Over the past few years, bralettes and good-looking sports bras have practically upended the lingerie market, and while there are nice-looking options for larger breasts (size D and up), you may be wondering: do any of these wireless bras deliver legitimate support?
To find the best wireless bras for larger breasts, we talked to a few experts, from lingerie store owners to merchandise managers. One thing to remember: A well-fitted band is essential, emphasizes Danielle Iserlis, marketing associate at Journelle. “Contrary to popular belief, 80 percent of support comes from the band, not the straps,” she says. Below, seven women on the best wire-free bras around.
The best wireless bra
Jenette Goldstein, owner of the Los Angeles store Jenette Bras, is a big fan of Fortnight’s stealthily strong mesh options. “Fortnight is a small, woman-owned company in Toronto, crafting high-quality wireless bras in-house since long before the current ‘bralette’ marketing trend,” says Goldstein. “They employ every technical trick in the book — architectural seaming, power mesh, reinforced panels — to compensate for the lack of underwire. Our clients have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of support they get from the Luna.” Gina Marinelli, a freelance writer and editor, is also a big fan of the Luna style from Fortnight. “I love the superwide band, which provides a comfortable fit and extra underboob support,” she explains.
Fortnight’s longline styles come in more than ten sizes, ranging from 30DD-36DD and 32F-34F, an anomaly in the bralette space, where XS-L (or possibly XL, if you’re lucky) is the norm. “Anything with that extra-longline effect with no wire is going to be a winner for larger sizes, because it adds extra support and coverage,” says Rebecca Lee, general manager and assistant buyer at Azaleas, an underthings store in New York.
The best soft-cup wireless bras
Marten, from Nordstrom, suggests styles from Lively, the direct-to-consumer brand founded by a Victoria’s Secret alum. The brand makes “a few fantastic wireless options” for the well-endowed, per Marten, and they’re affordably priced at $35 each.
“Royce is a UK brand that makes only wire-free bras, and some are available up to UK size L,” says Kimmay Caldwell, a professional undergarment educator who wears a size 32DD. “They are supportive and simple, and some are really pretty.” The Maisie style, seen here, is a favorite of Howell’s, featuring seaming details that make it a lot less dowdy than most full-coverage silhouettes, but the same can be said for several other styles from Royce.
The best lace bralettes
“The lace cup is pretty but also it isn’t incredibly stretchy so it provides a really nice lift — as good as an underwire bra,” says Marinelli of this Panache style. Other key factors include “seamed construction, adjustable band and straps — important for a good fit — and [availability] up to a UK cup-size H,” says Caldwell. “I just helped a pregnant customer with a full, heavy bust into this style — [she] needed a wire-free option that was still supportive and gorgeous.”
Cosabella’s classic bralette, retooled for fuller busts, comes highly recommended by Iserlis. “This stretch-lace pullover-style bralette is lined with power mesh for ultimate support and has wide, non-digging straps for comfort,” she says. However, it may require some extra support for larger sizes, says Caldwell, who’s also a fan of the style. “Some of my clients layer this over a supportive bra for that fashionable bralette look, plus support.”
Caldwell also recommends trying out Elila, a brand that “makes the most supportive wire-free bras for very full busts and fuller-figured women, up to N cups,” she says. “They are far more structured than most wire-free options, and give great lift without the underwire.” This popular lace style features full coverage, a more supportive cup thanks to three-piece construction, and a three-hook closure.
She also says it’s worth considering Montelle Intimates’ lacy bralettes, offered in myriad colors and cup sizes up to an F/G. “I love this bra; it offers [much] better support even for those with slightly fuller busts, like me,” explains Caldwell.
“I never thought I could go outside without wearing an underwire bra, but Torrid’s lace bralettes were the first bralette style to change my mind,“ says Liz Black, freelance writer and blogger at P.S. It’s Fashion, noting that hers has held up for years. “I only wear the longline band styles; that’s where the majority of the support comes from with underwire bras, and the same is true for bralettes.” Besides a design with a more substantial band, “I look for other details, like how does it fit on the model and how busty she is — if she appears to have much smaller breasts than me and is spilling out of the bralette, then chances are it will be even worse for me.”
The best seamless bralettes
This sleek True & Co. style is sort of like a racerback-free sports bra, without intense compression or sporty insignias. “Not only is it a comfortable and seamless bralette, [but] due to the technology of the fabrication and the construction of the fit, it is flexible and accommodates a range of various breast tissue,” says Marten. “It’s also an affordable option, retailing for under $60.”
Toronto company Knix also makes excellent, surprisingly very supportive seamless styles that fit up to a size G, like this V-neck version. It’s cut just low enough, and has thick, nicely textured straps. As an added bonus, it’s currently on sale.
The brand’s signature 8-in-1 Evolution Bra has a higher neckline, can be worn eight ways, and is fully reversible; the black/nude combo is particularly practical.
“I frequently work from home, and the last thing I really want to do is sit around in an underwire bra, but being an H-cup, it’s also very uncomfortable to be totally braless for long,” says Black. “So I’ve been practically living in wireless bras for the last few years,” she says, particularly the seamless, stretchy styles from Lane Bryant’s private-label lingerie line, Cacique. “I don’t feel awkward wearing it when I run errands or even meet a friend for a drink. I typically wear an 18/20 in their bralettes, which fits my 40H chest perfectly.” Sarah Chiwaya, a plus-size fashion blogger at Curvily who wears a size 38L, is also a fan of Cacique’s wire-free bras: “I need to know that my chest won’t fly out of my bralette if I run for a bus or hustle down the subway steps.”
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