Bras: Unlined Vs. Lined

Unlined bras tend to offer less strcuture than their lined counterparts.

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Bras can be the difference between a good shirt day and a bad one. You want the “girls” to look lifted and supported, not sort of sagging and sad. While there are a million different bra type combinations out there, two major differences can be unlined versus lined bras. Understanding the type of coverage each offers can ensure you don’t make a bra misstep.


The best way to think about a lined versus unlined bra is to imagine a white swimsuit. If you have a bathing suit that has white fabric and only white fabric, it stands to reason you could probably see through the fabric. A lined swimsuit has an extra layer of fabric, reducing the likelihood you could see through the swimsuit. This is the purpose of lining -- to prevent any see-through -- or “headlight” -- effects where your nipples can poke through your bra, becoming highly visible.


When you hear the words “extra layers,” it’s easy to think “padding.” But a lined bra doesn’t mean it’s a padded bra. Lining is intended more for shaping and protection than for taking you up a cup size. If you are hoping for a boost, a lined versus unlined bra shouldn’t make the difference -- padding will.

Why You Need Each

Just like the clothes you wear over the bra, a lined versus unlined bra is a matter of preference and probably a little bit to do with your bra size. If you have smaller breasts, you usually can get away with an unlined bra because you may not need the added shaping and lifting a lined bra can provide. In terms of comfort, unlined bras also may be a little more comfortable because the bra feels more lightweight. If you have larger breasts, however, a lined bra may be a must to provide the support you need.

How You’ll Know Them

Bras that tend to be unlined are made for petite sizes or for smaller cup sizes, such as AA, A or B. Another bra type that tends to be unlined is the leisure or sleep bra, which has a single layer of cotton or nylon that supports your breast tissue. Bras made for larger cup sizes -- C or higher -- tend to have lining. However, sleep and leisure bras are still available for this cup size, so if you prefer to go lining-free, you still have options.

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