Finally: the Perfect Bra to Wear Under White Shirts

I hate Kim-Kardashian-Band-Aid-dress-colored bras so much. They are like orthopedic shoes for your boobs except without the guaranteed arch support. They put “taking off your shirt” in the top percentage of Most Boring Activities Ever. I once tried to seduce myself while wearing a beige bra and fell asleep. The problem is that, somewhere along my transition into ‘tweenhood, someone injected my brain with the idea that to wear a white shirt (which I wear a lot of) without your bra showing through, was the only proper option. Not even a white bra would do.

Anyway, my life more or less sucked until four years ago when a rose pink Fleur du Mal convertible balconette bra came into it. It worked under every white shirt. It gave me a great SHAPE. The straps came off, criss-crossed and haltered, which meant in addition to my everyday ride-or-die, it became my official bra of going-out tops. It was what I think a bra should be: supportive, comfortable and so, so pretty.

After four years of my refusing to follow washing instructions for delicates and over-wearing it, I have finally decided to replace it with its slightly cheekier cousin. It’s almost identical but the removable straps are black — still perfect for a white shirt but with a little bit of rebellion; also great for black underpants matching.

Beyond bras, the brand has the most beautiful things including ready-to-wear (waiting on this star skirt to go on sale) and swim. Its designer Jennifer Zuccarini founded Kiki de Montparnasse, so she knows what’s up with the silky stuff, and in comparison to Kiki, Fleur du Mal gives my credit card less of a butt kicking.

My one complaint! Is that this perfect bra does not come in a wide array of sizes. Now I have a question for you (so that I can do another one of these): if your boobs are over a 36C, what pretty under-a-white-shirt bra do you love? I’ve got a lot of friends on the anti-Band-Aid-colored-bra campaign asking.

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  • Adrianna

    I wear 30FF. It really depends on how much I want to acknowledge or think about my breasts that day.

    1. Not at all: Anita Women’s Extreme Control Sport Bra. I own several and have worn this for years. (including in nude to wear under white)

    2. Oh yeah, I have breasts: Panache Women’s Envy Stretch Lace Full-Cup Bra. The lace isn’t idea, but I found this bra fits me the best. And I don’t need extra padding in most t-shirt bras.

    3. BAM!: Freya Women’s Deco UW Molded Plunge Bra

    • Emmie

      big fan of the boob acknowledgement scale

    • Miriam Mortimer

      Thank yoooouuu. I’m a 30FF too and it is SO hard to find good bras

      • Adrianna

        The Anita sports bra is the only one I have found that provided adequate (and comfortable) support for running! I have to wear a different size though, 32G.

    • JennyWren

      The Freya Deco rocks. My only issue with it is that I’ve found the sizing and support to vary hugely from model to model and through different colors. The deco vibe range just doesn’t work for me at all.

    • Anita is my friend, too – for sports purposes.

  • Alexia

    I thought Man Repeller was a nudist colony. Why are we wearing bras?!

  • Emily R

    Too bad this bra doesn’t come in an “A”. Womp womp

  • Nuria Elkout

    First time poster, long time lurker here.

    As a woman of colour and someone with arguably large breasts, weighing in at a whopping 32FF (I can’t believe I’m posting this on the WWW), I regularly go to NYC just to go to Town Shop. I’m Canadian, I have never lived in New York, and have been living in Latin America for the last 4 years so this is saying a lot about how much I value their selection. It’s on Broadway though I’m uncertain if they have additional locations around the states.

    My favourite brand they carry is Freya. I have a one of their Plunge Bras in purple that I also rebelliously wear under white. It’s closer to my skin tone than soft pink and so it works for me. I also try hard to hide the size of my breasts and so prefer bras with no padding. Though, they have some lighter shades and some with more padding in the same style. But I have never had a better fitting bra than when I walk out of that store. There are just so many options and they make sure that it is the perfect fit. The price tag varies and often you walk out spending a bit more than you would have liked, but I digress. It’s worth checking out, and you’re guaranteed to make regular trips if you do.

