“a consumer reports for the cheap” — the new york times
In this review:
  1. Cheap Bras
  2. Bra Reviews
  3. Cheap Push-Up Bras, Padded Bras, Underwire Bras
  4. Cheap Strapless Bras
  5. Cheap Sports Bras
  6. Discount Bras Features Comparison Table

Cheap Bras Buying Guide

Women spend a lot of time and money trying to look their best, and the right bra provides an essential foundation for building that image. Bras range in price from about $10 to as much as $200 (unless you count one-of-a-kind, diamond-encrusted designs that cost millions).

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We focused our attention at the low end, seeking out cheap bras between $10 and $25.

No single bra type fits all women and all occasions -- Redbook magazine reports that women own an average of nine bras -- so we researched many different types of cheap bras to come up with our recommendations. These included standard or everyday bras, push-up bras, strapless bras, and sports bras. Within these four main bra types, there are demi bras that cover the lower half of the breast, full coverage bras that contain the entire breast, minimizer bras that reduce the bust line to create a slimming look, plunge bras for wearing underneath low-cut shirts, padded bras that add a little extra to your natural bust, seamless bras for a smooth look underneath clothes, underwire bras for added support, wireless bras for added comfort, and countless combinations of the above.

Our top everyday bra is the Barely There Invisible Look Underwire (starting at $18). This standard bra offers full coverage; seamless, lightly padded cups; and a plunge neckline that dips low in the middle. The best cheap push-up bra we found, the Maidenform The Dream Bra Push-Up Bra (starting at $24), uses graduated padding to create more cleavage. In the strapless category, our top choice is the Lilyette Tailored Strapless Minimizer Bra (starting at $17). It's convertible, so you can wear it with straps or without, and it helps give full-figured women a smaller silhouette. Our favorite sports bra, the Moving Comfort Fiona (starting at $24), features molded, seamless cups; wide, adjustable straps; and a thick band secured with three hook closures.

Review continues below

The Playtex 18-Hour Original Comfort Strap (starting at $17) is a good cheap comfort bra, offering wireless support, a higher neckline, and supportive cups with no padding. One cheap bra that didn't make our cut is the Elita Les Essentiels Crossover Cami (starting at $16). There's no way to adjust either the straps or the back band, and numerous women complain about the overall fit. Consumers also aren't impressed with the fit of the Carnival Seamless Push-Up Bra (starting at $17), and several say the underwire pops out the side.

Various experts estimate that anywhere from 70 percent to 85 percent of women wear the wrong size bra, which undoubtedly accounts for some of the complaints about fit. When you try on a cheap bra, make sure the band lies flat and doesn't ride up in the back, the cups contain your breasts, and any underwire doesn't dig in. Likewise, the straps shouldn't cut into your shoulders. If they do, you're probably relying on them too much to provide support; that's supposed to be the role of the band. The fabric on the best cheap bras is typically a combination of stretchy spandex or Lycra and soft yet supportive polyester or nylon.

In a field of dozens of lingerie manufacturers, the top bra brands include Bali, Playtex, Maidenform, Olga, Lilyette, and Jockey, a few of which appear on our list. Victoria's Secret owns more than a third of the intimate apparel market, according to one analyst, but almost all its bras start at $30 or more.

Review continues below

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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Filed in: Beauty, Bras, Cheap Clothes,

Best Cheap Bra

Barely There Invisible Look Underwire
Gold Medal

Barely There Invisible Look Underwire

Reviewers rave about this seamless, tagless bra, saying it's true to size and so comfortable you forget you're wearing it. It has convertible camisole-style straps that you can crisscross to keep it hidden under certain tops.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Maidenform The Dream Bra Push-Up Bra
Gold Medal

Maidenform The Dream Bra Push-Up Bra

Best Cheap Push-Up Bra. Our pick for a push-up bra manages to create natural-looking cleavage and the illusion of a larger bust. Fans of this bra appreciate the lift it provides and praise the overall comfort.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Lilyette Tailored Strapless Minimizer Bra
Gold Medal

Lilyette Tailored Strapless Minimizer Bra

Best Cheap Strapless Bra. This bra is so supportive that some women report wearing it even when they don't need a strapless. It's designed to accommodate larger bust sizes and helps create a smooth look.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Moving Comfort Fiona
Gold Medal

Moving Comfort Fiona

Best Cheap Sports Bra. This sports bra can accommodate women of all cup sizes, providing support during intense runs, aerobic activity, or casual weight lifting. Unlike on most sports bras, the straps and band are adjustable.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »

Good Cheap Bras

Playtex 18-Hour Original Comfort Strap Bra
Gold Medal

Playtex 18-Hour Original Comfort Strap Bra

No woman typically wants to wear a bra for 18 hours straight, but if you have to, consumers say this is a good one to choose. It provides support even without underwire and is our only pick with padded leotard straps.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
 

Don't Bother

Elita Les Essentiels Crossover Cami

This cheap bra is the only one our list that can't be adjusted in any way. There's no back closure; you pull the bra over your head to put it on. Consumers seem put off by the sizing, saying the fit just isn't good and the band tends to be too tight, causing unsightly "back fat."

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Carnival Seamless Push-Up Bra

We didn't find a lot of reviews of this budget bra, but those we did encounter were generally negative; even the positive comments nearly always come with caveats. Consumers report that the fit is wrong and the bra is just plain uncomfortable. Other women say they've had problems with the underwire popping out the side.

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