We could all use a little extra support these days. Whether you’re shopping for your first bra or looking to upgrade some lackluster staples, this is a good place to start. We think any bra you put on your body should be comfortable and well constructed. And it should make you feel beautiful. To find some of the best bras, we spent 23 hours researching bras and talking with industry experts about what makes a great one. Then we enlisted a panel of four testers of different sizes who spent countless hours wearing 43 models from 19 brands—pitting industry titans against fledgling startups. We’re confident that our 10 final recommendations will suit a slew of moods, bodies, and style preferences.
Best bra in the world
Most of our picks are available in a wide range of colors (including multiple shades of nude) and sizes, and you can find even more options to fit a variety of body types and styles in Other good bras. To help you find what works for you, we also offer advice on what makes a great bra, how to measure bra size, and how to care for your bra.
Why you should trust me
I’ve been a science journalist for more than seven years, and since joining Wirecutter in 2017, I’ve written about lap desks, pencils, scented candles, and more. In my personal life, I’ve always had a soft spot for things that excel in both form and function. During the course of researching and writing this guide, I gained a new appreciation for the humble bra—which, when executed well, is really a finely tuned piece of design and engineering.
To write this guide, I interviewed Cora Harrington, the author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie and founder of the blog The Lingerie Addict, which recently ceased publication; Jaclyn Fredenburg, an instructor at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) who specializes in corsets and other undergarments; Dr. Andrea Madrigrano, a breast surgeon at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago; and Holly Powell, owner of The Pencil Test, a lingerie store in Portland, Oregon. I also spoke with Doug Farmer, a retired end-use research fellow at The Lycra Company; Majid Sarmadi, PhD, a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Human Ecology; and Colleen Hill, a museum curator at FIT and author of Exposed: A History of Lingerie, for additional background and context.
Because no two boobs are alike (even on your own body), I recruited a panel of Wirecutter staffers who wear different sizes than my own to test the contenders. Our testers wear a 34A, a 36D, a 42D, and a 34F. Over the course of six months, we spent countless hours adjusting straps, hooking and unhooking bands, and scooping and swooping our boobs into bra cups.
ThirdLove 24/7 Classic Uplift Plunge Bra
Who this is for: The ThirdLove 24/7 Classic Uplift Plunge Bra fit our 34A, 36D, and 34F testers equally well, and they rated it 4, 5, and 5 (out of 5), respectively. With the optional pads, it gives boobs a subtle push-up. Without the pads, it conforms nicely to the breast without gaping. Our 34F tester mentioned that this cut can sometimes give a “double bubble” bulge at the top of the cup but didn’t have that trouble with this bra.
How it feels: Effortless and sophisticated. The lightly lined inner cups are soft and mold to the skin, and the mesh overlay adds extra polish and prevents spillage.
Why we love it: We loved every bra we tested from ThirdLove, especially the extra-versatile 24/7 Classic Uplift Plunge Bra. It offers more lift than the Perfect Coverage or Classic T-shirt bras we wore, yet it’s just as comfortable for everyday wear—especially if you pull the subtle egg-shaped pads out of the cups.
The straps and underwire band are silky-soft, supple, and supportive, and they’re both adjustable. The molded cups are made of a lightweight, cushiony material, and they’re covered with a fine-mesh overlay that helps prevent minor gaping or spillage.
Like the other ThirdLove bras we tested, the Classic Uplift feels well made and durable. In addition to the mesh overlay, which reveals a hint of skin above the cups, the deep-V neckline gives this bra a refined, sophisticated, and modern look. One of our testers, who typically wears a 34A, noted that she loved the “taller, more angular cups” on this bra, and she said she felt sexy and comfy wearing it. Our size 34F tester also gave this one a perfect score.
Many startups can offer only limited size ranges due to economies of scale, but ThirdLove bras have cup sizes from AA to H and a 32- to 44-inch band. This impressive range is comparable to those of larger, much-more-established brands, such as Cacique, Soma, and Wacoal. ThirdLove is also the only brand we tested that offers half-cup sizes. (Though, be warned: No matter how many incremental size options are available, you still may have to try on a few different sizes to get a perfect fit.)
Flaws but not dealbreakers: This bra comes in only two colors, including just one shade of nude (which is disappointing given that the ThirdLove pick blows most of our other picks out of the water in terms of size options).
Sizes: AA to H cup (including half-sizes), 32- to 44-inch band
Colors: black and taupe
Return policy: 60 days, free return shipping
Aerie Real Sunnie Wireless Lightly Lined Bra
Who this is for: The Aerie Real Sunnie Wireless Lightly Lined Bra isn’t as supportive as some of our other picks, so it might not work as well for people who have heavier boobs. Our tester who wears a 34A loved the fit and scored it 5 out of 5. But our 36D tester needed more support (and, call her old-fashioned, more opacity, too), and she rated it a 2. The molded cups add nice shape to smaller busts, especially compared with some bralettes that can flatten breast tissue.
