What Is a Bralette and When Would You Wear One?


The bralette is currently experiencing a well-deserved surge in popularity. But maybe you’re totally new to the concept of a bralette and aren't exactly sure what to make of it. Well, we’re here to clear the air and give you the lowdown on this beloved undergarment.

Bralettes come in many different shapes and sizes: bandeau, triangle, racerback, halter, strappy, or longline styles, as well as many others –– the list goes on. Our bralettes here at TomboyX provide the ultimate soft support with high-quality fabrics, adjustable straps, and thick chest bands. All these things provide just enough structure without sacrificing any comfort: which is what the bralette is all about.

Without further ado, we want to answer every question you have about bralettes. So let’s get started!

What Are the Origins of the Bralette?

The origins of the bralette coincide with the beginning of the modern bra more than one may think. Ancient Greeks were fond of the bandeau bra or “breast band.” Then time favored the more shaping girdles and corsets. 

Around the end of the 19th century, the first brassieres came onto the scene. Mary Phelps Jacob is credited with inventing the first bra. This new arrival was made mainly of silk handkerchiefs and ribbons and was similarly unstructured as the modern-day, unlined bralette. It was sort of like a triangle bra mixed with a wireless bralette.

One of the first bras on the market with separated cups –– instead of the structured uni-boob contraptions preceding it –– was actually the Kestos design of 1926. These early undergarments featured many of the same things we know of bralettes today: lightweight feel, lack of restriction, creative strapwork, and beautiful details like ribbons and flowers.

The 1920s were all about small, subtle chests, so bralette styles followed the fashion of the time. In the 1930s, bra hooks and cup sizes were introduced. Soon after, the heavily structured torpedo bra, or bullet bra, was popularized, partially through Hollywood starlets, along with curvy hourglass figures.

From the 1950s onward, structured underwire push-up bras flooded the market. Apart from the dawn of the sports bra in the 1970s, these bust-defining brassieres were the norm for decades. However, wireless bras and bralettes have been making a huge comeback in recent years –– and it’s not hard to see why.

Why Do People Like To Wear Bralettes?

There are lots of reasons why the bralette has become such a popular item –– here are the biggest reasons why this bra top is on the top of our list:

Extra Comfort

The main draw for most people when it comes to wearing bralettes is simply: they’re super, duper luxe! Many things that make traditional bras feel restrictive –– padding, heavy structure, underwire, hooks –– are just not a part of the comfort bralette. Bralettes are more lightweight and flexible.

Certain materials might feel better than others. For example, a cotton bralette made from 100% OEKO-Tex certified cotton paired with full coverage briefs might be just the thing to get your day started perfectly.

Breathability and Flexibility

If you’ve worn a bra for a whole day in the summer before, you probably know that they’re not exactly sweat-proof. Bralettes have quite a bit more give and lightweight feel to them –– they’re often also more minimal in design, allowing for more of your skin to breathe overall. 

Breathable, cotton bras can free people from the dreaded boob sweat.

Fashion Statement

A lot of bralettes nowadays are considered way more than just underwear. Bralettes are often worn as regular t-shirts or are meant to be seen underneath blouses and tank tops. Best sellers come in all kinds of amazing looks –– from fun prints to beautiful lacework and intricate strappy details, bralettes are just another opportunity to experiment with style.

Next time you’re thinking about how to give your cami or V-neck crop top an extra dash of style, try a lace bralette or a racerback bralette. 


Traditional bras often focus on pronouncing the bust, creating a round or defined appearance. Bralettes go a more subtle route. While they still provide lift and coverage, seamless bralettes are fantastic for those who don’t necessarily want to highlight the bust. Some can even be similar to sports bras, focusing on providing light support and compression. 

Flatter What You’ve Got

While traditional bras often try to mold a certain shape out of the bust, bralettes are all about embracing the natural shape of your body. While one way to do that is to go braless, that isn’t always an option for those who want coverage and support. Bralettes provide that without trying to fit you into a mold.

When Should You Wear a Bralette?

We like to think that there’s no wrong time to wear a bralette, but that’s way too easy of an answer.

Let’s get more specific:

Lounging At Home

When you don’t want to wear a bra, but you don’t want to go completely braless, the bralette is your best friend.

Bralettes can be so soft, stretchy, and comfortable that you can totally forget that you’re wearing them. That makes the transition from coming through your front door to hitting the hay a lot easier.

You can compare this to the lounge bra, which, unlike the bralette, sometimes does have wire. Lounge bras aren’t meant to be fashion pieces necessarily and may lack the detailing bralette bras often feature.

On a Hot Day

Bralettes are known for being small and lightweight. When those summer temperatures reach their highest peak, that’s exactly the kind of thing you want. Rather than feeling even more weighed down by a traditional bra, you can sport a funky little bralette that will feel like you’re wearing next to nothing.

At a Trendy Event

While it’s true that not everybody feels comfortable wearing a bralette as a top, it’s equally true that wearing lingerie out can just look insanely good.

Much like a bikini top, a bralette is one of those things that you can get away with wearing in certain public situations –– like a party or club –– especially when it has a fun print and sultry design.

Keep a second layer handy just in case, and show off your bralette style. Try the scoop bralette to show off your favorite jewelry. 

Every Day

Alright, this might sound like an overgeneralization, but it’s true: you can wear a bralette whenever you feel like it. Equal parts comfortable and stylish, this light support is perfect for daily wear. Many TomboyX bras even feature convertible straps, so you can change up their design to match any outfit you’re wearing.

When Might You Not Wear a Bralette?

We love a bralette, but everybody’s different –– here are some things to keep in mind when deciding if a bralette is right for you.

When You Need Extra Support

For those with smaller chests, light support is no problem. However, if you have a heavy bust or prefer a very secure, structured feel, you may not get all that out of a bralette.

While it can still be a great garment to have handy for a laid-back day at home, make sure you feel perfectly covered when you go about your daily life.

When Playing Sports

Again, this all comes back to the level of support you need. For some, wearing a bralette while engaging in athletic activities is no problem –– in fact, the extra comfort might make it the most preferable option.

However, for those who have large busts or want extra support when running and jumping, bralettes might feel a bit too light. Sports bras may be the way to go.

The Seamless Solution

From the triangle bralette to the plunge bralette and everything in between, we’re so excited about the modern take on the retro wire-free bra. The bralette has proven its popularity time and time again by providing subtle support, amazing style, and barely-there comfort to people from all walks of life.

If you’re wondering if the bralette is right for you, try out one of our bralettes at TomboyX and see what you think!


Evolution of the Bra - Historical Pictures of the Brassiere | Good Housekeeping 

The Bralette Is Back. This Time Blouses Are Optional | The New York Times

Breast Sweat: 24 Ways to Beat the Heat, from Bra Hacks to Argan Oil | Healthline

The History of Tube Tops | CR Fashionbook