What to Wear Instead of a Bra

What to Wear Instead of a Bra

Are you looking for freedom and you want to know what to wear instead of a bra?

Ask women all around the world about the time of the day they look forward to the most! Although she may not always choose to be honest about it, but the time when she steps into the confines of the four walls, she calls home and frees her chest from the entrapment of the bra is undoubtedly a high point of the day!

The liberation and freedom that comes with it is simply unmatched. However, the joy is short lived more often than not as a woman cannot step out of home without a bra as no woman likes sagging breasts and breasts need support!

History of the Woman’s Undergarment

In fact, women have been ingenious with the undergarment since times immemorial. Before we tell you about what you can wear instead of a bra, let us take a trip down memory lane to see how the woman’s innerwear has evolved through the ages.

If you take a look at history books you are likely to find Indian sculptures that show women in half blouse kind of garments that look very close to the modern bra, while a look at the Minoan art will have you gaping because you will find women performing what looks like athletics in garments that look like the modern bikini!

In other parts of the world women remained unrestrained by any sort of undergarment and just let the boobies do their own thing (oh the glory of the olden days!). Some aboriginals believe till date that a woman’s breast is a thing of beauty and pride in itself and therefore should remain uncovered, unrestrained and even bejewelled in some tribes.

The Advent of the Corsets and Girdles

However, the so-called civil society had very different ideas right from the early 16th century when the corset made an appearance on to the scene. An inverted cone shape was seen pushing up the assets of even a flat chested woman to the point when her breasts were nearly spilling out of her low neckline dress, despite frills and puffs.

How was this stiffness achieved?

A long piece of wood or a whalebone was sewn into a casing, that a woman had to step in before she got into a dress. The corset was so popular, that it pretty much defined the woman’s shape for the next four centuries that followed. To think that women put up with that kind of contraption to remain in shape is really incredible to say the least!

In the 19th century the corset finally gave way to the girdle. Here was an undergarment where the busk and weaving moved to the front from the back. As a result, the torso resembled the S shape that stood for the ultimate sensuality in a woman’s form.

It was not until the late 1800s when the corset was split into two resembling the modern bra. But for all practical purposes it was really the corset where the top was supported by means of straps while the lower part still covered the waist in a corset like form.

Check out our article about How to Wear a Corset with Jeans.

The Bra as we know it Today Makes a Splash

It was in 1907 that finally saw the advent of the bra as we know it today, with Vogue magazine describing it as a brassiere, that made its way into the Oxford dictionary in 1911.

Since then the bra has gone through considerable evolution with bandeau tops, cups, bullet or torpedo shape, push up bra, leopard prints and laces and the jog or the sports bra making an appearance one after the other in quick succession.

No write-up about women’s undergarments is complete without the mention of Victoria’s Secret that opened up in Palo Alto in California.

The legend goes that the main purpose behind the founder of Victoria’s Secret Ray Raymond along with his wife thought of opening up a lingerie only store for women because it made them uncomfortable to shop for undergarments in department stores in full public view!

It was indeed a novel idea at the time and the rest that followed as they say, is history!

Now that we have your attention hooked (pun intended!) by taking you through the evolution of what is the bane of your existence today, let us tell you how to unhook the contraption and look for easier and breezier alternatives!

Modern Corsets

Yes, you read that right! Since we were discussing history thus far, we thought it would be a good idea to take you back to the 16th century! Don’t stop reading yet, we were just kidding!

Not about the corset part though! The modern corset is comfortable lace up version that can make you feel rather elegant as they clinch up your waist and give you that push up action you desire. If you ask us, the modern corset is just the thing if looking sexy for that special someone is one your mind!

Nipple Covers, Sew in Cups and Pasties

There are times when you are simply dying to get into that dress with a plunging back and neckline but have been putting it away simply because you cannot wear a bra with it and ruin the dress altogether. Worry no more and opt for self-adhesive nipple covers that come in variety of nudes in different material.

They are so discreet that they don’t even show through material that is thin or clingy. These nipple covers are a perfect choice if you wish to go braless as well.

If you are getting a dress tailormade for a special occasion in your life, and simply do not want to ruin it with the bra, consider sew in cups that go perfectly with dresses with a plunging neckline, tops or formal wear without backs that give you the confidence you seek by lifting up the boobies and keeping them away from the annoying underwire clasp.

Once you try out the sew in cups, you will be surprised at the numerous options in clothing that you can sew these cups on to!