How it feels: An easy base for more than just T-shirts, this bra is as soft and supple as they come. The body doesn’t have any clasps, and it feels as stretchy as a bralette. The lightly lined cups are more structured, with a softly defined shape.
Why we love it: There’s no one definition of a T-shirt bra, but for us, the Real Sunnie is the ideal: a smooth, seamless bra that won’t show through tight or thin clothes. This bra is unlike any other we tested. The pull-on design offers the comfort and ease of a bralette, but the lined, molded cups add extra support, structure, and nipple coverage, like a more traditional bra. In many ways, this bra is the best of both worlds. The Real Sunnie’s clean, elegant, simple lines give it a modern look that flatters many body types, and it’s also one of the most budget-friendly bras we recommend.
The wireless Real Sunnie felt super lightweight, and the cups and straps were nearly invisible beneath even our thinnest T-shirts. Though the bra does have seams, they’re mostly hidden on the inside. The neckline plunges dramatically (good for low-cut tops) while still offering nipple and side-boob coverage, and the straps are adjustable.
Another reason we love this pick is for Aerie’s generous return policy for bras and bralettes. If you’re not happy with your purchase, there’s no time limit on returns and exchanges. With a receipt, you can get a refund. But even without one, you can still exchange or receive store credit at the same price. A garment without a tag can be returned as well. At the time of this writing, this bra comes in four different colors, including only one shade of nude. There’s also a lace version that comes in four colors, if you prefer a more traditional style.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The sizing on this bra is fairly limited compared with that of some of our other picks. Also, the material (nylon-elastane) doesn’t feel as luxurious as that of other bras we tested. And even though the stretchy band and straps are very soft, the molded cups are rather rigid. The pull-on style means you won’t have to fidget with a clasp, but a size-adjustable band would have provided a more precise fit.
Sizes: AA to DDD cup, 30- to 40-inch band
Colors: light gray, black, light brown, light pink
Return policy: unlimited, free returns for bras and bralettes
Cuup Scoop Bra
Who this is for: If you like a natural, padding-free look but still need support, try the Cuup Scoop Bra. All of our testers, wearing various sizes, found something to like about it. This bra offers more coverage than a bralette, and those who wore smaller sizes liked the lightweight feel—our 34A tester rated it a 5 out of 5. Our 34F tester loved the extra supportive underwire and wide straps, and rated it a 4.How it feels: Silky, luxurious, and minimalist. But, unlike many simple bras that don’t provide good support, this bra really delivers.Why we love it: If you hate most underwire bras because they dig into your skin, try the Cuup Scoop Bra. It’s quite supportive, even for those with large busts, but it’s so lightweight that it almost feels like you’re wearing nothing at all. I find that the cut and the silky fabric make this bra feel more like an extra-supportive bralette. And it seems like you could dance in the Cuup Scoop Bra without experiencing too much bounce, thanks to the underwire band and wide straps, both of which are adjustable.The scoop neck is subtle and elegant-looking, adding plenty of coverage without being stifling. Most of the stitching on this bra is hidden on the underside, creating a seamless and shapely silhouette. The Cuup Scoop Bra’s wide, thin straps were also smoother on the tops of our shoulders than most we wore, which is handy under tank tops or thin blouses. Our testers didn’t find any loose threads or uneven stitching. And though its material is thin, the Cuup Scoop Bra retained its shape and didn’t stretch out throughout the day (which unlined bras tend to do).This bra is available in a wide variety of colors (including several nude options), and the range of cup sizes is impressive—all the way up to an H cup.Flaws but not dealbreakers: The main drawback with this bra is that the silky fabric easily succumbs to sweat and other stains—we noticed some spots developing after just a few wears.Sizes: A to H cup, 30- to 44-inch bandColors: light peach, light brown, medium brown, dark brown, black and clay, plus a selection of limited-edition colorsReturn policy: 30 days, free return shipping
Harper Wilde Base Bra
Who this is for: The full-coverage Harper Wilde Base Bra has deep cups that are especially well suited to large breasts. Our testers who wear sizes 42D and 34F gave it 5 and 4 (out of 5), respectively. This bra worked well for smaller sizes, too. Our 34A tester found it to be a good choice for days when she wanted more coverage than skimpier bras provide, and she also rated it a 5.
How it feels: When you need all the support you can get, wearing this bra feels like curling up in a favorite armchair. Its pillowy-soft cups hold you in, and the band lies perfectly flat, so it never digs into your skin.
Why we love it: This bra might look simple and straightforward, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve that make it a pleasure to wear all day, and during an array of activities. Our testers especially liked its no-nonsense, sturdy construction and smart, stylish details. Not only that, but it’s a bargain: Costing $40 at the time of this writing, it’s one of our least-expensive picks.
