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Anatomy of a Panty Drawer, pt. 3

Sarah Wizemann

Posted on January 08 2008

Anatomy of a Panty Drawer, pt. 3


Part Three: Bralettes

A bralette is a brassiere that has not been outfitted with underwire. Any soft cup bra fits into this category, as long as there is no boning, metal or plastic sewn into the garment. Bralettes do not typically provide the amount of support that an underwire bra can offer, but that depends on the material used. Lace and cotton do little to hold things in place without any structure to adhere to. That's when a little lycra and elastic goes a long way...

The string-bikini cut of the lace Souffle de Fee by Elise Aucouturier is a good example of a triangle bralette. Though attractive and flattering, most triangle bras are not very supportive. We like to call them "bedroom bras" here at Lille. But not all bralettes are flimsy little wisps of material that only an A-cup could love. The vintage-inspired cut of Social Hour by The Lake and Stars shows how bras were constructed prior to the advent of the common underwire bra, and they actually do a decent job of propping up the girls. For a more modern take on the bralette, look no further than Araks for gorgeous silk and cotton soft bras made not just to look and feel good, but also to support the average B-C cup. In particular, the ones with silk at the underside of the bust offer just the right amount of tension to keep things in place. (Smaller cups can even wear the matching camisoles in place of a bra.)

If you're a D cup or bigger, you probably haven't had much luck with bralettes. There's nothing like a full-cup underwire bra to keep you in place all day long. But don't discount the soft cup entirely - a cross-over bra with a bit of lycra can be incredibly supportive and comfortable, without the added bulk of metal in the lining. Dessous' Devon bralette has an extra-wide band of elastic at the base, with a substantial metal clasp in the back to hold it together. And the Cache Coeur crossover bra by Ciel is a great alternative to the sports bra for someone who needs more support during yoga class but still wants pretty lingerie. (I think we can all agree that sports bras tend to be pretty ugly.)

Many of our customers come to Lille specifically because we carry a wide variety of soft cup bralettes. They seem hard to find these days, as the average bust size is increasing every year and department stores carry only major labels, who seldom manufacture bralettes unless they're marketing to teenagers. But I think they are a viable option, particularly for A, B and C cups, if only for those days when you just want comfort and not cleavage!

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