If you have ever worn a body-contouring outfit, you know that a smoothing bra can be your best accessory. If you have never owned a smoothing bra but are curious about them, you’re in for a treat.
Smoothing bras help “smooth out” the look of indentations in the back and underarm areas to create a more streamlined look under clothing. They should provide a cleaner-looking silhouette, and the panels should be supportive while avoiding bulkiness (which is not something your average bra can promise). The only challenge is making sure that you are wearing the correct size.
Keep reading for our picks of the best smoothing bras on the market, as well as expert advice from lingerie expert Maggie Gillette, who tells Byrdie how to correctly measure your bra size.
MEET THE EXPERT
Maggie Gillette is a fashion and lifestyle writer and expert, designer of The Giving Bride, and co-founder of The Lingerie Selection.
Floatley Cozy Plunge Bra
Wired bras can offer great support, but the Floatley cozy plunge wire-free bra won’t let you down. It is light, airy, and has absolutely no lines. Plus it is softer than cotton, so you feel like you’re wearing nothing as its fabric caresses your skin. It works well with your favorite V-neck tee or anything else with a low neckline.
Material: 72% nylon, 28% spandex | Colors: Ashes of Color, Black, Light Mahogany, Espresso, Lichen Green | Size Range: XS-XXL
Best for Larger Busts
Felina Paramour Marvelous Side Smoothing T-Shirt Bra
If you have larger breasts, you know it can be tricky to find a supportive bra that is smooth and not bulky. The Felina Paramour side smoothing T-shirt bra is stretchy but contouring enough to eliminate underarm bulge and spillage. Plus, its wicking material will keep you dry and feeling breezy on warm days.
Cup Material: 78% nylon, 22% spandex | Backband Material: 70% nylon, 30% spandex | Colors: Black, Sparrow, Warm Nude, Sleet, Rosewater | Size Range: 34C-42 DDD
Best Long Wear
Playtex 18 Hour Silky Soft Smoothing Wireless Bra
We have all worked long hours and at those times, having an uncomfortable bra that rides up or feels stretched out midway through your day is an immediate no! Playtex has created a soft smoothing bra to help keep you supported all day that stays in place.
Cup Material: 76% nylon, 24% spandex | Back Material: 92% polyester, 8% spandex | Colors: Private Jet, White, Nude | Size Range: 36B-48DDD
Best Adjustable Straps
Natori Zone Full Fit Smoothing Contour Underwire Bra
Let’s face it, trying to adjust your bra straps can be a pain. But Natori Zone smoothing bra front-adjustable straps make it easy. This full-fit underwire bra offers a flat bonded closure and contour fit.
Cup Material: 80% nylon, 20% spandex | Back Material: 68% spandex, 32% nylon | Cup Lining: 100% polyester | Colors: Cosmetic, Black | Size Range: 32B-38DD
Best Push-Up Bra
Savage X Fenty Core Microfiber Metallic Push Up Bra
Savage X Fenty
For the times when you want to enhance your cleavage, you can rely on Savage X Fenty‘s push-up bra for a little extra oomph. While it is classically designed thanks to its founder Rihanna, it also has a little sass as well from the subtle metallic fabric to the back wing cutouts. Its smooth, breathable microfiber and padded underwire memory foam cups also allow it to be inconspicuous under most clothing pieces.
Material: 75% nylon, 25% elastane | Colors: Red Cocoa, Dreamy Blue | Size Range: 32A-46D
Best for Working Out
Lululemon Ebb To Street Light Support Bra
While this is a sports bra, it is versatile enough to go from your yoga mat to the office. It offers light support and seamless construction for tees and tanks. Plus, its convertible straps allow you to wear it as a racerback. It also comes with wicking technology, so no chafing when you go for a run or long walk. It’s also available in a version for C/D cups.
Material: 88% nylon, 12% elastane | Colors: White, Black, Strawberry Milkshake | Size Range: 0-20
Naja Lilly Mesh Bralette
On some days, you need a light and flirty undergarment to get you through it. This mesh bralette is perfect for temps of 80 degrees and above while offering support. The sizes XS to M are made of single-ply mesh and larger sizes are double-ply. They were designed with remnant fabric originally meant to go to a landfill.
