Every different type of bra has its own purpose, and some are a must if you’re going to wear strapless or tight tops. Find out when to wear each kind of bra, and why they all belong in your wardrobe.

From the basic bra types to more specialized versions, here are the bras you should own in order to keep your looks versatile. While you may decide to skip a few because they don’t really work for your bust size, most of these bra types all have their special place in helping you look flawless for every occasion.

1. Strapless Bra

It’s not your everyday bra, but a strapless one shouldn’t be missing from your wardrobe. It’s a must for wearing strapless dresses or tops. Depending on your bust size, you can choose between different options. 

Strapless Bra

Some strapless bras include boning, while others offer the additional support with underwire. A little padding is also optional.

2. T-Shirt Bra

T Shirt Bra

You already know the basic t-shirt one is one of the bras you should own, because it’s probably the one you wear the most. Created to be completely invisible under either a loose top or a more well tailored one, the most important thing about it is that it looks smooth under every garment. While you can opt for a colored t-shirt bra, the best option is always a nude one.

3. Sports Bra

Sports Bra

Even if you’re not really into intense workouts, a sports bra is a must. For pilates and yoga, you can choose one will less support, but when you’re hitting the gym hard, then you definitely need one with the most support. The best activewear bra is the racerback, but it one bra that you can wear in fun colors, not just nude.

4. Contour Bra

Contour Bra

If you’re not comfortable wearing a push-up bra, then a contour one is definitely one of the bras you should own. Thanks to its molded cup, you get plenty of structure, and padding is optional. When you’re looking for a bra that keeps everything in place and creates perfect symmetry, the contour bra should be your top choice for fitter tops.

5. Bandeau Bra

Bandeau Bra

When your bra is going to show because you’re wearing it under a top with large armholes, the bandeau bra is your best bet. You can choose one with no support if you have smaller cups, but for B and C cups, you’ll probably want either cups or boning. If you’re even bustier, then the bandeau might not be for you. Since most bandeaus are more decorative than regular bras, they’re definitely a good choice for tank tops.

See also: Are You Wearing the Wrong Bra for Your Body?

6. Longline Bra

Longline Bra

If you love the look of retro lingerie or just need extra support, the longline is definitely one of the bras you should own. While you can definitely wear certain longline bras as a standalone top, this piece if particularly effective for extra support under formal wear. You can find plenty of variations that suit your particular needs.

7. Push-Up Bra

Push Up Bra

Whether you prefer silicone or even water in your push-up bra, it’s always the right choice for showing cleavage. With the right fit, the extra padding doesn’t just deliver symmetry and support, it can easily take your look to the next level. No matter what your cup size is, the right push-up bra always improves your low-cut tops or dresses.

8. Plunge Bra

Plunge Bra

If you plan on wearing a deep neckline top or dress, then the plunge bra is definitely one of the bras you should own. Its angled cups usually stay hidden under any low-cut top, and the idea behind it is to show as much cleavage as possible, without the padding of a push-up bra.

9. Balconette Bra

Balconette Bra

Combining a little lift with the option to wear a low-cut top, the balconette is a more glamorous version of the everyday bra. Flattering for wide set breasts, without pushing them together like a push-up bra would, the balconette creates a flattering shape easily.

10. Bralette


When you’re looking for a comfortable option that doesn’t provide a lot of support, the bralette is halfway between a bandeau and a sports bra. It’s one of the bras you should own, particularly if you have C cups or smaller, because it delivers support without the underwire. Wear it under looser tops to get the right shape, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it can replace a racerback sports bra.