  • I just got this baby (thanks, Journelle sale!) and it is honestly the best bra I’ve ever worn under sheer white shirts. There are no lines! There is no unnecessary padding or lace! It doesn’t make your boobs look like a flesh shelf!

  • Sadly no dice in my band size (28-30). Still haven’t found my “holy grail” strapless/convertible bra – often times even if the band size is right, the center gore is too tall for my petite frame and irritates my sternum. I just ordered a Wonderbra from the UK and contributed to the Evelyn and Bobbie kickstarter so maybe one of those is my dream bra? Have to plug too because it’s been a big help.

    • Alice

      Have you tried any by Panache? I had one that was quite good.

    • Nancy

      Seconding Panache. I have the Cleo by Panache Maddie bra and I love it.
      I got it from – which is also amazing. You take a pretty detailed survey when you sign up and the site makes recommendations based on that. I honestly would never have tried this bra if Her Room hadn’t told me to, but I’m so glad I did. Aaaand it looks like some styles/colors are currently on sale for $30!

    • Helen

      Omg I feel your gore pain. Arg!

  • MippysMom

    Unfortunately, in a 38G, options are limited. I just stick to my Wacoal tried-and-true (but unexciting) beige.

    • fluffinella

      I lived in Wacoal before my reduction (36F down to a 36C). But Prima Donna and panache had some really pretty ones that I loved!

  • Inaat

    I just wear bralettes, no wire, no padding as I have quite small breasts. Under a white shirt I usually go for black lace, or my patterend one from love stories. Also been Loving my New yellow one from Pansy co, supersoft and comfy. But I am wondering what panties to wear under those summerdresses that are not supposed to be see-through but totally are? I’m not superskinny so I feel like I cant get away with anything either.

    • Alice

      I have flesh coloured panties that are basically only worn in the summer. I also have a pair of shorts for flowier dresses and windy days.

    • Anni

      Try the UNIQLO nude seamless ones! I have them in all the neutrals and they never do me wrong – they are super seamless and a much easier find/cheaper dupe to a pair of Calvin Klein seamless panties I found once and could never find again. There are boy short styles and bikini depending on what you like wearing.

  • Harling Ross

    i want this bra real bad now so i guess YOU CONVINCED ME

  • Betty

    Seems great if that’s your skin tone. ThirdLove has great options on a broader spectrum.

  • Mor

    I also live for Wacoal. Specifically this one:
    I think it’s quite shick for a beige bra.
    Plus, every season they have it in a cool color which is also cool under a white t-shirt.

  • Cristina

    I’m right on the cusp at a 36C and I like VS T-Shirt bra. But as I’ve gotten older.. I feel like I may be missing out on something with my bra. Like, maybe it’s actually not all it’s cracked up to be and maybe it doesn’t actually provide the support I need. I suddenly feel the urge to dispose of every undergarment and start over!

  • Bogle

    I can’t figure out the appeal of this bra. Wouldn’t the seams show terribly under a white t-shirt? Maybe my breasts are too ungainly for me to understand such a delicate looking bra and strangely seamed bra. I wear a 34 DD and the only 2 bras that even remotely work for me under a white t-shirt are the Wacoal Slimline minimizer and the Chantal C-Magnifique bra. Neither one is pretty, neither is a convertible bra, and both come only in Beige, Black or White. While these both give good shape, these limited colors don’t even truly work for me under a white shirt because none of them are even close to the color of my skin. I am not the color of a raw chicken tender and neither is anyone else I know. I’ve gone on websites catering to women of color, hoping to find a bra gives good shape and support, AND that doesn’t show under a white shirt but I’ve yet to find anything. The best bra ever made was the Bali 3364 – it virtually disappeared under clothing and gave the best shape ever, but it was discontinued around 2009. I’m still in mourning.

