The 12 Best Bras of 2023 for Every Size and Style

We did the research and talked to a bra expert about the best, most supportive bras, no matter what size and style you're looking for.

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three bras on pink background

Real Simple / Alli Waataja

Ditching your worn-out bras for something more supportive can make your daily life much more comfortable (goodbye loose straps and underwire stabs). But given that there are so many types of bras available, shopping for a new one can easily become overwhelming. 

But worry not: We’ve spent hours researching bras and considering factors like style, size, fit, material, and return policy to find the best ones available for all kinds of busts and budgets. We also talked to Kimmay Caldwell, bra expert and undergarment educator, for pro tips on how to shop for bras.

“Even the best bra in the wrong fit is going to feel like a bad bra,” says Caldwell. One way to ensure your bra will work for you is to check that the band feels like a snug hug. “Almost every single bra problem can be traced back to a loose or stretched out band,” says Caldwell. “You want your bra to fit on your body and just hug you and stay in place, so that band really is so important. I always tell people it's about 90 percent of the bra support.” 

Whether you're looking for a comfortable wireless bra or a supportive minimizer bra, we found the best recommendations.

Best Overall Bra

ThirdLove 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra

ThirdLove 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra


Who it’s for: People looking for a versatile, comfortable bra that’s available in half-cup sizes and lots of colors. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a push-up bra. 

If you can’t seem to find a bra that fits right, this T-shirt bra from ThirdLove has your back. The beloved lingerie retailer carries their bras in half-cup sizes and has an impressive range of band sizes, going from size 32 to 44, so that no one has to settle for an ill-fitting bra. 

The 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra is made from nylon jersey fabric, which feels soft and cozy against the skin. It also has smoothing properties, so it vanishes underneath a T-shirt and leaves no trace of bra lines or bulging. The cups are made with ultra-thin memory foam, so they’ll mold to your body and won’t poke through a tight top. For additional comfort, the straps on this bra have a no-slip lining, so they’ll stay put without digging into your skin. The straps also have pleated details and feature gold alloy hardware for extra flair. 

ThirdLove carries their T-shirt bra in a wide range of neutral shades, so you’ll be able to find something close to your skin tone, as well as some more fun colors like Blue Ice and Tea Rose. ThirdLove also has a generous 60-day return policy, so there’s plenty of time to try out your bra and return it if you need a different size. 

Price at time of publish: $72

Size Range: 32A-44H | Materials: Nylon, spandex | Return Policy: 60 days

Best Budget Bra

Hanes Oh-So-Light ComfortFlex Fit Wireless Bra

Oh-So-Light ComfortFlex Fit Wireless Bra


Who it’s for: People looking for a lightweight and basic bra for daily wear. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a lot of support. 

The Hanes Oh-So-Light ComfortFlex Fit Wireless Bra provides lasting comfort and support all day long. It’s wireless and has a tagless design to avoid irritation, and it's made with a four-way stretch fabric that doesn’t constrict movement. It’s also completely smooth, so it won’t make any unwanted statements under T-shirts or blouses. 

This bra comes in three neutral colors (white, beige, and black), as well as blue, and while it’s not the most fashion-forward option out there, it does meet the basics of your wardrobe. It also goes from a size S-3X to fit a range of body types. 

This bra isn’t the most supportive option on the list, so while it’s good for light chores and errands, you may want to go with a different style if you’re looking for something more heavy-duty. Plus, it’s hand-wash only, which is a bit more inconvenient, but it’ll pay off to keep this affordable, everyday bra in great condition (and experts recommend hand washing bras, regardless).  

Price at time of publish: $17

Size Range: S-3XL | Materials: Nylon, spandex | Return Policy: 30 days

Best Wireless Bra

Floatley Cozy Wireless Adjustable Bra

Floatley Cozy Wireless Adjustable Bra


Who it’s for: People looking for a wireless, medium-coverage bra that can work with V-neck tops. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a bra that looks more like a traditional bra. 

