Bralettes have come a long way since their humble undergarment beginnings. While they’re a billion times more comfortable beneath a shirt than an underwire bra, they can easily replace the whole shirt as well. You can hardly scroll through Instagram or TikTok without spotting a fashion influencer effortlessly rocking a bralette like it was made for them. Whether it’s a sporty ‘fit clad in cotton, or the evening works with lace and leather, there’s a look for every occasion and personal style. Styling smaller pieces means dealing with more working parts than, say, a jumpsuit or a dress, so NYLON tapped the experts on how to wear a bralette for every possible aesthetic.
“Incorporating lingerie into outfits is definitely not new,” style content creator Vanessa Chen tells NYLON. “I have seen people wear them differently over the years or months, and I've seen it kind of evolve,” she continues. Structured bustiers and corset tops made waves on the scene over the past few years, and Chen doesn’t see them leaving anytime soon. “But on the complete opposite spectrum,” she notes, “I've seen an increase in sheer mesh, like non-wired, non-structured bras, appear more and more often.” Chen points to the SKIMS Romance line as an example of the barely-there vibe.
There’s also been a rise in more functional bralettes, according to fashion social media creator Mikayla Stephenson. “I think a lot of what we're seeing now is very sleek, simple, comfortable, and supportive bras that are made for actual wear,” she tells NYLON. “It's technically a brami [bra-camisole hybrid] more than a bralette, but [it’s] the longer bralettes that can be worn just as a bralette or as a top,” she continues. The myriad bralette flavors out there further emphasize the versatility of this multifaceted little garment. Below, the internet’s style authorities break down how to serve all kinds of looks with an assortment of bralettes.
How To Wear A Bralette For A Casual Aesthetic
Bralettes are an easy way to put a trendy twist on pretty much any casual outfit — perfect for a quick grocery store run or chill hangout sesh with your bestie. According to fashion content creator Summer Rachel Warren, this might be a hoodie, sweats, and sneakers with a bralette if you’re keeping it super low-key. Or, she says, “pair a bralette with trousers, a button-down, and sandals.”
A casual bralette look touted by both Warren and Chen? Fresh sneakers, jeans, and a loose button-down. “It’s a really easy go-to for me,” Chen tells NYLON. “I probably wear it every time I want to look cute, but not like I'm about to go out.” Chen recommends a cotton or sporty material like spandex (“maybe even with a logo on [the] front”) to play into the casual elements. “You can throw on like a baseball hat or a baguette bag and basically have a full look without putting that much effort in,” Chen continues.
How To Wear A Bralette For A Going Out Aesthetic
Bralettes for a date night look or drinks with the squad serve hot girl vibes every single time. There are dozens of ways to pull this off. Warren suggests pairing a bralette with a classic satin maxi skirt and heels or sporting one under a leather blazer with pants or a mini skirt. Chen is also a fan of large blazers to offset the nature of a little bralette. “Throw on an oversized blazer over a sexier bralette, maybe like a bustier-type or a lacy one with high-waisted bottoms,” she suggests, touting the look’s effortless model-off-duty mood.
If you’re going out to a club or want to feel extra sexy, Chen suggests styling your bralette with a super cropped, shrug-top style dress or top. “I've seen this really cute trend of, like, this peek-a-boo type dress,” she tells NYLON. “It's a form-fitting dress [and] basically the whole front part of it is just not there; it's just empty material.” You’d then get to fill in the bra part with your own bralette and mix and match with the dress, she explains.
Another massive trend for bralettes is wearing one underneath a matching mesh top or dress. The former pairs well with jeans and a belt or with a short skirt. “With [see-through] dresses, I've definitely seen just a good little bralette and then either a really basic mini skirt or tight shorts underneath,” Stephenson says. “I think that would very much fit the vibe of a going out look.”
How To Wear A Bralette For A Cottagecore Aesthetic
The cottagecore aesthetic is characterized by romantic silhouettes, often featuring soft, flouncy sleeves and dreamy florals. Chen suggests opting for a romantic, frilly bralette possibly with bows or even something sheer. “I think that would be perfect for the cottagecore aesthetic,” Chen says. “Pairing that with bottoms that are equally over-the-top and frilly could be really cute.” To cover up a bit more, Stephenson recommends throwing on a cardigan over the bralette to keep it traditional cottagecore.
Of course, what even is cottagecore without the bouncy dresses? “Since cottagecore is a lot of textures [and] movement, I think you could get away with doing a more lacy or detailed bralette and have it underneath one of the quintessential cottagecore dresses, just puff sleeves and super flowy,” Stephenson notes.
