Bra vs Bralette: What's the Difference?

Bra vs Bralette: What's the Difference?

Regardless of whether you were an “early bloomer” or a little “late” to the party, purchasing that first real bra was certainly a formative experience.

Just like every teen movie ever has reinforced, the bra has long had strong cultural ties to ideas of ‘coming of age’ and ‘femininity’. In recent years, however, things have been evolving.

We are happy to say that comfortability — a genuine regard for the comfort of the wearer — has slowly but surely been kicking convention to the curb (and we wouldn’t have it any other way).

The re-emergence of the bralette as an undergarment staple is case and point.

Your girlfriends might swear by their bralettes while your co-workers can’t live without their good old fashioned brassieres. If you’re left wondering what the actual difference is between the two, you’ve come to the right place.

What is a bralette?

A bralette is an unstructured bra featuring no underwire, no lining, and minimal padding, offering a more natural shape.

In recent years, this style has become increasingly popular because it prioritizes both style and comfortability.

What is a bra?

A bra is a form-fitting undergarment designed to cover, support, and in some cases elevate a woman’s breasts.

What is the difference between bralettes and bras?

As you could probably guess, the main differentiator here is structure — or lack thereof.

While bras typically leverage a mixture of underwire and padding to provide shape and support, the most crucial feature of a bralette is its minimalist, “unstructured” design approach.

Put more simply, with bralettes the design focus tends to lean more towards shape, whereas support is the design focus for traditional bras.

Women who desire ultimate comfort and a more natural breast shape as opposed to those who prefer a more structured silhouette should look no further than a bralette.

How both are styled also offers a key difference. While the bra serves almost exclusively as an undergarment designed to be hidden (in most settings, at least), the bralette appeals to both fashion and function in equal measure.

The bralette can either be the focal point of an outfit, serving as a funky substitution for a more traditional shirt or blouse, or serve as a subtle outfit addition by offering a vibrant pop of color.

What's so special about Parade bralettes?

Our product team spent two years developing Parade bralettes to provide weightless support and unreal comfort in our full range of sizes.

» Parade Scoop bralette 

» Parade Triangle bralette

Here are a few of the things that make our bralettes so special:

1. We fit and designed each size from scratch, using women of all shapes and sizes. This means that the XS bralette is not just a smaller version of the XL bralette, but rather, a version of the bralette design optimized for that size range. This is not industry standard!

2. We developed our exclusive AirBand™ — a new kind of under-bust elastic that feels feather-light and has no unnecessary digging.

3. We listened to you, our models, and our team throughout the design journey. Our bralettes were truly co-created by our community and deliver on all the qualities you found to be most important.

4. We employed a pattern-maker who specializes in bras to develop the pattern for our bralettes. These designers are rare to find, but we know your comfort is worth it :)

Curious about your Parade bralette size?

» Take our bralette Sizing Quiz

Got more questions about Parade's bralette collection? Check out our FAQ & Help page for everything else you might want to know.