Comfortable, moderately sexy bra?
September 29, 2008 7:19 PM   Subscribe

What is your most comfortable, yet still moderately sexy bra?

When I get home from work, I ditch my Victoria Secret underwire for a sports bra. But...not the sexiest--my 36B turns into a small flat monoboob. I'd like a comfortable bra for lounging on evenings and weekends--it doesn't have to give as much lift as an underwire, but a bit of nipple coverage for running errands and going to the movies is required.
posted by lemonade to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Victoria's Secret Ipex wireless. I love this bra. It's not a sports bra but it's very comfortable. I'm a 36B also.
posted by headnsouth at 7:32 PM on September 29, 2008

Have you been professionally fitted for a bra to ensure that you're wearing the right size? I was always anxious to change out of my B cup bras at the end of the day because they were uncomfortable. Then I got fitted in a lingerie store by a lady who looked like she could be my grandmother, who scoffed at me and told me that I was a C and that I was wearing the wrong band size to boot. My supposedly A cup roommate is now sporting a D cup. The point is, your current bra may be uncomfortable because it's the wrong size. A properly fitted bra should be a pleasure to wear.
posted by decathecting at 7:41 PM on September 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

I wear only one kind of bra -- Gap Body's Lightly Lined T-Shirt bra. I adore it, but I don't know what you consider "comfortable" or "moderately sexy". I have them in everything from plain nude to lacy green to polka dots. It does have underwire, though.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 7:43 PM on September 29, 2008

Wacoal! Especially the halo lace seamless underwire bra (type number 65149). It is super comfortable and also sexy. Also, I do have to agree with decatheting -- being fitted is really important. Go somewhere a little swanky for this (like Macy's or something, I don't know if you'd define that as swanky, but somewhere where there are salespeople with measuring tapes around their necks in the lingerie department) and not Victoria's Secret. They don't carry my size at VS and they have measured me and said things like, "Oh, we don't carry that, but this size will also fit," and it never does.

Now that I know what brand I like, I buy all my bras on The Wacoal's are a bit expensive, but worth every penny. I used to hate lace, but their lace is not uncomfortable or itchy, it's very stretchy and soft. I seriously love their bras.
posted by k8lin at 7:53 PM on September 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'd like to second what decathecting said. Even underwire bras can be very comfortable if the bra is fitted correctly and is the right shape/style for you. (And the right shape/style for me or anyone else isn't necessarily right for you.)

In my experience, Victoria's Secret fitters aren't skilled enough (and sometimes don't have a wide enough range of bras to fit you into) to help you find the right size and style. Non-chain lingerie shops or higher-end department stores are a better bet.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:55 PM on September 29, 2008

Calvin Klein, the kind with the molded (but not padded) cups and lacy band around.
posted by whoaali at 7:57 PM on September 29, 2008

ps: I recommended the halo lace seamless bra even though it is underwire because it doesn't feel like an underwire and i just love it. But they also make a non-underwire bra, the B-Smooth Seamless Matte Bra 87042, which you might be interested in. It's a bit less expensive than other Wacoal bras and, if it's anything like their other stuff, probably comfortable. They have a few other non-wire bras as well.
posted by k8lin at 7:57 PM on September 29, 2008

Seconding the Gap Body's Lightly Lined T-Shirt bra. I also love Calvin Klein's bras- very cute and sexy. Never had good luck with Victoria's Secret.
posted by emd3737 at 8:00 PM on September 29, 2008

I have a tremendous love for Maidenform's 'Feeling Sexy' Lace T-back bra. Super comfortable, accentuates your absolutely perfect.. personality.
posted by msamye at 8:50 PM on September 29, 2008

Elle MacPherson's Harmonies bras. I'm a 36D and I wear them every day, all day. I also bought one of their Dentelle bras and it feels huge and awkward so I almost never wear it.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:51 PM on September 29, 2008

I'm with decathecting. I thought I was a 36B until the man at the Orchard Street Corset Center (official site) looked me over and declared me a 32C. It's changed my life.

