Women’s bras come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, fabrics and styles. There are also specific types of bras for certain outfits, such as a strapless bra or a maternity bra. For this reason, it is important to know your options. This way, you can make the best choice for your needs and your wardrobe.
Women have been wearing garments to support their breasts for centuries, but the modern bra was invented in 1913 by Mary Phelps Jacob, who patented her design in 1914 and briefly manufactured her own line of brassieres. By the 1930s, a major industry had developed with improved fiber technology and a range of fabrics, colors, patterns and options available. The cultural preference for a pointy bust in Western fashion further increased demand for a form-fitting undergarment.
Despite their many different styles, most bras fasten in the back using hook and eye or a slide-on cup with straps. They may be padded or unpadded and can be made from a variety of materials, including cotton, nylon, silk, lace and satin. A small number of bras are designed for specific purposes, such as nursing bras to facilitate breastfeeding or sports bras to minimize discomfort during exercise.
Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens and former New York Magazine photo editor Stella Blackmon both love this wide-strap pullover style as “small-bust-proof.” Both adore the way they feel on, saying that they’re comfortable enough to sleep in. Content creator Thamarr Guerrier, meanwhile, recommends Lane Bryant’s Cacique bras because of their extensive size and cup-size range (up to a K). She calls the balconette silhouette a “trusted style” that delivers the shape she craves while feeling seamless under clothing. women’s bamboo bras