The Best Bras in 2021 That Are Redefining Lingerie

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In pop culture, bras have been fashion stars for decades. “I incorporate a lot of lingerie into my styling,” says New York City’s Matthew Mazur, who works with musicians like CL and Kim Petras. He references iconic noughties moments: Halle Berry’s lacey set in Swordfish, Foxy Brown’s denim triangle top on the cover of Broken Silence, Carrie Bradshaw’s bikini bra and board shorts in the Hamptons. Modern updates are designed to be seen. “That’s the look, the bra showing,” says Christina Pacelli, a Los Angeles local who styles Sierra Capri and Laverne Cox. And when it isn’t showing, quality still matters. “You would be surprised at the number of celebrity and non-celebrity clients that I encounter who don’t own a good bra.

Below, the pros discuss the best new bras—and opportunities to evolve—from wireless wonders to futuristic fabrics:

Not to be confused with Montes’s aforementioned tape label, Ukrainian-born “prêt-à-party” brand Nué launched just a couple of years ago to great success. Their crystal-dipped designs have become favorites of the fashion set. These silky, rhinestone-trimmed pieces offer an energetic upgrade to the timeless triangle bra, while Moda Operandi approves the more extreme ’90s spiral bra for something extra.

Nué Monica lace triangle bra

“The way that I look at bras, or these underpinnings, is that they’re vanity pieces, too, and they’re crucial to my styling and building a look,” says Pacelli, who loves Fleur Du Mal for a look-but-don’t-touch moment. “I used one of their bras for my client Monica Raymon’s Emmys awards look, and it was exactly the right tone, it showed through—that was the look.”

Fleur Du Mal Frankie lace boned balconette bra

Fleur Du Mal top stitch convertible bra

“I love Cuup for its simplicity and support,” says Mazur of the line’s silhouettes in “power-mesh” fabric and flexible underwire. With a range of tones and sizing from A-H, the label has come to represent a no-nonsense attitude—the opposite of antiquated bra marketing.

“With brands like Fenty dominating the undergarments market, bras and underwear come in a selection that runs the gamut of skin tones” says Montes of Rihanna’s eponymous label that set a new bar for attainable, inclusive lingerie. And beyond the many shades of nude, the line adds sophisticated cage bras to the lineup this season for a very Savage x Fenty spin on the TikTok-favorite seashell shape.

Savage x Fenty caged lace unlined balconette bra

Savage x Fenty caged lace unlined bra with tie

The most buzzed-about category of the year is often the easiest to ignore. “They have no underwire, and it’s like you forget that you’re wearing it,” says Pacelli of the beauty of wireless bras like the latest Fits Everybody and Jelly launches from Skims.

Skims Fits Everybody scoop-neck bra

Skims Jelly sheer triangle bralette

“Statistically, something like 80% of women wear the wrong bra size on a daily basis,” says Montes of why creating your own with her multi-tonal tape is a “hypoallergenic, latex-free, sweatproof, waterproof,” not to mention easily removable alternative that “works just as well on a customer with A cups as it does on an F cup as it does on a woman who’s had a mastectomy.” The rolls of multi-tonal tape have become bestsellers for retailers like Revolve, where user-friendly, no-show support solutions for of-the-moment fashion reveals are always welcome.

In a range of skin tones and textures, the T-shirt bra is reimagined. “These are ergonomic bras that are undetectable under a shirt or blouse,” Pacelli explains. Cosabella’s launch of mesh basics in a range of skin tones and shades is a seamless first layer.

Cosabella Soire Confidence bralette

Cosabella Soire Confidence molded bra

“I will forever be the biggest fan of Agent Provocateur because of their marketing,” says Mazur. “They have the best window displays in NYC; they are my go-to.” Before her role as creative director, Shotton used to work on the shop floor, fitting customers who dared to explore its line. “When AP first opened its doors in 1994, the brand was about sexual liberation, lingerie for your alter ego, and mostly in the bedroom styles,” says Shotton. Today, escapism is modernized with “more innovative, forward fashion shapes” like their bestselling Lorna, which comes in seemingly every color.

Agent Provocateur Liloe lace-trimmed embroidered tulle underwired balconette bra

Agent Provocateur Fawn bow-detailed tulle underwired bra

The era of the designer undergarment is upon us, and Valentino’s long-line bralettes are exactly the kind of relaxed-yet-polished answer to the eternal “do I wear a bra with this?” fashion query. When the add is this slick and minimal, why not?

Valentino logo-detailed knit bralette

Valentino logo-detailed knit bralette

The comforts of the indoors venture out with cashmere. And, Khaite’s cozy bras, made famous by the likes of Katie Holmes and Hailey Bieber and styled to show, have become celeb-beloved riffs on hygge fashion. Consider it the first wave of bombshell-meets-granny-core.