The Floatley Cozy Wireless Adjustable Bra is known for its versatility and comfort, and it’s a favorite of Kimmay Caldwell, bra expert and undergarment educator: “I love that there's an adjustable back, and there's a little bit of modesty in the cup,” she says, “It has adjustable straps, too, and they're thin.” It’s made with a combination of nylon and spandex, which are two durable materials that can stand up to lots of washes.

Floatley uses brushed fabric, which gives this bra an incredibly soft touch and a weightless quality, and it ditches the underwire, so you feel like you’re hardly wearing anything. While this bra doesn’t have traditional cups, it still gives shape and support from its built-in bra pads and high-recovery underband grips that move with, not against, your body. 

Floatley’s size options range from XS to 2XL, and this bra comes in 13 different color options in case you want to go bold or neutral. It’s also made with bonded free-cut edges that lay flat against your skin, creating a seamless look even while wearing a tight top. 

Price at time of publish: $35

Size Range: XS-2XL | Materials: Nylon, spandex | Return Policy: 30 days

Best Push-Up Bra

Lively The All-Day Plunge No-Wire Bra

Who it’s for: People looking for a comfortable push-up bra that’s wire-free. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a bra that’s available in larger band sizes. 

If you want some extra oomph without the discomfort a traditional push-up bra can bring, try the Lively No-Wire Push-Up Bra. As its name suggests, it has a wireless design that gets rid of any uncomfortable digging, so you can look good and feel even better. The cups are lightly padded at the bottom to give you just the right amount of lift and shape, and the sleek fabric is discrete under different types of tops. 

This bra is made from nylon, which is a durable material with a great stretch, meaning that this bra will move with you instead of constricting you. It also comes with some stylish mesh details that make it breathable. The adjustable straps are convertible too, allowing you to pair this bra with your favorite racerback top. 

This bra comes in eight color options, including neutral and bold shades, but it’s only available in band sizes 32-38. If you’re unsure of the fit, know that Lively accepts returns within 30 days, so you can try it on before committing.

Price at time of publish: $45

Size Range: 32A-38DDD | Materials: Nylon, spandex | Return Policy: 30 days

Best Front-Close Bra

Vanity Fair Illumination Front Close Underwire Bra

Vanity Fair Illumination Front-Close Underwire Bra


Who it’s for: People who want a bra with a smooth, hardware-free back. 

Who it isn’t for: People with smaller busts. 

Front closure bras are great for lots of reasons. “They’re more accessible for a lot of people, and you can also get a really smooth, clean back with no hardware,” says Caldwell. “So if you need that super clean line, or if you want a decorative back that can show in an outfit, you don't have to worry about it peeking through clothes back there.” 

This bra offers all of those benefits, plus full-coverage, convertible straps and a reinforced wire channel. It’s made with nylon and spandex which means it's built to last, and it has a nice stretch to make it more comfortable to wear.

This bra comes in sizes 34B-42D (and it’s also available in a Full Figure version that goes up to 44DDD), so while it’s not the best pick if you have a smaller cup or band size, it does offer plenty of support for larger busts. The full coverage design is built with a higher neckline and wide sides to prevent spillover. The straps can also be worn traditionally, crisscross, or halter, making this bra compatible with most tops in your wardrobe at a bargain price. 

Price at time of publish: $48

Size Range: 34B-42D (also available in Full Figure version up to 44DDD) | Materials: Nylon, spandex | Return Policy: 30 days

Best Strapless Bra

Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Underwire Bra

Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Underwire Bra


Who it’s for: People looking who want a bra that won’t slide down under strapless tops. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a strapless bra with more skin-tone or color options. 

Finding a strapless bra that actually stays up and supports your bust seems to be an impossible task, but the Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Underwire Bra proves that it can be done. It uses hidden stays along the band and a silicone strip along the top and bottom of the bra to keep your bust in place and to prevent it from sliding down. It also comes with detachable straps in case you’re trying to style an off-the-shoulder or halter look. 

