Beating the Heat: All-or-Mostly Cotton Bras

I got a request from a dear friend for an all-or-mostly-cotton shopping guide, and seriously, could the timing be any better?  In four days New York has gone from 65 degrees to 95, and the city is just one giant concrete-and-skyscraper heat-trapping hell-hole.  Sometimes.  Not always.  But I am not alone in wishing that more subway-riders took up deodorant.

SORRY.  Where was I?  Cotton.  Cool, lovely, breathable cotton, the fabric of our lives, but not, so often, of our bras.  Particularly once you break out of the standard sixteen sizes (32-38 A-D), unlined mostly-cotton bras are few and far between.  Cotton doesn’t always give the same supportive-yet-stretchy fit synthetics do, it can be trickier to fit perfectly, and then to top it off cotton prices have risen dramatically in the last few years.  We just don’t have as many options.  Bravissimo used to stock a bra that was a beautiful cotton eyelet, but the brand (Faubourg) seems to have stalled, and I’ve only seen swimsuits from them this year.  There are a few sizes of the cotton bra left in the sale section.

Calvin Klein and some other department store staples seems to stock a regular supply of cotton bras, but they also tend to be padded or molded, thus defeating the heat-relief-seeking purpose.  Otherwise, cotton and natural fibers show up primarily in maternity wear, wire-free bras, and bralettes.  Bralettes are awesome (see Sandmaiden Sleepwear on Etsy for more pretty, natural-fiber choices), but finding full-bust and full-figure options that are also cute or stylish can be a challenge.

Huit is Biotiful Organic Cotton Bra

My favorite first.  This is a lovely, simple, stylish bra from Huit, a brand I’ve mentioned before.  The cotton is organic and eco-friendly, and it looks breezy, supportive, and comfortable.  Available in sizes 30-36 A-DD, and in a wire-free style in sizes 30-36 A-C.

Bestform “Sophia” Bra

This is a nice option that sadly appears to have been discontinued, as it’s on sale at Figleaves, and I haven’t found it anywhere else (the brand is in the midst of transition, so it may show up as either Bestform or Vanity Fair if you search for it).  Unlined cotton with decorative mesh along the top of the cups, available in white or mocha in sizes 32-42 C-H (UK cup sizes, some out of stock).

Corset de Coton 3-part bra by Lejaby

Lejaby is a French brand that I’m not familiar with, fit-wise, but their cotton range is lovely, if a little basic/unexciting.  Their cup sizes seem to run A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, G, so if you do order, make sure the store has a good return policy (I’m finding more links to UK sites than to US) unless you’re absolutely sure of your size.  While they offer some foam/padded cotton options, I’d look for the three-part unlined style above (30 DD-G, 32 D-G, 34-38 B-G, 40 B-F, 42 D-E) or for a smaller-bust style like this one, on sale at Figleaves.

Cool Cotton Bra by Claudette

I am DYING to try some Claudette bras, but I haven’t found any local shop carrying them in my size (yet), and I haven’t been able to commit to an online order.  Claudette is a relatively new brand that makes beautiful, beautiful bras in sizes 30-38 A-G (UK cup sizes, woohoo!), including this lovely, unlined cotton underwire bra, which comes in black, white, and mauve.  They also make painfully awesome neon sheer mesh bras, and they plan to expand up to K cups by 2013.  Yes, please.

Once we move away from these prettier, more delicate bras, the search actually yields more results.  They’re not the loveliest things in the world, but when it’s a million degrees outside and you’re just trying to cool off, a low-key or even wire-free style is going to feel a lot better than lace and frills.  Many of these styles are constructed based on more old-fashioned patterns, so the shape of your bust may look different in these bras than you’re used to, but at least you’ll be cool.  Temperature-wise.

Amoena Ruth soft-cup bra

Available in white and beige in sizes 32-46 AA-DDD.  This is an all-cotton, latex-free, wire-free bra that also features pockets in the cups for the insertion of a prosthesis or padding to correct breast asymmetry.

Hanro Cotton Sensation Soft-Cup Bra

A wire-free cotton-blend seamless bra available in white or beige in sizes 32-38 A-C.

Leading Lady Sleep Leisure Bra

Many full-figure or full-bust women find it more comfortable to sleep in wire-free bras.  This is a pretty cute option for full-figure customers, and wonder-of-wonders, comes in a pattern (the polka dots always get me), in addition to black, ecru, heather grey, pink, and white.  Available in sizes 36-52 A-B, C-DD, F-H (US cup sizes).

Bestform Contemporary Cotton Comfort Soft Cup Bra

Available in black and white in sizes 34-46 A-DD.

You’ll notice that there’s a customer base I haven’t offered a suggestion for: the small band/full bust market.  If you wear under a 30 band and/or over a UK G cup, it’s much harder to find an all-or-mostly cotton solution.  If anyone has any helpful tips, I’d love to hear them!

