Remember when you were in your 20s and you could get away with wearing a black bra under a white t-shirt? Or when a loose, neon-colored strap sitting on your shoulder was all cute and sexy-like?
Occasionally, I miss those days. But on the whole, I find that ill-fitted, notice-me-now bras make me seem like I’m trying to look younger than I am.
Which I’m not. I’m pretty happy with my almost-40 status. And since the days that I spend not working from home usually involve an office, a potential or current client, or a combination of the two, I want to look presentable, stylish, maybe a bit edgy — but professional nonetheless.
This isn’t easy for women during a hot-as-hell summer, especially when it comes to bras. We’re down to wearing thin, as-cool-as-possible fabrics, so it’s a challenge to disguise a bulky bra or avoid unsightly shoulder straps. Securing our boobs in a way that’s appropriate, comfortable and properly fitted is no easy feat.
But it is possible! It just takes a little brassiere knowledge. If you have one of each of the five following types of bras, you and your assets will be all set for any summer occasion.
1. The T-Shirt Bra
A good t-shirt bra is a key undergarment for summer. They’re seamlessly designed so you can wear them under thin cotton tops and tanks without having to worry if they’re showing through. They also work really well underneath jersey/viscose dresses, which are oh-so-comfy, but often a bit sheer.
2. The Racerback Bra
So many cute dresses and tops have cuts that cause the straps from traditional bras to show. That’s why having a racerback bra in your drawer of “unmentionables” (as my grandmother used to call them) is very wise. These this cleverly designed bras extend the straps down the middle of the back — as opposed to the shoulders — so they remain hidden whether you’re wearing a summery t-back dress or a cool, crossover-back tank.
3. The Strapless Bra
I always used to think strapless bras were for fancy occasions only, when you planned on wearing a sparkly, shoulder-bearing gown. Not so. Strapless bras are the bomb for boobs in all kinds of outfits, such as tops with plunging necklines or breezy, thin-strapped dresses, to name just two.
4, The Bandeau Bra
A bandeau bra is an especially good option for smaller-breasted women. They create a seamless silhouette that keeps the chest pulled tight (but comfortably so), and are great for wearing underneath loose fitting and strapless clothing. Plus, they provide enough coverage so you can have some fun: As long as you choose a fairly subdued, solid color, show it off under a sheer, stylish top.
5. The Minimizing Bra
For the well-endowed woman, a minimizing bra can really come in handy, especially if you wear suits, blazers or other kinds of tops that are not tailored for the top-heavy. They’re seamless, provide an extra firm hold, are fitted with a special underwire that helps reduce bust lines — the list of benefits goes on and on.