For the past few weeks I’ve been hunting for a better way to go bra shopping.
Do you remember that bra revolution episode on Oprah? Well after getting fitted recently, I found myself in the same camp as so many of her audience members – wearing the completely wrong size. After having three babies, my body has changed a lot, and it was high time for new underthings.
The problem is that I find bra shopping to be even worse than swimsuit shopping. It’s intimidating, with confusing sizing, and often expensive to buy a quality garment. The overly sexy advertising of certain brands are a huge turn off to me. So, I was very happy to read Abby’s comment on a recent post about underwear introducing me to a new online brand she had found – Lively. After doing a bit of searching, I found several online-only brands that ship bras directly to your home, offer loads of help with sizing and fit issues, and have their own unique niche versus the big chain stores that dominate the market.
I decided to try a couple out (they all have great return policies) and see if it could improve a task I was dreading.
PROS: ThirdLove has been around since 2013 and co-founder Heidi Zak has built an innovative and extensive online boutique. They seem to cater to all women, all sizes and shapes, and as their “new naked” line proves – all skin colors. The marketing is more about beauty and feels a little French to me. Many of their bra selections are more traditional, but with enhancements to improve fit. They designed half cup sizes, accordion straps, memory foam padding, and tagless bras. They have so many types of bras to choose from, so it is truly a one-stop shop. They also have the most thorough sizing guide to finding your perfect fit.
ThirdLove has a 30 day try-before-buying option. You answer a series of questions and ThirdLove recommends your ideal bra, which they offer to send you for the cost of shipping. If you love it after the 30 day trial, you keep it and pay. If not, return or exchange it for free. ThirdLove also donates bras to women in need.
CONS: The bras are around $70, which is high in my experience of shopping. Of course, this is a wardrobe essential that you wear frequently and I have learned to choose quality over quantity, so I think the price is doable if you try the bra and it is AH-mazing.
PROS: Lively is all about young women living smart, empowered, and active lives wearing comfortable, sporty underwear – a term they coined, “Leisurée.” The founder is a Victoria’s Secret alum with industry experience and the vision that women want more than the one marketing viewpoint they are being offered – seduction. (Yes!) The t-shirt bra has a genius built in hook to convert into a racerback. Their factories are WRAP certified. The price point is great – $35 a bra, and if you buy a bundle, the price goes down. You also earn “perks” for dollars spent and a free $10 credit just for signing up on their email list. Their new bralette for busty women is getting rave reviews. Their bras have cool fabrics and interesting designs, while still managing to be comfortable all day long.
CONS: Lively is a new startup so their selection is a more limited – no strapless option yet and only one style of wire bra. While they have a fit guide, it’s not as extensive or helpful as ThirdLove’s. They are absolutely marketing to 20-somethings, so this may not be a site for every woman.
After taking ThirdLove’s quiz, my ideal bra was the 24/7 t-shirt bra ($68), which I ordered for the 30 day free trial. It looks and feels high-end and would be an excellent every-day basic. The fabric is so soft and the straps don’t cut in at all. I would say for my style, it feels a little too traditional or safe. I do think I could go a half-size up, so I love that they have innovated their sizing system to allow a more custom fit. The 30 day try-before-buying option takes all worry out of ordering a bra from the internet versus a store. The box was delivered within a couple days, and I much prefer this method to a fluorescent-lit dressing room.
On the same day, my box from Lively arrived. I decided to try a bundle – 3 bras for $75. First I signed up for their email list and got a free $10 credit (you can too!). I ordered 2 t-shirt bras – in nude and black and the color block mesh trim bralette. My total was $65, so roughly $22 per bra! I can tell the quality of ThirdLove’s bras are higher, but I’m not sure it is enough of a difference to convince me to spend $40 more per bra. I really love the racerback option on the t-shirt bra, since a lot of my summer tanks are racerback. There is pretty lace detail on the straps. The navy and black bralette is my favorite bralette I’ve ever purchased. The fabric is silky smooth, but a little edgy with the mesh. It is super comfortable, which is everything.
I’ve decided to keep all the bras from Lively, which has earned a spot on my short list of favorite stores. I’m returning the t-shirt bra to ThirdLove but I’ll be ordering their strapless bra for the summer.
I’m curious – would you or have you ordered bras from an online-only site? I’d love to hear your thoughts if you try one of these options. I was honestly delighted with the whole process!