As frilly and fun as every lingerie store appears, bra shopping is rarely something women look forward to. For me, it's a crapshoot every time. I pretty much start from scratch with dimensions and cup size, partially because when I find one that actually fits, I wear it so long that the sizing is too faded to read. Certain straps or angles or seams that were initially fine can become unbearably uncomfortable after a few hours.

At least the nip-friendly environment of late has brought about a comfortable tsunami of athleisure-bralette-unpadded options. But depending on the setting and the shirt, I like to have a basic t-shirt bra on hand. It's just so infrequent that I own one that fits. After trying a bra from ThirdLove, I learned I've been wearing the wrong size. We all are.

The 24/7 Classic T-shirt Bra in ‘Naked 4.’ (ThirdLove)
The 24/7 Classic T-shirt Bra in ‘Naked 4.’ (ThirdLove)

ThirdLove's entire approach is based on responding to how innately uncomfortable a bra is. On their website, there is a quiz about what kind of support you want, what sizes in what brands you wear, and where those bras don't fit. Is their spillage over the top of the cups? Do the straps dig in? Are the cups gaping? Then you're recommended a fit from their collection of half-sizes and uniquely-shaped cups.

Based on my go-to's, I'm somewhere between a 34A, 34B, and 32B. ThirdLove recommended me a 32B½. I was sufficiently curious but still on the fence of buying an intimate garment sight unseen, and then I came upon their Try Before Buying system.

For $2.99 to cover shipping, you can try out their classic t-shirt bra, remove tags, wash it and wear it all the time. If you don't fall in love with it, decide it's not worth the full $68, just return it within thirty days of your purchase and you won't be charged. They wash and donate the bras to women in need, which made me feel better about how sure I was the bra wouldn't fit, so I took the B½ sized plunge and tried one out.

The accordion-style straps have a little more give, so you don’t get those 5 o’clock red marks on your shoulders. (ThirdLove)
The accordion-style straps have a little more give, so you don’t get those 5 o’clock red marks on your shoulders. (ThirdLove)

At first, I was sure it was too tight. Then I read the tag, which noted that one should buy bras based on it fitting onto the loosest clasp. That way you can tighten up as the bra eventually stretches out of shape. Even at the loosest clasp though, it felt too snug. I saw a few red marks where the band was especially tight after wearing it. But after 4-5 days wearing it all day, the marks went away and the bra started to feel comfortable.

The reality is, bras are built in a way that will stretch out over time. Every time we take them off after a long day, they're a little bit more out of shape. ThirdLove bras are built smarter, with a design that spreads out that tension in a way that won't stretch the bra out as quickly. The cup looks like a dainty demi-cup but somehow looks smoother under a tight shirt then my others, without the usual armpit cleavage at certain angles. After a couple weeks, it fits perfectly and I don't feel like I'm wearing a structured bra when it's on. I like it so much that I'm keeping it. I paid around the same for the last Victoria Secret piece that stretched out of shape in a matter of months anyway, without having to go through the unorganized chaos of cheaply-made messes of string and giggling teens that is any given moment in VS.

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