Wireless bras may have had a boost in popularity due to pandemic WFH dressing — New York–based model Veronica Campos told us that she “ditched a regular bra immediately” in quarantine — but their appeal has continued. The combination of stretchiness and soft material means that, as Campos says, putting one on is a feeling of “instant comfort”. If you’ve been avoiding wire-free bras so far, know that it’s a myth that wireless bras are unsupportive — the best wireless bras can provide good support and even some light shaping. It’s also a myth that wireless bras are for B cups and below — brands like Cosabella and Lane Bryant cater to larger busts too.
I reached out to a selection of stylish women to ask about their favorites, tested their picks, and perused the Strategist archive to help you find the very best wireless bras and bralettes. From sleek, sporty selections to pretty, lace-trimmed picks, there’s one to suit everyone.
Best unstructured wireless bras
When you think about wireless bras, an unstructured bra is probably what you imagine first, and Negative Underwear’s Sieve Non-Wire Bra is, in many ways, the archetypal version. It’s lightweight and “a little sexy,” but still offers enough support to wear on walks with her dog, according to creative director Emily Eisen. Part of what makes this bra unique is the clasp band, which is similar to that of a bra with an underwire, but Eisen tells us it’s non-itchy and as soft as the bra itself. If you need any more evidence that it’s truly a do-everything bra, take our former newsletter editor Mia Leimkuhler’s word for it: “It was the only bra I needed on a two-week honeymoon in Europe.”
If you’re looking for a pullover style, rather than one with a clasp, this one from ARQ was recommended by two stylish women in our roundup of the best bras for small-breasted women, and photographer Bri McDaniel, who is “obsessed” with the brand. “I wear it all day, sleep in it, and nurse in it,” she says. Writer and brand consultant Harling Ross, told us that she appreciates that ARQ’s products “are made of 98 percent organic cotton and are GOTS certified, which means the material is sourced ethically and sustainably.”
When Everlane launched their own version of a (slightly cheaper) pullover, wide-strap bra, former Strategist writer and current senior editor at SELF magazine, Lori Keong, tested it out, writing that the “very cute” double-walled fit offers “a little more shielding” than your typical soft, unpadded bra. Since then, over 1,800 pleased customers have given the bra an average of four-and-a-half out of five stars.
Pansy is another woman-owned company which Campos appreciates for its size-inclusive and ethically made underthings. Their cotton Full Cup Bra is designed with bigger cup sizes in mind, and is so comfortable that Campos has actually fallen asleep while it’s still on. “There’s no strap adjusting or clasp to clip on, so it’s always zero fuss,” she says, adding that you don’t sacrifice comfort for support because the material is “thick” and has substantial “hold and control. My girls NEVER fall out,” especially in their cross back option. Since she’s a “sucker for matching sets,” Campos buys the brand’s matching shorts and undies which come in “vibrant colors” like “sunflower yellow” and “mermaid green” and have been recommended on the Strategist before. It’s worth noting that over the coming months, Pansy is replacing this model with a 100 percent cotton version.
Hannah Anderson, an associate director in creator partnerships, purchased this bra from Aerie last year (when the brand launched the Smoothez line). “Everyone was talking about this bra specifically,” she says. She loves the fact that it “very much molds to you,” and it has slotted into her working-from-home wardrobe seamlessly. “It’s especially good because it doesn’t start to rub or itch even after long wear times,” Anderson adds.
Politics and social norms of bra-wearing aside, freelance food writer Ariel Kanter hates all bras so much that she’s been known to (in the before times) “de-bra right there in the office” — until she stumbled upon Cosabella’s New Free bralette, which she says is comfortable enough to sleep in. It’s akin to a “lightweight sports bra in shape and a really soft T-shirt in feel” and “gently hugs your boobs” — hers are in the C-cup range — without cutting into your skin.
Former Strategist writer Chloe Anello recommends the Busty Bralette from Lively — a Strategist best-seller that’s recommended by women with larger breasts. Anello likes that “they’re soft and comfortable, and as someone with a larger cup size but small band size, bralettes never fit very well, yet somehow, these are perfect.”
After wandering into the Lively store in Soho, Anderson became “an immediate convert.” The Spacer bra, with its soft fabric and flattering V-neck, is a staple in her wardrobe. “I wear it one or two times per week,” she says. “The elastic band keeps you supported without being restrictive.”
Influenced by her friends, many of whom are “bra snobs,” Strategist writer Rio Viera-Newton purchased this scoop neck from Kim Kardashian’s always-sold-out line Skims in October. She was pleased to find that the bra was in fact “a superspecial, dreamy bra” that’s “incredibly supportive, and great for loafing around the house.” Influencer Lexi Larson describes this Skims piece as “hands down the best bralette.” Owning just one wasn’t enough for Larson — “I have like four of them and they’re so comfortable I usually sleep in them,” she says.
Former Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson gave Harper Wilde’s wired bra top marks for support and fit, but when it comes to “an extremely cozy weekend bra for lounging around” she recommends the brand’s wireless bralette, the Bliss, which she says “is in fact, blissful.”
