When we think of bras, comfort isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind. Tight straps digging in, uncomfortable wiring and the freeing feeling when you’re finally able to take it off at the end of the day, are probably higher up there.
However, in recent years with the rise in athleisure, and especially since working from home has become the new norm, comfort is now a priority in our wardrobes more than ever. And why shouldn’t that extend into our underwear drawers?
According to one of the biggest names on the high street, a knock-on effect is already taking place. Nancy Szachno-Dressel, John Lewis & Partners’s lingerie buyer, says they “have definitely seen a shift towards non-wired and comfort products with sales in these categories up 56 per cent compared to last year”, and M&S has confirmed around half its customers are now buying non-wired bras and bralettes compared to only 1 in 3, pre-pandemic.
When M&S launched its first ever sleep bra in January, demand was (and still is) through the roof as customers found its ability to take them from PJs to loungewear irresistible. The impressive amount of interest in this particular style goes a long way to busting the myth that all bras must be restrictive to do their job properly.
Comfort, though, has different parameters for each person. Some of us may require little support and prefer wire-free sporty cottons, others will inevitably feel more at ease with a bit of structure so as to avoid having to check whether you’re accidentally flashing the postman or negate back pain, for example.
There are an increasing number of designs out there claiming to be the most comfortable bra on the market, so we wanted to put them to the test.
After a week of trialling some of the most popular styles in a variety of settings, from Zoom meetings to park walks and sofa sessions, we finally settled on a selection that had pros to suit everybody, with one style in particular coming out on top.
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Sloggi zero feel ultra bralette
The name of Sloggi’s bralette says it all. The super-silky seamless material feels like almost nothing on the skin, or as little as physically possible while still actually having the support of a bra. We didn’t experience any irritation from the band, straps or stitching (there’s hardly any seams to bother you), and were particularly impressed with how little you could feel it around the arms— a frequent problem area for bras digging in.
Although it has the comfort of a soft sports bralette, its V-neck shape and adjustable straps give it a bit more of a traditional bra structure with the added support that comes with it. The soft padding (removable if preferred) gave nice natural lift and coverage, too. If you have a fuller bust, though, the XS-L sizing may be a little limiting. However, we can totally see why this is a bestseller at John Lewis & Partners.
Flexifit non-wired sleep bra
Sleeping in a bra may sound nightmarish to some people but if you find a bit of gentle support helpful, you’re going to want to try this. We found it also worked well underneath loungewear during the day; similar to a sports bra but not as tight. Although it is completely unwired and non-padded, the brand’s innovative Flexifit technology moves with you while still holding its shape.
This design stops at an E cup but there’s also an option specifically tailored to F-H cups, so those with bigger busts can feel confident in the design despite the lack of traditional support. The full coverage and wide straps will also help boost confidence in this department, although we have to say it’s not the sexiest bra in the world.
The soft breathable cotton wouldn’t irritate even the most sensitive of skin. We also found the sizing a little on the small side, so go up if you’re in-between to avoid the thin band under the boobs feeling too restrictive.
Boux Avenue lounge bra
This seamless T-shirt bra from Boux Avenue has endless good reviews on its site. When we tried it, we found it to be second-skin soft, moulding nicely to the body, with the support of an underwire style sans any stiffness. There’s a padded layer in the cups which may not be to some people’s taste, but it did help feeling supported in the absence of boning. A thicker-than-average back strap also lends itself to comfort for fuller busts but thinner shoulder straps could have a tendency to dig in and rub. You are able to adjust them to a crossover back if preferred though.
It’s also good to note this bra starts at back size 28 as opposed to the usual 32, so it works very well for petites. A sportier bralette would be more comfortable but if you just want a much softer, less structured version of your everyday bra this is for you.
Skims fits everybody T-shirt bra
The success of Kim Kardashian-West’s loungewear and lingerie line is undeniable. It’s always hard to tell if the waiting lists are simply down to the star’s selling power, but after hearing rave reviews from industry insiders we had an inkling there was more to Skims than just a pretty face. Plus, with the brand’s focus on body inclusivity and comfort, we felt it was worth considering for our line-up.