How To Wear A Bralette For A Soft Girl Aesthetic
Soft girl is like suburban cousin of cottagecore. She’s more of a girl-next-door than free girl frolicking in a field. “Pair a bralette with a plaid pastel mini skirt, light pink cardigan, and white platform sneakers,” offers Warren. Chen recommends erring on the side of casual over sexy with the bralette itself. “Maybe a casual cotton bralette,” she says, suggesting a button-up cardigan and a tweed skirt.
You could also lean into the lacy side of soft girl with a simple bralette featuring lace trim. “Or just get a bralette that's covered in lace, but is more similar to the lacy bustier corset we've been seeing,” Stephenson suggests. With that, she recommends pairing a sleek, elegant trouser or a flowy silk skirt, “something that could be paired with some cute little sandals or heels.”
Style blogger Nkeiruka Medani is an expert at the soft girl and cottagecore aesthetics and loves utilizing the sweet and flirty nature of bralettes. One of her go-to ways to style the romantic piece is “layered with an open-front blouse [like] a mesh crop top, floral print, [or] classic button-up shirt,” she tells NYLON.
How To Wear A Bralette For A Grunge Aesthetic
All the experts agree that when it comes to looking grunge, baggier pants are the move. “I would pair it with very slouchy bottoms, like cargo pants or those overly baggy jeans that we've been seeing,” offers Stephenson, noting the balance between the little crop top and larger bottoms. Chen also suggests something loose and wide-legged, and recommends trying dark denim and utility accents like lots of pockets for an extra kick of grunge. Stick to dark colors or black and white to lean into the more gothic side of the aesthetic, or opt for neutrals for something more soft grunge.
“I would layer it with a more oversized layer, like a zip-up hoodie, maybe a flannel — I know that that is like the quintessential grunge — or just an oversized denim jacket,” Stephenson continues. Warren suggests topping off the look with converse and a silver chain choker.
Alternatively, you can achieve this edgy aesthetic by tossing the bralette over a plain t-shirt. “I think that's really, really cool,” Chen tells NYLON. “[It] goes back to the ‘90s and I think that would fit perfectly.”
How To Wear A Bralette For A Minimalist Aesthetic
Bralettes and minimalism are basically best friends. Creating a simple, clean look comes naturally with this little garment. Sleek trousers are the GOAT for minimalism and look effortlessly clean paired with a simple bralette. Warren recommends accessorizing with a gold chain necklace, an oversized blazer, and heeled leather pointed-toe booties.
As an alternative to the blazer, Chen returns to that ultra-cropped shrug top to wear over the bralette. “I'm thinking like a turtleneck bolero-type situation,” she explains, “where it's just the turtleneck part and then the attached sleeves and then nothing at the bottom. It’s just your bralette showing.”
A slightly more casual version swaps the booties for chunky sneakers, which can be worn with trousers or jeans. “What I would do is pair [the bralette] with some casual, kind of loose — but not too loose — denim,” Stephenson offers. For layering, a blazer or bolero work here as well, or you can go for a sleek, oversized white button-up.
How To Wear A Bralette For An Academia Aesthetic
To nail the academic aesthetic, replace the minimalist trousers with a mini plaid or tweed skirt, but keep the oversized blazer. “That really hits the academic preppy look right on the nose,” Chen offers. Opt for some chunky white socks and platform Dr. Martins or some extra tall boots to contrast a shorter skirt.
“Academia outfits tend to be a little more modest,” Stephenson tells NYLON, noting all the layering of textures and fabrics. Try playing with layering pieces like white button-ups, neckties, sweater vests, and even that bolero-style turtleneck. To opt on the dark academia side, choose deep colors like mocha, chocolate, black, and tan. For a light academia aesthetic, think creams, white, and sand.
How To Wear A Bralette For A Steet Style Aesthetic
Classic street style marries the grunge vibe with minimalism. For that Hailey Bieber-esque outfit, Stephenson always comes back to an oversized blazer, baggy jeans, and dad sneakers (specifically New Balance 550s). “You can wear the bralette in place of a good, staple white tank top in this case, which I think we see a lot in casual streetwear,” she tells NYLON.
Both Warren and Chen are partial to loose cargo pants when it comes to street style. Utility-style pockets or exaggerated parachute pants make for an interesting juxtaposition to a dainty top. “I think that's really cool, and because you're dealing with so much fabric on the bottom, having a little micro bralette on top, it’s still pretty balanced,” Chen explains. For a little more coverage, Warren recommends slinging on a loose-fitting button-up to wear unbuttoned.
Bralettes are fast becoming one of the best staple pieces a person can have in their wardrobe, so they’re worth investing in. When it comes to styling these multifaceted pieces, there really are no hard and fast rules. Just have fun and experiment with different textures, layers, and accessories until you find your own personal aesthetic that makes you feel like your most confident self.
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