Most of us want to buy the best quality bra that we can afford. We want ones that are comfortable, supportive, and beautiful to look at, too. We think that if we spend a little more, we’ll get a better product. But is that the best way to know if you're purchasing a quality bra?
Price isn’t always indicative of quality. Yes, if the deal seems too good to be true, then it often is. But at the other end of the scale, sometimes you’re just paying a premium for the brand name.
So how do you tell if a bra is worth the price? If possible, head in store so you can see and touch the bra. Cheap products can often be made to look much better online. Then inspect the following features:
See how the lace has areas with different stitch patterns? A cheap lace won’t look like thisSavoir Faire Sheer Bra by Dita Von Teese Available in sizes 32C-36C via Bare Necessities
The material is the first thing you’ll see. If you know what to look for, it can be an instant giveaway. Bras should always feel soft, not scratchy. If there’s mesh, the stretchier it is, the less supportive it’s going to be. If there’s satin, it should feel smooth to the touch. And be fluid, not stiff or plastic-y.
Lace quality varies wildly. Look out for any fluffiness around the edges, which is a sign of a cheap one as is a pattern with lots of large holes. A good lace will be more densely knit. Embroideries should appear tightly stitched, not like they’d snag if you ran a nail over them.
The seams up the front of this bra are perfectly flat, with no wrinkling and no visible stitching.Luxe Silk Triangle Bra Available in size XS-L via Fleur du Mal
Even a bra made from great-quality fabric can fall apart if not well sewn together. Look carefully at the bra, inside as well, for skipped stitches, loose threads, and raw fabric edges. The odd tiny flaw is not a cause for concern. But if there are lots of them, alarm bells should start ringing.
Stitches should be straight and small. Pay attention to the type of stitching used. Overlocked seams and edges are often, though not always, a sign of a cheaper made product. If there is overlocking, the stitches should look tight and neat.
Only high-end brands can afford to use custom hardware, like the C charm on this Chantelle bra.Wagram Lace Unlined Plunge Bra Available in sizes 32C-40DD via Chantelle
Bra hardware is usually metal. On very cheap bras, however, the strap rings and sliders are sometimes plastic. That will break easily, so it’s something to avoid.
Feel the hardware and check it feels smooth, not rough. Sliders should grip the straps securely. Otherwise, they’ll continuously be loosening themselves. If the hardware is unusually decorative or stamped with the brand name, that’s an indicator of a premium product.
This strap elastic is thick. I don’t mean in width, although that too, but depth.Satin Seamless Non-Padded Bra by Prima Donna Available in sizes 30F-42G via Figleaves
Modern bra straps are always made of elastic, at least partially. But as with anything, it’s possible to buy both excellent and poor quality elastic. If the elastic is too weak, it will end up permanently deforming (i.e., stretching out). That affects the support and can lead to them slipping off your shoulders.
Tug at the elastic. Good quality straps will feel slightly firm, not ultra-flimsy. If the elastic gets visibly less opaque when you pull it, it’s too thin and flexible.
The brand label inside this Naran bra is woven, not printed.
Labels inside the bra can be printed, woven or embroidered. Printing is by far the cheapest option. However, with repeated washing, the text tends to fade away.
Of course, the durability of the label doesn’t affect the quality of the bra itself. But if a brand is skimping on this detail, what other shortcuts are they taking to cut costs? I wouldn’t let a printed label alone put you off buying a bra. It’s just one more thing you can check to make up your mind.
If you’re buying a full-bust bra, look for wide bands, wider straps, extra cup seams, and side slings inside the cup. Not all full-bust bras have all these features. But they are signs the design has heavy-duty support in mind.
Of course, a good bra will also offer adequate support and comfort. However, even a luxury quality bra can give neither in the wrong size. Get a bra fitting if you’re struggling to find a decent bra, even with cash to splash.
What else do you use to gauge whether a bra is well-made? What’s the biggest giveaway of a quality bra, in your opinion?