Friday, January 21, 2011


I'm 27 and I Love My Training Bra

As a 27-year-old, fully functioning member of society, one of my ultimate guilty pleasures in life is allowing my mother to spoil me rotten whenever I’m home. Each time I visit my parents in Wisconsin, she asks, "Do you need anything from Target?"

Do I? Do I? Of course I do! Who couldn't use anything — literally any thing in the store — from Target?

And so, over the holidays, the two of us set off for the superstore with a list of things to buy in my greedy little hand. At the top, an item I’d been searching for to no avail—a decent-looking wire-free bra.

As an A-cup of the small letter “a” variety, I'd recently sworn off the padded, push-up, wired bras forced upon me by well-meaning Victoria's Secret salespeople. I’d decided the time spent tugging at underwire and readjusting boobs gone astray simply wasn’t worth the nominal cleavage these bras afforded. I’ve got what I’ve got, and I’m OK with it.

If cleanliness is next to godliness, though, bralessness is next to lawlessness. Society (or at least, my workplace) requires the use of foundational garments when venturing outside the home, so going commando on top is not an option. I'd been making do with a rotation of shelf bra tank tops, but v-neck shirts always betrayed my secret. It’s hard to feel like a grown woman when this millennium's answer to the dickie is peeking out from your sweater.

Unfortunately, Target’s intimates department left us empty-handed, if well-supported. After searching every rack, my mother hesitated for a moment before suggesting, "Maybe we check the girls' section?"

I wasn’t offended, just surprised that I hadn’t thought of it sooner. OK, I was a little offended. But a good idea is a good idea.

Among the Hannah Montana T-shirts and glitter scrunchies, I found exactly what I was looking for. A simple, lovely bra for growing girls. Or in my case, no-longer-growing girls. It plunged at the right place, had adjustable straps and snapped in the back just like a big girl bra. I sized myself as a large (taking more pride in that fact than I should admit) and settled on two styles, for a grand total of $7.99. The first, a basic white, the other, orange and pink polka dots, for when I’m feeling a little frisky.

For the first time in my life, I’m filling out my bra, and it feels really good. Apparently it just took shopping in the kids’ department to make me feel like a real woman.

I wonder how many other less-endowed ladies out there have gone through the same struggle. Finding a bra that fits—and on top of that, one you actually want to wear—shouldn’t be so hard. What I’ve learned is that the first step is feeling confident in your small-chestedness. The second is to be able to say, from one grown woman to another—yes, it's totally cool to wear a training bra.

Tell me:

  • Are you over thirteen and still wear a training bra?
  • Do you have any recommendations for comfortable but still pretty wire-free brands that are actually meant for grown-ups?
  • Am I the only one who can’t wear an underwire bra for more than two hours without wanting to pull it off through my sleeve, Flashdance-style?

Yesterday: Bra Shopping for Busty Women in Denial

Megan K. Collins is a writer living in Brooklyn. She includes the K. in her name to distinguish her from the approximately 1,347,921 other Megan Collinses out there trying to steal her thunder. She won’t tell you what it stands for.

46 Comments / Post A Comment


The bra and pants are the first thing to come off when I get home. Urban Outfitters has some pretty lace ones that are 16 bucks (I don't know how to add links and the url is too long to risk it!! But my favourite one is called the "Lace Triangle Bralette".) To spend lots, Free People offers lots of pretty.


YES lace triangle bralette!! The multiple color choices are so nice and it is extremely comfortable. I've had mine for about 3 years, and it's still awesome.


huzzah! it seems like all my favey blogs have been inundated with people complaining (to me it sounds like bragging) about being thin with large breasts. it's nice to see an article for us thin with little to no breast-ers.

i love my american apparel bralets. like these training bras, they don't sag or bag on your itty bitties (saggy baggy bras make me very sad) nor do they try to shove them up into little half-moons. they also come in lace and mesh and other slighly more sexy fabrics than the training bras, although they are super cute. only downer: they're pull-on - no closure in the back or front.