Khaite Eda cashmere bralette

Khaite Eda cashmere bralette

“Sports bras play between masculine and feminine,” says Mazur, “I think this was epitomized by Aaliyah and Sporty Spice in the 1990s; they both really captured that duality.” The neo-’20s take on unisex sportswear? Ribbed, henley-esque textures that hint at ballet layers, like Le Ore’s soft bralettes for Bandier.

Le Ore Lodi pointelle knit bra

Le Ore Lodi ribbed knit bralette

The athleisure-everything mindset has elevated and transformed to embrace a sense of streamlined ballet movement. Live The Process founder Robyn Berkley has created a collection that dances between Pilates-perfect class wear and layering staples luxurious enough to wear straight to the office.

Live The Process cinch ribbed-knit cotton-blend bralette

Live The Process prism panelled jersey sports bra

The OG option for seamless, barely-there underwear is unquestionably Commando. This season, the line launches bralettes in velvety fabrics and rib kits to level up the luxury for a range of skin tones. 

Commando luxury rib bralette

Commando velvet longline bralette

“You forget you’re wearing your ThirdLove bra,” says Pacelli of their top-selling 24/7 design range. They also partner with I Support The Girls distributing gently worn and new bras from all brands to those experiencing homelessness. “What I’ve been hearing is, ‘I’m cleaning out my closet, I’m revamping it,’” Pacelli says. Now, that mindset can serve a larger purpose.

Third Love 24/7 classic T-shirt bra

Third Love 24/7 classic strapless bra

Mazur believes in the strapless bra: “It’s the chicest thing on earth,” he declares. “I think bringing in a sculpted strapless bra over a big white button-down shirt and a nice tan is incredible, kind of like the I-Had-Nothing-To-Wear, just coming in from the beach look.” Else’s lacey edging and careful boning present their own level of craftsmanship under, or over, a casual t-shirt.

Else Petunia stretch-mesh and corded lace underwired strapless balconette bra

Else Acacia lace underwired strapless balconette bra

Nike’s futuristic fabrics and cuts keep them at the top of the sports bra game, while the brand as a whole diverts about a billion plastic bottles from landfills and waterways yearly to create recycled fibers. For their latest cult launch—while it lasts—Nike reimagines the Air Force 1 as a lace-up bra.

Nike Dri-Fit Swoosh Air Force 1 women’s medium-support laced sports bra

Nike Indy Ultrabreathe women’s light-support padded sports bra

Girlfriend Collective incorporates recycled fibers and extended sizing into their range. Sporty pullover silhouettes like these fill a gap that stylists love for extreme comfort enthusiasts: “You can wear it to bed; you can wear it every day,” Pacelli says of recommending wireless options to clients. “Going back to an underwire bra is, like, unfathomable to them for their personal wardrobe.”

Girlfriend Collective lavender scoop bralette

Girlfriend Collective Juliet low-impact sports bra

“I’ve always loved the high-end gym look because it’s so luxurious,” says Mazur of the athleisure lifestyle that just won’t quit. Alo Yoga’s fabrics and body-flattering cuts have rocketed the brand to the top of this category.

Alo Yoga Delight bralette

“When I talk to people about shopping, what I’m hearing is, ‘I’m investing first and foremost in the staple pieces that are going to be the most versatile for my wardrobe and going to take me the furthest,” says Pacelli. Free People’s Intimately line mixes multiway bralettes and strapless corsets with fabrics that feel less than basic.

Free People Intimately FP Maya multiway bralette

Free People Intimately FP Adella corset bralette

“I even think about wearing sweaters, and no one can see the bra underneath it,” says Pacelli. “Don’t you feel that energy about getting back to being among other people and feeling your best?” Journelle has mastered the art of base layer confidence.

Journelle Isabel balconette bra

Journelle Allegra balconette bra

“The way I look at it, there’s the vanity perspective for styling, and then there’s the function,” says Pacelli. A brand like Bluebella falls into both, with fabrics designed to be seen and silhouettes that create a pretty base layer.

Bluebella Nyane soft bra blue

With their half-cup Retro bralettes, Hanky Panky levels up the luxury potential of its famously soft, stretchy lace. And for a glimpse of what’s next, the label’s sheer, high-neck mesh silhouettes step into more futuristic territory.

Hanky Panky retro half cup bralette

Hanky Panky ouvert mesh bralette

Kiki de Montparnasse designs are a lesson in French lingerie. Whether through sheer caging or delicate lace, each piece provides a bit of escapism.

Kiki de Montparnasse Illusion Demi bra

Kiki de Montparnasse Leche Moi soft underwire bra

La Perla adds to the lesson of French girl styling, answering the call for bodysuits and corsets that can be hidden under suits or layered over thin knits and silky fabrics. Here, endless answers to the lingerie equation.

La Perla Showtime lace bodysuit

La Perla Fall in Love lace corset

For those that love a subscription system, UK-based label Empress Mimi delivers its signature white boxes filled with their most popular styles straight to your door—and in your size. If you’d rather choose your own adventure, individual pieces ship Stateside with a click.

