The Best Bras? 11 Women Share Their Favourite Undergarments

By Julia Gessler
Under ... where? Good bras are out there. In fact, these ones come highly recommended. Collage / Julia Gessler

It can be a struggle to find a good bra. So we asked for some (literal) support.

The irony of bras is that the best ones are the ones you forget about. The ones you remember (and you do) are the ones that fail their core competencies: they are terrible

All of this is to say what you already know: Finding a good one is hard. To make it easier, I asked a bunch of bra-wearers to share their beloveds, from a lingerie store owner to new mums, women who have undergone breast surgery and members of our local fashion set. Whether you’re looking for a bralette that’s as cute as it is supportive, a sports bra that’s gentle enough for long walks and challenging exercises, or an affordable favourite that you can count on, these bras come highly recommended.

Dora Larsen Graphic Lace Underwire, $140; and The Great Eros Canova Underwire, $189

The bra that has had the most wear by me in the past six months is the Graphic Lace Underwire by Dora Larsen. Available in delicious colours, this bra gives major support (very “up”) without looking as if it’s a heavy lifter — no thick straps, no padding. I have it in pink, and wear this under all of my whites, particularly under a tight tee. I love this brand for its excellent quality and playful approach to lingerie. Also, the Canova Underwire by The Great Eros — a sexy all-rounder that lifts with supreme comfort. Incredible quality, attention to detail and commitment to support. It has a low gore (the space between the cups), so it doesn’t look so ‘bra’ when you’re wearing it under a shirt, which I love. — Maxine Kelly, owner of lingerie store Underlena

Ingrid Starnes Datura Bra, $159

I oscillate between extremes when it comes to bras. It’s either a delightfully boring Bonds number, or this sumptuous satin number from local brand Ingrid Starnes, produced to order and sewn locally. Made from woven fabric rather than something with stretch — the latter is the norm for underwear — there’s something old-worldly and sensual about its materiality, defiant even. And it looks marvellous on show with a tank top or singlet; the high-coverage cut makes it a visible choice. — Emma Gleason, deputy editor of lifestyle audience at The New Zealand Herald

Videris Rachel Bra, $110

My favourite bra by a country mile is the Rachel Bra from Videris Lingerie. It manages the impossible task of being both comfortable and supportive with ease, designed for larger chests while still maintaining the softness and beauty that defines Videris’ brand. I’m waiting with bated breath for the day they release it in the colour Maven. — Kaarina Parker (Ngāpuhi), model and writer

Ohen Balconette Bra, $129; and La Fille d’O Fast Girls Bra, approx $268

I felt strangely emotional recently when I first tried on the Ohen Balconette Bra. After almost four years of breastfeeding (frumpy maternity bras) I had forgotten the joy of feminine well-fitting intimates. For us mamas, dressing in a beautiful set can give a sense of autonomy on days when our bodies exist to service new life. It’s a wonderfully supportive bra for a bigger bust and I adore the shade of green. I also love the simple lines of the La Fille d’O Fast Girls Bra. I purchased one through Miss Crabb years ago and to my total surprise it had the lyrics of my favourite Nick Cave song embroidered on the straps! What’s not to love about that!? — Maeve Woodhouse, jeweller, Hera Saabi

Du Ciel Desir Bra, $170

My favourite bra at the moment is Desir by Du Ciel, from Underlena. Du Ciel is a stunning lingerie brand, handmade in Berlin. This bra is so delicate yet strong, made in nice black tuille mesh. It has the most beautiful combination of support and softness, silhouette and naturalness. It’s a classic I will have for a long time. — Kristine Crabb, fashion designer, Gloria

Berlei Wire-free Post-Surgery Bra, $60; Aje Athletica Logo Crossback Sports Bra, $135; and Aje Athletica Seamless Rib Crop, $110

Post-surgery [Samantha had a double mastectomy in 2022] I wore a very unsexy but very essential Berlei bra from Farmers. This had to stay on for a few months as the girls adjusted to their new life. These days I spend a lot of time in this Aje Athletica sports bra for training; I make sure I’ve got plenty of support, particularly for running or high-intensity exercise. And even when I’m not training, you’ll usually find me in a lighter sports bra under active/casual wear for all my Mode-related work!” — Samantha Bluemel, personal trainer and founder of fitness studio Mode

Kmart Seamfree Rib T-shirt Bra, $14

I have more bras than anyone I know but due to two bouts of breast cancer surgery and weight loss, hardly any of them fit anymore. I really need to throw them out but they cost so much! Ironically my daughter bought me a pink bra for Christmas from Kmart, and it’s now my absolute favourite so comfortable, supportive and flattering, and washes well too. All this for $14! I’ve now bought the same bra in white and black. — Lorna Riley, host of radio show Coast Days

Awwa Lush Bra, $65

Awwa, a local underwear brand, is perhaps better known for its bottoms (which are reusable period-proof underwear). However, I’m a big fan of their Lush Bra — it’s soft, comfortable and functions for a range of activities. I can go from the office to a light workout class or boulder without a changing room fuss. I currently have the black colourway, but I’m coveting the powder blue (a little more versatile under my everyday ensembles). — Madeleine Crutchley, multimedia journalist, The New Zealand Herald

Araks Tamara Bralette, $200

I have the Araks Tamara Bralette in mustard and also in hot pink, which I got from Underlena last year. It’s a super soft style that is so easy to wear daily and I love the pop of colour peeping through when I wear sheer blouses or strappy dresses. — Chloe Hill, stylist and founder of Cool Pretty Cool

Dear Dylan Organic Bralette in Noir, $90

As someone with a smaller bust, I tend towards soft-cup bras and bralettes that sit comfortably and remove any pressure to “fill them out” like a more structured, underwire option. I first discovered Dear Dylan a year ago and have been in the process of transitioning my lingerie ever since. Nothing makes me feel put together quite like a matching set, and I love co-ordinating Dear Dylan’s Organic Bralette with the petite thong. So far, I’ve managed to collect four out of the six colourways (black being my favourite, of course). There’s no risk of an accidental nip slip, either, thanks to the bralette’s curved cups and adjustable straps to ensure the correct fit. Ashleigh Cometti, Viva beauty editor

Bonds Maternity Wire-free Contour Bra, $50

As a new mum, I am looking for comfort and functionality in a bra. I have gone off underwire for now and find this particular style of bra the best — Bonds Maternity Wirefree Contour Bra — it is incredibly comfortable and supportive at the same time. It makes breastfeeding our baby easy when out in public or with visitors and I can throw it in the wash and dryer if I need to in a pinch. In saying this, I do look forward to a time when I can return to something a bit less functional and more attractive, although equally comfortable. — Jhana Millers, owner of Jhana Millers Gallery

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