Favorite Foundations

I get a lot of requests for bra and shapewear recommendations, so I thought I’d do a post with my favorite foundations. These are all of my favorite bras, underwear, and shapewear in one place for easy reference.

The Best Bras for D+ Cups

I’ve fluctuated between a 34DD or 34DDD bra size for most of my life, and most recently I was wearing a 32G (which is the “sister size” to a 34DDD). Since my surgery, I seem to be settling in to a 34D or 32DD, so I have more options than I used to, but I’ll still need supportive bras.

I share that information because most of the bras I recommend are best for women with larger bra sizes. Not to say you won’t find some options in here if you’re on the smaller side, I just can’t speak to how they will work for smaller cup sizes.

My Favorite Everyday/T-Shirt Bras

Freya Idol Underwire Balconette Bra // This has been my favorite everyday bra for the past few years. I love the way it lifts and supports and shapes “the girls” and it’s pretty comfortable for an underwire. I literally wore nothing else (except when I needed a sports bra) for the past few years. I just had two or three of these and rotated them.

TIP: It’s best not to wear the same bra two days in a row; giving them a rest allows them to “recover” and that will help maintain their shape and support longer. And don’t forget to replace your bras every year, especially the ones you wear regularly; they do break down over time and cease to offer the lift and support you need.

This bra comes in several “nude” shades for darker skin tones, as well as beige, navy, and black. Sizes range from 28D to 38G (6D).

Wacoal Embrace Lace T-Shirt Bra // This is another good one, and the one I wore exclusively for several years before I discovered the Freya. It’s a little bit prettier, and it has good lift and shaping, but it’s not quite as supportive as the Freya, and the only color choices are beige and black. It comes in a wide range of sizes, from 30D to 40DDD and 36G (4D).

Wacoal Comfort First Underwire T-Shirt Bra // This is the bra I’ve been wearing most often since my breast reduction surgery. It would NOT have given me the support I needed before surgery, but it works pretty well for me now.

It has memory foam cups that conform to the natural shape of your curves, and it’s very soft and comfortable against the skin. The smooth back straps don’t leave indentations or create any lines underneath your clothes.

Color choices are beige, blush, black, and a pretty sage color that is pretty much sold out. I actually bought that one first, because it was on sale, and that is how I discovered this bra. I liked it so much, I went back and bought the beige too.

My Favorite Racer Back (T-Back) Bra

Maidenform Pure Genius T-Back Bra with Lace // This is another bra I’ve discovered since my surgery, and it has a limited size range of 34B to 40DD, but it is the one I wear when I need a t-back or racerback style. It has a nice shape to it, and it doesn’t create lines underneath your clothes.

My Favorite Strapless Bra

Wacoal Red Carpet Convertible Strapless Bra // In my opinion, there is no such thing as a comfortable strapless bra, but this one is about as good as it gets. I wore it when I was a 34DDD, and it was tolerable for a few hours at dinner or an event.

It creates a nice shape, and it has grippers that help it to not slide down, as long as you fasten it tight enough. It also has straps you can use if you want, and it comes in a wide range of sizes from 30DD/32C to 40G(4D).

My Favorite Sports Bras

Panache Ultimate High Impact Underwire Sports Bra // Before my surgery, the only sports bra I wore was the Chantelle High Impact Underwire Sports Bra, but it has been discontinued. This Panache sports bra is very similar, and it comes highly recommended by several here in our community. In fact, I just ordered one of these in my new size.

I love how this bra shapes and separate the girls, as I really detest the “uniboob” look. It also has the J-hook in the back that allows you to convert it to a racerback style. Not only does that look better under racerback shirts, it gives you more support when fastened that way.

SYROKAN Wirefree Front Adjustable High Impact Sports Bra // I ordered this one after my surgery because I needed something fast, and someone recommended it to me. I like how you can adjust the straps from the front, and it holds the girls nice and tight. There’s no separation, so you do get the uniboob, but it does the job.