Empress Mimi Venus bralette

Empress Mimi My Fair Daisy strappy bralette

Credit where credit is due, Stella McCartney made conscious fashion cool. The designer’s intimates line is as cruelty-free and baby soft as we’ve come to expect.

Stella McCartney lingerie soft cup triangle bralette

Stella McCartney lingerie Jo swinging jersey longline bralette

As mentioned, the days of the designer bra are here, and Emilio Pucci is experiencing something of a renaissance of late. In bralettes and underwire silhouettes, the iconic prints are given new life.

Emilio Pucci Vortici-print silk-blend satin soft-cup bra

Emilio Pucci Vortici-print silk-blend satin underwired bra

The Gen-Z-favorite brand launched bralettes this year, offering silky mesh and stretchy cotton versions in the rainbow of sustainable fabrics that built their reputation.

Parade triangle bralette silky lace

Parade triangle bralette silky mesh

Anaono steps into the now with an adaptable bra range in seamless fabrics. Designed to adjust to post-surgery and transitioning body fluctuations, the super-soft fabrics and classic cuts are straightforward essentials.

Anaono Rora pocketed front closure bra

For compression tanks and adaptable, all-day bralettes, TomboyX is leading the space. The brand has made it to the top by providing options for all body types, “regardless of where they fall on the gender spectrum.”

“I would have been lost on set without my nursing bra,” Pacelli admits while her son coos in the background of the call. Now, options are wide-ranging. After being VP of design for Savage X Fenty, Chloé Julian launched her New Zealand-based label. For her signature soft-wired Angela and Sarah bras, Videris Lingerie incorporates sustainable, nontoxic fabrics that hold their shape longer than the industry’s “cheap, plastic-based materials.”

“We are committed to consciously creating,” says Hattie Tennant, who co-founded London lingerie label Fruity Booty with Minna Bunting in 2018. They use sustainably sourced or deadstock fabrics that would have gone to a landfill, and around 40% of their orders are coming from the US.

Fruity Booty Penelope pitstop bra

While Matteau’s strappy, wrappy tops are technically swimwear, they fill an important styling need: “They’re almost interchangeable, for me, if that’s the cut I need, I’m going to bring it to a fitting,” says Pacelli of using swimwear as hybrid undergarments. “It’s brilliant; what’s the difference? It’s just a fabric difference—waterproof, quick to dry, swimsuit fabric versus a traditional bra with some cotton in it. I love that; I think it’s really wise to think about it that way.”

Matteau wrap-front triangle bikini top

Matteau wrap triangle bikini top

“To me, a hint of bra strap can be super chic,” says Mazur. “I don’t believe in things being hidden; flaws and imperfections make outfits look effortless.” CultNaked’s options have already been purposefully exposed by pop celebs like Ariana Grande.

For sale-exclusive shoppers, even bestselling, just-launched Aerie pieces are given a discount. The line’s soft bralettes offer an affordable entryway into the space for those hoping to experiment a bit.

Aerie Slumber Party lace triangle bralette

Aerie shine embroidery triangle bralette

One of the most powerful figures in the lingerie world, Calvin Klein has gone eco with a minty option featured on Net-a-Porter’s Net Sustain platform. For classicists, the same misty shade extends to its traditional underwire options as well.

Calvin Klein CK One stretch-lace underwired balconette bra

Calvin Klein CK One jacquard-trimmed recycled stretch-jersey soft-cup triangle bra

Tableaux Vivants founder-and-designer Sonia Agostino is making latex dreams come alive on Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Madonna. “My Dolce bras take up to 6 hours to make—they are built to last!” says Agostino. “Rubber is a natural material, and our pieces are biodegradable.” They’re also waterproof and available in customizable sizing—plus, there’s a cinematic appeal to glossy rubber: “I love a latex bra when I’m styling; the severity of the textures and difference in material make a look stand out,” says Mazur, pointing to Anthony Vaccarello’s work for Saint Laurent.

Tableau Vivants Dolce bra

Indie designers lead the zero-waste materials movement. “Reusing fabric from past collections is a regular part of my design process,” says Anna Slevin of her Chicago label ASc. “I love the challenge of reworking and creating something entirely new.” Since they can be sewn from scraps of larger projects, ASc bralettes give last season’s materials another chance.

Anna Slevin double ruched strappy halter top in black//brown

Anna Slevin reversible asymmetrical bralette in black//snake

For their reintroduction of sports bras, Victoria’s Secret swapped supermodels for athletes like world champion freeskier Eileen Gu, New York City Ballet’s Corps de Ballet India Brady, and yoga instructor Emily Chen. Their designs are streamlined as well, with classic portrait necklines and “no-bounce” stabilizing fabrics.

Victoria’s Secret Body by Victoria lace wireless maternity/nursing bra

Victoria’s Secret seamless rib high neck sport bra



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