Ladies, we need to talk! Specifically, we need to discuss the confusing state of your lingerie drawer and how many bras a woman should own. Have you ever put together a great outfit, only to find your lingerie line-up, well, lacking? After having an unfortunate fashion mishap, have you ever polled your friends over a glass of wine, asking them, “how many bras should I own?”
Surprisingly, many of you will find these answers can vary greatly from person to person. In asking our own group of girlfriends, we found that some share a total bra collection of only 6, while others have over 30 different bras! After hearing this, are you left feeling even more confused than ever? We were!
Join the masses, ladies. You are not alone in your uncertainty! So, what really IS going on here and why so much confusion on this topic? It is no wonder you are left thinking, “how many bras should a woman own?” or furiously searching online with queries such as, “what specific bras do I need?” Let's help demystify this all too common question.
Sifting through your own lingerie drawer, how many bras do you own right now? 5, 15, 30? How many are in your weekly rotation and how many of them are occasion specific for that fancy dress you only wear once every 6 months? Knowing how many bras should you own starts by understanding how many you currently have.
Bras, like your outer-garments, serve both a fashion purpose and function. Along with this, the purpose of your bra can vary depending on the size of your boobs. Because of this, it can be easy to quickly accumulate a stock pile of undergarments!
Your particular boob and ribcage size, along with boob shape, will play a factor in the kinds of styling options you will feel most comfortable in. Smaller chested babes might lean towards bras with minimal support, additional padding (such as push-up bras that increase breasts by 2 cups), and the occasional specialty bra.
Bigger chested ladies, on the other hand, might lean towards more supportive bras that have wider straps and bands. You might also go for a wide variety of specialty bras, such as a minimizing bra.
However, one thing is common with most chest sizes - variation in style to support your particular needs is a must!
There are 5 general types of bras that are lingerie musts for women. They are: everyday bras, strapless/ bandeau bras, convertible bras, sports bras, and specialty bras. Within each of these general types, we’ll dive into the specific types of bras that should fill your drawers!
Everyday bras are just like they sound. They are bras you can comfortably wear every day! Knowing how many of this type of undergarment you have (or should have) is going to be your base number answer to, “how many bras should I have?”
In the past, these were known as being the boring, nude colored, unflattering bras that your mom would wear. Luckily, the fashion trends have shifted and these are now some of the cutest, sexiest, and comfortable bras out there!
So what types of bras fit into this category? While it can be somewhat subjective, basic styles of everyday bras include:
T-shirt bras are the most classic of all bras options by offering the lowest profile and most versatile of fits. These bras have molded, smooth cups and offer either seamless or underwire options.
As the name suggests, these types of bras are great under t-shirts or anything form-fitting and are designed to gracefully smooth your bust silhouette while still giving you a little bit of padding.
Recommended Amount: 4-5, as these are the most versatile of all everyday bras.
Push up bras as the name implies, lift and add cleavage. This is a must for your lingerie collection! The design of a push up bra is for added support with underwire and padding to create a more “full” appearance; major va-va-voom factor!
To get the most out of this type of bra, step outside of your comfort zone and choose a few color and fabric options that you feel sexiest in! Push up bras are the queen of sex appeal bras, so work it ladies! If you don't have a push up bra (or are in the market for a new one), take a look at these top rated push up bras for lift!
Recommended Amount: 1-2, as you likely won't be wearing this type of bra as regularly as a t-shirt bra.
Oh, bralettes. It would probably take us an hour to list off all the different types and styles of bralettes out there. This style bra comes in a wide variety of colors and fabrics and are usually the most affordable out of all your bra options.
Recent fashion trends have majorly boosted their popularity with meant-to-be-seen peek-a-boo styling that screams casual, sexy, cool-girl vibe.
Recommended Amount: Wide range of anywhere from 4-8, depending on styling and comfort preferences. Many smaller to medium sized ladies swear by these as their favorite of the everyday bra type!
Demi bras are unique bras, as they feature partial or half cups with u-shaped wiring. These specifically designed bras are meant to lift and slightly tilt your breast towards your centerline for added cleavage, making them a great choice for more subtle drama than a push up.
The half cup design adds to the sex appeal with many beautiful lace fabric options and the lower cup cut is great for plunging necklines.
Recommended Amount: 1-2, similar to how many push up bras we recommend having.
Tip: With the high volume of wear in your everyday bra collection, it is important to note that you should be switching out your bras to allow relief to the elastic band.
While you might love to wear the same few bras over and over again, this does cause undue stress on the elastic. So switch it up and try to not wear the same everyday bra more than 2 days in a row.
Has this scene ever transpired in your room? It's a Friday night and you are beyond excited to wear your new little strapless dress. You start to rummage around in your lingerie drawer, looking for the perfect bra to pull your whole outfit together… and disaster strikes. No strapless bra in sight!
To avoid this ever common problem, always have a good strapless bra in your collection. Strapless bras are going to be your go-to choice for all your bandeau tops, off-the-shoulder dresses and anything else with a low profile neckline or exposed shoulders.
Tip: The key with a good strapless bra is to make sure the band comfortably sits horizontally around your ribcage with staying power. Any fit that slides, rides, or bunches needs to be replaced with a better-suited fit.
Need advice? Ask a professional for the best cup and band size for your shape; it will save you bundles of money (and potential wardrobe malfunctions!) in the long run.
Recommended Amount: 1-2, allowing you to have ones in different colors (nude and black are great staple colors).
