There is no one-type-fits-all bra. You’ll need different styles for different outfits, such as strapless dresses, and activities, such as exercising or breastfeeding. Here are four common styles of bra.
Most brands, such as Lulalu, will carry a selection of underwire bras. This is probably the most common type of basic bra style available. The underwire isn’t necessarily a wire, but a thin strip of rigid material, shaped in a semi-circle and installed at the bottom of the bra’s cup. This material can be metal, resin or plastic. Its primary use is to provide additional support for the bust.
Some people find underwire bras uncomfortable, and there is a wide variety of wireless bras you can choose from if you prefer to avoid underwire support. T-shirt bras, bralettes, and soft-cup bras all lack underwires and provide varying levels of bust support. Softcup bras may use slings under the cups, padding, strong seams or criss-cross frames to provide support. Bralettes generally don’t provide much support but may have additional padding. T-shirt bras are highly contoured to the body and don’t have raised constructions, such as hooks or seams, that might be visible underneath light fabric, and most of their support comes from the snug fit and contouring.
Sports bras are meant to provide very firm support while also keeping the breasts from moving around during exercise. These bras generally avoid raised or hard constructions, such as hooks and underwires, in favor of firm, but stretchy and moisture-wicking fabric to provide support without risking discomfort or injury to the wearer.
A strapless bra is a type of fashion bra. Its main use is for outfits where you don’t want the straps of your bra to be visible but don’t have enough fabric over your shoulders to cover it. Typically, support is provided by a very wide band and a longer or thicker underwire, paired with more boning or padding. There may also be some type of silicone or rubber along the top of the cups to keep the bra from slipping down.
Ideally, it’s a good idea to own several styles of bra so you’re prepared for many different situations and activities. However, there is no reason you need to wear bras you find uncomfortable, even if those bras may be considered best for something. If you dislike strapless bras or wireless bras, you don’t need to use them.