Every city has at least one old time foundation/corset/bra shop where they will happily size you up. Then, the most comfortable bra is the one in your size, and you can make it sexy by getting it in black. I'm fond of unlined Wacoal underwire bras, and they run about $20 on Orchard Street. Now that I know my correct bra size, I find that all the bras I've tried on in that size fit me perfectly, and I've snapped up some $8 bargains from Daffys as well.
posted by abirae at 9:05 PM on September 29, 2008

I heartily second everybody who mentioned getting fitted for the right bra size (I thought I was a 38C, and it turns out I'm a 34D). I just got the Victoria's Secret Biofit bra and it is fabulous. Apparently it's a little different for each cup size, so I don't know what the B is like, but the D is great.
posted by timoni at 9:34 PM on September 29, 2008

You must be fitted for the right bra size. I wear a sports bra a lot, (status post breast cancer) and they work for most everything. Of course they do not work for evening wear, so I have found Bali to make a great bra. No extra frills, nothing to pinch or poke you, (I of course can not wear underwire), and they look real nice. They can run from $15.00 on up, but well worth it.
posted by JAD'E at 9:51 PM on September 29, 2008

Seconding Victoria's Secret IPEX. Super comfy. So much so that I've taken to sleeping in them from time to time. Just get a nice color or pattern, some matching bottoms, and you're good to go. It's not uber-sexy, but it has a nice cut and no granny-lace. Looks good under T-shirts. Etc, etc.
posted by greta simone at 9:52 PM on September 29, 2008

I meant the IPEX wireless. The one in the first link.
posted by greta simone at 9:53 PM on September 29, 2008

Another fan of the Gap lightly lined t-shirt bras here -- cute, comfy, extremely wearable.

When I want to put a little extra sex-ay in the mix, I've found that the other brands that still feel nice all day (or evening!) are DKNY and Elle McPherson.
posted by scody at 10:15 PM on September 29, 2008

Definitely get fitted. I spent years thinking I was a 34C but I am a 30G. I can't tell you how much more comfortable my bras are now. The straps stay up, nothing pinches, nothing pokes... it's all good.

Victoria's Secret are terrible- they only carry down to a 34 band size and will just sell you what they have. Go to Nordstroms, or better yet a specialty store that deals in a lot of European lingerie (which comes in way more size combinations for some reason). That way they have no incentive to sell you the wrong size.

btw, I'm with Oprah: La Mystere all the way. Ultra comfy and very cute. I buy them on ebay where they are a little cheaper and have had no fit issues. Very true to size.
posted by fshgrl at 10:22 PM on September 29, 2008

After getting fitted, I adore my Calvin Klein 365 microfiber contour bra (CK 365 is apparently this huge line, so make sure to remember the microfiber contour part). I'm not sure it's what you'd call extremely sexy or anything, but it's incredibly comfortable and I think the lines are quite attractive as well, although basic. I think I'm going to slowly replace my older, less-well fitting bras with duplicates in different colors as they wear out.

Also, be sure to read this guide on how to make sure your bra is fitted right. Definitely get yourself fitted, and if you lose or gain a lot of weight subsequently, do it again, but it's always good to be able to confirm a good fit yourself. Plus, of course, some bras are better made than others.
posted by bettafish at 10:36 PM on September 29, 2008

Sorry, I wanted to provide the google product search link so you could see your price options, but I looked closer, and some of those links are clearly not the same bra - it's this one, lined but unpadded.
posted by bettafish at 10:42 PM on September 29, 2008

Let me add myself to the list of women who didn't know their own bra size--I thought I was a 38C; I'm a 36DD.

If you do go to a boutique and get fitted, check out nursing bras. A lot of them are built out of sports bra materials, but meant to be worn as regular wear but don't make it look like you've strapped a meatloaf to your chest.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:22 AM on September 30, 2008

All those stores offering fittings have a vested interest in telling you that you're a totally different size to the one you usually wear. (I.E. they want you to buy a whole new wardrobe's worth of bras.)

Sizes differ somewhat from store to store anyway. The only way to ensure a good fit is to try on the same bra in lots and lots of different sizes, regardless of what size you think you are. That way, you know you're choosing based on comfort, rather than habit or the advice of PushySalesLady.

And for the record, the most comfortable & attractive bra I ever owned wasn't even sold as a bra; it was the top half of a bikini. I'd bought it for a vacation, even though it was slightly out of my price-range, because it was pretty. Once I realised how comfy it was, I started wearing it as a bra too.
posted by the latin mouse at 3:42 AM on September 30, 2008

All of my bras are Wacoal and some of them are so sexy that even *I* would do me. All of them are comfortable enough to wear for a whole day, even at work.