The cups on this bra are as soft and smooth as can be, and they won’t peek through your top or dress either. A structured front gore offers additional support and keeps everything separated and lifted. The fabric is made from nylon and spandex which makes this bra long-lasting, and it has a smoothing effect that minimizes bulge from a tight band.   

This bra comes in band sizes 30-44 and cup sizes B-I, making it a great pick for people with larger busts. However, it only comes in four neutral shades, so they don't have a wide range to choose from. But, if you aren’t looking for a bra that matches your exact skin tone, we bet this one will become your go-to for strapless outfits. 

Price at time of publish: $76

Size Range: 30B-44I | Materials: Nylon, spandex | Return Policy: 60 days via the manufacturer

Best Bra for Large Busts

Elomi Cate Full Cup Banded Bra

Elomi Cate Side Support Bra


Who it’s for: People looking for a soft, comfortable bra that supports a larger chest. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a bra with convertible straps. 

The Elomi Cate Side Support Bra is designed to offer lift, support, and shape for people with fuller busts. Caldwell tells us that “they use power mesh in some of their products because they go up to a 46 band and very full cup sizes,” which ensures that this bra will hold your bust in place throughout all kinds of activities and the band will stay snug after many uses.

One key feature of this bra is its four-part, double-layer underwire cups which shape your bust and provide full coverage. The cups have mesh accents and flat finish embroidery, so you can wear a cute bra without it poking through your shirt. For additional structure, it’s built with support panels that work to separate your breasts and keep them lifted. Plus, the stretchy polyester fabric feels like you’re wearing a cozy hug for all-day comfort. 

In terms of size, this bra ranges from a 34 to a 46 band size and U.K. cup sizes DD-K, which is equivalent to DD/E-O in U.S. sizing. It also comes in a great variety of colors, including both skin-tone shades and bolder hues. One slight disadvantage is that the straps aren’t convertible, so you may not want to pair this bra with a halter or racerback top. However, the straps are adjustable and close-set, which means they won’t slip off your shoulders during the day.

Price at time of publish: $59

Size Range: 32D-46O | Materials: Polyamide, elastane, polyester | Return Policy: 30 days

Best Bra for Small Busts

Pepper Classic All You Bra

Pepper Classic All You Bra


Who it’s for: People with smaller busts who want a well-fitting underwire bra. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a wireless bra or bralette and people who need something larger than a B cup. 

Say goodbye to gaping cups, uncomfortable padding, and bands that ride up, thanks to the Pepper Classic All You Bra. It’s made from remarkably soft elastane and nylon, which hugs your body like your favorite pair of leggings. It also features flattering mesh accents on the cups, which not only look cute, but provide extra lift and shaping. The super smooth fabric also means that this bra is compatible with semi-sheer t-shirts and won’t show any bra lines or texture.  

This bra was designed specifically with small busts in mind, so it comes in cup sizes AA-B and band sizes 30-40. The cups are lightly lined and are made to be shallower, so they sit closer to your chest, eliminating the gaping cups that occur when you try on a traditional bra. It also has a snug elastic band, so it stays in place all day, and an underwire with an optimized curve that sits just right. Pepper also offers a range of neutral hues so you can pair this bra with just about any top and rejoice that you found a bra that’s actually made for your body. 

Price at time of publish: $55

Size Range: 32AA/30A-40B | Materials: Elastane, polyamide | Return Policy: 30 days

Best T-Shirt Bra

Natori Understated Bra

Natori Understated Bra


Who it’s for: People looking for a sleek, moisture-wicking bra that won’t show through a fitted shirt. 

Who it isn’t for: People who prefer an unlined bra. 

A good T-shirt bra should disappear under your clothes, which is exactly what the Natori Understated Bra does. Its streamlined construction leaves no trace of bra lines, even when wearing a fitted top. The smooth cups feature the perfect contour padding to give your breasts a nice, natural lift, and they’re lined with elastic to flatter both small and large busts. Luxe details like a gold engraved crest at the center gore add a sophisticated touch to this bra. 

