Meet the bralette: the underwire bra’s dainty kid sister with flimsy straps, lace and minimal padding. The latest lingerie trend has been appearing everywhere from displays in department stores to articles in fashion magazines—and it’s poised to replace t-shirt bras as the go-to bra for many women.
A few years ago, Aerie, a teen lifestyle brand of American Eagle Outfitters, sparked the popularity of this undergarment by introducing bralettes in 2014. The brand quickly became a leader in the industry with its body-positive advertising campaigns and approachable social media, which showcase women of all sizes (including a range of boob shapes). The popularity of bralettes has since increased, with major retailers such as Victoria’s Secret and Free People offering them in a variety of styles.
Most bralettes are intended for women with smaller busts because they don’t have the structure or lift of a padded, wired bra. But it’s not hard to find a bralette that’s made for larger cup sizes, too. In fact, some are designed to fit up to a size L or XL.
And as lingerie companies continue to look for innovations and new uses of proven materials, they’re adding features that make bralettes even more supportive. For example, brands like Hanes and Calvin Klein use a stretchy, power-mesh fabric that’s nearly invisible against the skin—and feels even softer. Other bramakers, including La Fille d’O, Araks, Lejaby and Negative Underwear, incorporate a similar type of soft, fine-gauge mesh. bamboo bralette