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The Best Undergarments For Women

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 proper, 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 a few go-to pieces.

The Best Undergarments For Women

Best Undergarments For Women

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.

Women’s 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 support a small business. 

There are also brands who sell online whose website will help you figure out your size. More on that below.

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 depending on how frequently the garment is worn.

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. 

A bra that you wear less frequently, like a strapless or convertible bra, will last longer. 

Remember our breasts change all the time. 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 whether or not 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 

Best Bras

Best Bras

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.

Let’s start 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 your body type.

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 a wide range of sizes. It’s 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 Convertable option? The Wacoal Red Carpet Convertible Strapless Bra is all you will ever need.

It stays up all day and night without the need for constant no tugging and repositioning.

If you are full figured and need a specialty bra for extra support, consider the FREYA Idol Underwire Balconette Bra for $70. It comes in three neutrals and black, and it gives phenomenal support.

Sizes are UK so check the translation on the product page.

If you need a full coverage bra, 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, $103 at Bloomingdales. This will give support and take you down about a cup size.

Starts at a 32D and only available in rose and black.

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

best Underwear for women

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. That’s your personal preference and there’s no shame in that!

Personally, I have two styles I’ve been loyal to for years.

For me, the Hanky Panky Original Lace thongs are hands down my favorite pairs.

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. Plus, there’s no visible panty line.

When I want a pair of underwear with a little more coverage and I’m not worried about panty lines, I like the Spanx ‘Fit to You’ Brief. They are comfortable, high quality and show no VPL.

I don’t know how it works, but they offer one size fits all in regular and plus.

And I’ll tell you, as I’ve gained and lost weight, they magically fit the same.

I also like their Thinstincts® 2.0 Brief, $48 and Undie-tectable® Brief, $24 or 2 for $38. You can see my full review here.

Shapewear

best shapewear for women

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.

These come in a range of neutral skintones and black (if you’re wearing a black dress, it’s best to match your shapewear to the dress instead of your skintone.)

With sizes from a XS – 3X.

Other times, when I need something more serious, but also something that still feels good on, The Spanx OnCore High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Short is where it’s at.

This is their most powerful compression piece, also in sizes XS – 3X in a range of neutral skintones.

It runs small so size up.

When I wear something like a fitted sweater dress, this is what I have on underneath.

Camisoles

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!

The Best Undergarments For Women
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MEET THE AUTHOR

Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Beth

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

I am 80s old school and really prefer a string bikini. I find thongs uncomfortable and full to the waist panties are way more old lady than I'm ready to be right now. I like the front look of the Hanky Panky thong but really wish there was more coverage on the bottom. And I do like a pretty cotton print Victoria's Secret string bikini. They remind me of the kind of stuff my mom and grandma used to buy me when I was in grade school, but the cut makes them a little more grown up. They do come in solid colors as well.

Emily Teres

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

I would love a recommendation for briefs that don’t show panty lines. I’m in my 60’s & don’t like to wear thong underwear. I appreciate all your advice & recommendations.

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

I mention three options in the article and none of them show VPL. :)

Mary

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

For shorts to wear under dresses in the summer that aren't shapewear, I love Jockeys Cooling Skimmies slipshorts. I size up one size so they aren't tight in the waist, but my waist is large compared to my hips, so you may not need to do that. They are very light and comfortable. For briefs that don't show vpl, I love Chantelle Soft Stretch full briefs. They are one size fits all, and don't ride up or show under clothes. They also have hipsters and bikini style, but I prefer the briefs. I tried the Soma Invisible Edge in several styles, but just never found one that fit me well.

Cindy

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

About 5 years ago, I went on a search for a good front-closing bra. My sensitive skin was irritated by sitting all day against back clasps. But front closures also work well for people with arthritis and/or limited mobility. After trying versions from Third Love, Wacoal, Warners, and several other companies, I discovered the Bra-llelujah line from Spanx. They offer front closing bras in underwire, no underwire, lined, and lightly lined models in a wide range of sizes and colors. I love them! I did use the fitting guide from Third Love and - surprise! - found I was wearing the wrong size bra. About the same time, I discovered the Vanishing Edge panties from Soma - they have silicone strips along the leg openings, and there is no VPL or riding up. They also come in a range of styles, sizes, and colors, and go on sale fairly frequently.

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

I like so many styles from Spanx - thanks for the tip!

Kim Feuerstein

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

I need serious support in a bra (F cup, heavy breasts). After much trial and error, I highly recommend Elomi bras (Cate is my favorite). Nordstrom carries them, and they are fabulous. I usually manage to get them on sale, but I’d pay full retail if I had to, they’re worth it!

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

Awesome recommendation! Thank you!

Kay

Sunday 19th of February 2023

Megan, thank you so much for including undergarments with your other wardrobe suggestions. So many people over look them and they are critical to dressing well. I will definitely try the shape wear you recommend. I have one additional recommendation. I noticed a long time ago that we large-breasted women had to be extra careful that our breasts don't droop. I have worn a Wacoal underwire bra for years. Even though I wear a 34DDD (yikes), my breasts don't sag. Please keep those great posts coming.