The bra is made with Supplex, which is a type of nylon. Supplex is known for being moisture-wicking, which makes it great for people who sweat in their bust area, and it’s super stretchy which makes it more durable. The thin, adjustable straps are closer set, so you can wear this bra under tank tops without your straps showing. One thing to note though is that the back clasp only has a one hook closure for smaller sizes, so if your band stretches out, you can't make it tighter. 

This bra comes in band sizes 30-38 and cup sizes A-DDD. This versatile and flattering T-shirt bra will quickly become a staple of your wardrobe thanks to its elegant, modern design. 

Price at time of publish: $70

Size Range: 30A-38DDD | Materials: Supplex, lycra | Return Policy: 30-60 days via the manufacturer

Best Tank Bra

Harper Wilde Bliss Bralette

Harper Wilde The Bliss Bralette


Who it’s for: People in search of a comfortable yet supportive bra for lounging. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a traditional cupped bra. 

For moments when you just can’t be bothered with underwires and clasps, consider the Harper Bliss Bralette. It’s like wearing your favorite T-shirt, just more supportive thanks to its proprietary band construction which gives you lift without any underwire. Caldwell tells us that she “wears it all the time,” and that “it has a nice low band, so it doesn't roll like other non-wire bras.” She also mentions that it’s “great for traveling,” so if you’re on the go, know that this bra will support you throughout the day without causing any discomfort.  

This bra is made from buttery soft nylon and elastane, which has a slightly compressive effect to keep everything smooth and held up. Plus, this bra has a chic V-neck cut in the front and back, perfect for pairing with a low-cut top. 

While this bralette doesn't have the cups of a traditional bra, it does feature a double-layer sling to add extra support for sizes large and above. Speaking of which: Harper Wilde offers this bralette in an impressive range of sizes going from XS-4X, so everyone can enjoy its comfort. 

Price at time of publish: $45

Size Range: XS-4XL | Materials: Nylon, elastane | Return Policy: 90 days

Best Minimizer Bra

Wacoal Simple Shaping Minimizer Bra

Wacoal Simple Shaping Minimizer Bra


Who it’s for: People looking for a sleek, comfortable bra that will make their breasts appear smaller. 

Who it isn’t for: People with smaller busts and people who want colors other than black or beige. 

The Wacoal Simple Shaping Minimizer Bra was designed with larger busts in mind, providing support and comfort for cups sizes C to G. It redistributes breast tissue to reduce your bust size by up to one inch without any awkward padding. This bra uses a blend of nylon, spandex, and polyester to hold your bust in place while feeling silky smooth against the skin. It also offers thick, adjustable straps and a U-shaped back which prevents the straps from slipping. 

The cups on this bra are unlined, but they’re double-molded to shape and support your bust. They’re seamless too, so you don’t have to worry about them poking through a fitted shirt. However, there aren’t a lot of color options to choose from; Wacoal only offers this bra in black and beige. But, even if you’re looking for a minimizer that has a little bit more style, this one still offers great structure and lift with its sleek look. If you aren’t sure if this bra is right for you, Wacoal offers free returns within 60 days so you have plenty of time to test it out. 

Price at time of publish: $58

Size Range: 32C-44G | Materials: Nylon, spandex/elastane, nylon | Return Policy: 60 days via the manufacturer

Best Balconette Bra

Chantelle Fleurs Demi Bra

Chantelle Fleurs Demi Bra


Who it’s for: People looking for a lightweight bra with lace detailing. 

Who it isn’t for: People who’d rather spend less on a more utilitarian bra. 

Caldwell says this is her favorite lace style from Chantelle, a French bra maker known for elegant, high-quality bras. The gorgeous Fleurs Demi Bra features transparent cups with an embroidered floral design and scalloped edges as well as gold hardware. It’s sexy, sophisticated, and supportive—what more could you possibly want in a bra?

