All the trend reports confirm what we already know: if you’ve got boobs on the smaller end of the spectrum, bralettes rule. The bralette is having a moment right now among women whose breast size permits the freedom, and wish for something less oppressive than the average bra.
Bralettes—which are just bras that typically have no underwire or padding—have been around forever, of course, but the marketing and coverage around them seems to be intensifying. In an article today about the latest trend in boob-wear, Slate describes bralettes as “the athleisure of unmentionables” and writes:
The bralette is everywhere this spring. BuzzFeed recently ran a post called “18 Reasons You Should Ditch Your Bra for a Bralette.” Business Insider reported that Victoria’s Secret is betting big on bralettes, and my friends at Racked theorized that Kendall Jenner is a one-woman ambassador for the undergarment, singlechestedly acclimating the world to the sight of the bralette in the wild.
Kendall. Sure. Slate also writes that “an unstructured bra that doesn’t retain a 3-D shape when off the body can seem like a novel, even liberating, thing.” But for women like myself (I switch between four or five Urban Outfitters bralettes on the reg), bralettes are simply a matter of comfort. They solve some of the basic issues of traditional bras, like complicated cup sizes and violent underwires you want to rip off by the end of the day. The bralette is popular because it’s less work.
Kimmay Caldwell, described as a “bra-fit expert,” says bralettes are also ideal for festival wear. “Right now a woman wants to feel like, ‘I’m cool, I don’t try too hard, I’m totally chill,’ and that’s sort of like what a bralette seems like to me,” she tells Slate. “The casual ‘I’m wearing denim cutoff shorts and a fringe vest’ kind of vibe very much goes with the bralette world.”
Even the gods of Victoria’s Secret have begun advertising its bralette collections more, according to experts. Cora Harrington, founder of the site Lingerie Addict, says, “They hadn’t pushed them as much as they pushed their push-up bras, no pun intended, but they’ve been in stores for a while.” Business Insider reports, too:
For years, Victoria’s Secret was known for its push-up bras. The company’s advertising made it seem like the ample padding could give customers the chest shape of its iconic Angels.
Now, the company is racing to meet customers’ growing demand for bras with less padding.
Victoria’s Secret has been writing next to its Instagram posts featuring bralettes “#AllMe,” as if to say, “No padding is necessary.”
Bralettes hangin’ on a branch:
Bralettes naturally support you less, so they’re not so much a great option for more endowed women. Usually, bralette manufacturers forego cup sizes, and are sized XS and up; they’re easier to manufacture, but they’re harder to adjust for a precise fit.
Slate visited Victoria’s Secret, which still has push-up bras featured prominently, and Urban Outfitters, which does not:
The bralettes at UO are all cute and thin and call to mind a phrase I hadn’t thought of in a long time: training bras. They offer very little support and no enhancement, which could be either a pro or a con, depending on your size and shape.
Basically, we’re all wearing training bras.
Image screengrab via Comedy Central