Tracy

Sunday 19th of February 2023

Congrats on the Gap partnership. I love reading your daily posts and thru your suggestions I have discovered j not only newer brands but great fit in clothes that I look forward to wearing! Thank you!

Anita PS

Saturday 18th of February 2023

Enjoy your blog. When I saw this one I had to ask if you have heard of Check Boss brand underwear. They are only available online. The underwear is seamless. They use a bonding process. They have thongs, briefs, and hip huggers. They may have added a fourth design. They are available in endless colors and patterns. They don’t roll on my stomach or hips. This is my new go to for underwear. Most comfortable I’ve ever owned and I’m nearly 60.

Norma Estevez

Saturday 18th of February 2023

This post was wonderful - I never knew lingerie had a shelf life LOL! What are your thoughts on Honeylove? I ordered one to try and love that it covers the back and doesn't show bulge. But I struggle with the way the front fits and I feel like it's a sports bra. Comments?

Kathryn

Friday 17th of February 2023

I am a 38 DDD and recently found a local lingerie shop that specialized in bras for large-busted women. Even with bras that finally fit me properly and comfortably I still find it very difficult to find clothing that hangs right on my figure. Can you suggest a source for tops & jackets for those of us that are more generously endowed than the average?

Tracy

Thursday 16th of February 2023

This is just what I needed!!! I went to put on one of my favorite bras and it looked like it needed to be retired. But like uou pointed out—-I need to get a proper fitting because at my age 64 I’m pretty sure things have changed!😆. This got me moving for a new bra purchase!

Laura

Wednesday 15th of February 2023

Love Soma panties. No panty line, stay put, super comfy. Highly recommend!

Donna

Wednesday 15th of February 2023

Hi Any suggestions for A or AA cups [like 32A] for women in her late 60s who needs lift support as well as fit? All of the T shirt bras you list are for B or C cups. All the bras I have researched do not have support for the smaller cup sizes. We get droopy boobs also but I can't find anything for lift support. Thank you

Rachel

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

Recently I've placed several orders from HerRoom.com and I love the things I've gotten. They have nice minimizers from Olga and Cloud 9. Then I lost a lot of weight and wanted more lift than minimizing. My favorite is Olga Luxury Lift underwire. It has no padding, so when I want that t-shirt bra modesty, I wear the Vanity Fair beauty back underwire. With both of these, the straps never fall down which is usually a big problem of mine.

Maidenform sells a wire-free cami with foam cups that was my go-to daily shaper for a while. Nothing rolls, you don't need a separate bra, and it's long enough to control lower tummy area for a smoother look in pants. It's inexpensive ($25 at Target).

Colleen McGarrity

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

Thx for all of your advice!🦩 I wear a cami almost every day - my affordable and super lightweight/adjustable camis are from Amazon - Rosyline.

Abbie

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

A few years ago, I set out on a mission to find the most comfortable, nice looking panty for real, live, not rich, grownup ladies. ;) Out of all I tried, Soma briefs are hands-down my favorite! They are pretty, and they are totally comfy!

Karla

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

Thank you for the information however, I am now unable to reach around and hook a bra in the back and looking for a good front hooking bra. I would appreciate your advise.

Lindsey

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

I recently hit my target goal weight and treated myself to a bra fitting and some new bras. I may be late to the party on this, but I wanted to share with the group a product I purchased to hand wash my new bras - I know, who wants to do all that- but this product just soak for 15 mins then hang, no need to rinse out. It’s is called Soak and can purchase on Amazon…

Eileen

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

Everything rolls up, down, and into “things”, if there is no elastic, for me.. what is the answer to this? Even bras ride up when I raise my arms. The fabric is too soft I think. Any ideas?

NATALIE K

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

Thank you for all the choices!! I LOVE my Soma bras & panties in nude & black!!! Have some cami's & slips I love to wear not from them but Jessica London at a reasonable price!!!

Kelly White

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

I have never left a comment before but this subject is close to my heart. As I’ve aged comfort has become much more important. I have moved to a wireless bra and after many purchases found Knix WingWoman Contour Bra, love it! I also don’t want underwear that has a mind of its own and many years ago found Soma Vanishing Edge panties. They come in many colors, styles and inclusive size selection. Spanx is hands down the best support brand.

Diana

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

As I become more 'squishy', I find I need garments that won't roll - from the bottom or top. Are there any recommendations out there for pieces with silicone edges or boning that stop the roll?

Colleen

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

I like the look of shape wear (Spanx) under certain clothes but always find it rolls at the top and/or bottom. Am I buying the wrong size?

Jacqueline

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

A few years ago I swapped out thong panties for Soma vanishing edge. No panty lines, stay put, very comfortable and wash and dry well.

Sandy Neumann

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

For non-shapewear shorts, I LOVE Thigh Society. They make shorts in 3 different fabric blends, in 3 different inseam lengths, in lots of colours, in sizes from XS to 6X. For around $40! Canadian company, they sell online.... I have 4 pairs. They are NOT shapewear, more anti-chafing - very comfortable.

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