My favorite part about this bra is that the strap-adjustment sliders are in front, so you can easily move them up and down without having to reach behind your back (a seemingly no-brainer detail that most bras lack). It also has a small hook on the back to easily switch the straps into a racerback design, for extra support or to keep the straps from sliding down your shoulders. The Harper Wilde Base Bra has a supportive underwire and a sleek, stretchy, adjustable band. The lightly lined, molded cups are pillowy-soft, gently cradling breasts and creating a smooth silhouette beneath shirts or dresses.
We also appreciated the extra-stylish touches on this bra. The gore (the part on a bra that joins the two cups together) has a unique, criss-cross detail that adds some interest compared with similar, no-frills bras we tried. And though the Base is definitely a full-coverage bra (no chance of nip-slipping here), the deep neckline and wide-set straps work well under skimpier tops and allow for some airflow. The Base comes in an impressive range of sizes and four color options.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: One of our testers noted that the square of material holding the size-adjustment hooks on the band was painfully stiff and scratchy. It’s a small area, but if you have especially sensitive skin, you might prefer another one of our picks.
Sizes: A to F cup, 32- to 42-inch band
Colors: beige, tan, brown, black, plus a selection of limited-edition colors
Return policy: 90 days, free return shipping
Journelle Anais Plunge Bra
Who this is for: If you want a sexy bra that offers more coverage and support without sacrificing style, choose the Journelle Anais Plunge Bra. It was universally beloved by our testers. It had enough lift for larger breasts—sizes go up to a 36G—and plenty of sex appeal for everyone. The three people who tested it (sizes 34A, 36D, and 34F) gave it perfect overall scores of 5 out of 5.
How it feels: Like a dose of luxury for your lingerie drawer. It’s beautifully made, soft, supportive, and sensual.
Why we love it: I used to think of lace as stuffy or scratchy, but that was before I tried this bra. It’s sexy and surprisingly comfortable, and though it’s pricier than our other picks, we think it’s worth splurging on for a special occasion or to treat yourself. The lace—delicate flowers laid over a fine honeycomb netting—looks refined and creates an elegant transition from cup to skin at the neckline. The lace sprawls across the fine-mesh band, extending all the way to the hooks in the back, ensuring a glamorous look from all angles.
Sexy bras can be torturous to wear, but the Anais was a pleasant surprise. Every part of the bra that touches your skin—the straps, band, and inside the cups—has a velvety-smooth lining. This bra has the perfect amount of stretch, too, making it easy to move around in. The underwire band provides lots of support and doesn’t poke or scrape. The straps can be adjusted with a slider, and the band is the most customizable one we found (it has four rows of hooks, while most bras we tested offer only three or none at all). It’s also available in a wide range of cup sizes, up to a G.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Aside from its hefty price tag and short return window (a measly two weeks!), this bra’s main drawback is that it comes in a limited range of band sizes. Also, it’s available in only three colors, none of them nude. That’s perhaps less of an issue with a lacy bra, however, since it won’t totally blend in with skin anyway—this bra is meant to be noticed.
Sizes: A to G cup, 30- to 36-inch band
Colors: white, light pink, black
Return policy: 14 days, free return shipping
Who should get this
Although I typically shed my bra around dinnertime, I’ve found that a good one can make me feel beautiful, comfortable, and confident. Like many people, I wear a bra primarily for support. FIT instructor Jaclyn Fredenburg says a bra can help with posture, back pain, and even breathing, by lifting and more evenly distributing breast tissue. “For large-busted women, the right bra will help get the weight of the breast tissue off of the rib cage,” she said. Dr. Andrea Madrigrano also noted these potential benefits, adding that bras help prevent sweat from accumulating beneath the bust, which can cause rashes or sores. Even if you don’t need much support, a bra can accentuate your curves, make your breasts pleasantly perky, and provide nipple coverage under thin or sheer fabrics.
If you’re a tween or teen buying your first bra, we have several recommendations for soft, stretchy bralettes, which may be more comfortable for developing chests. But we especially prioritized comfort during testing, so many of our picks would be good options for beginners to try.
If you’ve noticed suddenly that your current bra is less supportive than it used to be, or that your size has changed, it’s probably time for a new one, said The Lingerie Addict’s Cora Harrington. Or maybe you need to treat yourself, for the sake of your mental health. “If your bra is looking dingy, faded, discolored, or tarnished, you might want to invest in another,” Harrington said. “I think the undergarments we wear can have an effect on how we feel.”
To narrow the scope of this huge category, we didn’t consider any strapless, convertible, adhesive, maternity, or sleep bras in our testing. We have separate guides to the best sports bras, nursing bras, and pumping bras. For binders, Reviewed, Bustle and The Lingerie Addict offer some good suggestions, and we recommend checking out these options for trans-friendly or gender-neutral bras, limited-mobility adaptive bras, or mastectomy bras.