Beyond its look, this bra is also incredibly well-made. It has a smooth underwire to lift your bust without any poking, and it features a U-shaped back that anchors the straps to prevent slipping. The straps are adjustable too, so you can customize this bra to find your perfect fit. The band and center gore are made with semi-sheer mesh, which feels light and airy against the skin for ultimate comfort. 

This bra comes in sizes 32B to 36G/38DD. Since it’s on the pricier side, you may be worried about getting the wrong size, but know that Chantelle allows free returns within 60 days of delivery, so you can try out this bra risk-free. Plus, since Chantelle uses only the highest quality materials, you know this one will last a while with proper care, making it a worthy undergarment to splurge on. 

Price at time of publish: $108

Size Range: 32B-36G/38DD | Materials: Polyamide, elastane, polyester | Return Policy: 60 days

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the ThirdLove 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra because of its soft fabric, seamless appearance, and foam-molded cups that fit you just right. We’re also a big fan of its impressive size range that includes half-cup sizes, allowing everyone to find a comfortable bra that fits just right. If you’re shopping on a budget, we recommend the Hanes Oh-So-Light ComfortFlex Fit Wireless Bra for its wide range of sizes and four-way stretch fabric that allows you to move freely. 

How to Shop for Bras Like a Pro 


There are lots of different bra styles available, including T-shirt, wireless, balconette, and push-up, just to name a few. Each style has its own benefits and uses, so it’s helpful to think about what you’re looking for before going bra shopping. For instance, if you want something supportive yet comfortable enough for everyday use, a wireless bra will be your best bet. If you’re looking for something that accentuates your cleavage, a push-up bra is the way to go. 

If you want something that won’t poke through a tight top, Caldwell recommends a classic T-shirt bra: “A T-shirt bra is typically just anything that's smooth. It looks nice and clean underneath your clothes,” she says. But if you want to show off your cleavage, Caldwell suggests looking at a demi bra, which has a straight-across cup. You could also consider a plunge bra, “which is really great for plunging necklines, or someone who wants to also create a little extra cleavage.” Another style to consider is a balconette bra. While it may look similar to a demi bra, “a balconette bra is almost like a sweetheart neckline, so it might come up a little bit higher on the side and then sort of stick down towards the center gore,” Caldwell explains. “It has that sort of across-the-breast shape, but it's not truly straight across,” as a demi bra would be. 

If you’re looking for a convertible bra, there are tons of options to choose from. “The most convertible of them all is the strapless bra because you can wear it without straps or as a halter with one strap,” Caldwell says. “You can do one shoulder, you can do criss-cross in the back for racerback, all different things. You can really decide where those straps go in the back to match your particular outfit.” While other types of convertible bras “have a plunge front or more of a sweetheart shape,” a strapless bra is “typically more straight across in the front,” says Caldwell. Other types of convertible bras that Caldwell likes are styles that let you criss cross the straps or come with a J-hook “so you can just lengthen your straps and then hook that together, which is pretty neat.”

As for the style of your bra closure, you’ll find that most will have a clasp in the back with three or four hooks. However, if you have mobility issues or just dislike back clasps, a front closure bra is ideal. “You can put your bra on almost like a little jacket and then hook it in the front, so it’s more accessible for a lot of people,” says Caldwell. However, front closure bras aren’t the best choice for all breasts. “Some folks are very close-set in the middle, and so getting a bra to tack in between can be tricky unless there's a really high center gore, meaning there’s a lot of material from the top to the bottom of the middle of the front of the bra,” Caldwell explains. “Typically a front closure bra is pretty small in the front. If you need extra separation there, and your bra just has that one little clasp at the bottom, it just seems like a lot of boob in the middle of the body for some folks.” Furthermore, front closure bras “don't typically get the additional hooks and eyes like back clasps, so once it stretches out, it stretches out and you can't adjust it anymore,” Caldwell says, so you may have to replace it more frequently. But, it’s definitely worth it if you struggle to put on back clasp bras. 

