We’ve been living in the era of the bralette for quite a while now. The non-wired undergarment has popped up in every damn store in the mall and even on our best friends (we can pretend Ilana Glazer is our BFF if we want, OK?).
And it’s likely not just a fashion fad that’s making the bralette the undergarment du jour.
Globally, women are eschewing underwire and heavy padding for comfort and natural silhouettes in “the athleisure movement.” It’s something that major lingerie retailers who made their name on bras that boost ― like Victoria’s Secret ― are feeling firsthand.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, have noticed their growth this year is happening at a glacial pace. Shares of the company have fallen 29 percent so far this year.
This may not seem like much, but when you observe the shift of the Victoria’s Secret brand over just the past year, you can see the the sea change.
Victoria’s Secret has made extra efforts in hiring new leadership, revamped marketing campaigns (think “no padding is sexy,” instead of “go up two sizes with the Bombshell”), and launched a fairly extensive bralette collection.
And Victoria’s Secret isn’t the only brand seeing the turn of the undergarment tides.
Lingerie retailer True & Co.’s “push-up sales dropped from 24 percent to 15 percent in a single year, while unlined bras — wire-free styles and bralettes — were the company’s biggest growth area with its customers,” according to FastCompany.
The brand noticed that customers were overwhelmingly looking for “lightly lined” bras (for nipple coverage), but nothing with full-on padding or push-up.
But as the movement grows, more retailers are offering styles that deviate from some of the unsupportive lacy and strappy ones you may have seen in its early stages of growth. Support sans underwire is key for athleisure enthusiasts and it seems that brands are finally hitting the sweet spot. Bralettes can be found everywhere from low-price retailers like Target to department stores such as Nordstrom.
With a larger breadth to choose from, comfort is becoming king for all.
The bralette helps emphasize that comfort doesn’t necessarily mean that fashion has to be compromised ― a celebration that was likely started by a recent increased acceptance of all body types in popular culture.
With retailers like Aerie featuring unretouched ads of women who are not all sample sizes, and Swimsuits For All, featuring ads of plus-sized trailblazers like Ashley Graham, the “natural” moment is here. The time to embrace your size and shape, as is, is now.
We’re probably not going to burn all of our push-up bras just yet, but we hope bralettes are here to stay.