The choice between a bralette and a bra is one often faced by women when looking for underwear that’s supportive and fits well. There are many factors that come into play, such as comfort, style and fit – and a lot of the time, it’s really up to personal preference!
Yet even when these factors are considered, can we truly know which of the two is better for our health?
What is the difference between a bralette and a bra?
Bralettes are a hybrid garment – a halfway point between the vest top and the bra, designed to have less structure than the standard bra but provide comfort to one’s chest. There are many different styles, from racerback, to halter-neck, plain to floral.
Bras, on the other hand, tend to be more structured – they’re designed to give more support and elevation to the breasts. Like bralettes, there are a huge variety of styles of bra: underwired, padded, push up, strapless. These are designed to fit all needs and breast sizes. Unlike bralettes, bras often are made with underwire. This is the wire structure at the bottom of the bra cup that is there to provide maximum support, especially for those with larger breasts.
Are bralettes healthier than bras?
One of the main advantages of a bralette is the comfort they provide which, in the opinion of many women, far surpasses that of the conventional bra. Bralettes are lightweight and often stretchy, meaning they feel gentle on the upper body whilst still providing some structure to one’s boobs. In many instances, they’re the perfect choice for people who have undergone surgery and are looking for some shaping, but not the tight structure of a conventionally structured bra.
Companies such as Y.O.U Underwear offer bralettes with elastane woven into the cotton, allowing their bralettes to be flexible and expand to one’s shape. This ensures comfort on every level.
Bralettes are, by design, less restrictive of the breasts and are often described as a ‘healthier’, gentler option for such a sensitive area of the body.
Are bralettes supportive enough for large breasts?
For many women, the lack of structure in a bralette is precisely the problem. This is especially true for women with larger breasts, who often struggle with bralettes that don’t provide adequate lift and support the breasts. A lack of support can lead to strain elsewhere in the body – such as pain in the upper back.
Bras can be supportive
Conventional bras are designed to support the breasts, and – for many women – that’s precisely what they do! Bras have a more solid, less flexible structure that acts to lift the breasts and prevent sagginess. Proper support, where necessary, can improve posture and reduce the likelihood of back pain.
However, bras are hard to get right!
The problem with bras lies not in their design, but rather in complications around fit. According to Harper’s Bazaar it is estimated that up to 80% of women wear the wrong bra size. Without a proper fitting, this is easy to do! The wrong bra will sit uncomfortably on sensitive breast tissue.
A bra that’s overly tight may also restrict the sensitive breast area. According to one doctor, “a tight bra may restrict the flow of lymph to the many important lymph nodes around the breast and armpit, hindering the system’s vital function of flushing toxic waste-products from the body” [Dr Seth Rankin]
It has also been suggested that wearing a bra at night can affect women’s sleep. According to research quoted in Medical News Today, the tight pressure of a bra can result in a decrease of melatonin which is vital for regulating one’s sleep cycle.
So are bras or bralettes better?
The relative health benefits of bralettes over bras are really down to fit and personal preference, rather than scientific results. What’s true is that, with bralettes, it’s often easier to get the right size as the stretchy design means the garment is better able to shape around your body.
As long as you’re wearing a bra that fits properly, it actually provides many health benefits, stemming from the support it gives to the wearer. Although bralettes are softer and more flexible, they’re not the perfect option for everyone, especially women with larger breasts who need that extra support.
Y.O.U Underwear is currently working on developing a new range of bralettes specifically designed for larger breasts, so if you’re yet to find a more comfortable, supportive alternative to a conventional bra, watch this space!
We hope you enjoyed this guest post by Y.O.U Underwear, one of our members.
Please let us know in the comments your thoughts on bralettes, do you prefer wired or non-underwired underwear?