Caitlin Podiak

I like the lacy AmApp bralets, too. They seem to cover my nipples just fine, although I accidentally bought the first one in a size small, forgetting that at American Apparel, "small" = doll-sized.


YES. Not only that, I'm a 29-year-old mother. Still a AA. I discovered the girls' bras secret a little while ago.

However, if you do want to splurge, there are some lingerie companies who design for small-chested women. www.lulalu.com and www.evesappleslingerie.com are good places to start.


i can RELATE to this post. here's what i've found: american apparel bralets do not cover one's nipples. not even close. gap body sometimes has some interesting wireless, padless selections. and occasionally calvin klein has these, which are wonderful: http://www.freshpair.com/Calvin-Klein-Perfectly-Fit-White-Bralette-F1022.html (and exist also without the mesh neckline - though, having just seen the ones with mesh neckline for the first time, i WANT them.)

never shop at victoria's secret, ever.

and if you need a lightly padded, inexpensive bra that will actually fit an A-cup and not gap and annoy you: American Eagle.


american apparel bralets cover my nips just fine, thank you!


Do you have a link for these AA bralets? I refuse to spend much on undergarments especially since my boobies are itty bitty.




Before we go any further, someone should explain what is meant by the descriptor "training." I have never understood this. I wore one of these for about 10 minutes in 1980 and not one thing got trained. Was I supposed to have done something? Was the training period too short and I lost the chance to train my boobs to do something?


I think it's to train you to have an elastic band clutching at your torso for the rest of your life. I remember attempting to pull down my training bra, down to like my waist, because it felt completely foreign to have something wrapped around my chest.


I am so boobless. The only time I had boobs was while my body was hosting two unborn children. :( In fact, I admit...I kept breastfeeding just to keep my full boobs. Now I am deflated and saggy.

I do wear the bras from VS...but they aren't my size because they don't make a 34 A.

Thanks for the honest article though :) Made my starbucks taste even better.

Jolie Kerr

Sadly, I can no longer go underwireless but back in the day Only Hearts was a good brand for triangle bras/bralettes. Also if you google triangle bras you'll come up with a lot of options that don't involve twee prints designed for pre-teens who are skittish about their bubbies.


I have shopped in the girls' department but I can't do unicorns or stars on my underthings. A few options I like: Walmart has a Hanes line that makes a sports-bra-like top I like. It does the triangle plunge in that the two sides criss-cross, but they don't go all the way down. They are cheap and VERY comfortable, however the piping on the edges is thick enough to be visible if you're wearing something sheer AND they *flatten* you out.

I like the Urban Outfitters ones when I can find them.

I like the Gillian what-ever-her-name-is line from Target, but they are mostly lined/mostly underwire. I can do underwire if it fits well and stays put. Also, Calvin Klein makes great A cups (and triangle tops, too) but they can be expensive.


Bam! http://www.figleaves.com/uk/product.asp?product=Calvin-Klein-Envy-Non-Wired-Triangle-Bra&product_id=CNK-F3135E&size=&colour=Black

As a busty gal I have always wanted to wear these but always end up falling out like an accidental whore.

Jane Marie





I'm really excited I discovered "sleeping bras" a few years ago. I used them for nursing but they're awesome to slap on if you're around the house and feeling sore from PMS or something. I am on board with the no wires.


I'm glad that we have this story today to um, balance out the coverage of hard-to-find bras for bigger boobies yesterday :)


My mom recently discovered the girlie bra section at Target and is a much happier, more comfortable lady person!

Joey Camire

I don't know that there is anything equivalent for men. I mean, testicles are probably as annoying as that underwire is, but you can't really find testicle-less boxer briefs. That said, if someone invented mens underwear that made having junk more comfortable I would be a walking spokesperson "... And it no longer sticks to your leg..."


I love this article so hard! I thought I was the only 27 year old browsing in the pre-teen training bra section (especially with all the big boobied articles of recent). Rejoice!


