A Tomboy Femme’s Dream Come True: Comfortable, No Frills, Badass Sexy Lingerie

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WELCOME TO BRA WEEK! This week and next, the Autostraddle writers and some special guests will be giving you the scoop on over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders and otherwise-inclined chest-covering situations — fashion, history, feelings and so much more.


I am a huge fan of super cute lingerie. Despite my kinda basic and boring leanings in the underwear department, I love to wear pretty bras. Perhaps this is because I have been rocking them all day every day since third grade. THIRD GRADE, people. When did they stop growing? You know, I’m not entirely convinced they have stopped, to be honest.

Certain factors play into my relationship with lingerie, however. I don’t like those giant lacy contraptions that look like they are meant for a misogynist porn scene or something I’d find in my mother’s underwear drawer. I mostly wear lingerie for myself, because I’m into secret self-care like that, but I definitely want my partner to appreciate what I’ve got going on as well when she’s lucky enough to see it. I’m also embracing my tomboy/blue jean/lazy femme realness more and more each day. This means if I’m going to spend monies on something, it better be perfect for all of my skipping and hopping around the gender presentation spectrum. Can I wear it under a t-shirt? Can I wear it under a dress? Can I wear it with hiking boots? Okay, so the answer to that last one is most likely no, although I’m sure we could find a way to begin making hiking boots with lingerie akin to wearing stilettos with lingerie (that’s maybe the queerest sentence I’ve ever written).

Here are some types of bras I’m especially into right now.


Straps on straps on straps

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1. LouLou Bustier Bra (from Nasty Gal) / 2. Strappy Back Bra (from Free People) / 3. Lux Underwire Bra (from Lonely Hearts) / 4. Hotwire Bra (from Nasty Gal)

These strappy bras are not super feminine but still detailed and purposeful, making them basically a tomboy femme’s dream. Let’s all agree that these bras are so damn hot. They’re badass sexy. Sexy badass. These strappy bras are meant to be shown off. In fact, when I saw Emily’s bra (which I’m pretty sure is a Marlies Dekker’s bra) in a recent Pretty Little Liars episode, I was so smitten by it showing that I couldn’t stare at anything else. Can you blame me?

emily_pll

I’m sorry is there even a show going on here? I’m too distracted.

I love the idea of them peeking out from under a shirt. What a great detail to any outfit without being too blatant. And for the record, they also just look amazing without a shirt, so.


Sheer is the new lace

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1. Goddess: Keira Banded Satin Bra (from Bare Necessities) / 2. b.tempt’d by Wacoal: Sheer Delight T-Shirt Bra (from Bare Necessities) / 3. Soft Satin Bra (from Topshop) / 4. Only Hearts Whisper Bralette (from HerRoom) / 5. Cosabella New Soire Push Up Bra (from HerRoom)

Lace is so overrated. For a hint of what’s beneath the fabric, cut right to the chase and show it with a little see-through panel of sheer fabric. I like it in small amounts to hint at what you’ve got going on.  It’s gorgeous when it’s in a matching color, but it also looks great with a coordinating color, like in that sky blue and white little number up there. Simple and sublime, it’s just the right amount of seductive without just being naked.


Let’s be comfortable AND sultry

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1. Zinkie: Lillie Bralet (from Journelle) / 2. Chevron Bra (from Light Years) / 3. Blake Bralet (from Zinkie) / 4. Sparkly Soft Bra (from Topshop) / 5. Facet Bra (from Light Years)

Wait, you mean we don’t have to sacrifice our firstborn child to the gods to have comfortable AND sexy lingerie? I love the simplicity of all of the comfortable bras. The beauty is in the details. The purposeful details of a front closure (no, seriously, let’s all take a moment to appreciate number three), a tiny hint of detailed edging, and just straight up sparkles are so charming and keep these bras from being ordinary. They look like you could wear them under your favorite vintage tee and then surprise even yourself with how hot you look once that tee comes off. I won’t judge you if you feel the need to peek down the front of your shirt and marvel at how good these bras look and feel.


