What is a Bandeau Bra (And What are the Advantages?)

girl in a tube top bandeau

There you are walking the undergarment aisle of some department store when you come across a familiar old sight. Hanging in front of you is a bright, pattern-filled tube top in the intimate section. You find yourself asking: A. What is it doing here? B. When did tube tops get so short? Enter the bandeau! Ladies, get prepared for an exciting, glorious spin to this classic piece. After reading, you may want just want to give the bandeau bra a shot.

​What is a Bandeau Bra?

​Bandeaus are strapless, stretchy pieces of fabric with a thick band on the top and bottom. The elastic is meant to hold everything in place, and the soft fabric allows for comfortable all-day wear.

Unlike a typical bra with a clasp in the back, the bandeau is fully connected all the way around, making it an easy slip-on bra. It is a simple garment, but don't let that fool you – there are so many possibilities with this piece of clothing. 

In most bandeau bras, there are pads within it to keep those nips from peeping through. If padding isn’t your speed though, don’t worry! These pads are usually removable.

This undergarment is also known for being strapless, though there are styles that come with removable straps if you're looking for a little more support in keeping the bra up. So, how you want to rock the bandeau is entirely up to you.

girl in a white bandeau tube top with tattoo

​Best for Small to Medium Cup Sizes

​Bandeau bras usually work best for medium cup sizes and below for women who usually wear the best rated push up bras for small breasts, especially because there is typically not underwire in this undergarment. Rather than underwire, the elastic bands on the top and bottom are used to secure your assets, making this bra extremely comfortable! 

Using elasticity as an underwire should provide enough support to keep these sizes in place. The cups can flow seamlessly with the rest of the bra to provide a smooth round appearance. Yet, you can find some that provide clear division between the cups for a more supportive feel. 

Similar to bralettes, rather than bandeaus coming in specific bra sizes (such as 32B), they typically range from extra-small to extra-large. Regardless of your cup size, it's all about finding the sweet spot with bandeaus. 

Tip: Because this bra comes in XS - XL, experiment with various sizes to find the best fit (more snug is better!).

​What is a Bandeau Bra Used For?

​Bandeau bras could be perfect for the minimalist who wants a chameleon-like piece within their wardrobe. It could also work for the backpacker looking to save room in their limited pack. Even the college student lounging while studying for midterms could find use in this item!

These bras are here for the days we want to bless our workspaces with the fashionista within us. Yet, also for the lazy Netflix days where we only order UberEats. Several situations could warrant the use of a bandeau bra, and with their diverse range of colors and styles, having a few of these in your arsenal of lingerie is almost necessary!

​Accentuates the Upper Body

​With the bandeau bra, particular attention is drawn to the upper portion of your body. Due to a lower bra line that is horizontal, eyes are naturally pulled upwards towards your neck and chest. This makes the bandeau bra a great option to show off your collarbone, shoulders, and neck.

Whether your collarbone only peeks through occasionally, or has mostly been a main focus at the gym, bandeaus emphasize these feminine curves that so often get hidden. It provides a seamless line from neck to shoulder without any pesky straps getting in the way. This makes it perfect to wear on its own or styled under your favorite sheer shirt.

Tip: When wearing a bandeau bra, try dusting a light layer of highlighter to the top of your collarbones to provide depth (and even some sparkle). Here's a simple YouTube tutorial on defining your collarbones for that extra punch!

girl in the kitchen with green tube top

​Advantages of a Bandeau Bra

​Now that we've covered what a bandeau is, let's talk about why you would actually want to wear one! We could go on and on about the perks of bandeau bras, but our three main focuses are:

  • ​Large collections of colors and patterns
  • ​Comfortable all day wear
  • ​Versatility

​Several Colors and Patterns

​The amount of colors and patterns that a bandeau bra comes in is extraordinary. Almost anything you can think of has been put into production. That is why bandeau bras are usually a crowd favorite when wanting to spruce up a plain-Jane outfit.

Bra colors range from the more neutral skin colors to the brightest orange to pale pinks. Patterns include almost every animal in existence, floral, dots, spots, and most everything in between.

In the rare case that you can’t find what you’re looking for (and you're feeling crafty), you can actually create your own bandeau. Even better, you can make it reversible to maximize your pattern options! If you're a natural with a needle and thread, the design possibilities are endless!

​Comfortable All Day Wear

​When you think about bandeau bras, imagine being nestled between freshly washed cotton sheets. Most bandeau bras provide that dream-like feeling when in use. While some are the same fabric outside and in, others provide a cotton sheath inside to maximize breast breathability.

Tip: Check to see what fabric your bandeau bra is made of. During the summer months you may want something that provides breathability, and some kind of moisture wicking fabric. Cotton is usually a crowd favorite because of its ability to insulate and regulate no matter the weather.

​Versatile Design Structure

​When you get down to the bare bones of bandeau creation, it is just an infinity loop of fabric with elastic on the top and bottom. So that alone doesn’t work with all cup sizes., especially if you're on the bustier side. Luckily, you can find almost any variation of bandeau bra to make the wear customized to your preferences.

Most bandeau bras have removable padding, which allows for the wearer to choose what works best for them. You can also find bandeau bras with detachable, invisible straps if you feel you need the reinforcement.