Think of this bra as your Swiss Army knife of the bra world. For all those hard-to-lingerie-match tops and dresses with stylish cut-outs, low backs, asymmetrical cuts, or any style that shows off your shoulders or décolletage, this bra will become your new best bra-friend!
Convertibles, as the name suggests have straps that morph your bra into a number of styles. These styles include halters, racer back, backless,or one-shoulder with just a few strap changes.
Whether you have a closet that rivals one of the Kardashians or you pride yourself on being a fashion minimalist, you’ll need this type of bra in your “bra-rsenal” at one time or another.
Tip: Due to the great versatility of this type of bra, it is also a good idea to invest in both a nude and dark color. While some fashion styles work with contrasting lingerie choices, a convertible bra is meant to convert or hide underneath your outer-garments.
Trust us, you never know when the need will arise and nothing is a bigger let down than having the right bra, but the wrong color for a specific outfit!
Recommended Amount: 1-2, and like the strapless bras, we suggest getting different colored ones.
Whether you are a gym/yoga/pilates/CrossFit die-hard,or just need something to wear with more casual around-the-house outfits, sports bras fit the bill. Sports bras are usually made of stretchy and supportive fabrics and are offered in a wide variety of styles, such as racerback, compression or encapsulation.
The kinds you wear will often be dictated by activities as well as personal breast size and shape – so have fun in choosing different styles!
As with all of your bras, be sure to hand or delicate cycle wash your sports bras to ensure they are getting cleaned properly. This is especially true with sports bras that you sweat in and likely go through the wash more often than your other bras.
Tip: Fabrics in sports bras, while a more durable fabric, do go through the most wear-and-tear, so treat yours with care and opt for new ones often. Outside of your everyday bras, sports bras might also have a high replacement rate and that is totally ok!
Recommended Amount: 4-8, as it varies with how much you generally workout each week (and how often you plan on doing a load of laundry!).
We’re classifying bras that are not as common to own for all women as specialty bras. These are bras you might have in your drawer because of a certain life stage you’re experiencing (like pregnancy), or because you have a specific size of boobs.
Hi nursing moms. Are you familiar with hearing yourself ask, “How many nursing bras do I need?” While maybe not making the cut for everyone's must-have in their collections, for nursing moms these are essential as you raise your wee ones.
Like sports bras, nursing bras go through a lot of wear-and-tear, so fit and durability of fabric is of the utmost importance. Choose a good, supportive bra to protect the sensitive breast tissue and ligaments that can be stretched during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
There’s a wide range of great nursing bras on the market, including sleep bras and ones with removable padding. If it’s your first time being a mother, you might want to try a variety of nursing bras available (thus increasing the total number of bras in your wardrobe).
If this isn’t your first rodeo and you know which nursing bras you like best, getting a couple new ones might be all you need.
Tip: Despite only needing this kind of bra for a shorter period, your investment in the right nursing bras will make a world of difference! Do your research, get a proper fitting like any other bra, and opt for styles that match your particular tastes and preferences.
Recommended Amount: 2-3 to start, and add more if needed.
Contrary to a misleading name, minimizer bras don't actually reduce your breast size. Instead, they reshape your breasts' protrusion. Think pointy peaks to rolling hills. The minimizer bra is the greatest of boob sculptors, the Michelangelo of bras, so-to-speak.
Bonus points for this largely underrated bra, as gone are the days of these being the least stylish bras in your bra-bunch. There are now a wide variety of styles and color/fabric options to choose from when shopping for minimizer bras. Hallelujah!
Tip: Think this bra is only for big chested women? Not so! Think about your favorite button-down shirt whose middle buttons by your bust line are always pulling or popping open. That's where a great minimizer bra comes in handy!
As shared before, minimizer bras are great in helping reshape your silhouette and get you looking your best in a variety of fashion styles. Talk about a fashion-forward design!
Recommended Amount: 1-2, unless you’ve got larger assets and plan to make this a staple bra in your wardrobe. If that’s the case, we recommend 3-4 (and fewer everyday bras).
If you've worn an adhesive bra before, you may have a love-hate relationship with it. They're perfect for those backless, strapless, dresses you wear for a hot date. But, let's be real - there's that constant concern that the bra is going to slip right off at any given moment!
So why are we recommending that this is included in your bra collection? Applied properly (and then properly cleaned after each use), this bra can typically last between 50-100 wears.
Additionally, it provides more coverage and lift than nipple petals, which as the name suggests, will only cover your nipples.
Recommended Amount: 1, as you likely won't be wearing this on a consistent basis.
There you have it! Did you keep a running total, helping you figure out the number of bras you need? In closing, here are a few final notes to review when thinking about how many bras should a woman own:
Form and function are the basics for when it comes to building your essential collection. Make sure to have a fitting every few years, as your body does change over time. You might also find your bra size is slightly different in each of the different essential style of bras you should own. That's okay and totally normal!
Edit your collections and make sure you are getting rid of any bras that have lived past their prime. Expect to have well-made bras you have taken care of to last anywhere from 6 to 9 months max.
Finally, as with anything you wear on your body, styles that fit most with your lifestyle, fashion sense and your own particular body type will make the most sense for you. For some, this might include a large variety from each of the essential styles above. Others will opt for just a few from each of the above-listed essential categories.
Now armed with this new advice – go forth, shop and share the wealth of your new found knowledge with all your friends. Your “lady friends” will also thank you, by being happier, healthier, and looking better in all your wardrobe choices!