I don't have very high expectations for sports bras. I almost don't even care if they're cute or not — I just want them to support without poking or squeezing the life out of me — but until this one, I hadn't found many sports bras to fulfill even that criteria.
I usually don't shop at Victoria's Secret anymore because I spent way too much money in high school trying to get every piece of clothing I owned to say 'PINK,' so when I wandered in recently and checked out their athletic wear I was very, very pleasantly surprised. This sports bra is perfect for someone like me who has medium-sized boobs (I'm a D cup), but isn't actively running marathons or jumping rope; I hike, do yoga, go on the occasional bike ride, and this bra supports me through it all.
It never feels too heavy or makes me feel too sweaty, and it's also cute, which is an unexpected bonus. I own about 10 sports bras but honestly, this is the only one I really wear. If you're looking for something to support you and aren't running any marathons anytime soon, this might be the bra for you. It helps that it's only $25, too. —Lara Parker
Get it (band sizes 32 to 36; cup sizes A to DD) here.
In the past, I've described the my bra preference (really, my bra necessity if I don't want to smack anyone in the face with my 38 DDs) as "titty scaffolding." Unfortunately, bras that fit this description — ones whose wires, straps, and other mechanisms are substantial enough to properly support my boobs — are normally a) super expensive, b) padded, as if I want even more of a gap in button-down clothing, and c) look more like medical equipment than something I'd like to have flirtily peeking out of my top.
Lucky for me, this bra has all the titty scaffolding qualities I'm looking for with none of the usual drawbacks. Its straps are not-too-stretchy and are thick-ish without encroaching on my décolletage in open neck tops; its band features three rows of clasps instead of two to keep it sitting firmly in place; and its just-barely lined lace cups are super pretty without leaving me too exposed. Oh, and they're $38, which is decent for a big boob bra even if you don't get them on BOGO sale like I did! Fellow people in need of pretty titty scaffolding, you're welcome. —Nora Whelan
Get it (band sizes 32 to 40; cup sizes C to G) here.
My dream bra is equal parts sporty and effortlessly sexy, while also serving up some minimalist realness, while simultaneously being crazy soft and comfy, but also featuring interesting statement straps that look cute with a sheer, loose tank (sigh, that was a mouthful). This is why I fully gave up on ever finding my dream bra until I discovered the Lively Deep V Bralette; this bra is so damn soft you'll want to sleep in it.
While most bralettes usually provide -10% of support, the thick straps and double-ply cups of the Lively add some lift and hold, and the pressure of the thick band makes you feel like you're receiving a nice hug all day long. I'm a 32B and the XS fits perfectly. —Alison Caporimo
Get it (sizes XS to L; details at link) here.
4. Nippies, $25
I gravitate toward low back tops and dresses, but feel like a walking pair of nipples without any bra or boob accessories, so I've tried several stick-on solutions — mostly to disappointing results. Enter: Nippies. They had insanely positive reviews on Amazon, weren't too expensive, and seemed reliably reusable.
Huge (or, rather, teeny) disclaimer: I can only in good conscience recommend them to people who, like me, are relatively flat. These are glorified silicone stickers that will not give a hint of lift, and yet they're one of the most game-changing boob-related products I've encountered in my time as an owner of boobs. They stay on all day, feel firm but unnoticeable, are sized to fit a variety of breast and nipple sizes, and peel right off when you're ready. All you need to do for maintenance is gently wash them with a little water and put them back in their plastic container — I've had this current pair for about three months of semi-regular wear and they still have plenty of stick.
Sometimes I even wear them with regular, backful clothes when I don't feel the need or desire to rock a full bra. You know how there are lipsticks that are supposed to be like "your lips but better"? Nippies are basically just your boobs but better. —Alanna Okun
Get them (two sizes, three colors) here.
So, let me start off by saying I don't have small boobs — at all. I'm a full C cup who has worn underwire bras for most of my adult life and hated every single second of it; it wasn't until maybe two years ago that I started experimenting with bralettes, and now I'm hooked. It took me a while to find "the one," but now that I have, I just want to scream from the rooftops: "I love my Leonisa bralette!"
