Deciding whether or not to wear a bra is an individual choice and either decision is perfectly fine. Some people prefer wearing bras because they act as boob support, redistributing or carrying some of the weight from your chest which reduces tenderness, back pain, or shoulder pain. Bras can also redirect unwanted attention on your chest by smoothing out the boob area. However, some might find that it’s more comfortable to go braless, because it feels less constricting or more natural. It all comes down to personal preference.
Different Bra Types
If you choose to wear a bra, it’s important to wear the right type, since an ill-fitting one could actually cause discomfort! There are so many different bras out there that it can be overwhelming to find the right one. Here’s a rundown on the most common types and what they’re used for:
- The “Traditional” Bra: This type of bra used to be the only option, and it still exists as one of the most classic types. There are three main components to this bra – two cups or pieces of triangular material in the front that hold the boobs, a bottom band with a clasp in the back (often with three hooks so it can be closed with varying tightness), and straps, usually with adjusters for length. This bra can also be made of nylon, lace, or t-shirt material, and may have the presence of underwire. Underwire is a sturdy piece of material that lines the underside of both cups, offering more support for larger boobs. Classic bras without underwire may just be labeled as “soft cups bras.”
- Bralette: Bralettes are thin bras with no clasps, underwire, or padding, so many people find them more comfortable. They don’t offer as much support as a traditional bra but often come in fun colors or designs like lace. For this reason, they can be worn with outfits where the bra will be exposed.
- Bandeau: A bandeau is a stretchy, tube top like bra. This means that there are no clasps, so you just pull it over your head like a shirt. It’s essentially a strapless strip of fabric that will sit across your boobs. It’s full coverage but doesn’t have much support, although some have padding.
Quick Note on Padding: Bra padding usually comes in the form of circle shaped foam or cotton inserts that thicken the bra material in the front. Some are sewn into bras but others are removable. Padding was designed to hide the nipple and round out the pointy/triangular shape of boobs. In doing so, it might make boobs look bigger, attracting more attention. If you’d prefer less attention drawn to your chest, keep this in mind when picking out a bra. You might like one with less padding instead (quick spoiler for the end of this article – check out our OOMBRA!).
- Strapless: Strapless bras have more support than bandeaus, since they have traditional cups and sometimes underwire. These bras go best under outfits where your shoulders are showing but you don’t want exposed straps.
- Sports Bra: As seen in the name, a sports bra is used for short term sports activity. Sports bras are full coverage, compressive bras that keep your boobs from bouncing around while you’re active. Since your boobs are held in place, you’ll likely avoid chest pain during and after exercise like running. Keep in mind, sports bras shouldn't be worn regularly as they are meant to be worn when you’re being physical. Wearing them all day or on a day-to-day basis can cause fabric irritation (especially if the material gets sweaty), and make your boobs feel extra heavy and uncomfortable when you take the sports bra off.
- The OOMBRA: There’s a new kind of bra available -- and maybe we’re a little biased -- but we think it’s a great combination of comfort and support. Our OOMBRA is made from t-shirt material and free of clips, clasps, wires, or adjusters, so everything that touches the skin feels soft and won’t hold on to odor. There’s no bulky padding but the bra still hugs the body, which means the nipples won’t show and you feel supported without being squished. Not to mention, fun and reversible designs, and a size range for both flat and larger chests (up to 34D/36B)! This bra is versatile, and a great everyday option. Find it on our website here!