Header by Rory Midhani

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Hansen is the DIY & Food Editor of Autostraddle.com and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Colorado State University in her free time.

Hansen has written 184 articles for us.

34 Comments

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      As a C cup myself, I’m concerned that you think only one of these bras is above a B? I’m not sure where that’s coming from. Obviously the tiny bralets won’t be as supportive on larger breasts, but even those come in L or XL.

    • Thumb up 6

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      There’s still nothing above a D, though. I get that most people are below that size, but it’s always super frustrating that with all these cute bras there’s absolutely nothing anywhere near my size.

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        Actually, unless I’m mistaken, I don’t think that’s true. I want to say the average size in the US and UK is a D. Yet England/Australia seem so much better at accomodating for chests. Someone (maybe here) directed me to Pepperberry. Hella expensive but I finally got a button up that sort of fits over my chest. Shopping for fancy dresses is hell. I doubt any of these bras would work for me… I’m a DDD who needs underwire anyway. But they’re cute

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      Yeah… but it’s awesome that they’re out there at least!

      One is available larger: The b.tempted one from Wacoal in the second set of pictures (the dark blue one) is available ranging from 30-38 and up to DDD.

      Obviously some of us wear bigger sizes than that (and maybe some wear smaller than 30? I don’t know), but it’s a bigger range than most of the others – and the range is $30-40 (depending on size/color), which I don’t have right now (hah, life) but is not so bad for an actually good bra. My sister is a very busty lady and says Wacoal is good.

  1. Thumb up 1

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    I’m also a tomboy femme, and always found regular bras super uncomfortable, but sports bras just don’t go with… much. I swear by tee-shirt bras. Kohl’s sells these by Maidenform, often as buy-one-get-one, and I always pick up any and all colors they have in my size, because it’s a hard-to-find-size and I want to have plenty in stock if they every stop making them. Excited to look for some of these, though!

  2. Thumb up 1

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    Thank you for this. My gf and I were just talking about how badly we both need to go bra shopping. This gives us a place to start. (Insert mega happy smiley face here, because my better half HATES clothes shopping.)

  3. Thumb up 1

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    Gillian OMalley’s line at target has some great affordable sets like these! They don’t fit my bra size, but I love it when my ladies wear them.

    Also, you know you’re gay when you can’t appreciate bra shopping because you’re too distracted by the lovely ladies’ chests… aaaaaah. #lesbianproblems #boobiesinthebras

  4. Thumb up 0

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    Yes yes yes yes yes to the strappy bras. I already wanted one, but since that PLL
    episode I’ve become somewhat obsessed. Does anyone know where to find one (any one, anything) in a D+ size? That ships internationally?

  5. Thumb up 1

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    These bras are beautiful–especially the sheer ones! I tentatively identify as ‘low femme’ and I’d wear these.

    This is otherwise a great, useful post, but it really bothered me how you refer to lacier lingerie as “…meant for a misogynist porn scene…” thereby conflating high-femme-types of expressions with straight culture and misogyny. Some of us like lace and frills, okay? That’s a disappointingly disingenuous and archaic viewpoint, and reeks of alienating masculine centrism. Otherwise, great post!

  6. Thumb up 0

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    I agree that these bras don’t give much help to those of us who are bustier. Even if they go up to a D, those are teeny weeny straps! When you’re quite busty, super thin straps are a) uncomfortable b) unsupportive.
    I prefer nice thick shoulder straps; they don’t stretch out quite as quickly on me.
    I would love this article if I was an A cup, but as a D I was hoping for more

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    Almost all of these bras (and bralets in general) really confuse me. If you aren’t looking for breast support, and you don’t care if your nipples are poking through your clothes, why bother wearing a bra at all? Especially if they’re going to cost you this much?

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