I’ve been asked to share some bra reviews, and while I generally try to steer clear of personal topics, this one is so essential to good style that I feel it’s one we should definitely discuss.
Lately I’ve seen a few fashion bloggers I follow sharing the bras they wear under their strapless and off-the-shoulder tops. They’re these itty-bitty stick-on things, and every time they show them, I literally laugh out loud. We are all built differently, of course, and more power to those of you who can get enough support from a stick-on bra, but today’s post is for the rest of us.
I really should write a post on each of these types of bras, but I don’t want to dedicate that much air time to this topic, so I’m going to lump them together and hope the SEO gods are kind to me.
And no, we did NOT do a photo shoot for this post. Ha! I will have to rely on stock photography.
Step One: Get A Bra Fitting
No matter what size you are, a proper fitting bra is crucial to good style. If you have not had a professional bra fitting in the past year, go and get one today. This is the fastest and easiest way to visually lose 10 pounds. Saggy b00bies are not in style. Ever.
I highly recommend Nordstrom for bra fittings. I’m personally not a fan of Soma, and I haven’t been to a Victoria’s Secret in years, although I used to work at one in college (true story!) and was taught how to properly fit bras so I’m somewhat of an expert on the topic. Nordstrom has a well trained staff and a HUGE inventory of virtually every style and size, but there are specialty stores if Nordstrom doesn’t have what you need. Google is your friend.
When I was nursing, I went to a shop that specialized in odd sizes, and they customized a bra for me. If that’s what you need to do, do it. It is worth it.
And now, if I don’t trip stepping down off of my soapbox, let’s get on with the bra reviews.
The Best T-Shirt Bra for D Cup and Up
This is the Wacoal Embrace Lace Contour Bra. This is the bra I wear most often. I fluctuate between two sizes, depending on the time of the month and my weight, so I make sure to have at least 2 of each that are no more than a year old in my closet at all times.
Of course every woman is different, and even two women with the same bra size will have different shape of breasts, so I can’t promise that what works for me will work for you, but I have recommended this bra to many women, and a lot of them have good luck with it. I’ve tried other t-shirt bras on, but I always come back to this one.
It is not padded, but the molded cups keep everything nice and smooth, which is essential under t-shirts and sheer tops and any top that might show the texture of your bra through your shirt. It does come in smaller sizes, and the largest cup size it comes in is a DDD so if you wear a larger size than that, I don’t have something I can recommend. Again, Nordstrom should be able to help you!
This bra is most definitely NOT a minimizer. I’ve tried many minimizers over the years, but I don’t care for the shape they create, so I finally gave up and decided to embrace the figure God gave me. I know that women who are small chested may not understand why I try to tone it down, but I just don’t care to draw attention to myself in that way. Nevertheless, I’ve stopped hiding under baggy tops because I know they don’t really disguise the chest, they just make me look heavier. Now that I know better how to dress my curvy body type, I feel more confident wearing a regular bra.
When I am not worried about texture showing through and I don’t want to have a cleavage issue with a low-cut top, I will wear this Chantelle Parisian Underwire Plunge Bra. Honestly, it doesn’t really have the support that I need, but it’s more modest when I bend over in a loose-fitting open-neck top, and it definitely makes me look smaller, which is nice sometimes.
The Best Strapless Bra for D Cup and Up
Again, everyone is different, and there are other good strapless bras, but this is the one I came home with after going to the Nordstrom store and having a professional fitting a few months ago. This is the Wacoal Red Carpet Convertible Bra, and it is made specifically for D cup and up.
This is the most comfortable strapless bra I’ve ever experienced. It stays where it’s supposed to stay and creates a nice shape. It has truly changed my life insofar as I can now wear off-the-shoulder tops and spaghetti straps whereas I used to avoid them like the plague.
The Best Sports Bras for D Cup and Up
I updated my sports bras not too long ago, and I ended up buying two different styles. The only one that gives me the support I need for running is this Chantelle Intimates Underwire Sports Bra.
This sports bra keeps the girls lifted and separated (I hate sports bras that create the uniboob) and it has a J-hook in the back that converts the straps to racerback, which provides more support (I always wear it this way when I’m running, no matter if I need the racerback or not) as well as making it versatile for any type of top you might want to wear.
