The balconette bra is arguably the sexiest, most flattering, most meant-to-be-seen bra style of all. Companies vary in their definitions of this style: Some have more straight-across necklines, others have sweetheart shapes. Either way, a balconette bra has cups in between demi- and full-coverage, and most have wide-set straps. This makes them perfect for square-neck dresses and tops, but they’re still suitable for everyday wear under your favorite t-shirts and summer dresses.
We reached out to Kimmay Caldwell, Undergarment Educator and founder of HurrayKimmay.com to give us the lowdown on this supportive style and share her picks for the best balconette bras to shop now.
“Many balcony or ‘balconette’ style bras are cut-and-sew styles, meaning their pieces are cut and sewn together,” says Caldwell. “They have seams that might make the bra less smooth, but usually offer superior support.” She continues, “These cut-and-sew styles are engineered similar to a bridge and are meant to keep your bust suspended. Some come in 3-, 4-, or even 5-part cups and might include a side support section to keep breast tissue projected forward. These are popular with full-busted, wide side bra wearers.” Other balconette bras have smooth cups and are made of one piece of firm material–otherwise known as molded cups. “These are especially great for a smooth look underneath a t-shirt,” notes Caldwell, “but both the molded bra and the cut-and-sew bras are wonderful options.”
Because wide-set straps can be prone to slippage, Caldwell offers this pro tip: “If you experience straps slipping off your shoulders when you wear a balcony bra, check the band first. Most people I fit are wearing a band that is too loose, which causes it to ride up and straps to slip down. A snug band will act as an anchor and keep adjusted straps in place.”
Ready to add this pretty yet practical style to your wardrobe? Ahead, shop some of Caldwells picks for the best balconettes on the market today.
For bra fit guidance, you can request Caldwell’s Free Bra Fit Guide at hurraykimmay.com/braguide.
Best Balconette Bras
Molded and smooth, this bra is, according to Caldwell, “one of those styles that has been around for years and is still a popular option!” The Dream Tisha Bra is specially designed for larger bust sizes—Caldwell also touts its extensive band size range of 32-44 with cup sizes up to H (Note: Head to the Le Mystére website for more size options — it’s available with lace accents, too). Functional features of this foam-cup style include overlock binding on the cups that help keep it invisible under clothing and extra-wide, power mesh wings (the strips of fabric that go around the sides and back of your body) for super support and under-garment smoothing.
“I just wore this for a photo shoot here in Oklahoma and it’s such a great bra!” says Caldwell. “This cut-and-sew style has slight stretch in the cups for a smoother look and the side support provides a modern shape.” The cups are crafted in four parts to lift, define, and separate, as well. The brand uses UK sizing and Caldwell raves, “the size range is really awesome.” (Fantasie offers lingerie up to a JJ cup.)
Panache, another UK brand, has great options for D cups and up, including plenty of balconette bras. “This one is a personal favorite when fitting full-busted folks because of the stunning styles (it comes in a fashion color every season), vast size range, and amazing support,” says Caldwell. The wide set straps also have a picot trim (small embroidered loops) that helps the sliders stay in place.
This bra is both “gorgeous and supportive,” raves Caldwell. Closer to a demi than full coverage bra, Montelle’s unpadded balconette features allover stretch lace and scalloped edges in UK sizes up to a 40 band and G cup. The cups are lined with mesh for coverage and strap widths increase with size, while double layer side wings add comfortable support.
Aerie’s longline balconette bra in eyelash lace features split strap details, rose gold hardware, and demi coverage cups that lift and support. As pretty as it is practical, this style earns raves from reviewers for how comfortable, sexy, and supportive it is all at once. As one put it, “The support is amazing, I’m heavy chested and they are sitting nice and high in this bra, but it doesn’t look unnatural. It’s comfy and sexy. Buying the other color now!” Another simply said, “Love the lace and the fit could fall asleep wearing it.”
With romantic lace, molded memory foam cups, multi-way straps, and a comfortable/scratch-free printed label, this balconette has earned a near-perfect rating of 4.7 from over 500 reviewers. It comes in cup sizes A–I, including ThirdLove’s exclusive half-cups, and bands 30–44, and features a sporty stripe elastic detail. “I wear somewhere between a 32GG and a 34H, so it is really challenging to find a bra that is both comfortable, pretty and supportive. This bra is all three,” wrote one reviewer, while another noted “It’s comfortable and I forget i have it on at times.”
Best Plus Size Balconette Bras:
“This was one of my top selling molded balcony bras when I was fitting full time,” says Caldwell. Designed for full-busted and full-figured bra-wearers, the satin style offers retro style and natural lift thanks to three-part cups with side slings. At an affordable price point, Parfait’s beloved balconette is offered in an array of fun colors and a vast size range–to a UK cup size K, the equivalent of a US cup size O!
Specifically designed for — you guessed it — curvy bodies (of all kinds), Curvy Couture bras are offered up to a size 46 band and H cup. The Tulip Bra is seamed with “a firm, padded cup that gives great shape,” according to Caldwell. The underwire balconette cups of this bra have lace overlay and come with graduated push-up pads that give natural lift without adding extra volume. Breathable power mesh wings help smooth in the back.
“This brand has many awesome options, and this particular one is specifically for petite-busted people,” notes Caldwell. “It has removable padding which is awesome if you want to adjust your bust volume, and very handy if you have different sized breasts (totally common and normal) and want to even out cleavage.” Thanks to molded, foam-padded contour cups, this balconette makes for a smooth t-shirt bra option.
With a hard-to-find size range (bands start at size 28 and cups at AA), “The Little Bra Company is another excellent option for petite busts,” Caldwell says. Two convertible straps on each cup of this mesh T-shirt bra style create a gap-reducing support point, while removable pads offer a little extra boost if desired. The Vivienne bra is ideal for wider-set breasts.
Best Unlined Balconette Bras:
A double mesh style with convertible straps, this lacy balconette bra is supportive, sexy, and earns scores of either 4 or 5 from 84% of reviewers on Amazon. Underwires and hidden side slings provide lift, support, and push up without padding. As one customer raved, “My favorite bra now! So comfortable and flattering…Loved it so much I bought a second one & I want more!”
Cuup’s take on the balconette bra is understated, unfussy, sleek, and sexy. It’s got sheer power mesh sewn cups, lightweight underwires, adjustable straps, and a triple hook and eye closure. Offered in a variety of nude shades for different skin tones as well as seasonal fashion colors (and a chic leopard print), this style is designed to be a sultry option for everyday wear. As one reviewer stated, “This bra is supportive and so sexy. I love that it compliments the shape of my boobs rather than hiding my boobs. I feel sexy and confident whenever I wear!”
This unlined underwire balconette features the brand’s signature custom stretch lace and is available in several fun colors because, well, why not? Bras don’t have to be black, white, or “nude,” right? Right. Available in up to a 46 band and DDD cup, the Sorry Not Sorry bra (the name is a definite selling point, just saying) offers sexy mermaid vibes for bra-wearers of multiple sizes and shapes. Of 251 reviews, 89% would recommend this bra, including one happy customer who wrote, “this bra was actually the perfect fit that I rarely got! The cups weren’t too big or small and the band wasn’t tiny. I use this bra whenever I want to look sexy because it actually fits and the lace makes me feel like I paid hundreds for the bra.”