I Work in Lingerie at Nordstrom—These 3 Bra Styles Are Absolute Essentials

If you're looking to revamp your lingerie wardrobe, then you've come to the right place. So before we begin, take a minute to toss at least one worn-out bra or an ill-fitting bra that has been languishing in the back of your drawer for ages. Good. Now it's time to start fresh and focus on fit, form, and function.

Because bra sizes often differ among styles and certainly vary between brands, previously we've asked women about the best bras, but we also think it's smart to have a professional help steer us in the right direction. Jenna Cohen, Nordstrom's director of merchandising, dpecialized, has been overseeing the lingerie department for over six years, so it's safe to say she has seen it all. While there are dozens of styles from which to choose, Cohen advises sticking to the basics: the underwire bra, the bralette, and the sports bra. And keep in mind that a super-expensive bra doesn't guarantee a better fit—affordable bra options can work just as well.

But before you start browsing, it's important to know your bra size. Since breast size and shape can evolve over time due to weight, age, menstrual cycle, and events like pregnancy, Cohen recommends getting measured every time you purchase a new bra in order to ensure the best fit—or once a year, at least.

Ahead, browse the three types of bras that everyone should own—it may require trying on a few to find your perfect fit—then, when you're ready to level up, keep scrolling for more bra styles to consider, including push-up, bandeau, wireless, strapless, and adhesive. Your lingerie drawer is about to get some much better support. 


(Image credit: @ali_tate_cutler)


"We’ve seen a strong shift this year in more people purchasing underwire bras as they return to work and other occasions," says Cohen. She specifically notes that the Natori Bliss Perfection Underwire Contour Bra and Chantelle Lingerie Norah Comfort Underwire Bra are both comfortable while offering a supportive, seamless fit for all sizes. 

Underwire bras also work well under most clothing and can be worn every day.


Bralettes have become popular in recent years, with comfort continuing to be a priority for consumers. "We’ve seen a strong response to bralettes across brands. Skims continues to be a customer favorite, as does Etam, which offers delicate, embroidered styles. Spanx has a strong assortment of comfortable and functional bralettes that offer great support," advises Cohen.

While styles and materials can vary from sporty to sexy, ultimately bralettes are a reliable fit for those with small to medium-size breasts. 

It's understandable if you want to wear a bralette every day, but if your cup size is bigger and you need a bit more support, there are better options ahead. 

Sports Bras

To be clear, bralettes and sports bras may look similar, but they have completely different functions. A must-have for any type of exercise and all cup sizes, sports bras help to support the breasts while minimizing bounce.

"Customers are consistently looking for newness across categories, and we’re excited to have introduced Vuori in both men’s and women’s this year—their sports bras are great," shares Cohen. Zella, one of our favorite Nordstrom Made brands, also has a strong selection of sports bras that fit nicely and are accessibly priced. 

Depending on the type of workouts you enjoy, you may want to opt for a low-, medium-, or high-impact sports bra. ALO offers a great selection across fit, color, and fabrication. Traditional athletic brands make great styles, too.

More Types of Bras to Consider


(Image credit: @brosiaaa)

In case you already have underwire, bralettes, and sports bras in your arsenal, or if you're just looking for a different type of bra to try, then you've scrolled to the right place.

Ahead, discover a few more of our favorite styles including strapless, push-up, adhesive, wireless, and bandeau. 



Wireless Bra

Bandeau Bra

Adhesive Bra

Next, The Most Comfortable Bras, According to Reviews and Recommendations

Drew Elovitz
Director of Content Strategy

Drew Elovitz is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has spent the last decade living and working in New York City. She earned a master's degree in media and popular culture from New York University, then began her career on the internet as the Twitter voice of Barbie. She worked previously at Who What Wear as the director of content strategy and also spent several years leading the social media teams at Teen Vogue and Entertainment Weekly. You'll find her byline on the site around topics such as celebrity fashion, must-have basics, beauty favorites (particularly nail polish), and wellness tips and tricks. Her personal style tends to favor the classics: She loves crisp white button-downs, sneakers, and skinny jeans—and no look is complete without a great pair of oversize sunglasses and a trusty leather jacket. After she finishes reading the entire internet every day, she can be found dining out at her favorite restaurants, trying new beauty treatments, or indulging her historical-fiction habit.