27 as well but haven't wandered into the training bra section - I usually wear underwires and lightly padded just to give them a shape other than freewheelin' 70s style, don't want to poke anyone's eye out with my nipple. I think target's gilligan line changed their bra formula though because now they're all weirdly shaped.


I'm 39 and I registered an account just so I could say I too recently (re)discovered the unpadded no underwire 100% cotton training bra. Two thumbs up!


I second the sleep bra. Got it for nursing, but I'll wear forever. My dude was also very attracted to it's plain softness.


I'm 26, a 34 C and I LOVE training bras. I bought a few from the Gap to sleep in because I stopped sleeping with a stuffed animal and realized that the reason I still did it was to keep my boobs in place (sad/true). I started wearing them when I didn't feel like dealing with underwire, and now I wear them almost exclusively. I can't help it, they're so comfortable, they come in cute colors and they actually make my boobs look better than most grown-up bras.
This is what I'm talking about: http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=64741&vid=1&pid=111440

They also have cute lace ones! http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=64739&vid=1&pid=807487&scid=807487012


actually VS has started making a bras without underwires and they are the most comfortable bras i have ever worn.


I only wear Wacoal B Smooth Bralettes — love them.


I truly love this article! I'm 29, and have just recently started to appreciate my little ladies. For years I have only worn cami's as I absolutely despise pads and wire. Yet, when a cami won't do, I wear the Barely There brand bra - soft, wireless, padless and with adjustable straps. I have purchased this brand from JCPenny, Macy's and dancer shops.

Garnet Hill makes "bralettes" and they are glorious.


i used to be obsessed with buying them when i was 13-16, primark sometimes have really awesome patterns on theirs! then i hit 17 and my boobs sort of showed up. still small enough to make finding bras a pain in the ass, but too big for kid bras. was legitimately so disappointed when i outgrew them.


AMEN! I don't mind the wires, but even 34AA bras don't fit quite right. Nothing works better for me than the Self-Expressions brand girls' bras from Target, which are wired and have just a little bit of padding to smooth things over without looking like I got implants. Gilly Hicks (Abercrombie's underwear spinoff) runs small, and I get fancier stuff from them, but they're not consistent you have to spend some time to find the non-pushups and trying things on. I am 26, fyi.

Jen Detritus@facebook

My tatas aren't so itty-bitty, but I also can't stand underwires. My favorite bra is the Belabumbum Copacabana Lace Bralette--sexy, comfy, and comes in a bunch of different colors. The only downside is that the lace texture shows through thin T-shirts. I own three and am planning on buying a couple more soon.


Pulling 2 big bottles of tonic out of your tote bag at 3 in the morning can make you a hero sometimes.obat herbal darah tinggi


I own three and am planning on buying a couple more soon.water hyacinth furniture


Hanky Panky Bralettes... then you can match them to their perfect thongs, too.


I have a wireless training bra I love, and I'm 23. Also, my favorite adult bras that I own are front-hook wireless bras from maiden form. Super comfy and let my A cups lie right where they would without a bra. I stopped buying pushups tiny boobs just sort of get mashed by all the padding. The result: SpongeBoobs. Not comfortable


I absolutely despise pads and wire. Yet, when a cami won't do, I wear the Barely There brand bra - soft, wireless, padless and with adjustable straps. I have purchased this brand from JCPenny, Macy's and dancer shops.
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Training bras are usually a lightweight, soft-cup design, unlined, and may resemble a crop top. They are often made of a mixed cotton spandex or cotton Lycra fabric with thin straps and elastic under the growing breasts to hold the garment in place. So that is why they are so comfortable. try this


I absolutely despise pads and wire. Yet, when a cami won't do, I wear the Barely There brand bra - soft, wireless, padless and with adjustable straps. I have purchased this brand from JCPenny, Macy's and dancer shops.
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They are often made of a mixed cotton spandex or cotton Lycra fabric with thin straps and elastic under the growing breasts to hold the garment in place. So that is why they are so comfortable

Ghulam Hussain@facebook

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