The 10 bras every woman should own!
Thought your one greying lace bra and that pull-on Belvia bra are enough to keep you going? You (and your breasts) are missing out on so much. If only to get you through lazy periods when you can't be bothered to put a wash on, every woman needs a good collection of lingerie basics to work under all outfits. Here are the ten bra styles we think everyone should own - with suggestions for all shapes and sizes included!
1. A classic, comfy and timeless black bra
For most of us, a classic black bra is probably the day-to-day bra of choice. You're never short of options, and if you find the right one (which provides the holy trinity of style, support and comfort) you're set for life. Choose the shape that works for your bust and if you really love it, buy a couple to keep on rotation! Don't forget to get a few pairs of the matching knickers too, just because it's a day-to-day basic doesn't mean you can't match! For pretty but practical styles try Elle Macpherson Intimates bestselling 'Artistry' style or the ever-reliable Autograph for M&S line. For D+ cups I really rate the Curvy Kate Criss-Cross and Flirtelle Joy styles.
2. A nude moulded / t-shirt bra
Everyone needs a good seamless bra to wear under tight t-shirts and fitted garments, and nude is the most practical colour because it works under both light colours and dark. It also washes a bit better than white, which will go grubby and grey quite quickly if you're not careful. For women who wear A - D cups the options are endless, try the Lepel 'Athena' or the Boux Avenue boost bra. For those who need a bigger cup, they don't get much better than the Freya Deco, which even comes in a non-wired version now.
3. A supportive strapless bra
'Supportive' and 'strapless' might seem like a contradiction in terms, but there are strapless bras out there that will hold up even larger busts. The trick is in the fit - you need a really well-fitting band that will hold everything where it's meant to be. Not too tight, but sturdy enough that it won't budge once you've done it up. Wonderbra's infamous 'ultimate strapless' with built-in 'hands' really does the job once you get used to the fact the band sits much lower than traditional bras, but if you prefer something a bit more familiar, try a moulded cup with a wide band, like the Triumph 'Body Makeup' strapless. For DD cups, that good old Freya Deco dishes up the goods once again!
4. Something bold, bright and brilliant
Boost your mood on a dull day by wearing ridiculously bright and bold undies. Ok, so hot pinks, lime greens and neon oranges might not be particularly practical if you wear a lot of light colours, but everyone should have bras in some fun colours other than black, white and nude. Fit is obviously the most important thing when it comes to lingerie, but you shouldn't forget fun, either. ASOS' 'boudoir' range offers up some great trend-led pieces for standard sizes, and Floozie by FrostFrench is great for tongue-in-cheek retro styles. Those will fuller busts should check out the younger range from Panache - Cleo - which is full of brights and bold prints.
5. A super-sexy, special occasion bra
For times when you plan on showing off your underwear - or just on days when you want to feel extra special - a sexy, romantic bra is a must. For a bit of foxy French lingerie, try Simone Perele's pretty 'Celeste' bra. If you're looking for larger cup sizes, try Masquerade, a line full of satin, lace and romantic touches. For something really over the top, save up your pennies and head to Myla, where alongside more wearable options, there are bejewelled and pearl-encrusted creations like the Carrie. This is a bra that won't be quickly forgotten.
6. A throwback, retro style
You don't have to go all out with a 1940s bullet bra if you don't want to (if you do, What Katie Did is your new BFF) but a bit of vintage-inspired style in your lingerie 'wardrobe' will ensure every outfit gets the right foundation - especially if you're a fan of wiggle dresses, swing skirts and anything Joan Holloway-related. Kiss Me Deadly does a great range of vintage-inspired bras with a slightly more modern cut - try the Tempest Rose with its scalloped cups. We also love DD+ brand Parfait by Affinitas - their hugely popular retro inspired set that we gave away last year is available to buy still at ModCloth.
7. A multiway plunge
As clothes get skimpier as we come into Summer, you need a bra that will work with lots of different necklines, especially if you're packing light for a holiday. For me, there's no better bra for practicality than the Panache Zara . It's the only plunge that's ever been comfy on me and allows me to wear slightly lower necklines, but it also comes with the added benefit of adjustable straps that can be worn crossover, halter or even strapless in a pinch. The Boux Avenue 'Kelsey' does a very similar job in smaller sizes, and it's also worth checking out M&S's 'Flatter Me' push-up multiway style.
8. A sports bra
Different busts will need different levels of support, but the fact is if you do any form of exercise (and really, you should if you can) you'll need a sports bra. For serious support, they don't come better than Shock Absorber, who offer all kinds of styles for different forms or exercise. If in doubt, the Ultimate Run will keep things in check. If you prefer a bra with underwires, Panache make a brilliant sports bra for larger cup sizes with wires, safely hidden under thick layers of fabric to avoid rubbing. If you don't need such strong scaffolding, Sweaty Betty's seamless compression bra will do the job.
9. A sexy push-up bra
La Senza is now back and better than ever if you love a push-up, due to its glaring similarity to Victoria's Secret (the same parent company now owns both). Grab a push-up plunge in all manner of bright colours and lace trims from about £20. DD+ ladies don't have to miss out either. You might not need the padding, but a good plunge with a push-up shape will make those girls look gorgeous - the Curvy Kate 'Tempt Me' bra is a brilliant option. For something a little less in-your-face, Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley's range for M&S has a very pretty but simple silk and lace bra in a variety of colours.
10. A balconette bra
A balconette bra creates a completely different look to a plunge due to the deeper central gore, but it's definitely a style worth investigating - particularly if you have a larger bust, as this design can be a lot more comfortable. The finished effect is more Regency 'heaving bosom' than cavernous cleavage. Mimi Holliday is the brand to go for if you want low-cut, sexy balconettes. Boux Avenue delivers a classic black satin balconette in a wide range of sizes. And most DD+ women will recognise the perrenial favourite from Panache, the Tango, which has been a staple balconette style for fuller busts for years. The Summer edition pale green is gorgeous.