What To Look For In A Great T-Shirt Bra

Can you imagine that in olden times there were no t-shirt bras? As dismal as that may sound, thank goodness bras have evolved over time. Everyone who loves to explore fashion now has a rainbow of colors and an endless variety of bras to choose from.

But, according to Harper's Bazaar, one of the go-to favorites is the t-shirt bra, known for its flattering silhouette and comfort. In a deep-dive on the merits of the much-loved tee bra, the fashion-forward publication turned to Lauren Borish for the inside scoop. Borish is among the sales leaders at the lounge and intimates brand On Gossamer, so her days are a glorious blur of bra sales, statistics, and analysis of customer preferences.

She suggests that she counts t-shirt bras as an absolute essential due to their versatility, and this rings true because not every bra can multitask at this level for hours on end. Now, the Third Love blog suggests every woman should have three versatile bras — two lighter tones and one to pair with darker clothing. But it's also okay if the drawer is so full it's tough to close. So, in the end, we've combined this advice with additional expertise ... and a sprinkle of t-shirt bra pizazz.

Best underwire mesh t-shirt bra

Kicking off these recommendations, we're highlighting mesh t-shirt bras — a quiet celebration of femininity. Mesh fabric is thin, so there's almost no seam — perfect for t-shirts and slim-fit clothing. Cuup offers The Plunge bra, a chic, yet comfy, mesh bra in over 25 colors. We love the texture contrast of seams, plus it has over 3,000 customer reviews.

One customer summed up our bra vision board for the year. "The band is strong and the underwire is supportive, but the sheer fabric makes me feel like I'm not wearing a bulky bra. Can't say enough good things."

Incognito velvet? Yes, please

Free People is here to remind us that t-shirt bras don't need to be boring. Yes, we need versatile staples, but HuffPost hit the nail on the head when mentioning that the goal of this category of undergarment is pretty simple — primarily seamless. So, get creative with fabrics, textures, and colors. The Only One You Longline Bra features mesh and velvet but with added underwire and supportive boning detail. That pattern and wink of velvet are begging to be seen and would pair well with an off-the-shoulder top.

When you need extra TLC

Of course, there are also times when our t-shirt bra needs to support breasts in a highly specific way. For example, people recovering from procedures such as mastectomy or transitioning surgeries need gentle support that doesn't rub along incision areas. In these scenarios, Verywell Health recommends looking for a bra with a wide, soft strap. Everviolet's Portia Bra is a wireless design explicitly made to support recovery. With that in mind, it offers comfortable support and can accommodate post-surgery inserts from protective liners and beyond.

How to avoid bumps in a lacy t-shirt bra

Bra-fitting expert Courtney Kilpeck from the YouTube channel Bosom Besties is a big fan of the Natori Luxe Bra. In her Natori bra fitting video, she highlights its simple, feminine fit and lacy straps. We found an upgraded version of the bra with the same luxe feel but without the heavily textured lace.

Hey, we love lace, too! But depending on how tight a t-shirt is, that lace might make for a bumpy aesthetic. So, we suggest Natori's Understated T-Shirt Bra, which offers all the luxe and none of the lumps.

Because you love an open-back tee

Choosing the right bra for an open-back shirt or dress can be challenging. The fashion-loving folks at Society19 suggest that two popular choices are wearing a backless bra or making a statement with something strappy. We love the contrast of a strappy bra, but we're also keen on a front view with a smooth, seamless look. So, keeping one sassy, strappy t-shirt bra on hand is a game changer. The Victoria's Secret Sexy Tee Lightly Lined Demi Bra comes in various styles, including some with a non-textured pattern, deep plunge, and strappy back.

Wait -- it has wings?

Size inclusivity has come a long way, thank goodness. But, as Forbes reports, the fashion industry is still figuring it out to some degree. Luckily, Lane Bryant is an established leader here, so we are jazzed about their collaboration with the luxe-leaning intimates brand, Cacique.