Leonisa is this great, yet underrated, Colombian brand that I've known about forever. I decided to give their bralettes a chance, and I'm so happy I did. My favorite one is the Comfortable Bralette — it's made out of this super soft material, but still manages to provide enough support for Thelma and Louise (aka my boobs), and I like that it's cute enough to let peek out of your shirt if you're wearing something see-through. The only bad thing about it is that it seems to be a "one size fits all" kinda deal, which blows since we all have different body types and boob shapes — but if it fits you, girl, you are in luck. —Daniela Cadena
Get a pack of three (one size) here.
From the time I started wearing bras — so, let's say, around age 13 — the straps never stayed on my shoulders. I thought life just meant constantly reaching under your shirt and squiggling the shoulder strap up, all day, every day. Fancy bra stores were no help; they would fit me for bras, proclaim triumphantly that they had solved my problem, and then literally the second I stepped out of the store, the strap would slip down again.
I don't know why it took me so long to start wearing racerback (or "T-strap") bras, but it wasn't until I bought a shirt that would have looked weird with a normal bra underneath that I took the plunge; and holy shit, the Maidenform Extra Coverage T-Back T-Shirt Bra (say that five times fast) is life. My 34DDs are kept safe and secure, the front clasp is easier than a back clasp, and best of all, the straps stay on my shoulders! This is the most comfortable bra I've ever owned, and the best one. Ladies, do yourselves a favor and pick one up for yourself. —Doree Shafrir
Get it (band sizes 34 to 40; cup sizes B to DD) here.
One of the reasons I absolutely hate wearing sports bras is because I have DD boobs, and the amount of pressure put on my shoulders by the sports bra straps can actually be painful — but the Athleta Full Focus bra has thinner straps that allow my shoulders some breathing room, offers medium support, and has removable padding so it isn't bulky. The result: I can wear this sports bra without getting a backache within an hour of putting it on!
Since it does have a little give, it's not a bra I'd wear while doing a plyometric routine (including lots of jumping and short intervals) because it wouldn't hold the girls in place. However, I've used it for weightlifting, rock climbing, soccer, and yoga, and it has been wonderful. —Shannon Rosenberg
Get it (sizes XXS to XL; details at link) here.
My main issue when I'm shopping is that so few brands actually make bras in my size (32F, or 10F in Australian sizing). It's as though a petite woman having big boobs is impossible! Things have gotten a little better over the last few years, though. I can usually find at least two brands that stock my size, but while my ideal bra situation includes a good underwire and lace, they tend to all be frumpy, bulky T-shirt bras. That's what makes this Chantelle bra a game-changer.
The straps are fully adjustable, which is a must when you have a small frame, and the light lace of the cup (extra padding only makes me feel like I'm drowning in my already-big boobs) means I can wear it under my favorite T-shirts without it seeming like I'm suddenly two cup sizes bigger. More than anything, though, it's comfortable! Thanks to my boobs and desk job, I get a lot of back and shoulder pain, but the fact that this bra's straps don't slide from my shoulders is a true blessing. I know you're not meant to wear the same bra every day, but after finding this one, every other bra I own feels like 12 hours of torture. —Gyan Yankovich
Get it (band sizes 30 to 40; cup sizes C to H) here.
When the bra fitter at Nordstrom who brought me this bra swore it was the only bra style she'd worn in over a year, I was skeptical; but of the bras I bought that day, the Feathers bras were the only ones I ended up wearing for the next six months.
Assuming you're fitted properly, they never do the awkward gap thing under your shirt where you can see where your bra ends and skin begins — a graceful, V-shaped line of lace between your boobs makes the transition look seamless, and looks cute on the (rare!) occasion it ends up peeking out of your top. The straps stay in place when you adjust them, and they don't have the thick padding that you frequently find in other bras or a complete absence of lining like with a bralette. Even on the coldest New York days, my nipples don't peek through.
Things to know: My sister and my mom also wore them for several years, and we all have different bust shapes and sizes. I hand wash mine about once a month, and machine wash them every four months or so, and have never had any issues with them falling apart. My sister did have an underwire fall out of a couple (so she stopped wearing them), but I haven't had any trouble with that. Finally, they are kind of pricey, especially compared to a semi-annual sale find — but you can seek them out when they're on sale, too, so I haven't paid full price for one since my first two. And if you know your size, you can frequently find them on sale online. —Natalie Brown
Get it (band sizes 30 to 38; cup sizes A to DDD) here.