What Is A Bralette? How Do You Choose Between It And A Bra?

If you're a woman or know a woman, knowing your different bra styles can change your life. Remember the first time you wore a sports bra? The seamless comfort and support might have caught you off-guard. Different bras serve different purposes. If you're not familiar with bralettes, now's the best time to get acquainted with this modern bra style.

Curious About Bralettes? 

Perhaps you've worn bras for years, and you've stuck with the same style since your teens. Maybe you have a pre-teen child who's beginning to wear bras for the first time. Whatever your exposure may be to types of bras, you might find yourself curious about this style. What exactly is a bralette, anyway? 

How Bras and Bralettes are Different

Let's say you have a pre-teen daughter who's looking for a step-up from her training bra. There are many bra styles you could choose to try out, but bralettes are one of the most popular in this decade. They're versatile and stylish, among many other benefits. Whether you're shopping for yourself or your pre-teen, let's explore the differences between your typical bras and the new bralette.

Their Structure 

Bras typically feature two padded cups formed to fit your bust size and lined with underwire. If they don't have underwire, regular bras are usually still structured with tight rib cage lining to keep your bust supported. One defining hallmark characteristic of bralettes is their free form. Instead of an uncomfortable underwire, bralettes feature a comfortable band lining your ribcage for subtle support.


You've no doubt seen bras that feature too much padding. In recent history, the ultra-padded bra was all the rage. Today, people are growing more body-positive and are embracing their chest size. Bralettes tend to have little to no padding, which allows them to showcase your natural chest size and curvature. This relaxed bra style is an excellent option for those who like a more natural look or aren't ready for bulky padding.


Another difference between bras and bralettes is in their straps. Typical bra straps can be thick and dig into your shoulders, depending on the material. Bralettes can be much more comfortable! Often, they feature slimmer straps since they aren't meant for extreme support. Bralettes can have plain straps, but they often include lace and criss-cross backings that are meant to be shown. 


Bras and bralettes differ on how visible they're meant to be. Bras are an undergarment, meaning they've historically been hidden under tee-shirts and dresses for a more put-together look. Bralettes feature interesting straps that are meant to be shown with your tee-shirt or dress instead of hidden. Their visibility makes them easy to wear. You won't have to worry about adjusting them all day, making them a fabulous choice for new bra wearers.


If you've worn bras for a long time, you're sure to know the feeling of taking your bra off after a long day. What if your bra was so comfortable that you didn't have to look forward to taking it off? Bralettes' design makes them as comfortable as pajamas while still providing some support. They have a relaxed fit, so you can enjoy the bra you wear without it digging into your skin or leaving indentations in your skin. 


Here's another feature that's a major difference between bras and bralettes. Bras are made to support multiple chest sizes under a person's clothing. By contrast, bralettes offer less support in exchange for greater comfort. If you need support in a bra, consider trying out a bralette with extra structure


Usually, bras are designed to be neutral colors and not be noticeable from the outside. On occasion, they may have flowery designs, but pale colors are more common. A bralettes' design is usually more fun, sometimes incorporating bolder colors and lace straps since this piece is more visible. Bralettes can also be subdued and functional, so if you're looking for a comfortable basic bralette, you can definitely find one that suits you.

When to Wear a Bralette 

You may be wondering what contexts are appropriate for a bralette versus a bra. Bralettes come in multiple shapes and appearances. One may be pink with visible lace straps, while another is grey with concealed straps. How you wear a bralette is up to you, but here are a few ideas for inspiration.

On a Fun Outing

 A great opportunity to wear a bralette is with a fun outfit for a day trip or weekend outing. If you're hoping to wear casual streetwear that doesn't require much support, a bralette can be the perfect relaxed touch. Wear it with a backless top to show off the straps or conceal it under your outfit – the choice is yours!

With Comfortable Loungewear 

What's better than a day at home in sweats watching movies? Everyone loves a good set of high-quality loungewear to make you feel relaxed in style. If you want some chest support without wearing a bra, a bralette is a perfect undergarment to go with pajamas or a sweat set. 

When You Don't Need Much Support 

If you have a smaller chest, you may find standard bras to be bulky and uncomfortable. Perhaps it's difficult for you to find a bra that's made for your size while offering you a snug fit. Your body type may be perfect for a bralette! Its thin design and cozy fit will have you feeling supported and comfortable in your undergarments.

When You're Transitioning into Wearing Bras 

Do you have a pre-teen who is getting into bras for the first time? The pre-teen stage is a precious time in your child's life. Her body is changing, and bras may still feel uncomfortable. One way to ease the transition into bras is to give her a few bralettes she can wear. They're comfortable and cute, so she'll feel more herself as she tries out this new undergarment. 

When to Wear a Bra 

Is there still a right time to wear a bra? Ultimately, the undergarments you wear are up to your discretion. Many women enjoy the feeling of wearing a bra over ditching the brassiere. Here are a few contexts where wearing a standard bra may be a good idea. 

When You Want to Conceal 

One reason bralettes are fun is that their straps are sometimes visible and cute. You may find yourself in a context where visible straps are inappropriate. Perhaps your daughter is headed to a school where visible straps are out of the dress code. You might more easily conceal a standard bra over a bralette. 

When You're Looking for Support 

If you have a larger chest, you know support is necessary. Some bralettes are made to offer better support. However, on the whole, a structured bra will provide you with more security. When you need support, a well-fitting bra can do wonders. 

With Formal Attire

Let's say you have an important dinner coming up. It's important to you that you look professional and elegant. You've selected a form-fitting dress that shows every detail of your skin. Though a visible bralette can add personality to your look, you may want to opt for a bra. Wearing a typical strapless bra may help you to conceal your undergarments more effectively than a bralette could. It's a solid choice for your black-tie events. 

Where to Find Quality Bralettes 

Are you looking for high-quality bralettes and underwear for your pre-teen? Mallary by Matthew has the most comfortable seamless underwear set for her. This set features a bralette offering light support along with a pair of boy short underwear. It's available in two varied styles and four colors, so your daughter can pick out the set she likes most. 

Mallary by Matthew's Sustainable Basics 

When your family needs basics that will last through multiple wash cycles and playdates, Mallary by Matthew has everything you need. We're proud to offer you sustainable undergarments and cold weather gear to keep your family dressed in trustworthy pieces. You can buy a reliable pair of underwear for dad and new sheets for the kiddos in one stop.

In Summary 

There's nothing wrong with a good bra. It's a piece of clothing that has served women well for a long time now. When your pre-teen is looking for something a little more breathable and comfy, have her try on a Mallary by Matthew bralette. She can pick the colors she wants to have a bralette that's fun for her and supports what she needs at the same time.



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