February 06, 2019 at 12:42PM by CWC
Bralettes have taunted me all of my life. When I was younger, it was because I couldn’t even begin to fathom wearing one as even my everyday bras were coming from specialty stores. Now, it’s because the ones available for women my size (36 DD) are very heavy on the utilitarian aspect and way too light on the chic, aesthetically pleasing part. But after a lifetime of disappointment, I’m starting to see the size inclusive light at the end of my online shopping tunnel. A few underwear companies have finally figured out how to make a bralette for bigger boobs that can do both.
You see, it’s not that I can’t find bralettes for my cup size—supportive options without underwires exist. But the problem is that these tend to look like a sports bra or are simple by design. There’s none of the delicate lace, pastel colors, or subtleties that the item often conjures. And those dainty and effortless touches are the essence of what a bralette is and what I’m searching for in the undergarment.
I’ve put a dozen different bralettes through my own customized fit test.
With these criteria in mind, I’ve put a dozen different bralettes through my own customized fit test using some very basic measurements of success. Number one was the fit, obviously—there just needed to be enough support that the bralette wouldn’t become relegated to the confines of my loungewear wardrobe. In other words, I wanted to be able to wear it in public without clasping my breasts for dear life. Beyond that, it needed to be free of an underwire, preferably have some sort of lace component, and generally, have a laissez-faire quality to it.
For weeks I dedicated 16 hours to wearing each bralette in different environments—at home watching Netflix, on my way to pick up dry cleaning, and out to meet a friend for a show were just a few. The idea was to test each one out in the settings where I would realistically wear them—for example, I didn’t wear it to Pilates because I would never wear a bra to Pilates that didn’t have both velcro and hooks. Other than that, I tried to avoid letting the presence of the bralette dictate what I would wear and relied on the usual suspects in my wardrobe.
I wound up eliminating a lot of the contenders quicker than I thought I would. Some of the undergarments got the ax right off the bat purely because of sizing issues. Others had too much fabric and felt restrictive and suffocating—they made me feel like I was being swaddled and were more oppressive than my everyday bras. The rest just didn’t really look or feel like a bralette. While they didn’t have underwires, that seemed to be the only thing that would indicate they were not, in fact, a full on a bra.
It made me feel like the chill casual person I am in a parallel life.
In the end, two made the cut. Both are from Cosabella—the Never Say Never bralette ($66) and The Evolution bralette ($80). Both bralettes are from the company’s curvy line and come in sizes ranging from petite to extra large, which their size guide says should cover everyone from a 28DD to a 40H. The former more closely meets my requirements since the entire thing is covered in lace. The straps are a little thick and there’s more structure to the garment than a bralette usually makes you think of but—hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Evolution bralette is less fanciful and dainty than I thought I liked but it still made me feel like the chill casual person I am in a parallel life. It also worked under T-shirts and looked dignified, which made me like it more than I thought I would.
Lastly, I want to say that Implicite deserves an honorable mention. Although their sizing is limited (I found myself wearing a large, their biggest size), their lace Bliss Bralette ($54) is made with the seemingly thinnest piece of lace. Even so, it still kept everything in place and was the most delicate undergarment to have ever graced my body.
I’m now the proud owner of two of the best bralettes for larger breasts that feel dainty and borderline lingerie. Is it a lot? No. But it is a sign of progress. And I am optimistic that more companies will figure out the mix moving forward. I mean, if Barbra Streisand can clone her dog twice, more brands should be able to figure out how to get women with big boobs into bralettes that are comfortable and elegant.
According to experts, this is how often you should be throwing out your underwear and the styles you need that’ll work seamlessly into your wardrobe.