Material: 96% nylon, 4% spandex | Color: Guava Sunset | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Strapless for Larger Busts
Felina Paramour Marvelous Strapless Bra
Let’s face it, strapless bras (aka half bras) are usually uncomfortable, and for those with larger breasts, finding one that fits well and is supportive is quite a needle in a haystack. But no worries; Felina understands how hard this might be and has created a bra that speaks to those needs.
Material: 85% nylon, 15% spandex | Colors: Black, Warm Neutral | Size Range: 34C-42DD
Best Full Coverage
Vanity Fair Beauty Back Smoothing Full Coverage Bra
This Vanity Fair full coverage is just what you need for silky-style shirts and blouses. Its double-knit fabric is lightweight and spares you a bulky appearance, and the barely there neckline allows for some cleavage.
Material: Nylon/spandex | Colors: Midnight Black, Damask Neutral, Totally Tan, Sheer Quartz Stripe, Steel Violet, +more | Size Range: 34-38B, 34-38C, 36D, 40C, 38-40D, 36-40DD
Best T-Shirt Bra
Victoria’s Secret T-Shirt Lightly-Lined Full-Coverage Bra
There can’t be a list of smoothing bras without mentioning Victoria’s Secret. The brand is known for creating some of the sexiest and most practical bras on the market. So it’s no surprise that the brand’s classic T-shirt bra design offers comfort, support, and full coverage. Wear it with your lightest garments for ultimate invisibility.
Material: 51% polyamide, 38% polyester, 11% elastane | Cup Lining: 100% polyester | Colors: Black, Sweet Praline, White, Mini Leopard, +more | Size Range: 32B-40DD/38DDD
Bali Comfort Revolution Shaping Wireless Smoothing Bra
To get a rounder-looking effect, a shaping bra like this one from Bali is the way to go. Its 2-ply construction provides full coverage, however the ultra-thin foam cups are flexible, and because of the wicking qualities, you will have a comfortable fit all summer long.
Material: 94% nylon, 6% spandex | Cup Lining: 100% Polyester | Colors: Nude Dot, White Zig Zag, Almond Zag, Black Swirl, +more | Size Range: 34B-40D
Bali Passion For Comfort Minimizer Underwire Bra
Be fully supported with this bra from Bali’s that minimizes up to 1.5 inches. It has no-slip straps keeping everything in place whether you choose to wear it traditionally or crisscrossed. The hook-and-eye closure offers extra security as the underwire provides you lift. The open neckline works well with lower necklines.
Material: 82% nylon, 18% spandex | Colors: Taupe, White, Black, Sandshell, +more | Size Range: 34C-44DDD
Calvin Klein Invisibles Comfort Lightly Lined Triangle Bralette
Smooth and sleek are the two best words to describe this comfortable and lightly lined bralette from Calvin Klein. Its stretchy and flexible fit allows you to wear it all day long comfortably. A bonus is you can remove the pads before you hand wash, which can help ensure that the cups will keep their shape.
Material: 77% nylon, 23% elastane | Colors: Light Chestnut, Mink, Chestnut, Rebellious, Josephine, Bare, Black, +more | Size Range: XS-XL
Fashion Forms Go Bare Ultimate Boost Bra
If you have ever worn apparel that has a low-cut back, but you still need support, Fashion Forms Go Bare Ultimate Boost Bra has got you covered … literally. It is made with medical-grade adhesive inside each cup at each wing for bare-back and low-cut styles. The cups are lightweight, with graduated padding for an extra boost.
Material: 84% nylon, 16% spandex | Colors: Nude, Black | Size Range: A-DD
SKIMS Glissenette Triangle Bralette
SKIMS Glissenette Triangle Bralette is perfect for when you are in the mood for some Zsa Zsa Zsu. Created by Kim Kardashian, it is made with thin straps, sheer fabric, and front clasp closure. The shimmer of this bra is just a bit of shine you need on a dull day.