Size and Fit

It’s important to make sure your bra feels nice and supportive for your size and breast shape before committing to your purchase. Caldwell says to look for a bra with a band that feels snug to your body. But since bras are made out of elastic, they will stretch out over time. According to Caldwell, “it's ideal if you can start with it sitting nice and snug on the loosest hook, because that way as it stretches and starts to ride up, you can move it in.”

However, if you’re pregnant, on medication, or experiencing other changes with your body, Caldwell has different advice for your band fit. “Your body will be expanding, so I usually suggest putting it on the middle hook,” she advises. “That way, if your body expands, you can push it out, and if it stretches the bra strap so that you can move it in.” 

There are a few ways to check the fit of your band to make sure it’s the right size for you. For starters, you should hook the band at the outermost hook and make sure it’s parallel to the ground. Then slide a finger underneath it to test it. If you’re able to fit more than one finger, the band is too loose, and if you can’t fit a finger at all, it’s too tight. 

When it comes to bra cups, Caldwell tells us that “a foam molded cup is really popular now.” She elaborates that “foam molding has built-in nipple coverage, but it doesn't always fit everybody's bust best.” If you aren’t a fan of foam molded cups, a stretch lace cut-and-sew bra might be a better option. “A stretch lace cut-and-sew bra is cut and sewn together, which means it has seams and sometimes offers the best support—it's like those seams are supports on a bridge. They really give a natural lift and awesome shape.” 

Beyond foam molded and cut-and-sew cups, you may also see cups with spacer 3D molding. “That's actually a knit, but it looks like a foam molded cup, so you can kind of blow air through it. And it's a little squishy and way more flexible.” Caldwell explains. “Breasts are sometimes sisters and not twins, so if you need something that has a little bit more flexibility in it, either a stretch cup, a cut-and-sew cup, a 3D spacer or molded cup, or anything that has a little bit more flexibility is better for those busts.”

To check the cup size, put on a tight T-shirt over your bra. If you notice any puckering or bulging, you need a bigger size. Also, be sure to turn to the side and check the alignment of your breasts. They should sit halfway between your shoulders and elbows, and if not, you need something more supportive. 


Just as there are lots of different bra styles, you’ll find that there are lots of different materials that are found in bras too. Most bras are made with an elastic band and foam cups with a lining made out of nylon, cotton, lace, or elastane (aka spandex). Nylon is a smooth, durable fabric that feels comfortable against the skin, making it a good choice for bras. It has a slight stretch and moisture-wicking properties to keep you cool. Cotton is another popular option, particularly for the interior lining of a bra because it feels remarkably soft. Elastane is what gives bras their stretch, which is an important factor given that breast size can change with your menstrual cycle, and you don’t want to be any more uncomfortable during that time of the month. 

Lastly, lace bras offer more style and elegance, but keep in mind that the texture may poke through a T-shirt. If lace irritates your skin, Caldwell advises that you wash it before you wear it. “I get really red when I put on some lace, and it's because they sometimes put starch in that bra cup to make it look really crisp and to keep its shape. But don't be afraid of lace bras,” she urges.   

Keep in mind that the type of material your bra has will impact its longevity. “If your bra is made out of stretch mesh that is really delicate and stretchy, or a really stretchy jersey material, that will stretch out faster than if you make something that's made out of power mesh or one that's lined,” says Caldwell. 

Return Policy

Even after measuring your size, sometimes a bra just doesn’t fit quite right. That’s why it’s a good idea to look at a brand’s return policy before buying from them, just in case you need to send it back. Most bra brands offer a return policy that’s at least 30 days, so you can take some time to decide if the fit is right for you.

When shopping online for bras, “brands know you’re not getting fit by someone and you're kind of guessing, so they're saying ‘please try it on and then send back what doesn't work,’” says Caldwell. If you go to a bra boutique, Caldwell warns that they may have stricter return policies, but they also have an expert who's helping you determine the exact right bra for you.