This Vans bra has evolved from being my lazy day “treat bra” to my go-to under everything from T-shirts to chiffon dresses. Any outfit I wear with it instantly becomes ten times more comfortable, thanks to the bralette’s super-soft cotton. It’s available in six stretchy sizes, and the white and black checkered band is a fun nod to the classic Vans slip-on sneakers. Although my colorway, a pretty lavender, is no longer available, I’m considering purchasing this black version too.
Larson has owned this bra for over three years and is impressed by its longevity — “it’s still in great condition,” she notes. The thick straps make it feel more like a tank than a bra, and like the other True & Co. pieces, it’s pretty inconspicuous under clothes. It also ranks high for comfort, with Larson telling us “I take the pads out and it’s so comfortable I forget I’m wearing anything at all.”
For something a little flirtier, stylist Doria Santlofer likes the “feminine and fun and so flattering” bralettes from Araks, a luxury lingerie brand that also makes highly recommended underwear, bathing suits, and silk pajamas. Santlofer says the brand’s Yanelis bralette — which comes in “the most beautiful colors” like quince — is extra comfortable, and the “panels of silk charmeuse are pretty for a special occasion.”
On the even higher end of things, Eisen opts for this sheer triangle bralette from the French swimwear and lingerie brand Eres, which she keeps on hand for “special occasions” Model Alex Noiret also appreciates the brand’s simple designs, saying that they “provide just the right amount of structure and substance. As a smaller-chested woman, my ideal bra is one that both enhances my silhouette and feels lightweight.”
Best soft-cup wireless bras
Unlike totally unstructured bralettes, soft-cup wireless bras have contoured cups for extra support and coverage. All but one of the wireless bras from Toronto-based undergarment brand Knix — which we’ve said makes some of the best wireless bras for larger breasts — are designed with light, removable padding. These “add a bit more coverage” than an unlined bra, according to digital content creator Aysha Harun. But even with the extra padding, she says this pullover bra feels like a nearly undetectable “second skin,” and the moisture-wicking nylon and spandex “really lets the girls breathe.” It’s also available in black, and four different shades of nudes “so that women of color can wear something that actually matches their skin tone,” as Harun — who wears nude number three — puts it.
True & Co. was one of the first direct-to-consumer bra start-ups, and they make some well-reviewed, subtly padded wireless bras that are recommended by women with small and large breasts alike. Lancaster says that the brand’s scoop lift, which is designed with the DD+ crowd in mind, “straddles that middle ground between classic T-shirt bra” and “sports bra, but without any of the heft.” They also make a version without adjustable straps, called simply the True Body Lift Scoop Neck Bra, which we’ve said is “accommodating” for those with larger cup sizes.
For the smaller chested, brand and e-commerce strategist Elizabeth Simakoff recommends a triangle-style bra of the same “creamy” fabric, which she likes to wear despite her general aversion to wearing bras. It comes with straps that can be converted to a racerback style, and removable pads, which Simakoff takes out for an even more seamless look when wearing tight clothing.
New York deputy editor Alexis Swerdloff was in the market for a wireless bra with more support than a bralette and opted for this (aptly named) How Perfect Bra from Wacoal. It’s proven to be just as “extremely comfortable” as she initially thought, and “took no time at all to sort of mold to my body.”
On a tip from Oprah, model and entrepreneur Beverly Johnson bought this wireless Soma bra, which was comfortable enough to turn her into someone who actually wears bras. “It covers everything really well and gives support without feeling constricting,” she told us, and it’s available in several different skin-tone colors in sizes A through DD.
Among the seven start-up bras that Adelson tested a couple of years ago, this lined, wireless bra from Tommy John is the only one that got full marks for both comfort and support. The lightly molded cups are lined with sweat-wicking material that keeps dreaded under-boob sweat at bay, and the tight-fitting band “helps hold everything up.”
Best lace wireless bras
Cosabella’s underthings are a perennial favorite here at the Strategist, and women with a range of body types say their lace bralettes are among the best on the market. While the Italian brand’s triangle-shaped bralette is recommended by those with smaller cup sizes, their classic sweetie bralette is available in sizes A through H in dozens of colorways. Danielle Iserlis, a former marketing associate at Journelle, says that despite it’s elegant lace look, “this stretch-lace pullover-style bralette is lined with power mesh for ultimate support and has wide, non-digging straps for comfort.”
Thirty minutes after Viera-Newton put on this racerback bralette from Rhianna’s lingerie brand, Savage by Fenty, she ordered three more. Even though she — a D-plus cup — was initially skeptical of the bra’s plunging neckline, and wide, lacy straps, Viera-Newton found that in person it’s “genuinely pretty on, and keeps my chest lifted (but not too lifted)” all without necessitating any adjustments. I also own and love this bra. Sometimes I like to make the ornate straps a feature of my outfits, but it’s also pretty subtle (especially for a lace bra) when worn under tight tops.
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