Flashback! You are approximately twelve or thirteen years old and you finally get your first bra. It’s white, made of cotton fabric, with seams on the cups which are also pointy for good measure. Strikes a note? If it does, you would be surprised to know that cotton bras today have not particularly evolved from your teenage years.
The cotton bra is mostly wire-free, easy to wash and softer than other materials but does not provide optimal support for most breast sizes. Classic cotton bra cups are composed of several pieces and rely on seaming and wide straps to provide support. If you have a small bust, you may be able to get basic support from a cotton bra, but don’t expect it to uplift or give shape to your chest. Sometimes, traditional styling and visible seams can also lend a matronly silhouette to your cleavage. Cotton bras also tend to lose their shape after a few washes when the fabric stretches out. I’m sure that doesn’t paint a flattering picture! However, modern styles such as the wire-free T-shirt bra made in a cotton blend are a good choice for occasions like lounging or running errands for instance.
As a professional fitter and lingerie expert, I recommend buying and wearing bras made of synthetic material to most women. First, a quick 101 on synthetic fabrics. They are man-made textiles and include polyester, nylon, spandex, rayon and microfiber among others. Most modern bras are crafted from one or a blend of these fabrics. One of the key reasons I recommend synthetic bras is that they allow for whickering, or the process of sweat evaporation from your body (unlike cotton). A synthetic bra can also correctly hold the under-wire which, as you know is essential for supporting your breasts through the day.
A good synthetic bra will be durable, retain its shape, dry quickly and not chafe against your skin. For example, bras made of microfiber are lightweight, beautifully crafted, and feel great on your skin. I use micro as part of every Buttercups bra I offer, to ensure a soft yet supportive shape for your bust.
If you ask me about choice of fabric between cotton and synthetic, my professional opinion is always synthetic, with a couple of cotton ones thrown in for occasional wear. However, avoid being penny wise and pound foolish by investing in inferior quality synthetic bras. Instead, opt for a synthetic bra that compliments your size and shape and feels comfortable against your skin!