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

Included in this guide:

a collage grid image showing eight of w&h's best bras picks—including options from Wonderbra, Elomi, Calvin Klein and Marks & Spencer—on a light pink background
(Image credit: Future)

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. 

Finding the best bra for you can often take some time and effort—especially if you don't know what exactly to look for for your body and bust type. So we've tested dozens of bra styles, from everyday wear to bra solutions and more, to pick out the very best bras for every bust type.

With styles for a wide selection of cup sizes, body types, and budgets, there’s something for everyone. In order to pick the best styles, when testing we looked at the quality of the 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 selected 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 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. 

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 bra

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.


Curvy Kate Victory 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 : 7
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. 

Figleaves Juliette balconette bra

(Image credit: Figleaves)

2. Figleaves Juliette Lace Underwired Balcony Bra

The best padded balcony bra

Specifications
Sizes: 30A–38GG
Best suited to: Small boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP: $28/£20
Number of colors : 1
Reasons to buy
+Gives small boobs a boost, without looking unnatural +Comfortable enough for everyday wear
Reasons to avoid
-Fabric a little scratchy 

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.

Freya Idol Balcony Bra in black

(Image credit: Freya)

3. Freya Idol Moulded Balcony Bra

Best everyday balcony bra

Specifications
Sizes: 28D-38G
Best suited to: All boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP: $68/£36
Number of colors: 5
Reasons to buy
+Super smooth fabric+Inclusive sizing 
Reasons to avoid
-Can niggle beneath the arms. 

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.

Boux Avenue Rosie Dd+ Non-Wired Balconette Bra, one of w&h's picks for best bras

(Image credit: Boux Avenue)

4. Boux Avenue Rosie DD+ Non-Wired Balconette Bra

Best balcony bra for bigger boobs

Specifications
Sizes: 30DD-40G
Best suited to : Big boobs
Wired: No
Padded: No
RRP: $46/£34
Number of colors : 2
Reasons to buy
+Non padded and non-wired+Scalloped trim+Balconette style
Reasons to avoid
-Not good for small busts-Scratchy lace

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.

best strapless bras: Figleaves Smoothing Strapless Underwired Balcony Bra

(Image credit: Figleaves )

5. Figleaves Smoothing Strapless Underwired Balcony Bra

Best budget strapless bra

Specifications
Sizes: 30B-40GG
Best suited to: All boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP: $35/£26
Number of colors: 2
Reasons to buy
+Second-skin fit+Versatile+No rubbing or bulging
Reasons to avoid
-Better support for smaller sizes-May roll over over clothes after long-time wear

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. 

Playtex Flower Elegance Balcony Bra

(Image credit: Playtex)

6. Playtex Flower Elegance Balcony Bra

Best balcony bra with pretty details

Specifications
Sizes: 34B-40F
Best suited to: Small-medium boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Lightly
RRP: $38/£30
Number of colors: 8
Reasons to buy
+Feminine design+Super stretchy fabric
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn’t cater for smaller back sizes

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.


M&S Rosie for Autograph Silk & Lace Underwired Full Cup Bra

(Image credit: M&S)

Best padded bra overall

Specifications
Sizes: 3A0-40E
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 
Reasons to avoid
-Only goes up to an E cup 

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.

Pour Moi Flora Lightly Padded Underwired Bra

(Image credit: Pour Moi)

2. Pour Moi Flora Lightly Padded Underwired Bra

Best lightly padded bra

Specifications
Sizes: 32A-38F
Best suited to: All boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP: $39/£20
Number of colors: 8
Reasons to buy
+Looks good+Broad choice of colourways
Reasons to avoid
-Wire between the cups niggles a little 

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. 

Amoena Mara Non-Wired Padded Bra

(Image credit: Amoena)

3. Amoena Mara Non-Wired Padded Bra

Best mastectomy bra

Specifications
Sizes: 32AA-42DD
Best suited to: Those looking for the perfect fit following a mastectomy
Wired: No
Padded: Yes
RRP: $45.95/£25
Number of colors: 5
Reasons to buy
+Inclusive sizing+Tax-free options for shoppers in certain regions 
Reasons to avoid
-Stitching can niggle 

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.  

Boux Avenue Ultra Boost Bra

(Image credit: Boux Avenue)

4. Boux Avenue Ultra Boost Bra

Best padded bra for a real boost

Specifications
Sizes: 30A-38DD
Best suited to: Big boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded: Yes
RRP: $45/£28
Number of colors: 2
Reasons to buy
+Super-charged padding for smaller busts+Pretty lace back
Reasons to avoid
-Not entirely comfortable for all day wear

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!

Wonderbra Refined Glamour Full Effect Push-up Bra

(Image credit: Wonderbra)

5. Wonderbra Refined Glamour Full Effect Push-up Bra

Best luxury push-up bra

Specifications
Sizes : 30A-38D
Best for: Small-medium boobs
Wired: Yes
Padded : Yes
RRP : $52/£39
Number of colors: 1
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful detailing+Full-coverage padding for extra lift+Convertible straps
Reasons to avoid
-May not be the best for casual wear-May be see-through under thin garments

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. 

Intimissimi Gioia Bandeau Bra

(Image credit: Intermissi)

6. Intimissimi Gioia Bandeau Bra

Best strapless bra for a small bust

Specifications