This bra notoriously runs small, especially in the back size. I have the 34D, and it is very hard to fasten, even in the loosest setting, so I recently purchased the 36D, but that one needs the tightest hook and it feels like it could be tighter. That said, I ran in it yesterday, and it seemed to have enough support.

Under Armour High Cross-Back Bra Zip // This is another new discovery, and it’s the one I’ve been wearing under racerback workout tops. It’s very comfortable, and it has decent support for walking and gym workouts, but I haven’t tried running in it yet.

The zip front is a little tricky, but once you get used to it, it’s quite ingenious. There is a hook in the middle, under the zipper, that you fasten first. It holds the front together while you zip it up. There is also a tab on the bottom that covers the zipper stop; you just fold it back when connecting the zipper, and then fold it back over while wearing the bra.

As far as sizing goes, it ranges from 32B to 38DD. I tried three sizes and kept the 34DD, but I want to try the 34D again. It might hold the girls a little tighter. All that to say, I think it’s true to size.

My Favorite Shapewear

There are basically three levels of shapewear — smoothing, shaping, and sculpting.

Smoothing shapewear does exactly that; it has light control, and it’s just intended to make you look smoother under your clothes. These are generally lightweight and comfortable enough for all day wear.

Shaping pieces have medium control, and they help smooth the appearance of lumps and bumps.

Sculpting shapewear has the most support and compression, and it is designed to sculpt and reshape the body for the most flattering fit.

I don’t wear shapewear every day, but I almost always wear something under dresses, and sometimes even with pants and jeans if the outfit seems to need some extra smoothing or shaping.

The Best Smoothing Shorts

Wacoal Body Base Shorty // These lightweight smoothing shorts are my favorites for under white pants and  jeans, and I also wear these under casual dresses that don’t require extra support.

The waist doesn’t roll down, and the legs stay in place, plus the free cut leg doesn’t create any line visible through my jeans. I wear a medium in these shorts.

Spanx OnCore Mid-Thigh Short // I wear these when I want more shaping and sculpting, mostly under fitted dresses or jumpsuits. It is recommended to size up if in between sizes, but I still wear the medium.

These shaping shorts have the most powerful compression that Spanx offers, with booty-enhancing pockets, fully-bonded front-panels for a tabletop flat stomach, and edge-bonded side panels for squeeze-free slimming. There is also a high-waist version of these, but I haven’t tried those.

SHAPERX Seamless Bodysuit Open Bust Mid Thigh Body Shaper Shorts // When I want all-over body smoothing and shaping, I wear this bodysuit. Spanx has a similar version, but it costs a bit more, and this one works fine for me.

I would say this has medium support; it’s not a super strong compression, but it has some tummy control, and it keeps everything looking sleek and smooth. The legs don’t quite disappear under jeans the way the Wacoal Body Base Shorty does, but it’s not a deal breaker.

Commando Fitted Slip // This isn’t really shapewear, but I’ll throw it in this category. I wear this slip under all of my knit and jersey dresses — pretty much any that aren’t already lined. It’s also perfect for wearing over sweater dresses in the winter. It doesn’t offer any shaping, but it allows your dresses to skim the body without clinging. I have this in the M/L.

My Favorite Underwear

Hanky Panky Original Rise Thong // I detest VPL (visible panty lines) and these are the most comfortable thongs I’ve found. I wear them under all of my pants and jeans. The exception is white denim, in which case I wear the Wacoal Body Base Shorty.

HINT: Hanky Panky is usually included in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, which happens in July.

Natori Bliss Cotton Blend Briefs // When I want regular cotton undies, these are my first choice. I usually wear these under shorts and any other time that I’m not worried about VPL. (For some reason I find thongs uncomfortable with shorts, and I don’t seem to have the same issue with panty lines as I do with jeans.) These are also usually included in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale; that’s when I stock up.

Soma Vanishing Edge // I’m linking to this whole category of underwear because the pair I have seems to be discontinued, but I like these for wearing under jeans or pants when I don’t feel like wearing a thong but the Natori Bliss show through.

I’m actually planning to order a few more of these, so I’ll report back on which styles I like best.