Although the price tag is slightly hefty for an everyday T-shirt bra, the quality of the product is clear and the design has obviously been well thought out, with nice details like rounded straps that look more like a cami than a bra. They stay put too, we didn’t find ourselves fiddling with this at all while wearing it. The stretch fabric is ultra-soft to the touch, with very lightly padded cups for coverage and good support. If you personally like an underwire style but still want ultimate comfort, this one is a winner.
Uniqlo beauty light wireless bra
Uniqlo is well known for its innovation in design, and the seamless contour of this wireless bra is no exception. Light padding enables you to feel supported, as does a thicker than average back and adjustable shoulder straps. The pastel colour also makes a nice change from the standard black and nude usually offered when it comes to “comfort” bras.
Compared to some of the other styles, the sizing range was impressive, going up to a 40G, although we found it difficult to find the perfect fit given the grouping of sizes— you may need to try a couple of different versions before settling on the perfect one for you.
Le Buns berta organic cotton triangle bralette
If you’re after a style that’s kind to the environment as well as your skin, Le Buns is a great sustainable option when it comes to comfortable lingerie. This pull-on organic cotton bralette immediately feels less synthetic than some of the other styles in this list but with that, you get more seams and a less streamlined look if you were to wear this under a T-shirt. However, the comfort levels are extremely high and you could easily wear it all day, forgetting you even had it on.
There’s no padding and the plunge neckline might not make this ideal if you have much active movement planned (especially for bigger busts) but supported sides and thick shoulder straps and underband do go some way to helping you feel secure. Plus, it sits under button down shirts and V-necks nicely – perfect for a slow day of working from home.
Heist the sheer bralette
Starting off in hosiery (its tights are the best we’ve ever worn), Heist launched underwear in May last year when it was clear there was a huge new appetite for comfortable and beautiful lingerie. Within two weeks of launching this bralette, it had not only sold out, but had over 2,000 people on the waiting list for the restock. If that’s not a testament to how great this bralette is, we don’t know what else could be.
The design uses trademark HeroPanels to give natural support and lift in total comfort, without any wiring at all. Mesh sections make it feel nice and breathable although it’s not the softest fabric of this bunch to touch. It’s supportively tight, streamlining your silhouette under clothes, but if you prefer a less restrictive fit we’d recommend sizing up.
H&M seamless padded bra
If any brand knows how to do basics well, it’s H&M. Although we weren’t expecting miracles from this simple style, it actually turned out to be one of the comfiest of all. The stretchy material and overhead design gives it the supportiveness of a sports bra but the pretty ruching, light padding and adjustable straps are benefits of a great day-to-day style; if you wanted something perfectly straddling them both, this is it. The full coverage wouldn’t work so well under low necklines but it’s great as a layer under T-shirts. For under £15, it’s great value— we could see ourselves buying one in every colour.
Iris & Lilly full cover cotton bra, for two
Amazon’s in-house lingerie brand Iris & Lilly has a wide range of great value styles. This two-pack of cotton bras are an excellent everyday option if you have a fuller bust (sizes start at 32DD, going up to 40G) and want to prioritise comfort without sacrificing support. We found the wide shoulder straps, triple hook back fastening, and the full coverage offered plenty of security while a reinforced underband replaces uncomfortable wiring without the risk of any sagging or the bra riding up. Don’t expect a flawless fit or seamless comfort for this price but the lace detailing and super soft lining make these a great budget option that feel both comfortable and pretty.
Iris & Lilly women’s wireless bra
This is probably the prettiest bra we tried. Other “comfortable” bras tend to focus on form and function rather than looks but this wireless style from Amazon’s popular in-house brand takes both into consideration. The sizing runs a little small and is limited in its range but the style itself has a little stretch in it to compensate. We liked how the thin layer of padding was comfortable yet firm, and gave a nice natural push-up effect despite there being no wire structure, and the sturdy shoulder straps helped evenly distribute weight on the shoulders. This felt like a great middle ground for when you want to be comfortable and still feel sexy.
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