bra proves it. Made from sturdy but simultaneously soft and stretchy material, this bra does an impressive job at holding up the bust with its wide and supportive under band and molded cups. The satiny fabric also feels super-premium on the skin.
Best full cup bras
Out of all the different styles of bra available, full cup bras offer the most coverage. They provide plenty of support for minimum jiggle and will ensure you feel really secure. A full cup bra will also reduce cleavage. A full cup bra can be worn by busts of all shapes and sizes, although those with less fullness at the top of the breast may find they gape. Due to the extra fabric, full cup bras can be more visible beneath clothes with lower necklines.
1. Panache Clara Full Cup Sports Bra
Who said full cup bras had to look functional? Made from supersoft silk and trimmed with delicate lace, the Panache Clara bra delivers on style and substance. The two part cups work to create a rounded shape, even without padding. The real star of the show is the stretch fabric, which encapsulates each boob for a comforting level of coverage and jiggle-free support.
2. Triumph Amourette 300 Underwired Bra
This full-cup style gracefully tiptoes the line between femininity and functionality, providing plenty of support without compromising on appearance. With this bra, the bulk of the lift comes from balconette-styled wiring, which boosts the bust without digging in. Moreover, it earns extra brownie points for its inclusive size range, spanning back sizes 32-44 and cup sizes B-K. It does come up a bit big, so if you’re in between sizes, we'd recommend sizing down.
3. Triumph Doreen Bra
If you have bigger boobs but still want comfort then this sturdy bra is for you. The Doreen bra has become renowned among the large-busted community for its ample support and comfortable fit that works as a practical option for everyday use. Its full coverage fit offers huge support in the form of what feels like a hug for each breast thanks to the sectioned design, which also lifts the breasts for a firmer shape.
4. Fantasie Fusion Bra
The Fantasie Fusion bra more than delivers on comfort. First there’s the three-part cups that combat spillage and bounce, meaning boobs feel lifted and supported. Then there’s the fabric that’s so lightweight you could almost forget you’re wearing it. Team that with padding-backed hook-and-eye fastenings and it’s clear we’re on to a winner. It’s pretty too, and available in black and white, alongside a few nude and seasonal options.
5. M&S Collection Cotton & Lace Non-Wired Full Cup Bralette
So good, we had to include it twice. This pretty bralette isn't just a great choice for lounging in, it was also one of our tester's favorite full-cup bras without padding. Despite not having any underwiring it still offers a full shape and firm support—perfect for more active days, too. There's a reason why this is a continual bestseller for the brand. We'll take one in every color.
6. Wonderbra Ultimate Backless Bra
Another double-winner is the Wonderbra Ultimate Backless Bra, which offers full-cup coverage with a unique back, so you can wear your favorite backless tops and dresses with confidence. With build-in padding and a firm underwire, this bra feels just as sturdy as a regular Wonderbra.
How do I know if a bra fits properly?
So you've found the best bra, but you're still unsure about how a bra should fit. We totally get it – finding a bra that fits like a glove is no easy feat. But according to Priya Downes, CEO and co-founder of fit first lingerie brand Nudea, there are a number of tell-tale signs that will indicate whether or not your bra fits as it should.
- Your bust is bulging out of cups and is showing through your top—giving the double boob effect.
- The center front of the bra is not sitting against your sternum and is lifting away
- The cups are now empty and wrinkling.
- The underband is riding up at the back, and you have to tighten the straps.
- A previously comfortable bra is now uncomfortable.
But it's also important to remember that the size of your boobs is likely to fluctuate throughout the month. While knowing how to measure bra size is extremely important (especially during lockdown) it's also important to take into consideration when you should measure your bra size.
"We wear bras every day of the month, so it's good to always be well fitted," says Priya. "At the time of lowest hormonal activity, about seven days into the cycle, the breast will be at its lowest size, as well as on the last day of the cycle. It would be ideal to measure at both times."
Though she adds, "Usually one or two bigger bras for your biggest days will do, but we should also make sure that your smaller size is suitable for every day."
Top tips for buying a bra online
We're firm believers that every good fashion look starts with the basics, and a good bra is non-negotiable. Even the most well-thought-through capsule wardrobe wouldn't be effective without a well-stocked bra drawer to go with it.
Here's how to make sure you get it right the first time around when shopping online:
- Book an online fit consultation—no, it's not the same as an in-person fitting, but virtual bra fittings can go a long way in helping you find the best fit—and subsequently the best bra—for you.
- Put your new bra through its paces—"When you finally get your bra, make sure you try adjusting the straps and jiggling your boobs," says Carlotta Ghigi, Nudea’s in-house bra technologist and expert fitter. "As you’re putting the bra on, lean forward and ‘jiggle’ your boobs into the cups to get the best fit. This can be a real game-changer for some who’ve been wearing ill-fitting bras for years," she advises.
- Ensure hassle-free returns—"It's an oft-quoted statistic that 80% of British women are wearing the wrong bra size, but self-measurement is just one step in finding your fit," says Ghigi. "So it makes sense to ensure that returning items is as easy as possible."
When should I replace my bra?
As with a pair of the best jeans, you probably have a few favorite bras in your underwear drawer that you turn to again and again. But when your bra no longer feels supportive—whether that's because your bra has lost its stretch, its fabric is wearing thin from over-washing, or your size has changed—it's time to seek out a replacement. But proper care of a bra can prolong its life.
Here are a few tips for making your favorite bra go the distance:
- Machine wash your bra in a garment bag—and on a delicate cycle—to keep it from getting twisted among your other clothes.
- Line your bras up in your underwear drawer like they do in shops. Folding your bra one cup inside the other can shift the padding and compromise its shape.
- Invest in a special detergent, like the Nudea Bra & Briefs Detergent and Softener Duo, to keep your bra in mint condition for as long as possible.
Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC.
She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!
Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress.
The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.
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