AARP Eye Center
There's a dirty little secret we never talk about: our bras. Besides the fact that most of us wear the same bra day after day (we don't wash them often enough — admit it!), we complain about poking underwires, bands that hike up, bra bulges and straps that dent our shoulders. Most of all, we can't wait to get home and take the darn thing off. Sound familiar? The right bra feels comfy and looks appealing. It also makes or breaks the fit of everything you wear. No one needs all the bras listed below, so find the best ones for your breasts and buy a backup. Here are 10 ways to make your bra a bosom buddy.
1. Seamless underwire T-shirt bra.
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This full coverage anti-sag style provides maximum structure for a generous bosom — it's the tailored jacket of bras. The wire hoists your “girls” up and off the torso, adding more space between your waist and chest, and the molded or lightly lined cups create a rounded natural look with no see-through possible. Try the T-Shirt Bra from Ava & Viv ($22, target.com), Bali's Live It Up Seamless Underwire Bra No. 3353 ($38, target.com), or splurge on the new online brand ThirdLove's 24/7 Classic Perfect Coverage Bra ($68, thirdlove.com) to wear beneath clingy tees, knits and fitted sweaters. And yes, while some T-shirt bras say so on the label, others don't. Go by the description.
Insider tip: If a T-shirt bra gives you double boobs, the cups are too small, so go up a size or try another brand. Be sure the bra band and underwire fit snugly under your bosom, the cups totally enclose your breasts, and both bra fabric and underwire feel soft, not squeezed or too constricted.
2. Wireless full-coverage bra.
The new alternative to bra No. 1 mentioned above uses a high-tech engineered design instead of wires to shift breast tissue upward for lift and has seamless molded or light-foam cups for a firm natural look. It's a good choice for full-busted or full-figured women who find underwires a tough fit (does yours always creep up?) but need the extra support. Hanes Women's ComfortFlex Fit Full-Coverage Wireless Bra G260 ($12, target.com) and Simply Perfect by Warner's Women's Invisible Edge Lift Seamless Wireless Bra ($20, target.com) hug your body and won't be detectable, even in pale silk blouses, light knits, jersey dresses or bodysuits.
Insider tip: Put your wire-free contoured bra on, bend slightly forward and use one hand to scoop your breast (including sides and bottom), then swoop it into the cup. Rotate between a handful of bras instead of wearing the same bra daily in order to give the spandex a break, as well as time to recover its snap back.
3. Racerback bra.
For those of us with largish chests, shoulder straps that cross or morph into a Y or V shape in back take the pressure off our neck and shoulders while providing plenty of support. Women with narrow or sloping shoulders (and chests of any size) love racers, too, because there's zero strap slippage, which is especially important when wearing sleeveless dresses and tops. Try the new online brand True & Co.'s True Body Lift V Neck Racerback Full Cup Bra ($58, trueandco.com), with sizes up to XXL, and the cult favorite Spanx Bra-llelujah! Racerback Bra ($68, spanx.com), with sizes up to 38 DD, for all-gain, no-strain style.
Insider tip: Look for seamless, smooth and stretchy racerbacks with wider and secure nonadjustable hardware-free straps for extra comfort and “invisible” molded or engineered cups. You may have to spend a little more to get these details, but the result and — aaah! — feeling is worth it.