Material: 85% polyamide, 15% elastane | Colors: Chai, Sienna, Jasper, Cocoa | Size Range: XXS-4X
Agent Provocateur Lucky Sheer Bra
Anya Lust bras provide a sheer and sleek silhouette under your favorite spring and summer shirts. With its lightweight feel and breathable material, it will quickly become your summer wardrobe foundation piece.
Shell Material: 81% polyamide, 19% elastane | Wing Lining: 79% Polyamide, 21% Elastane | Side Panel Lining: 100% polyamide | Colors: Black, Red, Orange, Noisette, Pink Leopard, +more | Size Range: 32D-36D
Best for Matching Skin Tones
Nude Barre Bralette
Gone are the days when our only options for bra colors were white, black, and beige. There are a vast array of choices and even better options that are more similar to our skin tones. To that end, we have Nude Barre offering 13 hues of nude. The design of this super soft and comfortable fabric works well with V-line style apparel.
Material: 84% polyamide, 16% elastane | Colors: 13 varying shades of beige, brown, and black | Size Range: S-XL
Best Curvy Design
Love, Vera Soft Wireless T-Shirt Bra
This Los Angeles-based brand is helping to change the conversation around curvy bodies by highlighting lingerie that speaks to everyone. Plus, these are not only seamless, but the flexible gel wire provides superb comfort, as well.
Material: Polyamide and elastane | Colors: Butter Toffee, Chocolate Fondant | Size Range: XS-3X
Best Wire Free
Jockey Forever Fit Full Coverage Molded Cup Bra
Nothing feels more wonderful than slipping into your favorite tee or PJs. And if you have ever worn a bra, you understand the joy of taking one off at the end of a long day. Well, this Jockey Forever Fit Full bra from Jockey is both comfortable and stylish, almost like you’ll forget it’s even there. No pinching plus support all day from the 4-hook closure.
Material: 91% nylon, 9% spandex | Cup Lining: 100% polyester | Colors: Black, Sheer Nude, Light, White, Rose Petal, Soft Mauve | Size Range: XS-3X
What to Look for in a Smoothing Bra
Smoothing bras require wider back bands and side panels to cover more skin. This, usually paired with a spandex-blend fabric, smoothes out certain areas, like your back and underarms, and avoids uncomfortable digging. If wider bands and panels aren’t present, the bra you’re looking at may not provide the smoothing benefits you’re after.
When buying a smoothing bra (or any bra, for that matter), remember the number on the band isn’t everything—it is all about your comfort at the end of the day. So if it doesn’t feel right, move up or down to the next size. Gillette details the correct way to measure your bra size below.
What is a smoothing bra?
“Smoothing bras and T-shirt bras both create clean lines under clothing,” Gillette says. “However, smoothing bras are more like shapewear and create an overall smoother silhouette with panels that go higher under the arms and wider back bands, so they don’t cut into your body.”
How do you measure bra size?
“To find your band size, while keeping the tape snug, measure your underbust around your rib cage right where your bra band goes,” Gillette says. Since bra bands come in even numbers, if you get an odd number, then go up to the following even number.
To measure your bust, put the measuring tape around the fullest part, once again, making sure that you keep it level. “To determine your cup size, subtract your underbust measurement from your bust measurement; each inch difference is a cup size,” Gillette says. So, if you end up with a 3, you are a C cup.
“However, this starts to get tricky at 5 inches because, in US sizes, you would be a DD, while in European sizes, you would be an E, so if you’re purchasing a full-bust bra, be sure to be mindful of the brand’s size chart,” she says.
How should you care for your bras?
To get the longest life out of your bras, be sure to read the instructions on the care label and follow them accordingly. Typically, you should wash your bras by hand using a gentle lingerie wash (we recommend Soak). If that’s not practical for you, use a mesh lingerie bag and machine wash your bras on the delicate cycle.
Why Trust Byrdie
Cheryl S. Grant is a writer, editor, and nutritionist based in Florida. She has worked with brands including Reader’s Digest, USA Today, Cosmo, Glamour, SheKnows, and Brides, covering health, nutrition, beauty, and fashion topics, among others.