Many sources recommend a myriad of “essential items for every woman” but in reality, different people will need and prefer different items. So right from the get go we can abolish the myth that every woman “needs” a certain number of bras, a certain range of styles, colors, certain shapewear garments, etc.
I am often asked “how many bras should I own?” and the answer to that will vary depending on how frequently you wear them and what types of clothes you like to wear. The woman who prefers not to wear bras at all naturally does not need to invest in “one to wash, one to wear, and one for the drawer” as is typically recommended! A better question is, what lingerie do you need to own in order to make getting dressed easy in the morning? We all know the feeling of picking out an outfit and then realizing that the correct undergarments are either in the laundry or missing entirely. The goal of building a lingerie wardrobe is to eliminate that problem. Below I have outlined several different styles of lingerie and the situations in which you may need them. Choose the ones that fit your life and skip the rest.
• Nude bra: If you ever wear white, light colored, or semi-sheer clothing you will want a bra that blends in with your skin tone, not a white bra. When you can see your bra through your top, what your eye is actually seeing is not the bra itself but the contrast between garment and skin tone. By wearing a nude bra you ensure there is no line of contrast that will draw the eye.
• Cut and Sewn Bra: If you like unwavering support during the day, a bra with a cut and sewn cup will be your daily go- to. Likely you will want this in nude.
• Strapless/multiway bra: If you wear sleeveless, strapless, or spaghetti strap tops and dresses, this is necessary. Otherwise you can skip this style. In order for it to stay up, the band must be tight so ensure you are getting a snug yet comfortable fit.
• T-shirt bra: If you ever wear thin knitted tops like drapey t-shirts, a bra without seams across the cups is good to have on hand. These styles are less supportive than bras with cut-and-sewn cups. In cup sizes A-DD they typically offer enough support to be reliable everyday bras but if you like more support or wear a larger cup size, save these for wearing with soft drapey knits rather than with every outfit.
• Sports Bra: A sports bra that provides actual support is crucial if you enjoy any high impact sports, running, etc. The good ones have underwire, are full coverage, and are typically made with performance fabrics which offer excellent wicking and temperature regulation properties so they can be versatile for any situation where you may be spending time outdoors or being active.
• Wireless/Bralette: These are functionally limited as they by definition do not provide much support. But, depending on your needs they can be nice additions to your lingerie wardrobe or even great daily options if this level of support is comfortable. These tend to be the most functional in smaller cup sizes. For instance in cup sizes AA-A, they can provide as much support as a wired bra. I have yet to find a style that does an adequate job of providing support in D+ cup sizes so I tend to be wary of these styles in general. If it was possible to provide reliable support without a wire, you can bet that manufacturers would leave the wires out of all bras and save themselves some money!
• Matching: Putting on a matching bra & panty set is a wonderful start to the day. If you like to wear matching sets every day then be sure to buy 5-7 pairs of panties for every bra, so you will always have a pair available. If you don’t care about matching sets, then you can leave this off your shopping list!
• Nude: This is an essential if you ever wear white or light colored pants and skirts.
• Seamless: Another essential, “seamless” panties are typically laser cut around the bottom and top edges so that there are no panty lines showing through the top layer of your clothing. Alternatively they can be made of lace. Buy these in Nude for wearing with white or light colored pants and skirts.
• Menstruation/leakproof: A brilliant solution for certain days of the month. There are several brands available and they don’t have to be expensive.
It is important note that the cut of the panty (thong, hipster, brief, etc) is entirely up to personal preference and as long as the edges are laser cut and the color is a shade that blends in well enough with your own skin tone, it will be perfectly invisible under your clothing so you can wear whichever style you find comfortable.
These are some guidelines to get you started on building or editing your lingerie wardrobe. However, at the end of the day, if it’s something you like and it’s working for your outfit, then it’s the right style for you.