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

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

Unique Features

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.

​Our​​​ ​favorite bandeau bra​ is the DD Demoiselle Bandeau Bra Top. It’s made of a premium, ultra-soft ​fabric that’s ​both comfortable ​and breathable. ​The bra’s structure, on the other hand, ​​provides sufficient support and coverage​ to the chest area, holding you up well all day. A great plus to this product is that it’s really affordable, and you can even purchase it in sets of two or three! ​​Check it out on Amazon here!​​​

No Straps

This undergarment is also known for being strapless. No need to worry about how to keep straps from showing or fishing for reasons why straps slide down. There are styles that come with removable straps though, 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

Elastic Material

There’s nothing keeping up a bandeau bra than itself. Without straps, there’s no extra help from the shoulders in keeping the garment from sliding down. That’s where elasticity saves the day.

Bandeau bras are usually made with elastic fabrics all over, but more stretchable materials are focused on the top and bottom edges to ensure the fabric won’t ride up or slip over your breasts.

No Back Hooks or Fastenings

The normal way of wearing bandeaus are over the head like sports bras but unlike them, bandeau bras don’t get your head stuck and tangled with straps or a racerback. The only problem with wearing bandeau bras are when the fabric rolls into itself before it even reaches your breasts. Nevertheless, you won’t have to put your arms in bone-bending angles just to fasten the bra at the back.

History

Bandeau bras date back to the era of ancient Greece, during which they were called “apodesmos”. Age-old wall illustrations stand as proof that women had been wearing bandeaus to cover their breasts. Bandeau-like garments could have even been the first form of bikinis that we know today.

That’s not where the bandeau as a form of bra came from, though. Just as brassieres first came into existence, soft elastic fabrics were wrapped like hospital binds to shape a woman’s chest and torso. For a time, they were used to flatten instead of accentuate because of boyish trends.

Nowadays, bandeaus are completely accepted into the lingerie family. The future of bandeau bras is moving towards becoming full-blown fashion garments. Several fashion-forward women have turned their perceptions, and everyone else is starting to follow suit.

Ideal Body Type for Bandeau Bras

​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 no 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 for lounging much like a bralette

​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 that are usually light to medium in support,​​ ​bandeaus ​come in specific bra sizes (such as 32B), and they typically range from extra-small to extra-large. Regardless of your cup size, it’s all about finding the sweet spot with ​these tube like bras. 

Tip: ​​It’ll just be like trying to find the perfect fit for you! 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.

Better Sleep

The debate between the benefits of sleeping with or without a bra is an ongoing conversation. One one side, underwires and constricting bras are have uncomfortable short term effects and can cause health problems further down the line; on the other, bras keep the breasts together, otherwise they would get in the way and won’t allow comfortable positions in bed.

Each woman will have a differing opinion about it, which is why we should all just leave it to personal preference.For women who prefer and actually need to wear a bra to sleep, a bandeau provides a comfortable and healthy option. No underwires to poke through the skin, just pure carrier of heavy breasts to allow a better sleeping experience.

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

​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 by checking out​ the video you can find below. 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, more commonly seen in sports bras. 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-like or even a longline bra appearance.

girl in a tube top bandeau
​source: garageclothing.com

How to Wear a Bandeau Bra

​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.

​Overview
  • Formalwear
  • Casual wear
  • ​Lone top
  • As a swimsuit

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.

Formalwear

Bandeau bras, like bralettes, generally have a lot to prove when it comes to being considered appropriate for formal wear. For women, though, they’re pretty much already accepted as such. Bandeau bras have the same versatile quality as bralettes in that they can transform based on an outfit or transform an outfit in itself.

When paired with formal garments, bandeau bras can sit quietly on the chest to act as the base or foundation of the outfit — a basic piece to tone it down. In reverse, decorative bralettes can be the catalyst to transform a fairly simple outfit into something that can be appropriate in intimate dinners and even formal events.

Casual Wear

Casual wear is where bandeau bras are winning at! For the ease and comfortability of it, bandeau bras are a favorite among many to wear any day. It’s easily a go-to on hot, sunny days, no questions asked.

In the cold, they can be layered without looking a big ball of clothes. These are just five of the many ways bandeau bras can be worn where they’re part of the outfit.

With 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!

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. 

Matched with Tops

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.

Paired with Shorts

​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? 

Complete with Accessories

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!

Lone Top

Wearing bandeau bras out on their own can still sometimes draw stares from strangers, especially from those who still haven’t gotten used to the concept of bandeaus as tops. However, that is where trends will inevitably go, so might as well be part of the futurist fashionistas turning the world around on this fashionable garment.

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.

As a Swimsuit

​Say goodbye to the days of painfully tight neck and back string bikini laces, and say hello to 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 ​a Bandeau?

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.

Additional Support

If you prefer to ditch the strapless bra and just wear a bandeau, look for ones with additional support. Boning and underwire more commonly seen in push up bras 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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