You may not give it much thought, but your bra can make or break your outfit. The right bra enhances your figure, doesn’t show underneath your clothes, no matter what the neckline, is comfortable and amps up your confidence. But wear a bra that doesn’t fit and it can make you look heavier, create the dreaded bra fat and make you itchy or sore.
1. Everyday Bra
This is the bra you will reach for on most days. When you find one you like, buy it in multiples as most bra experts recommend you give your bras a day off between wearing so they can reshape (like your favorite pair of shoes) and you will have time to launder it properly. Ideally this will be nude so you can wear it under white and light colored clothing without it showing.
This bra should be nude and silky, not lacy, so you can wear it under t-shirts and body skimming sweaters without looking like you have golf balls for breasts. A light lining or super-thin padding will also help smooth out your shape and keep your nipples out of sight.
For the best lift and most comfort, look for a bra with straps that are centered above the nipple. The cup should be full, covering 2/3 to ¾ of your breast and have a wide enough back strap (generally 1 ½ inches to 2 inches) to prevent any spillover that will create the look of back fat under your shirt. Many bras are now tagless, which is a great option if you get itchy.
2. Black Bra
A black bra is a second must. You can wear it under black clothing and any dark color, including dark purples, browns, charcoal grays, wine colored clothing, navy and dark greens, without worrying that it will show through. It’s also a great choice if you have clothing where your bra might peek-a-boo through like at a large armhole or a button down that won’t sit right.
The other secret of a black bra is that it won’t show up in photographs that are taken with a flash—especially important in this Facebook age.
3. Strapless Bra
A strapless bra is a no-brainer with a strapless dress. It also works well with halter-tops, one-shoulder tops and necklines that are scooped, square or boatneck. Don’t go a size smaller in an attempt to find a bra that stays put: The right strapless bra will have at least three hooks and rubber grips to help ensure that it doesn’t budge.
For extra versatility, look for a convertible strapless bra that allows you to change how you wear the straps: you can cross them in the back for your athletic-style tops, wear the bra with the straps for everyday wear or remove them for a strapless top.
Nude is your best color choice when it comes to a strapless bra. If you have the budget, you may want to pick up a strapless bra in black, as well.
4. Plunge Bra
If you like to wear low-cut tops, consider a plunge bra. Similar to your everyday bra, this bra will have a lower center panel so that you can wear your button down a little more unbuttoned of a top with a deep V-neck styling.
5. Date-Night Bra
For those nights (or days) when you want to feel a little sexier, invest in a date-night bra. Consider a lace one, a leopard print, bright red or a serious push up bra. Wear with abandon.