Look for: A molded bra to enhance what Mother Nature gave you, or a soft-cup style with or without underwire for a more natural look (just make sure the fabric is double-lined to provide extra modesty). For a believable-looking push-up, choose “bump pads” that sit at the base of the cups, not the sides.
To buy: Lula Lu Petites lined bra, $56, lulalu.com.
Look for: Sturdy material. Whether the cups are molded foam or embroidered lace, avoid anything flimsy or stretchy; otherwise you won’t get the support you need. If you want even more shaping, choose a seamed bra, like this black one. “A vertical seam, sewn down the center of the cup, provides better structure,” says Susan Nethero, the founder of Intimacy, a chain of boutiques.
Look for: Cups with three-part construction consisting of vertical and horizontal seams (like the bra shown here), which offer the most lift and shaping, says Dawn Kenney, the national consultant manager for Wacoal. For a smoother look under clothing, go for a molded T-shirt bra with boning on each side of the band or reinforced panels inside the cups to direct the breasts front and center.
At long last, you don’t have to sacrifice function for fashion. This strapless wonder is completely seamless where it counts (the cups) yet has pretty trim all across the wide and supportive band. Unlike many other versions out there, this bra doesn’t have excessive padding, but just enough to give you the lift you need. On top of all that, it’s convertible. You can add regular or transparent straps to wear it as (1) a halter, (2) a crisscross, (3) a wide-set demi, or a conventional bra.
“Lacy Bras Are Uncomfortable and Bumpy Under Clothes”
Not all lacy bras. Many of today’s lingerie designers are making an effort to produce lace that’s smoother and finer than the scratchier counterparts our mothers wore. When considering any bra, give it a touch test. Or, for a surer bet, try one of these options.
A stretch-lace bra. This style can work for those who need less support. It’s usually seamless and flexible, and it moves with you.
An embellished T-shirt bra. Molded cups offer comfort and sleekness along with flat, lacy accents or a thin lace overlay that doesn’t show through.
A lined seamed bra. Since there’s a layer of cotton or satin between the lace and the skin, this type feels soft, and it even provides extra support.
“I Have an Uncommon Band Size”
If you don’t fall into the 34-to-38 spectrum, you can still find a lacy bra that fits.