I bought my first “real” bra (which is no longer a part of the hoard in my closet) the summer before my freshman year of high school. A periwinkle, lightly lined, t-shirt bra by Calvin Klein was a nice change to the Target training bras I wore throughout middle school. I felt “grown-up,” like I was ready to become a full-blown adolescent at a real high school with other “grown-up” students.
Over the years, my obsession with bras grew exponentially. My “grown-up” persona is now part of an expanded collection of personalities for different bra styles. In addition to t-shirt bras galore, I’ve accumulated sports bras that complement every pair of leggings I own, a rainbow of bralettes, convertible bras (because who knows when I’ll need to suddenly go strapless?), and more. I have bras for every possible scenario and every possible emotion. Here are seven.
Perfectly ordinary and functional. I wear the t-shirt bra when I know I need to get work done. I’m on a mission. And itchy ruffles or bejeweled straps aren’t going to cut it. Bonus points if the bra is convertible!
Best place to wear: On the SEPTA
Alter ego: Fast-paced with no time to waste (you’ll find me speed walking on the sidewalk with my headphones in)
Usually a variation of the demi bra and as essential as the lightly lined t-shirt bra, push-up bras give you a natural lift and boost of confidence. And for special events, push-up bras can elevate your little black dress into the little black dress.
Best place to wear: Special events
Alter ego: Strong and independent minimalist
Longline bras stir up images of bridal lingerie, but you don’t have to save your favorite waist-long bra for your wedding. A good-fitted longline bra will force you out of your slouching tendencies and fool people into thinking you’ve been on pointe for years.
Best place to wear: Weddings (as a bride, bridesmaid, or just a guest)
Alter ego: Prima ballerina
There’s something enticing about wearing a seamless bra with no straps or back. It’s freedom and femininity in its finest form. You’ll want to travel to dandelion fields in Montana purely for the sake of spinning around in backless sundresses.
Best place to wear: Festivals
Alter ego: Bohemian nomad
Unlined Underwire Bra
Pretty, ineffective bras comprised of satin, frills, and tulle are definitely not meant for everyday wear, but you’ll feel luxurious once it’s on. Wearing something that gorgeous that only you know about is the ultimate power move. Invest in a couple and pamper yourself.
Best place to wear: Ranges from special events to nights at home
Alter ego: Aggressive advocate for the saying, “my body is a temple”
In a fashion rut? Throw on a bralette. Its versatility makes it acceptable to wear under transparent tops, deep V-neck dresses, or even in place of a crop top. When it’s too sticky and humid to bother with underwire and padding, bralettes have got you covered. And with a bralette on, I feel like l’m built for summer.
Best place to wear: Anywhere outside
Alter ego: SoCal on the East Coast
I wear lounge bras when I know for certain I’m not getting out of the house. And that’s okay. I’ll slip on a cotton, triangle bra, prop my feet up, brew some chamomile, and read another YA novel with parallel plots to the one I read the weekend before. And while people will coerce me into going out, my lounge bra is always there to support.
Best place to wear: Home
Alter ego: Stress-free couch potato