Having been blessed with a colossal chest and curves that just won’t quit, I’ve been strapped into an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder since my 11th birthday. I skipped right past the training-bra stage and settled — extremely awkwardly — into a full C cup just months into middle school. As years passed, my bust grew out of cutesy Victoria’s Secret styles, forcing me to scour through racks of woebegone beige bras, settling for literally anything that appeared to keep my chest in check. Those adorable bralettes, all lacy and sexy, seemed solely for the slimmer set; not an option for the D-plus crowd, and especially for me, a 38H.
My busty sisters can relate, I’m sure; you get home from a long day at the office, and what’s one of the first things you do? Off goes the bra and it feels like bliss. But the lack of support and lift can begin to create its own aches and pains, not to mention heat, sweat, and chafing. (Yay, big boobs are fun!)
Bralettes for big boobs
Thankfully, bras have evolved since I began my search many years ago. And although the majority of bralettes on the market are still made for those smaller than a D cup, I have actually found several styles that work for me.
The first that I tried was Torrid’s crop lace bralette in a size 2X, which could easily pass for a regular crop top (although it’s fairly sheer, so be warned). The longline band provides a lot of support, and the cups are considerably deeper than I expected. It’s also supremely comfortable; I’ve worn it all day and even fallen asleep in it. Would I go jogging in it? No. Does it offer the same lift and support of a molded-cup underwire bra? Of course not. But does it look like I’m totally braless? Not even close.
Feeling emboldened, I tried another Torrid style, the racerback lace bralette. It was exactly what I wanted in a bralette — strappy, sexy, and edgy. It also provided similar support and coverage to the cropped version, so it quickly made its way into my wardrobe rotation. I love to pair it with a low-cut top, allowing the lace neckline to peek out. And the racerback multi-weave design makes dip-back shirts a reality, instead of a dream.
1. Calvin Klein Modern Racerback Bra
I can’t sing the praises of this Calvin Klein style enough. It has become my go-to for everyday wear, whether I’m out for a meeting or just lounging around the house. To be honest, it’s so comfortable, I’ve even worn it to sleep. It has the most forgiving stretch that’s not constricting at all but is supportive enough for a light workout like yoga or Pilates.
2. Lively The Busty Bralette
I’ve been a fan of Lively since it first launched in 2016 for its inclusive ads and budget-friendly price point, so I happily added the brand’s Mesh Trim Bralette to my rotation when I had smaller boobs. Luckily, gals with bigger busts can enjoy Lively’s comfy designs, too. My boobs don’t touch, and I love that this style gives me a little cleavage even without padding. Plus, the hook-and-eye clasps allow me to feel like I’m putting on an actual bra.
3. True & Co. True Body Triangle Convertible Bralette
FYI, long bralettes can provide more support than shorter ones. This True & Co. style comes down a few inches past my bust so that I feel like I’m getting a gentle hug from my undergarment. It also has slightly molded cups, so my boobs never look too pointy (as they often do in bralettes), and the straps easily convert to a racer back.
4. Aerie Softest Lace Classic Bralette
It should come as no surprise that another Aerie bralette made this list. Elizabeth Denton, a fellow freelance editor and writer, is a huge fan for a number of reasons: “The straps provide a surprising amount of support. I love the way it comes down past the bra line and the lace looks cute peeking out of loose summer dresses.”
5. Skims Scoop-neck Bralette
Kim Kardashian really knows how to make a bralette. Not only is the color range incredible (Sienna is a perfect match for my olive-tan skin tone), but this Skims bralette really hugs you in all the right places. The scoop neck is perfect under T-shirts because it sits flat against the skin, and it has a surprising amount of lift without ever digging into my skin. To be frank, it feels almost like a sports bra.
I was a little skeptical of this one’s bralette-ness because of its name, but to me, it feels nothing like a traditional bra. For starters, it doesn’t have a clasp, so you just pull it on over your head. It has the stretchiest fabric all the way around, so it feels like a second skin, but because it’s built like a bra, it has all the support in the world. I can wear this without worrying about my nipples showing through or my gals bouncing around. Everything stays in place, just as it should!
Something I loved about having smaller boobs was that I could wear a crop top without a bra underneath. This Babaton bralette/crop top hybrid lets me do just that with my current D’s. Pro tip: Size down to have it fit more like a bra or just wear your regular size as a crop top. It’s made of a sculpt-knit fabric that feels supportive enough (if you enjoy going braless but want a tiny lift) and it looks luxe when peeking out under a cardigan or blazer.
The supportive structure yet still feel soft and comfortable—but also look cute. If it sounds like those are some big shoes cups to fill, don’t stress. We’ve scoured across the World Wide Web for all the best lingerie brands for big busts to bring you every kind of style that you could want or need for any occasion. A soft, cozy bralette for lounging around the house? Check. A flirty balconette bra for date night? Got it. A supportive underwire-free bra you could actually sleep in? You know it’s here.
Whether you have yet to find your perfect fit or if it’s way past time to put your ride-or-die fave to rest (RIP), we’ve got you covered. We tapped expert bra fitter Lily Flast, founder of Soutien NYC, a service offering inclusive, nurturing virtual bra fittings, and pored over dozens (and dozens, and dozens…) of glowing reviews from real people actually wearing these bras.