In the last 10 years the lingerie market has completely changed—dare we say, disrupted—by a host of direct-to-consumer bra and underwear companies that are revolutionizing the way women shop for underpinnings.
When polled, 87 percent of ELLE.com readers reported they buy their bras online (and 71 percent mentioned they’ve stopped shopping at Victoria’s Secret all together) so it’s clear that these DTC companies and other newer brands are offering an appealing alternative to brick-and-mortar stores. With their focus on fit and body diversity, affordable prices and buyer-friendly return policies, and sustainable mission statements, brands like ThirdLove, Lively, and Cuup are offering women more options than ever before (including virtual bra fittings). But how do they hold up? Are they comfortable or nah?
Read on for ELLE.com’s review of the best bra brands on the market.
If the brand sounds familiar it may be because founder Heidi Zak recently took out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times to address some not-so-nice comments Victoria’s Secret’s CMO Ed Razek made about the company. But that’s not the only reason to learn more about the brand. Over five years ago, ThirdLove launched focusing on size inclusivity for its female customers. “Because we have a Fit Finder Quiz on our site that helps a woman find her bra size, we have over 75 million data points about breast shapes, bra size and the most common fit issues women experience,” Zak told Forbes. Those data points have helped the brand launch new styles like the Nursing Bra Collection and New Nakeds, which offers truly nude bras in a spectrum of shades, plus half-cup sizes. In fact, the brand offers sizes from 32 to 48 in band and AA to G in cup and offers a helpful breast shape dictionary that will help you find the right bra for your type of breasts.
Editor favorite: 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra. It makes for a smooth base under plain white T-shirts.
Launched just a few months ago, Cuup was founded by Abby Morgan and Lauren Cohan “as a direct response to a deeply relatable human story,” says Morgan: Feeling forced to make a choice between a bra that makes your feel sexy and one that fits you well. The result? Bras with zero padding and only soft, high-performance mesh, that also look good. After conducting 80 fittings and hours of research and development, Cuup settled on four styles, each of which are offered in 35 sizes.
Editor favorite: The Scoop. Its soft lining makes it the perfect everyday wear bra.
There is no distinction between “everyday” and “occasional” lingerie when it comes to Araks, founded by Araks Yeramyan. Beyond offering fun colors in delicate styles, being eco-friendly is a key mission for the company. Their products are made by certified manufacturers to ensure measurable sustainable practices, and they’re currently transitioning the brand to using 100% cleaner fabrics like GOTS organic cotton and ECONYL. You can look good and feel good knowing that you’re wearing a bra that is mindful about its carbon footprint.
Editor Favorite: Antonia Bralette in Lemon. The bralettes of all bralettes. super comfy and in a great color perfect for the summertime.
“Nude” means something different to each person. Enter Nubian Skin, founded by Ade Hassan, MBE, a line specializing in lingerie and hosiery specifically made for women of color. Inspired Eunice W. Johnson and Iman, women who created inclusive beauty brands with a wide range of foundation colors, Hassan set out to give women everywhere the option of true skin-tone choices.
Editor Favorite: Naked Bra in Cinnamon. Smooth and uplifting— and finally feeling seen.
The Great Eros
Lingerie from The Great Eros channels their Greek namesake, Eros, the god of love. They want you to love yourself in their pieces, and you will definitely be feeling yourself in their sultry bralettes and demi-cups. The brand’s signature Italian double layer mesh feels like you’re wearing nothing at all. Seriously, this is the brand to roll around cream linen sheets in at magic hour.
Editor Favorite: Lugano Underwire Bra in Black. The always, everyday, classic bra that you need
Brought you from the creative minds of Jamie Mizrahi and Simone Harouche is KiT Undergarments. The women collectively have over twenty years of styling experience, and it’s their styling kits that inspired them to create foundational pieces for women. They set out to make the best go-to bras as solutions for everyday wardrobe issues. That means a strapless bra that refuses to fall down, an everyday underwire, and even bandage tape, which Jamie and Simone swear by for photoshoots.
Editor Favorite: Molded Strapless Bra in Black. The perfect strapless bra to go with all of those summer dresses you’re dying to wear soon
Savage X Fenty
Rihanna could sell snake oil and we’d buy it in bulk, but instead she launched Savage X. At its core, the brand celebrates fearlessness, confidence, and inclusivity, but it doesn’t sacrifice on style or fit. Not only are their best-selling basics offered in an amazing set of shades, sizes, and prices (ELLE.com reviewed the styles from size 32A to 42DD), but in true Rihanna form the brand offers more sultry styles like a cupless bralette that will make you say, “‘I may be bad but I’m perfectly good at it.”
Editor Favorite: Glissenette Push Up Bra in Metallic Honey Money. Nothing like a good pushup bra to help you channel your inner @badgalriri.
Eres is the French Girl of the lingerie world. It has been setting the standard in designer lingerie and swimwear for nearly fifty years. There are unexpected details like the use of Leavers lace or wired v-necklines with nods to vintage cuts, but their styles stay refreshingly modern. It’s the epitome of laid back luxury, so look to them to invest in a chic style that says “oh this old thing?”
Editor Favorite: Souvent Bra in Noir. The minimal details of this bra are divine
True & Co
To feel comfortable in your own skin is what True & Co wants to convey with their unique set of bras. By answering the question of what women want in a bra, True & Co began creating different kinds of bras and underwear that women could live in. Each piece is super soft, stretchy, supportive, pretty, confidence-boosting and designed for comfort. What more could you ask for?
Editor Favorite: True Body Triangle Convertible Strap Bra in Orange Burst. For that sports bra like feeling, that’s actually a bra perfect for working from home in.
Beloved by Insta It-girl types, Negative Underwear, the 2014 brainchild of Lauren Schwab and Marissa Vosper, skips the lace, padding, bows, to operate in the negative (get it?) space. Most pieces come in peach, black, or white, with the occasional slate gray tossed into the mix and styles are simple as well: demi, balconette, and non-wire.
Editor favorite: Essaouira Demi Bra in Black. The open mesh is subtly sexy, but not at all vulgar.
Back in 2018 ELLE.com wrote about our love for Lively’s strapless bras and that’s not the only good thing that’s coming from this brand. Since launching, founder and former Victoria’s Secret employee Michelle Cordeiro Grant has expanded into loungewear, bodysuits, and swimwear.
Editor favorite: The Busty Bralette. The style features a soft liner with an inner supportive sling and zero wires, making the bra perfectly comfortable for long travel days.
Co-founded by Jenna Kerner and Jane Fisher, Harper Wilde first launched in 2017 and caught our eye with its three, no-frills styles. Dubbed “the Warby Parker of bras” the brand offers an at-home try on service, free shipping and free returns, plus they’ve partnered with The Girl Project to help provide access to education to girls in over 120 countries. What we love most about the brand, though, is the option to buy in bundles, called the Base or Complete. The former option offers three bras for $100 while the latter provides six, plus a wash bag for $180. Ideal for those who prefer to buy in bulk or are in the midst of a Marie Kondo-style clean out.
Editor favorite: The Everyday Pushup. A go-to on days you want a little extra oomph.
This brand is different from the other ones on this list as it’s a monthly membership service that sends you a bra and panty set after taking their style quiz. Subscribe for $39.95 a month and on the first of each month an online “showroom” will open to you with options from which you can choose. Shop or skip by the 5th of each month (if you forget your $39.95 can be used as a store credit) to receive a new set on your doorstep.
Editor favorite: The Keren Contour bra. It features light lining that lifts and shapes without putting it all out there.