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18 thoughts on “Favorite Foundations

  1. I’m giggling to myself here as when I saw the subject line, I was thinking makeup foundations and was obviously wrong when I opened the email 😂😂

  2. Such great options. I’m a 32D and I love Wacoal visual effects minimizer bra for everyday and Anita bras for sports.Enjoy your vacation!

  3. Thank you for a much needed post for summer clothing wear. I now have quite a wish list. I was going to skip the Nordstrom sale, but like usual, there are things I need.

  4. Oh Jo-Lynne, sorry you’re in so much pain with your mouth issue, especially on your family vacation. It’s so complicated trying to sort out the problem. hope your pain subsides and you’re able to enjoy yourself.

  5. This was a great post. Foundations can make a huge difference in how garments look. I am old enough to remember panty girdles. They made me want to go au natural, which I have done for many years now, just because it is such a struggle to get into shape wear. Will definitely try some of your favorites. Thank for so many wonderful suggestions.

    Glad you are enjoying your beach vacation,

  6. That full commando slip looks interesting. I have several Vanity Fair full slips and half slips I’ve had for years; still like a slip of some sort under almost all dresses. Still want to try the Freya bra at some point in time. Great post!

  7. Wow!!!! I really need to get with it. I keep my bras too long. I don’t wear slips or shape wear, as I can’t stand the thought of anything but undies under my pants and when I use to wear slips back in the day, I felt all I did was try to adjust them under the dress from creeping up. I do need a good sports bra with no uniboob. I just hate that, so will look at one you recommend if they come small enough. I’m 34B. You always have great suggestions and I’ll definitely be saving this post for any future reference. Glad your pain isn’t getting any worse. I sure hope is settles down for good. I’m still praying. Enjoy your day.

  8. This is such great information and I appreciate having it all in one place. I’ve added several items to my shopping list and cart. Thank you!

  9. Great article, Jolynne! Such helpful information! I’m about the size you were and it’s so hard to find bras that work in my size. I like Soma bras for the most part, but am excited to try the Warcoal strapless and the sports bra you recommended. It’s nice to get advice from someone who has had the same issues! Thank you!

  10. Sorry to hear about the ongoing dental issues, I might suggest oil pulling every morning, this has been a game changer for me (I use coconut oil with a drop of oregano oil which is a natural antimicrobial and antispasmodic). This is an Ayurvedic tradition that dates back to 300 B.C., I could go into a whole medical (holistic medicine) lession about how and why it works but basically it draws the toxins out of the body. You swish for 5-15 minutes, spit it out and then brush your teeth. I know this sounds absolutly crazy but it works, I’ve been oil pulling for a couple years now and no dental issues at all, I haven’t been sick in years with even a slight cold and my hygenist is always amazed that I don’t have any plaque build up when I go in every six months and your teeth will be white, like professionally whitened sparkling clean and it’s great for your immune system, anyway something to think about and research. Also thank you for the foundation information, always helpful!

    1. Thanks for that info. I actually tried that at one point, and I couldn’t keep up with it. It was really hard for me (I have a strong gag reflex.) It might be worth trying again tho.

  11. Great post and very helpful. I’m a petite with a 36D bra size so I’m always on the look out for a good sports bra. I’m sorry I may have missed the email/post on your Reduction Surgery? I have been considering it for years. Would you mind sending me the link when you posted about it, or willing to share a bit about your experience?

  12. As someone that has no problem admitting to wearing shapewear under workout clothing (hey, lol: even before you try to reach your target weight loss goal, you DON’T want to have that muffin top/”inner tube effect” a lot of athletic tanks can create around your abdominal region if you’re pear figured!), the make-or-break test (for me) with boyshort-style shapers is;
    whether, the leg bands do stay in place and don’t roll up while pulling on leggings.

    When it comes to thongs: the weird thing I’ve found is that the styles where the front is cut more like a bikini or hipster (and: NOT like some super sky-high, gross stripper contraption lol!), they absolutely do away with the problem of a thong feeling like it’s cutting into your tailbone whenever you bend or lean over. The types with either a wide waist or more of a hip cut are, literally, a revelation.

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