Also, you might be wondering: whither the knickers?  My immediate answer is that most of the shopping links also include matching accessories.  A more helpful, reassuring answer is that a panties, briefs, thongs, knickers, and shorts post is in the works and on its way soon!

15 Comments on Beating the Heat: All-or-Mostly Cotton Bras

  1. Sarah KG
    June 20, 2012 at 9:26 am (11 years ago)

    Yay! Thanks!

  2. Dando La Talla
    June 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm (11 years ago)

    I’ve just found you googling for more bra bloggers and our blogs look like sisters! Good taste choosing your layout 😀

    • Sweets
      June 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm (11 years ago)

      Haha! So true. Great minds must think alike 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Laurie
    June 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm (11 years ago)

    You are so thorough…you really know your lingerie!!!

  4. lauriedancer
    June 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm (11 years ago)

    You’re so thorough, you really do your homework and you know your lingerie!!

    • Sweets
      June 22, 2012 at 10:58 pm (11 years ago)

      Thanks Laurie! I’m learning as I go, so if you ever have a question, we’ll find the answer together!

  5. Maria (BearMountainBooks)
    March 20, 2013 at 11:59 am (10 years ago)

    Some of those are danged expensive–and you can have a custom made cotton bra done at decentexposures for about 50 or under (depending on size and lining and closure.) The thing about most of the cotton bras is the straps are elastic and if you want wide straps…you’re back to the drawing board. I could do without exposed elastic and I wish the leading lady one was 100 percent and lined cotton. It’s one of the more reasonably priced bras, but when you live in a humid and hot climate, you don’t want elastic and you don’t want spandex.

    Good article though. Hopefully someday there will be more options.

  6. Tiffany
    November 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm (9 years ago)

    Can you suggest any companies that sell bras for 30 DD with no underwire? I am having no luck finding any I am very full in the cup yet was told by my dr that the wires are causing my chostocondritis.

    • Sweets
      November 21, 2013 at 7:56 am (9 years ago)

      Hi Tiffany! Great question, and the short answer is yes! there are definitely good options in 30DD. My recommendation, strange as it may sound, is to look for nursing bras! Many maternity lingerie companies make both true nursing bras, with a drop-down cup, as well as “maternity soft cup” bras or similar, which tend to be made of soft, comfy fabrics with no wire. Do you specifically need cotton? I’m having a little trouble with cotton ones (although this excellent cotton style from Royce is currently on eBay in your size!, but Freya makes some good ones (check out “Rosie” and the “Deco” soft cup (NOT the underwired plunge)), Panache has their pretty “Sophie” style, and a brand called Royce has many styles available at many lingerie e-retailers including Figleaves. Is this helpful? Please let me know if you’d like any additional suggestions, and I’ll keep looking!

    • Sweets
      November 21, 2013 at 10:42 am (9 years ago)

      And one more suggestion (I knew I’d forget one!): Etsy seller Ohhh Lulu makes beautiful, excellent bras and non-wired bras and bralettes, and she can make your size. If you like the look of them, I definitely suggest reaching out to her directly and explaining your needs– she uses very pretty organic and natural fibers, and can custom-make you something that should support your bust and feel wonderful.

  7. christine
    April 21, 2015 at 4:14 am (8 years ago)

    hi there, these are all great suggestions and i think such fair reviews too. try cottonique bras too. sizes are from 34B to 42DD.
    They are all latex free and spandex free.

    I simply love their products cause it has better fit than any other 100% cotton bras i’ve tried.

  8. Elizabeth Urias
    July 20, 2015 at 12:06 pm (8 years ago)

    Please introduce your bras with a couple of regular gals rather than the normal supermodel types. I am looking for a bra that I will look good in and am not super model material–can’t spend that much time on myself, but really need a comfortable and sustainable bra choice since the only one I’ve been able to find that was a right fit was Victorias Secret cotton bras. But because of their issues with sweatshop labor I have to turn a different direction. I really need to see what this would look like on a bit of a more full busted woman since I am a 34 DD.

    • Sweets
      July 20, 2015 at 12:21 pm (8 years ago)

      Hi Elizabeth, thank you for your comment. I think there’s been some confusion though: I don’t make bras. Sweet Nothings is my blog, where I write about lingerie, bra fitting, baking, body image, and other related issues. I do not own a brand, I do not make bras, and I do not sell them for other people. I’m sorry I can’t help in this regard. I’ve written extensively about bra fitting for women of all shapes and sizes (see the posts here), so if you’re uncomfortable in your current bras, I strongly encourage you to explore the site and see if any of my past articles help you figure out how to find what you’re looking for.

  9. Jessica
    April 2, 2016 at 12:57 pm (7 years ago)

    this article was super helpful! Thank you 🙂

  10. Mrs S Carter
    September 14, 2016 at 11:13 am (6 years ago)

    I am desperate to find a cotton bras size 38j can you suggest any make or style nylon bras are causing me a problem with my skin I await your reply Susan Carter


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