I also have this Natori Yogi Convertible Bra.
I really like the shape it creates, and it provides full coverage. You could wear this without a shirt if you’re one to wear your sports bras without a shirt. (For the record, I am not.) It comes in some pretty color combinations too. I don’t usually wear this to run, unless my other one is dirty. It doesn’t have quite enough support, but it’s okay. I usually wear it to my gym workouts and save the Chantelle one for running. I have a few old ones that are discontinued that I can fall back on as well.
I hope this post is helpful.
I want to say again that my recommendations are based on my own experience, which is limited. I am sure are tons of other great bras out there in these categories, and what works for me may not work for you, but it’s worth a try. Best practice is to go to the store and get fitted by a professional. Not only can they help you find the right size, they can recommend the right style and brand for you.
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32 thoughts on “The Best T-Shirt Bra, Strapless Bra & Sports Bras for the Rest Of Us”
Thank you! This is just the sort of information I was looking for. I have not found the time to research different bras and am happy to see some suggestions. I have steered away from all of the cute tops because I cannot find a strapless bra that will stay put. Can’t wait to give the Fantasie a try. I honestly have never had a bra fitting before and I am 40! I think it’s time. 🙂
YES! Do it! Many women find it life changing. Seriously. 🙂
It is the most amazing thing how a bra can change the way someone looks! I finally got a friend to go bra shopping with me after 2 years of suggestions…and she was amazed at the result!
I’m still on the hunt for a strapless—-most of the ones I see don’t come in a 32 band—I see this one you linked to does, but not my cup size! Ugh, but just a first world problem, right?
If you can’t find a strapless you’re comfortable with, try a bra with clear straps. I never feel self-conscious about those straps (kind of) showing and I never worry about my strapless bra moving down.
Love this post! I have the same “issues” as I have a larger chest as well. Found this very helpful. Thanks!
I nearly spewed coffee when I read your email this morning! I was just telling my husband last night I HAVE to find a better bra because surely they’re not all supposed to feel like little torturing devices, lol. If it’s comfortable it’s usually not enough support or coverage through a tee and vice versa. Have you ever tried Natori? I was thinking of giving those a go during the nsale, but seeing as I haven’t had a pro fitting, I’m not even sure on size. I did finally find a strapless that works and is tolerable after buying several online though. It’s awesome to finally not be limited on which tops I can wear because of a bra!
Ha! Torture devices. Yes, I have one by Natori, I’m pretty sure. Is one of those sports bras Natori? And I”m wearing one right now that I didn’t link to b/c it isn’t as comfortable, but I think it might be Natori. I know it’s not Wacoal. I bought it b/c it converts to a racer back. It does the job, but it cuts into my ribcage in a strange way.
Oops, yes, one is Natori. I didn’t even notice because I had everday bras in my head I guess. 😉
I’m going to check out your recommendations, thank you!
I have worn Soma vanishing back for several years now. I’m curious as to why you don’t care for that brand. Maybe I’m missing out on something better. Would you mind sharing the details?
I think that is the one I tried. I liked it at first, but it didn’t hold up very well for me.
Great timing for me on this post – I am currently shopping for sports bras. The selection is overwhelming, I hate the uni-boob, and need a DD or DDD, depending on the design. I’ve been wearing Soma bras for several years and I’m just curious what your experience has been since you say you aren’t a fan.
We don’t have a Nordstrom where I live, Dillard’s is the closest thing, but the staff knowledge there is hit or miss.
I’ve never been successful with strapless – always tugging at them, but would sure love to be able to wear some of the clothing that requires one, so maybe I’ll give it one more try.
Anyway – great post. I really appreciate the D cup and up info!
I just didn’t find the Soma bras to be as good quality as the ones I get at Nordstrom, and I didn’t ever find a style I loved there. But I know some women really like them, so every woman is different. 🙂
Thanks for this post! I needed it because most days I wear sports bras for comfort. I have a DD cup and most regular bras are just darn uncomfortable. I can’t tell you how much money I have spent at Soma and I am never happy with their bras. I will try a fitting at Nordstrom and hopefully find something I can stand for more than 2 hours!!
I hope you have better luck there!
Thank you so much for this post! (Love all your posts but really appreciate this one!) I’m envious of how perfectly your tank tops fit – when mine fit in the “boob area” the arm holes are too large…..any suggestions? Thanks for sharing your amazing self!
