Wearing Bralettes Instead of Bras: How to Make the Transition

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Until the bralette came into existence, padded and underwire bras reigned as the primary option for women’s upper undergarments. There was little debate about their effectiveness.

At the time, it did its function of pushing up the breasts and making them look good under shirts and dresses. Nowadays, more and more women raise complaints about the discomfort of bras.

Also, their questionable features start to surface – do you really need to add 2 cup sizes to your chest? Traditional bras are linked to various body issues and conditions.

Ask yourself if the physical aesthetic is still worth the discomfort and pain.

​Wearing Bralettes Instead of Bras

Wearing bralettes instead of bras may have crossed your mind at one point or another. But, can the thin material and strappy designs of the bralette really be considered a suitable undergarment to wear instead of a traditional bra?

Before I talk about transitioning from bras to bralettes, I’m going to review why you might want to make the switch!

Comparing Bralettes and Regular Bras

Style Typical Structure Usual Styles Best For
Bralette Unlined, unpadded, wireless, fixed strapsHalter, longline, triangle, bandeauA to C cups
Regular bra Wired, wireless, padded, unpadded, adjustable strapsT-shirt, sports, plunge, balconette, demi, spacer, nursingExtra small to extra large cups

​Defining Bralettes

Bralettes, also called bralets by some brands, are like bras’ little sisters. They’re lighter, most are smaller, and made with softer fabrics. They’re mostly identified as having none of the bras’ usual features like cups and underwires.

Graphic image of a blue bra that describes that a bralette should be unpadded and made from lightweight fabric

If you are looking for these supportive features as a smaller chested woman, take a look at my review of the best-rated push-up bras for A and B cups.

Some bralettes are made purely with lace, while others incorporate mesh, embroidery, and other dainty details. Though bralettes possess a variety of qualities, their fashionability is not the least among them.

A woman wearing a white bralette and blue shorts seated on a white bed in the bedroom

Bralettes’ main purpose is for fashion rather than for coverage and structure. Bralettes come in different colors, designs, and cuts, just like a regular bra.

The most common and highly recognizable design is the triangle cut. Bralettes usually have thin straps, stretchable fabric to support your underbust, and triangular fabric for your breasts.

This style made the bralette so popular, especially during the hot season. Nowadays, bralettes come in more modern designs and cuts than just plain triangular styles.

Modern styles of bralettes can be worn under a cardigan, dress, or blazer. 

​Compatibility with Body Types

Since the standard triangle bralette is defined by its smallness and delicacy, bralettes are generally aimed at women not looking for much support. Therefore, they’re not recommended to replace bras that have thicker bands and supportive straps.

Can Large Busts Wear Them?

However, brands and companies that produce bralettes are becoming more inclusive of this. Bralettes that cater more to those with bigger busts are coming out on the market, just like how the shelf bra provides better support for bigger breast sizes.

There may not be the biggest selection for women with larger busts yet, but I’m moving towards a reality where bralettes can take the place of bras for women of different bust sizes.

​Why Opt for the Bralette

​I’m probably seeing the same thing that happened to corsets centuries ago happen with bras now. What people believed to be their useful function turned out to be just a superficial enhancement.

It was revealed to be more harmful than helpful for women’s bodies. If not going braless, more women are choosing to ditch the bra and stocking up on bralettes instead!

​Comfortable and Fashionable

Even highly rated push up bras with super structured cups and underwires can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially when compared to these lightweight bralettes. Bralettes offer more freedom of movement because they are less restrictive on the chest.

Aside from their practicality, there are several possibilities when it comes to styling bralettes. They are made to be exposed with their pretty lace edges and decorative designs.

It lets you get away with having your bra showing underneath a top, which would otherwise be a fashion faux pas. The added advantage though, is you can wear them on your own as a top, which works wonders in tropical weather.

​Boost Self-confidence

Traditional bras like push ups and plunge bras may make a shirt look better on you. But, psychologically, they might only feed into your insecurities about your sex appeal and attractiveness.

Going deep into the effects of wearing a bralette, can go as far as increasing your body confidence.

A woman wearing a red bralette and black leggings is seated on a brown wooden floor

Wearing bralettes can encourage you to be okay with having small, perky breasts. It can also stop you from caring about other people judging you as being overly sexual with your big bust and super sultry bralette made out of lace.

Adjusts Easily with Changing Breasts

Your body is continuously changing during and after pregnancy. Your breasts are one of the most affected parts during this period. This is because your hormones are preparing your breasts for nursing.

You may feel the change in their weight and size together with the growth of your little one. Because of these changes, your breasts become more sensitive and need comfort more than ever. This is where bralettes enter the picture.