Need even more support? Look for a bandeau bra that provides structure through an underwire, or even boning. This might take away from the comfort of the bra a bit, but it will help with keeping your girls in place!

Tip: A boned structure to a bandeau would give dual purpose. Not only would it provide support, but it would also provide a corset appearance.

girl in a tube top bandeau

​source: garageclothing.com

​How to Wear a Bandeau

​If you’ve decided to give bandeau bras a go, the next thought might be, “What do I wear this with? Well friends, the options are nearly endless! Who knew such a small piece of fabric could lead to so many outfit ideas?

Arguably, deciding what fabric to go with for your bandeau bra can be most important. Think about the season or event you plan to wear it at. For an all-season garment, cotton is best due to its ability to keep you warm in the cold and cooler when it’s hot. When planning for a girl’s night out, mix it up by looking for a bandeau bra with a leather or denim appearance.

Below are a few commonly seen ways to wear your favorite bandeaus to give you a good starting point. Don’t hesitate to think outside the box and create some outfit ideas of your own!

Tip: When you create an outfit that you like, snap a picture of it. That way you can begin to create your own look book. This will lead to you having go-to outfit choices to pick from on those days that you are stumped.

​Wear Underneath Plunging Lines

The struggle can be real when trying to find a bra that seamlessly flows with your favorite black dress with a plunging neckline. A plunge bra can be an option (especially if you want to show more cleavage), or this is the perfect time for a bandeau! Depending on the occasion, this bra can actually help to dress up your outfit or give it a pop of color, adding to your entire look.

Bandeaus are also great for tanks and tees with plunging arm holes on the sides. Rather than exposing your normal bra to the world or feeling like you need to wear a full camisole tank underneath, this stretchy undergarment is an ideal option!

​Wear Underneath Sheer Shirts

​Imagine a black, mesh shirt with lace detailing, such as a high neck bralette. The only thing is to figure out how to cover your décolletage without taking away from the already beautifully detailed shirt. If you're thinking that a bandeau bra might work underneath this, you'd be right! 

Bandeau bras can be that needed coverage when you have a sheer shirt that provides just the right amount of sex appeal, but you don’t want to give away all the secrets. 

When there are a multitude of colors on the sheer shirt, try picking a bandeau bra that matches one of the primary color for a bit of oomph. Or, if you prefer the muted approach, black and neutral colored bandeaus usually pair well with anything.

​Wear it Alone

​Before you start to worry, listen! Due to the coverage of the nip, the different colors and patterns available, and the social acceptance of the crop top, wearing this alone works and has become socially acceptable in many settings.

Although most commonly seen at festivals and beaches, bandeau bra wearers everywhere are taking a stand. The ability to easily pair this bra with shorts, skirts, high-waisted bottoms, and fitness leggings may leave you with one question: Who needs a shirt?

If you want to add a little more to your upper body, find a statement necklace that complements the bra to accessorize with. You can also pair this undergarment with a cute jacket or kimono to add a little additional coverage. It open ups so many avenues for creative exploration!

Tip: If you’re a little self conscious of the tummy area, spanxs are a girl’s best friend! Choose a high-waisted bottom to pair with your bandeau bra, wear the spanxs underneath for a smooth appearance and to hide any areas you want unseen.

​Bandeau Swimwear

​Say goodbye to the days of painfully tight neck and back string bikini laces, and say hello bandeau swimwear! Once you give them a try, you may not want this style to ever go out of fashion.

From one-pieces to tankinis (let’s call them bandinis) to bikinis, bandeau swim pieces are on the rise. You can find this swimwear adorned with designs like fabric flowers, knotted lines on the side that connect the front to back, or a sleek and simple look.

pink brasserie lingerie bra with straps

​Can Busty Women Wear Them?

After reading this article, we'd understand if you've got big boobs and blurted out, “Well, this sounds great if you've got a small chest, but this doesn't sound like it will hold in all of the goodness ​when all I wear are great push up bras for plus size boobs” Well, there's good news for you! There are a couple options when it comes to sporting this piece of lingerie. 

To start, you might feel more comfortable with wearing a strapless bra underneath your bandeau. This way you have the extra support that is needed for larger cup sizes without sacrificing the cute pattern and colors. A bandeau bra over top of a well-fitted strapless could leave you quite smitten with this undergarment.

If you prefer to ditch the strapless bra and just wear a bandeau, look for ones with additional support. Boning and underwire are going to be your best friend in helping to keep your breasts held high.

Also, ones that include removable straps will help the bra from sliding down to your stomach halfway through the day. To avoid slippage, try looking for one with a slightly tighter fit.

Tip: Since you're relying on elasticity to keep the bandeau up, we recommend finding ones that are a bit tighter, especially for larger boobs. Over time the elastic bands can become looser, so starting with a more sung fit will help maximize the lifespan of this bra!

​Conclusion

​Ultimately, bandeau bras are all about comfort and a wide assortment of designs and styles that work for numerous occasions. They provide you with endless options to wear it as a top, a peek-a-boo of color, underneath a strapless item, with or without padding, and with or without invisible straps. All in all, the decision is all yours. Go crazy, and experiment until you find that signature style!

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