If you are feeling a little more adventurous or want to add some funk to your outfit, step away from the traditional nipple cover or sew in cups and opt for pasties that come in a variety of shapes, designs, colours and are even bejewelled!

Nipple pasties have come a long way from the days of being worn by exotic dancers or burlesque performers. Today nipple pasties are a part of the independent, fun and liberated woman’s closet who does not shy away from some fun fashion for her breasts.

Breast Lift Tapes

A similar alternative like the nipple cover and the pasties are breast lift tapes that like their name suggests carry out the function of lifting up your breast with an adhesive tape providing the support your breasts need without having to go through the contraption of the bra.

It is especially useful when you wish to go braless but are seeking some support to prevent your boobs from giving out the saggy look! However, if you are a heavy chested woman, tapes such as these may not be the best option for you.

Read How to Wear a Backless Dress without a Bra for more ideas.

Bikini Tops as Bras

Don’t worry if you can’t use the breast lift tapes. Be proud of your girls! Here is another idea for you the heavy breasted woman. If you find it much more comfortable to be in your bathing suits than the traditional bra.

Well, here is an idea for you then! How about, you wear your bikini tops as bras underneath a translucent top?  With a little peek of the bikini top underneath, you can create quite a stir and make a fashion statement like no other!

Before you know it, you may become quite the fashion guru in the circles you move about in, and all because you wanted to break free from the bra!

Tube Bras and Bandeaus

Tube bras and bandeaus are essentially shorter tube tops. Essentially it is just a piece of material that fits around your chest area providing the coverage you need. You can find bandeaus in a variety of materials such as lace, cotton etc in a variety of colours that may be a perfect choice underneath a loose top.

The obvious downside to this type of undergarment is that it is prone to shifting as there isn’t anything to hold them in place. Thus, if you have a lot of moving around to do, it is best that you keep away from these.

They are also not a good idea if you have sensitive ribs. You can however opt for ones that have a wider band making them a more comfortable option.

Chest Wrapping

Chest wrapping hails from the Japanese culture where wrapping of the chest was done with a special type of really long cloth that is called the “sarashi”. It is available even today and is typically about a foot wide and 10-15 feet long. The basic idea is to wrap it around the chest in layers, like a mummy.

However, if the wrap is too tight, you are likely to face some trouble breathing. However, do bear in mind that chest wrapping will work if you are going in for a flat chested look or when you need to be active and cannot wear a sports bra.

Sports Bra

This is one of the most obvious and comfortable alternatives to a regular bra that is truly a blessing! Not only are they way more comfortable than regular bras you can find them in a variety of material and colours as well such as spandex, cotton etc.

If you are heading out to the gym, these bras can double up as comfortable tops too. However, just like traditional bras, it is important to find that sports bra that is a perfect fit for you.


Camisoles are another comfortable alternative to the traditional bra. You can find camisoles that come with built in bras, but if the idea is to get away from one, you can pick up a tight camisole that provides adequate support and prevents sagging. Spandex or nylon material camisoles are best suited for the purpose.

However, this kind of material may not be an ideal choice when you are heading out on a hot summer day as it adds one whole extra layer underneath your clothing.


Now here is a brilliant alternative to a traditional bra that promises to do exactly what its name suggests, that is provide great shape to your body, if you are having difficult shedding off those extra pounds! So here is an effective bra alternative that can make you feel good and comfortable at the same time.

There are different versions of shapewear that is available today in different kind of material. The denser the material, the more compression it provides.

You can opt for one providing light to moderate control to higher control depending on what you are comfortable with. While choosing shapewear, it is a good idea to be honest with what your body needs.

Home-Made Bras

Now here is revolutionary idea for you that has not occurred to you. A home-made bra can not only be the perfect remedy if you are tired of the readymade contraption that you have to wear for the most part of the day, that don’t fit you properly.

You can find numerous bra sewing patterns and YouTube videos that are easily available online. If sewing is second nature to you, a home-made bra can be an easy and rewarding project, and you will never want to wear a store bought one ever again! If sewing is not your stronghold, find a tailor or an alteration store that may make one for you.

Liberation Like No Other!

If none of the options seem impressive enough for you, and you simply want freedom, set the girls free! The natural look is nothing to be ashamed of!

So do not let society norms leash in your inner self and just go without the bra every once in a while! One thing we can vouch for! There is no better feeling than going braless in the world!