The Lightly Lined T-Shirt Bra With Cotton Comfort Band is designed with plus-size supportive features. In addition, the side of the bra — the wing, as it's called — has a broader design to help support and smooth.

The back is as important as the front

Staying with the theme of smoothing, we love that the back-smoothing bra trend is here to stay. According to D Cup or Bigger, these bras include wider side and back "panels," which distribute the bra's pressure more evenly. Natori's Zone Back Smoothing T-Shirt Bra takes that design element a step further. It has wide back paneling without the squeeze of elastic. And the cups are lightly lined for a smooth, seamless fit. All in all, it has the makings of being that bra you pretty much live in.

The best t-shirt bra for nursing moms

If anyone needs (and deserves!) to be comfortable, it's new moms. And not only are there oodles of maternity bras out there, but most of them check off all the boxes for a comfortable, seamless fit as well. For example, kindred Bravely's website incorporates a bra-size finger tool to kickstart finding the right fit. This Signature Sublime® Contour Nursing & Maternity Bra has the usual nursing clasps and molded cups that help gently support and separate the breasts for a relaxed but flattering feminine silhouette.

Who doesn't love a bundle of bras?

First of all, hooray for a bundled bra deal. But after you sweep up the confetti, there are some legitimate contenders from Free People to pair with your favorite outfits. Generally speaking, one way to avoid the bumps created by tight bra bands is to opt for a soft, non-restrictive fabric. The Ali Low-Back Seamless Bra 2-Pack Bundle is versatile enough to be worn under slim-fitting tops or empower you to pull off the oversized blazer trend all year round.

Memory foam is your bra bestie

Set aside the scrapbooking. The memories we're chatting about are bra-based. A memory foam bra is like that friend who, over time, just gets to know precisely where you need the most support. Along those lines, as you wear a memory foam bra, it gently forms around your specific curves, making it exceptionally comfortable. The C Jolie Memory Foam T-Shirt Bra from Journelle takes that premise but adds a full-coverage cup to help eliminate challenges like those featured on the "Rachael Ray Show" Common Bra Problems YouTube video.

Gals with AAs are here to slay

If you're looking for the best bra types for smaller chests, the industry (finally) hears you. Brands like Pepper are popping up on the online shopping scene to support modest-sized chests. The brand's Lift Up Bra combines the best features of a t-shirt bra with some added oomph. This push-up bra has a tapered edge cup, which ensures the sleek look of a t-shirt bra.

Plus, the customer reviews rave about its no-gap fit, "I felt deformed because bras didn't fit me! It's about time someone made them right!"

Best mesh bandeau t-shirt bra

If you combine dreamy, star-speckled skies and the Greek myths that inspired Wonder Woman, you'll get this utterly feminine stars-themed bandeau bra. Well, within the broad category of t-shirt bras, there are opportunities to explore. Just keep it seamless like this starry style's mesh fabric, which is the perfect base-layer bra for a layered look. Plus, Refinery29 predicts sheer fabrics will be a top trend in 2023, and TikTok is already at 1.1 million views for "sheer trend."

The most comfortable t-shirt bra

One of the things people love most about a good t-shirt is how darn comfortable it is, and even the experts agree. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Lauren Borish comments on this popularity. She says, "For many women, the T-shirt bra is seen as their go-to everyday bra that offers a seamless and effortless look under your clothes." We could not agree more, and sometimes we like to really lean into that comfort. This is where The Everyday Bra from Proof shines brightest.

Buh-bye sideboob

This bra is called the WingWoman Contour Bra for a reason. The side panels, often called wings, come up slightly higher to reduce the ever-dreaded sideboob. As it turns out, there's a whole bunch of science behind bra construction. And luckily, Parfait Lingerie makes it easy to understand, explaining that bras shift the weight of your breasts with a 360-degree front-to-back approach. This weight distribution requires support, which results in a bit of a bulge sometimes. So, a wider wing, like in the Knix WingWoman Contour Bra, helps achieve your no-show t-shirt bra goals.