Questions You Might Ask

How do you measure your bra size? 

While you can measure your bra size at home, Caldwell suggests going to a professional or a local bra boutique with a wide range of sizes for your fitting needs. “Not only will they measure you, but they will also then be able to help you decide which styles and which sizes in each bra are going to fit,” she says. 

To measure yourself at home, Caldwell says to start by finding your band size. Take a tape measure and wrap it underneath your under bust, then take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. “Breathe like a normal human—you don't need to hike anything up or puff anything out,” says Caldwell. It’s also important to make sure that the measuring tape is parallel to the floor and snug against your body while you measure. Take the measurement you have and round it up to the closest inch, and then the closest even number to get your band size. “For example, if you measured 29 inches, you can round up to 30 as your starting band size,” says Caldwell. 

Next, find your bust measurement. To do so, Caldwell says to wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust, and take a deep breath in and out: “This time you just want it to kiss your bust—you don't need it to squeeze in at all.” Once you get that number, subtract it from your band size (the 30 from the previous example) to find your cup size. “One inch equals every letter, so you’ll be A, B, C, D, or E, and in US sizing, an E is a DD.” If, for example, your bust measurement is 35 inches, you’d subtract it from 30 and get 5, which means that your bra size is 30E or 30DD. 

“Then you find your sister size, which is one band size up one cup size down,” Caldwell explains—in this example, it would be a 32D. “Those are the two sizes that you would start with when trying on bras,” she says, and comparing them is useful when trying to find a bra with the best fit.  

When it comes to measuring yourself, Caldwell recommends having a bra on. “It's still usually a better indication of your volume than if you were to just let your bust hang, especially if you are a very full busted person, an elderly person, or nursing.” Though, you want to avoid wearing a minimizer or push-up bra so you can get the best fit. 

Additionally, it’s important to note that bra sizes can vary by retailer, so it’s good practice to reference their size chart before purchasing to ensure your bra will fit. 

How many bras should you own?

While this answer will depend on your daily routine and preferences, 7-10 bras will do the trick for most people, according to Caldwell. “I usually suggest that folks start with the two or three basics and just compare those, and then start adding in those other categories one by one,” she says. “Seven to 10 bras is a big investment, so just add them in little by little. You can go off in all sorts of different directions: pretty bras, stick-on bras, etc., but start with the basics.”

How long should bras last?

Six months to a year tends to be the average lifespan for a bra, but the longevity of your bra will depend on a lot of different factors. “If you’re someone like me who has hundreds of bras, they’re going to last a lot longer than somebody who has only a couple,” Caldwell explains. “The other thing to think about is also how much work is your bra doing. If you are wearing a size 32A, which is quite petite, your bras aren’t working as hard as if you are wearing a 32H.”

Since fuller-busted people have more weight on their chest, it causes the band to stretch out faster, which means that “unfortunately, fuller-busted folks have to buy bras more often,” says Caldwell. The last factor to consider is how well-made your bra is. “If you're buying a really cheap bra that uses super stretchy elastic and doesn't have any kind of structure to it, that is probably going to stretch out really fast as opposed to something that's made with firmer or more durable materials,” says Caldwell. 

To increase the longevity of your bras, Caldwell suggests that you hand wash and air dry your bras. A good bra should last between six to 12 months, given that you’re taking proper care of it. If you notice changes in how the band, straps, or cups fit, or if you see little elastic “hairs” appear on the surface of your bra, that means you’re due for a new one.  

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Jen Woo, a freelance design, lifestyle, and culture writer and content strategist with over 10 years of experience. To write this article, she thoroughly researched bras and considered factors like size, style and fit, materials, and return policy to make her final picks. For top-tier insight on shopping for bras, Jen spoke to Kimmay Caldwell, bra expert and undergarment educator.

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