Because bralettes are made with a very elastic and breathable material, they don’t have underwire that can cause pain and irritation, and they have no structured cups, bralettes can give ultimate comfort to your breasts. 

Great Alternative for Nursing Bras

​​Bralettes are also a great, versatile and fashionable alternative to nursing bras for post-pregnancy moms. Since they are made with softer material, they can easily be pulled down when it is time for nursing.

You can also use your breast pump easily while still wearing a bralette.

However, since your breasts are also getting heavier, you should know that some bralettes will not be able to support that. Make sure to choose one that can give extreme comfort while holding your breasts inside.

Gentle on Post-Surgery Scars

After wearing the required surgical bra for a month or two, you may be looking for an alternative that can still make you feel protected. Unless you plan to do some exercises after healing from your surgery, a bralette is a great choice to wear to protect your post-surgery scar.

Because it is free from poking wires, you can be sure that a bralette will not dig onto your scar or heal breast tissue.

In addition to that, bralettes are usually stretchable which means they can adjust easily on your reconstructed breasts. They will not restrict your movements as well.

Bralettes Does Not Make Your Breasts Sag

People used to believe that only bras with underwire can prevent your breasts from sagging. As you age, it is normal for your breasts to sag, first because of gravity and second because of the breakdown of tissues in your body, such as elastin and collagen. 

The fact is, the more protective your bras are, the more they can cause sagging because they may weaken or damage your breasts’ supportive tissue.

This won’t be a problem with wire-free bralettes. Though bralettes cannot promise a lift, they can still allow your breasts to have a natural shape.

​Making the Switch

​For some small-breasted women, switching to bralettes can be done cold turkey. Since they don’t need as much support, they can easily replace bras without the need to acquaint themselves with a new type of brassiere.

A woman is wearing a pink bralette and green shorts standing near a white door in the living room

Plus-size women need not miss out on this trend too! However, for them, making the switch can take a bit more time. Since more than 80 percent of women wear the wrong size of bra, it’s important to start by wearing the right size of bralette whatever bust size you have.

​Find the Right Bralette

For any size bust, but particularly D cups and above, finding the right bralette is key in this transition. It might feel a little weird (or perhaps liberating!) at first to wear an undergarment with less support, so start by finding one that is comfortable!

There are endless designs, styles, and colors out there, but don’t be tempted to buy on on looks alone. Try it on, move around in it, and see if it’s something that you feel secure in. 

If you want to start with something that’s a little closer to a bra, there’s a diverse range of supportive bralettes. These supportive bralettes can offer the same function as the thick bands, straps, and cups in traditional bras while still serving the daintiness of a bralette.

​Familiarize Yourself with the Feel

​Due to their lightness, bralettes, especially those of sheer materials may often feel like they don’t do much in terms of coverage. While boosting your sexuality (and confidence) is one of its advantages, it can also feel too daring for some who aren’t used to wearing bralettes yet.

Ease into Them

Ease yourself in them by switching to lightweight bras, like the t-shirt bra. If you’re used to wearing full coverage or ​​strapless bras​​​ on a daily basis, transitioning into t-shirt bras before bralettes can feel a little more natural. ​

Start Indoors

If you’re unsure about wearing a bralette for an entire day, try wearing one for a few hours to start. On a lazy Sunday, put a bare bralette on under your comfy tee to get used to the look and feel of it.

By wearing one at home first, you can check for any wardrobe malfunctions that might happen. Once your confidence is higher, try sporting one out in public for an afternoon outing.

​Related Questions

Can You Wear a Bralette By Itself?

You can wear a bralette on its own, whether you need it as a bra alternative or a top. There’s usually no need to wear anything underneath a bralette.

Can You Wear a Bralette Instead of a Bra?

Yes, you can wear bralettes instead of bras as innerwear or outerwear. You can style bralettes for casual, formal, or everyday outfits.

Are Bralettes as Supportive as Regular Bras?

Bralettes aren’t as supportive as regular bras because they are less structured. A bralette frequently lacks the lift, shape, and support of a typical bra because it is often unpadded, wireless, and thinly lined.

What Is a Bralette and ALL the Situations to Wear One


Bralettes taking over bras is not far from reality. They’ve already caught on to the fashion set and it shows no sign of being out of style. Even high-end brands and designers seem to be captivated by this delicate undergarment.

Mostly for its alternative and versatile function as a classy or casual top. Pick up a couple of bralettes and gradually make the switch from bra to bralette!


Allena is the Founder and Editor of The Better Fit, a platform dedicated to empowering women with practical advice on bras and fitness, inspired by her own revelation of the widespread issue of incorrect bra sizing. Her expertise and tips have been recognized by major publications such as Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Insider, and NBC, making her a trusted voice in women's wellness and lifestyle.