    • Jennifer VanderPloeg

      Why on earth did they discontinue the Bali Butterfly minimizer #3364? I found this thread scouring the internet for signs that there may still be a Bali 3364 or two in stock somewhere…it appears that many women loved that bra and it was a staple in their drawer. (sigh!)

      • Bogle

        Jennifer, I truly don’t think there are any left except a few in like a 40C or something like that. I’ve lost countless hours of my life searching for them. about 5 months ago, 3 showed up on eBay in a 34DD in stark white and I thought “Eh, good enough” (the beige and the black were great but beggars can’t be choosers) but someone beat me to them (at $150 each!). Now I have an alert saved on eBay in case another shows up in a 34D. But I’m not holding my breath

  • Shadowy_lady

    I’m a 32GG uk size or 32J American size. Soooo friggin difficult to shop for because of the combo of small band and big cups. I have a beige bra by Panach that I love. I pretty much order all my bras online as there are hardly any stores that carry my size. Most companies that carry my size are based in the U.K.

  • JennyWren

    I’m currently both a weird size and poor, so I wear the one Fantasie smoothing balconette bra in nude until it gives and then order it’s replacement on Amazon Prime. It is a textbook definition of a boring sensible bra but it’s wonderfully comfortable and supportive.
    A while ago I took a chance on a couple of Dominique minimisers on the basis that two of them cost less than a single Fantasie. Never again.
    When I can afford multiple bras again I will definitely get a Freya Deco in black for looking hawwwwt. Bravissimo (UK specialist size retailer that just started shipping to the US) also does a lovely plunge style called the Satine that makes you look like an expensive business class escort.

    • Helen

      lol the satine! I love that bra, although your description is correct. It’s so popular that the colour and pattern range on it is pretty great, although their idea of a skin tone range leaves a lot to be desired.

  • This should read “The Perfect Bra to Wear Under a White T-shirt if You, Too, Are White”. Hi! Your brown readers are here, too! This wouldn’t work for me and this may be “nude” or “flesh-colored” for some, but not for all :-/

    • Camila Cozzi

      Try burgundy, Marsala… those wine-colored work on mostly every skin tone and for me look way better than those “nudes” 😉

      • Thanks for the tip!!!! Xx

      • Alexia

        I like the wine colored idea… I wear “nude” as I am white but sometimes want something a little different but still practical. Would wine colors work on people with lighter skin tones?

  • Lyndsay

    D+ rec – glossies in nude, although you have to be Northern European white for it to work.

  • hrv

    you guys are giving me life!! I am so glad so many of you have found your proper bra size and know these amazing brands. Panache is by far my favorite personally.

    You probably don’t know this BUT – red bras are invisible under white tops.

    YES it really is!! The whiter skin tone you are the brighter the red you can wear… the darker you are the darker the red you can wear. For example, I am olive skinned and the Panache Cari in cranberry has been completely invisible under my white tops. It can be your sexy little secret!

    read more about it here –

  • Maya

    Ummmm…. you mean for white people only?? Not all of your readers are white. Your only complaint is size diversity. Don’t care about color diversity?

  • Andrea M

    I know some of you have recommended Wacoal, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m wearing one of mine as I type this. I wear a 34D and Wacoal makes the most comfortable, pretty bras that I’ve found, with no padding whatsoever. Also, they last forever and they’re not too expensive. One of my favorites is this one:

  • I usually don’t match the bra with the tops I wear, but I like pale pink bras and Intimissimi makes some beautiful ones.

  • RCC

    I’m a 30F (probably a G in denial) and my favorite is by Simone Perele. They are beautiful, and their 3D cups are wonderful. Creates a nice shape without shoving them into a mold/rigid cup that’s not my shape. I wear the nude Amour under a white tshirt (and almost everything) all the time. It’s basically invisible… Looking to get a black convertible one soon. Favorite brand by far, and I own a few Panashe and Fantasie bras too.

  • I have been wanting this bra for over a year!!! I need to bite the bullet and just order this