July 22, 2024

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Style Tips for Going Braless

4 min read

Now that summer is in full swing and the heat is here to hang around, we start prioritizing ways to stay breezy especially if an air conditioner is nowhere to be found. In an effort to stay cool, we gravitate towards clothing that skews minimal and lightweight in fabric and style. Oftentimes that means wearing a top or dress that doesn’t adequately cover the bra strap or band. And honestly, it would be so much easier to go without a bra altogether, with one less layer to sweat through.

But here’s the rub (no pun intended), not all of us feel comfortable being that “exposed”. Even if we choose a top or dress to wear sans bra, there’s always the chance of an accidental slip up. Certain lightweight fabrics could also be too sheer for comfort. So what are the rules for going braless in the summer? We’ve consulted professional stylists to help you navigate how to embody that easygoing summer lifestyle while going braless and looking great.

Find Coverage Elsewhere

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Lauren Rothman, a style strategist and coach based in Washington D.C., works with her clients that want to go braless to help decide whether it works in their favor. “Nip covers are an essential part of going braless,” she says and suggests Nippies, tape, and even a boob deoderant to keep sweat in check. 

“I like a reusable nip cover, not one that’s sticky, and that really works best for anybody who is on the smaller band size and no larger than a D,” says Rothman. 

If your chest is on the larger side and you need some support, Rothman suggests “a front only bra with a little push up is going to be another way to mimic a bra while being braless.”

Of course, going completely braless doesn’t work for everyone, especially if your cup runneth over. Rothman suggests incorporating a shelf bra layered under a soft and comfortable bralette. 

“Sometimes a strappy bralette is really flattering to your outfit,” she says. “I do think people often underestimate the fashion value of something fun on top, underneath a strappy or open back top, and that’s where a 90s lacy bralette [or] early 2000s bralette comes in.”

Toronto-based stylist and TV style expert, Rachel Lipson Freedman, suggests wearing thicker or layered fabrics for more coverage, i.e. denim, ruffles, or double lined [pieces]. She also likes to add button downs or blazers as layers for coverage. Freedman recommends utilizing lingerie accessories to help with coverage and support also suggesting tape, sticky bras like NuBra, and NOOD nipple covers. 

Try a Halter or Corset

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A favorite clothing type of Rothman’s for going braless is a top or dress with built in bra or padding. It lends comfort, light support and most importantly, coverage. A halter style top or dress is also a great option for going braless as it naturally lends some lift. 

Freedman also favors a halter top along with corsets and bustiers which mae for great going-out top options. She also recommends bodysuits as they naturally provide support. 

Dresses in the summertime are a no brainer and certain styles work perfectly for when you want to ditch your bra. Freedman suggests wearing a dress with an empire waist, something with a smocked bodice or even a corset style. If you’re looking for an athliesure look, she offers exercise tops as an option to provide support as they can often be more comfortable than a bra with an underwire.

Opt for Layers

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“Thin fabrics like jersey and silk can cling to the skin and offer no support,” says Freedman. This is where it’s important to consider where you’re going to be like an office setting. Typically office appropriate blouses and tops tend to come in thinner fabrics like silks or lightweight cotton. These types of tops don’t offer much in coverage or protection, especially in an over air conditioned office. 

That’s not to say that you can’t go without a bra if you spend a lot of time in an office. Rothman has clients that choose to go braless and she suggests layering a non-sheer tank top underneath the blouse for coverage and comfort. Layering is key.

Freedman advises avoiding strapless tops that aren’t designed with built-in bra support. They tend to compress the chest and create a sinking effect. Not so cute.

Try a Ruffled Dress or Oversized Top

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Now that we have the style foundations for going braless, we asked the experts for style-approved outfits for enjoying a day of freedom from our bras. Freedman likes a ruffled garden dress with nipple covers, strappy sandals, raffia style bag and retro style sunglasses for a cute daytime look. 

For something more casual but stylish, Rothman likes to pair a bralette with an oversized top that’s worn open. She recommends an oversized button down and the bralette as the top and, if needed, underneath the bralette is a real bra. A great option for those with a larger chest who want that freeing feeling of going braless, but with a bit of added support. “You tuck whatever support you need in there, so that your girls can be happy” she says.

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