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A bralette is an unstructured bra. ... Bras without underwires are far from new, and in fact, Harrington pointed out that the earliest bras, in the 1920s and '30s, were themselves bralettes by today's standards.
Wondering: what’s the difference between a bra and a bralette?
A bra is one of the oldest pieces of lingerie items for women. It is generally worn to support the breasts. A typical bra consists of two separate cups varying in coverage, padding, wires, straps and closures. Bras are typically meant for functional wear and support. Bralettes are often worn for style and comfort. Most bralettes are wire-free and lightly padded. They provide a light layer of coverage and are a comfortable alternate option to bras.
Historically, many experts believe a version of the bralette came first before the bras we see today. In Ancient Greece, specifically during the Classical Period, women wrapped fabric around their chests, draping one or both breasts in a band of linen or wool to create a fashionable, slightly supported shape. Today, bras are much different than they were in 400 B.C.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between modern bras and bralettes.
When it comes to a bralette, it is meant more for shape than support. Also known as soft cup bras, they are an easy-going, softer, wireless version of a bra. They are most often better suited for women with smaller breasts as it gives definition and shape along with comfort.
Since they lack any type of wire or padding, they typically are not worn by women with larger or heavier breasts because they don’t provide the same support a bra provides. For a long time, bralettes were seen as garments worn by pre-teens or teenagers, however today women of all ages and sizes are wear this comfortable undergarment option.
Unlined bras, which may or may not have wire, offer minimal support without extra bulk or weight from padding that is found in conventional bras. For many, this is a plus to wearing them. They typically are made from lace, microfiber or a cotton blend material, anything soft and smooth. Designed to be lightweight and comfortable, they serve a purpose for women looking for some support without any extras.
These unstructured bras are far from new and according to bra experts, they were worn as far back as the 1920s. Many believe these bralettes are a facet to the new era of body positivity evolving.