Many of mine do too, to be honest. And I return a lot of tops because of that issue. #thestruggleisreal 🙂
Thank you so much for your advice. I appreciate your suggestion and am going to check them out today! It’s such a personal issue and it’s so hard to find something that’s comfortable and appropriate looking. I read your blog because I need help in styling a complete outfit, but undergarments always pose a problem too! THANK YOU!
Thank You for this post! I am a 34 DD/DDD, with narrow shoulders and wear a size 4 on the bottom. It doesn’t take much for me to look top heavy AND I really don’t like that look! Also, not a fan of Soma. I heading to Nordstrom’s to check out all your recommendations! Great Post!
Loved this post!! I have had this issue for years ! I’m going to try a couple you like, I have found third love company !!! I have two of their bras and love them 🙂 again that’s many woman struggle with this
What a great post!!!! I will definitely try Nordstrom!!!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!
Thanks for tackling a difficult topic. I’m at the other end of the spectrum, which makes bra shopping easier. 🙂
I had a bra fitting at Victoria’s Secret and it was great. For years I always wore 34B, the lady suggested trying a 32C because it might fit better. Her advice made such a difference, that’s now all I buy. My bras seem to be lasting longer, too. Saggy b00bies, ha, that made me laugh!
I have a problem with “double boob”. Falling out of the cup at the top. My only solution is to find a bra with a lot of coverage. Am I the only one with this problem? And just another rant…just because you need DD doesn’t mean you need a big band width! 34DD shouldn’t be hard to find in stores
If you’re popping out at the top, that usually means you need a larger cup size. 🙂
I don’t feel like 34DD is that hard to find. I’m a 34DDD and I can always find that size in the major department stores. It’s harder to find than 34DD, but I feel like it’s easier nowadays than it used to be.
Thanks for this post Jo-Lynne! A few years ago I had a bra fitting done at Kohl’s, so for those that don’t have a Nordstrom close by, Kohl’s is another option. It helped me so much! I have noticed how the in thing now for teens is to only wear sports bras. Now I know that some of them do have good support, and I’m glad to know that. Our 17 year old granddaughter is definitely blessed/or cursed, so I’m hoping she is wearing good support so her breasts won’t be sagging to her belly button way too soon. Like you, I do not wear tops that let my bra straps show. That’s a bit too personal for me.
Great post! I’m a 34D and have had luck with these two–le mystere’s Tisha t-shirt bra (an Oprah favorite with great support) and Athleta’s hullabaloo bra.
Thanks so much for this post! I have tried the Soma bras and had variable success, but plan to try out your suggestions, As a runner, I too struggle to find bras that are supportive enough and that I can actually get on and off without having to be a contortionist. I recently happened upon a Champion bra that works well, but would like to have another wit the J-hook which seems to be what works best.
I do really like that J-hook. It’s the best of both worlds!
Oh, I would LOVE to hear about your sizing with the Natori vs. the Chantelle bras for exercise. I have the Natori, and just love it, but am tempted to buy the Chantelle based on your “even more supportive” comment. Are yours the same size? Does one brand run smaller/larger? I have the Natori 32DDD, and am not sure about on-line ordering for the Chantelle…many thanks. And I must say, BEST blog I’ve seen on the Nordstrom sale (and I hate to admit how many blogs I do read!!).
I meant your blog written on July 14 for the Anniversary sale…so thorough!
I love this post. I have had such a hard time getting rid of an old bra because it fits so well and has the larger band as it enters by back. It is a style that has been discontinued, I’m sorry to say. I go to stores and let them measure me and show them the bra. They usually only bring me bras with loads of padding and I do not need that!!! What is up with that? I am a 34DD and do not want extra padding. Yikes! I will give this Wacoal a try.
I have the Chantelle sports bra you recommended last year and I love it! No “uniboob” for me. : } I will say that when I change it to a racerback, it is very uncomfortable to my shoulders but that is probably just me. Other than that one issue, it is a wonderful bra. BTW, I’ve had the same experience with Soma–as you say, everyone is different.
I like just enough padding to keep it modest, lol, but nothing that adds bulk. I hope you like this one. Glad the sports bra worked for you.