I'm of the overly busty persuasion, so I dunno about how they fit in the more moderate boobs department. YMMV.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:27 AM on September 30, 2008

Nthing Calvin Klein. I don't buy anything else. And you can get them for <$20 at places like TJ Maxx.
posted by penchant at 7:31 AM on September 30, 2008

My experiences with bra fitters at small independent stores have only been positive. Some boutiques offer excellent service with bras starting at $60, but my favorites are the old time discount shops. Typically you walk in to a room with a wall of cardboard boxes and no bras on display. The salesperson measures you (or sometimes even just gives you a once over), riffles through the boxes and comes back with an armload of magic. There's even a movie called A Good Uplift about Magda, the Oracle of Orchard Street.

There was a similar shop in my neighborhood growing up, so I think these magic places must still exist around the country. The shops are geared towards repeat customers and thrive on word of mouth so in my experience they don't give a hard sell and offer good prices and sometimes very frank assessments. My experiences at department stores have been mixed - some salespeople are pushy, some have tried to force the wrong size on me etc...
posted by abirae at 7:54 AM on September 30, 2008

This place is probably for smaller-chested women than you, but I love lulalu. It is really hard to find pretty, sexy bras in non-matronly colors if you're small chested. So this place was a godsend for me.

I also recommend Victoria's Secret Ipex Wireless (they come in pretty colors, too) as a good somewhat cheat, non-ugly, bum-around-doing-errands-type bra. But as everyone else said, avoid them for almost anything else...

And everyone is right about the proper bra fitting. Nordstrom's kicked off this trend, but lots of higher end department stores have people who can fit you properly. Bitch, Ph.D has a good post on this. It might boost your self esteem too, because apparently (and the testimonies in this thread conform) most women wear too big a band size and too small a cup size. I don't know about you, but as far as silly size hang ups go, I'd be pleased to find out I'm not a 36A but a 34C! Ha.

People already mentioned the other brands smaller women (me included) love--my Wacoal bra is the most comfortable piece of underwear I own, and it's lacy (I typically despise lace, but it's pretty and understated, more like Swiss dot detailing almost, and I can't feel it at all). Calvin Klein, yes. I've heard good things about DKNY. And H and M makes some really pretty, colored, non-underwire bras for smaller gals. And word about finding the brands and models you like, then just buying a few each at when there's coupons or whatnot.
posted by ifjuly at 7:55 AM on September 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

nthing getting a proper bra fitting. It is revolutionary for your boobs to be in their proper place and in my experience, Victoria Secret and La Senza (in Canada) do so wrong by breasts. If I had the guts, I would be stopping women on the street to beg them to get fitted because they're so obviously wearing the wrong size.

I've had good experience with Triumph bras -- pre-proper-bra-fitting, my favourite bra was a formed cup convertible bra that had a fabric covering the cups. It was sorta retro-looking and sexy with the right bit of oomph and so comfy -- I lament that they don't make it in my actual size, post-fitting. It's style number 5792. I've also had good luck with Lejaby and Chantelle (expensive though).
posted by pised at 8:25 AM on September 30, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all! I had already planned to make a stop at Nordstroms to get fitted, since I lost 10 pounds and even the VS bras that might have once fit are now nowhere close. But I am *shocked* by the number of you who needed a much, much bigger cup size once properly measured.

I figured getting measured would make the bras fit better, didn't realize they might make them more comfortable. So I'll start there, and then check out some of the 'comfy' brands. Thanks again for all the responses!
posted by lemonade at 8:29 AM on September 30, 2008

I really like the regular bras made by sports bra companies--not bad looking and actually functional. Title 9 is my source. This Moving Comfort bra is great.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:31 AM on September 30, 2008

If your breasts are large and heavy enough that you need a bra for lounging, instead of being able to lounge comfortably in a t-shirt, there is no way that you are actually a B cup.

Underwires can be comfortable if they fit you, the wires should sit against your rib cage all the way around. Go try on some other sizes. Different women are shaped differently and find different brands of bra comfortable.
posted by yohko at 9:29 AM on September 30, 2008

Bra-fitting is great. For years I thought I was a 34A. Then I got fitted and it turns out I'm a 34A!
posted by scody at 1:22 PM on September 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

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