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Six Different Types of Bras Compared

Amazon's Try Before You Buy program gave me the opportunity to have six bras sent to me to try on before having to pay for any of them. It's like going to a department store and trying on one after another, but in the privacy of your own home. I chose a variety of different brands , sizes, and styles. Join to host your own at-home bra try-on party:

Six bras reviewed through Amazon's Try Before you Buy program.

They did arrive on time and for the most part I got what I expected, with one exception: the Wacoal bra was not the Petite Embrace Lace, but the regular version which I already know doesn't fit me well. Sigh. I ordered the Petite even though I know how it fits and have owned several over the years, because I needed a new size. This one, I figured, would be a keeper even if I hated the rest... but it's not even the bra I ordered.

Other women who are familiar with the Petite Embrace Lace will understand how different it is from any of Wacoal's standard-size bras, and even non-petite customers love it. So I stand by my recommendation of the Petite version over the standard one. It also comes in AA cups, which of course the standard Embrace Lace does not.

So with that minor disappointment out of the way, I moved on to Amazon's brand Mae. This is a padded lace bralette for A-C cups, which I chose in a gorgeous indigo color. I got two sizes for the purpose of comparison, because I thought it would be interesting to see the difference in fit. As I expected, the medium was much better on me than the large. It is an appropriate cup size for how they label it, and could in fact even fit an AA cup. So far so good. It's always difficult to know whether something sized "medium" or "large" will actually fit very small breasts, but I can assure you that this one does. I was very satisfied with both the fit and the color, and I considered keeping it, but the lace is not particularly soft. In a bralette, I expect maximum comfort and I want something that feels extra silky on my skin. I still think this one is worth a try for anyone who isn't a special snowflake like me about fabrics, and it might well be more comfortable after a wash with fabric softener. Shop for the Mae bralette here (all products on this page are Amazon affiliate links):

Next was the Calvin Klein Perfectly Fit bra, one which I was familiar with in a different size. I wanted to see if it had changed at all since I last tried it on, and reassuringly, it is still the same reliable bra. The fabric is whisper-soft and incredibly comfortable, even more so than I remembered. However, I continue to have sizing issues with this brand. Calvin Klein runs true to size but tends to have cups that are both tall and set fairly close together. This time I went for the 36 band even though I should be in a 34, thinking the cups might be wide enough for me in the larger band size. It fits okay, but not as well as it should; there are gaps in the cups at the top, and the underwire feels too wide and oppressive. These problems might be solved if I went with the 34B, but I think in general I am not tall and narrow enough for Calvin Klein. Rave review on the fabric though, and I can certainly understand why CK is a go-to for lots of small-busted women. Shop here:

I then tried the Amoena Mara, a wire-free bra made for breast cancer survivors. I love what Amoena does for the women who wear their bras, and even I -- someone who has never had cancer or breast surgery -- appreciate the quality and fit that this brand offers. The Mara is similar to the Lara style which I have worn before and liked very much. It has excellent support for a wire-free style, and is adequately structured to support a mastectomy breast form (or two). But I don't like it as much as the Lara. It's much taller in the cups and center gore, so that I'm almost wearing it as a longline bra, except that it wasn't designed that way so the band sits too low on me. Definitely not a top choice for petites, but I think it could work really well for someone tall enough to have it fit properly. I thought of trans women with this one. Like all Amoena bras, it includes pockets for breast forms, but also this bra in particular is built for a taller frame which trans women more often have. If you're trans feminine and looking for something to wear with forms, you might find this one works for you.

Bali One Smooth U Bralette

Last but not least, I tried on Bali's "One Smooth U" bralette. It immediately struck me as more of a sports bra than a bralette, with considerable heft to the fabric and lots of support. It fits snug in a way that might be great if you're going for a run, but in a bralette that's not what I'm looking for. I was reminded of shapewear in the way that it sucked in my curves and, yes, probably did smooth them down. But, seriously? Look at me, I hardly need a minimizer bra with this figure. It flattened me out to the point that I might even recommend it as a binder for trans men, although it probably would not have quite the same effect on larger breasts. On me, it reduces what I have to pretty much zero. I think this bra is fine for what it is meant to do, and I am simply not its target customer. The term "bralette" is misleading, at least to me, but if you have large breasts and are disappointed in how many bralettes fit (inadequate support, boobs spilling out the top, etc.), then this one might be a pleasant surprise for you. It is also very affordable.


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