Prepandemic, you might have considered the best bras to be structured. You know the ones: bras with stiffer underwires and padding that smooth and push up. But with the rise in remote work and flex scheduling, many of us have turned away from these traditional bra styles and towards comfier, unlined bras and bralettes.
Of course, we know that comfort is subjective and dependent on your body type. People with smaller boobs can often get away with wearing unlined bralettes (or no bra at all), while curvier people with larger busts may need to find bras that offer inclusive bra sizing. Whatever your preference, the best bra is one that makes your bust feel supported and at ease no matter what you’re doing (while still looking stylish).
We asked more than two dozen shoppers (and SELF editors) of all cup sizes and band sizes to share with us their top picks for the best bras for work, lounging, and just living their damn lives—and they gave us a range of suggestions including unlined and wireless bras, bralettes, T-shirt bras, sports bras, racerback bras, balconette bras, and bras made of breathable fabrics. If you’re shopping for more specific types of bras, take a look at our stories on the best sports bras for nursing, sports bras for larger busts, and more. In the market for lingerie? We’ve covered excellent lingerie brands, as well as lingerie subscription boxes. And for tips on bra fit and bra care, read more about how to wash your bras (and how often).
Best bras 2021
In this roundup below, you’ll find best-selling and niche bra styles (arranged by size) that SELF readers recommend from brands such as ThirdLove, Wacoal, True & Co, Pepper, Bare Necessities, Aerie, Lively, and Savage X Fenty, available at retailers like Amazon, Target, and Nordstrom.
Pepper Limitless Wirefree Scoop Bra
I love this bra from Pepper. Targeted for those who are B-cup and smaller, it’s the only bra I want to wear in the stay-at-home era. I prefer wireless in general, so I was a little worried that this may feel tight on me, but it fits so well, and it actually provides a little lift. I’m normally a 36A, and I wear a medium in this bra. —Christina Shorter, community strategist
I love Pepper bras because they’re made specifically for smaller cup sizes, which are usually poorly executed by other bra companies. Pepper bras make me feel perfectly sexy, no matter my cup size or band size. I wear a 32AA (or an XS) in its Limitless Wire-free bra. —Tria Chang, writer
True & Co True Everybody Adjustable Strap Triangle Bra
Personally, I seriously cannot wear underwire bras for more than five minutes, but I really like True & Co’s V-neck bra for my 34A boobs. True & Co bras go beyond your normal wire-free bras in that they give you just enough shape while still feeling so soft and breathable that it’s like you’re not wearing a bra at all (even at recess duty when it’s over 90 degrees outside). —Eliza O’Connell, teacher
Gap Wireless T-Shirt Bra
This bra is amazing and inexpensive. I’m a 32B, and it’s really my everyday bra. It’s got enough shape and support to wear in place of an underwire bra, but the soft cups are lightly padded so that it doesn’t swing into bralette territory. This bra starts in the $40 range and goes on sale pretty regularly (which, in bra terms, is a steal). It’s like the perfect “split the difference” between a bra and a bralette. —Amanda Croy, graphic designer
Savage X Fenty Floral Lace Racerback Bralette
This plunge bralette is awesome for someone with a small-to-medium cup size (I’m a 34B), though if you have a wider rib cage, I’d recommend sizing up (since the band is not adjustable). The lace is soft, and the adjustable straps on the racerback mean you can get it just right, no matter how long your torso is. The lace provides just enough structure to make your breasts look really good—and it’s a little see-through like lingerie, which ups the sexy factor. TL;DR: This lace bra is the perfect combo of comfy and sexy. —Tegan Plock, park ranger.
Target Auden Bliss Lightly Lined Wirefree Bra
I swear on this classic T-shirt bra because it comes in a shade close to my skin tone (which is not always easy since I’m brown), it’s cheap so I don’t feel bad if my laundry machine eats it, it’s wireless so it doesn’t dig in, and I honestly can wear it and forget about it, which is something I can’t say about most bras. Plus, it can convert to a racerback if I need it to. —Tanya B., journalist
This Amazon bra is comfortable enough to sleep in, with enough structure for a Zoom meeting! I’m typically a B cup (or C on a good day). I love that this bra is lightly padded and feels supportive but is wireless. The fabric is really soft, but not silk, so it isn’t too delicate to wear all the time (which I basically do). —Marin Duby, consultant
I finally found a great wire-free bra for my smaller boobs: The Pansy bra is a pad-free, unlined bra made of organic cotton. I really like its simple design, how it comes in a variety of beautiful colors, and that I can wear it to sleep or under a sheer blouse while out for a special occasion. It’s so comfortable that it almost feels like I’m wearing no bra at all. —Kristine Straker, fashion buyer
I pretty much walked away from bras with molded cups during the lockdown, and I’m not sure I’ll ever go back. TomboyX’s micromodal material is the softest stuff I’ve ever worn in my life. I live in this bralette and want to buy more. I love the brand’s prints, and I also love the company in general. I am usually a 34B and wear a small in this bralette. —Gwen S., self-employed artist