Can You Wear a Bra as a Bikini Top?

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Sun, sea, and sand is the definition of a perfect summer. You get to rock your chicest bikinis and get a glowing tan, after months of hiding under layers. However, if the endless sunbathing has left no time to do the laundry and you are wondering, “can I wear a bra as a bikini top?” keep reading to find out.

Can I Wear a Bra as a Bikini Top?

Yes, you can get away with wearing some bras as a bikini top, if you are ever in a situation where you do not have a bikini in hand. However, it is imperative to remember that a bra and a  bikini have different properties that make them appropriate for different situations, so we don’t recommend them.

A bikini is designed to resist water and other elements. Thus, it does not deteriorate too quickly when exposed to the salts and chemicals present in seawater and swimming pool water, simultaneously.

A bra, on the other hand, should not really be word to swim in, as it focuses more on providing support. Below we discuss the difference between a bra and a bikini top.

A person wearing bra near the beach

What Is the Difference Between a Bra and a Bikini Top?

A bra and a bikini top can be used interchangeably. However, they have some obvious differences, which allow them to fulfill their purposes better:


Bras are made with moisture-absorbing fabrics, such as linen and cotton, which allow your skin to remain dry. Other fabrics, including silk, lace, and satin, might be included as decorative features. You can also find spandex, latex, microfiber, and jacquard in their construction to achieve specific purposes.

Bikini tops are usually made with materials that are stretchable, allowing for brisk movement. They are also slightly water-resistant and dry out quickly due to the lightweight fabric.

The fabric blend is also sturdy enough to withstand extended exposure to salt and chlorine water. The material is also often thick to provide a level of nipple coverage.


Bras feature a hook and an eye to clasp the bands at the back. The closures are usually made up of metal, making them more sturdy and durable.

Bikini tops are usually tied, using strings, at the back and around the neck. Some bikinis might have hooks but they are made up of plastic, as metal rusts when exposed to moisture for lengthy periods of time.


Since bras are worn to provide support, they come in a varied range of sizes. The band is exactly in the size as the circumference of your underbust, without feeling too tight or too loose. The cups hold your breasts perfectly, without any spillage or extra room in the cups.

Bikini tops are free size because of the fabric used in their construction. The stretchability of the material allows it to adjust to the body shape. Moreover, the resilience ensures that it returns back to its original size and shape, even after multiple uses. It is also important to know how to measure your bra size.

A woman wearing bra as bikini top at the beach

What Types of Bras Do Not Work as Bikini Tops?

Now that we know that bras can work in place of bikini tops, there are still a few points to consider. This is because not every bra can be passed off as a bikini top. Thus, avoid wearing bras with the following characteristics:

  • Lace bras are very difficult to pass of as bikini tops as lace detailing is immediately associated with lingerie.
  • Cotton bras are super absorbent, so if you want to jump in the water, these types of bras are best avoided. However, if you plan to remain on the sidelines, cotton bras can be used as bikini tops.
  • Bras with underwire is another no-go option because the underwire is made up of metal, which quickly deteriorates and gets rusty when exposed to water and chemicals.

Related Questions

Can I Wear a Sports Bra as a Swimsuit?

Yes, you can wear your sports bra as a swimsuit. They can be a great option to hold everything in place while you do laps. However, the salt content and chemicals in the pool can reduce the lifespan of your sports bra, as they are not made from materials that should be used underwater.

Can I Wear a Bra to the Beach?

While you can wear your bra to the beach, the sun, sand, and salt from the sea can cause serious and irreparable damage to your bra. As you know, bras are worn under a layer of clothing, so they are not constructed to withstand the environmental elements.


To conclude, you can wear a bra in place of a bikini top in certain situations. However, try to avoid bras with lace details or underwires. Moreover, opt for a bra that has a blend of materials, instead of a cotton bra that can get soaked quickly, making them cumbersome to wear.


Hi there, I’m Allena, Founder and Editor of The Better Fit. I’ve always had a passion for finding ways to help women improve various areas of their lives. I have researched and worked to create this website so women would have a place to come and be informed about an article of clothing they literally wear every day.