The most impactful yet often overlooked category in many women’s wardrobes is their undergarments.
And I get it. It can be overwhelming and expensive.
But the right, well-fitting foundation pieces will change how your clothes fit for the better.
When I worked with private clients and took them shopping for new clothes, our first stop was often the lingerie department at Nordstrom.
Here, I would have my client get a proper fitting; she would pick up a few everyday bras, maybe some shapewear, and anything else she might need to freshen up her underwear drawer.
This experience gave me a lot of insight into the best undergarments for women.
The good news is you don’t need a lot, just the right pieces.
With an assortment of better basics and a handful of items for special occasions, you can drastically improve how you look in your clothes and feel confident every time you leave the house.
I talk at length about where to save and where to splurge when it comes to your wardrobe.
Underwear, for me, is an investment. Buy the best quality you can afford, and you will be astonished at how much better your clothes fit.
I’ve tried dozens of brands over the years and I can tell you that the better quality undergarments wash and wear the best.
That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune.
The Price Difference
You DO NOT have to spend well over $100. Like everything in retail, quality doesn’t always scale with price point.
So, unless a $210 bra is going to magically lift and reshape my postpartum boobs over time, I’ll put my money other places, thank you.
A good price for a bra with support is about $70, give or take. But I’ve got some less expensive recommendations below.
Get Your Fit Right
Before we dive into recommendations, I implore you to get a bra fitting.
I’m just as passionate about the importance of well fitting undergarments as I am about having your clothes tailored. It’s a game changer.
When our bras don’t fit correctly, we throw off the shape of our body.
Bras do a lot of work. The “lift” we get from a high-quality bra brings the girls back up to where they started and in turn, gives us back our waistline.
Scroll to the bottom for my picks for the best undergarments for women.
Better department stores have specialists who are trained to not only measure you correctly, but they also understand how brands fit.
Like clothes, bras fit differently depending on their cut, shape, function and manufacturer. Working with someone who is educated in this area is incredibly helpful.
You can also consider going to a local lingerie shop as you’ll also get personalized attention working with an expert, and you’ll supports a small business.
There are also brands who sell online whose website will help you figure out your size. More on that below.
What are my thoughts on Victoria Secret?
Aside from how much I loathe their culture of propagating poor body image standards to girls and women globally, I find their fit and quality pretty terrible, and their customer service not much better.
Your Underwear Has a Shelf Life.
I have to say this because after working with private clients for over a decade I saw everything, and a lot of women are holding on to foundation garments well past their prime.
Your underwear has a shelf life.
This shelf life varies on frequency of wear.
The consensus from industry experts is that your bra will last six months to one year, depending on how many bras you own and how frequently you are wearing them.
Bras that you wear with less frequency, like a strapless or convertible bra, will last longer.
Remember our breasts change all the time. So, if you have recently lost weight, gained weight, had a baby, are breastfeeding, just stopped breastfeeding, are in perimenopause or just out of menopause, have a new bra fitting to see if what you are wearing still works for you.
When it comes to other undergarments, shapewear will last as long as it works, and that depends on how often you wear it and if you are caring for it properly.
I have a few pairs of Spanx I only wear on occasion and have had them for years.
Same with camisoles, and underwear.
The better you take care of these pieces, as long as they fit, you should get at least a year or more of life out of them.
Below are my picks for the best undergarments for women.
I rounded these up based on what’s worked for me and clients over the years. Of course, if you have a personal recommendation, add it in the comments below!
The Best Undergarments for Women
Let’s start with some bra recommendations.
I’ve gathered these through personal use, what’s worked for clients, and feedback from our community.
When in doubt, always buy nude-to-you bras.
Brands are FINALLY starting to be more inclusive with their color selection, recognizing that nude for me is very different from nude for someone else.
Note, when I say “nude” I mean, nude-for-you.
For maximum versatility, choose whichever “nude” is suitable for you.
I buy all of my staple undergarments in neutral and black.
And I avoid white because it shows under tops.
Remember this when going to a formal event. For example, if you wear a white bra under a black top and are photographed, you will see the bra through the top in the picture.
Starting with T-Shirt Bras.
These are your everyday, go-to bras.
The best one I’ve ever owned is the Third Love 24/7 Classic T Shirt Bra. Available in a range of inclusive colors and sizes, for $72, this bra is a powerhouse, with over 50,000 five star reviews from customers.
If you prefer a wireless option, give their 360 Fit Wireless Bra a try. It has remarkable support.
Third Love has really disrupted the undergarment industry, creating their own proprietary sizing quiz on their website to help you find the perfect fit.
For something less expensive The Wacoal Women’s Basic Beauty Contour T-Shirt Bra is also very comfortable and great quality. It comes in a ton of colors and sizes and is available on Amazon for under $40.
A third runner up is this tee shirt bra by Natori, which I wore for years before discovering Third Love.
Need a Strapless and Converiatble option? The Wacoal Red Carpet Convertible Strapless Bra is all you will ever need.
It’s stays up all day and night, no tugging and repositioning over the course of wearing it.
If you are full figured and need a speciality bra for extra support, consider the FREYA Idol Underwire Balconette Bra for $68. It’s limited to only black or a light nude, but it gives phenomenal support.
Sizes are UK so check the translation on the product page.
Third Love also gets rave reviews for their 24/7 Perfect Coverage Bra, in an inclusive size and color range.
We’ve also heard from readers who need a minimizer and recommend Simone Perele, $93 at Bloomingdales. This will give support and take you down about a cup size.
Finally, if you are looking for a comfortable bra without an underwire, I recommend the Olga Women’s Easy Does It No Bulge Bra.
This is my work from home, no fuss, under a sweatshirt bra and it’s only $20 on Amazon.
Underwear is really personal so I’m not going to go into too much detail.
If a pack of Hanes that leave everything to the imagination is your jam, go for it.
Personally, I have two styles I’ve been loyal to for years.
I stock up on them once a year during a Nordstrom sale, in nude and black and I’m all set. They are pretty, wash incredibly well, maintain their shape and are super comfortable.
When I want a little more coverage, I like the Spanx Ahhh-llelujah® ‘Fit to You’ Brief. They are comfortable, high quality and show now VPL.
And I’ll tell you, as I’ve gained and lost weight, they magically fit the same.
Call me crazy but, I don’t mind wearing shapewear.
And over the years I’ve tried all of them, from the most expensive to discount brands, and Spanx always comes out as the winner.
To keep things smooth and maintain a little modesty under things like wrap dresses I love the Spanx Thinstincts® 2.0 Girl Short.
Other times, when I need something more serious, The Spanx OnCore High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Short is where it’s at.
It runs small so size up.
When I wear something like a fitted sweater dress, this is what I have on underneath.
With all the sheer and semi sheer tops on the market, a nude cami is essential – but they are not easy to find.
Years ago I bough this v-neck cami by Hanro and it’s fabulous.
It stays in place and is lightweight so you don’t feel like you are adding bulk with another layer. This is what I wore under a sheer(ish) button down.
But I probably wouldn’t rebuy it since I recently tried the Spanx Social Light Cami ($42) and it’s awesome.
It’s also more size and color inclusive. Note that the Spanx Cami will hold you in, where the Hanro tank will not.
And I hate to say it, but the SKIMS Soft Smoothing Tank is really nice.
It’s light and soft on the body while staying in place. It’s also seamless so it’s truly invisible under tops. Under $40 in regular and plus sizes.
Of course, we want to know some of your can’t-live-without, favorite undergarments. Tell us in the comments below!