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Lined vs. Unlined Bras: What’s the Difference?

From push-up to plunge, multi-way to minimizer—and so much more—there are so many bra types that exist in the world. While it’s awesome to have a wide variety to choose from, it can be overwhelming to keep track of it all. Luckily you don’t have to. That’s where we come in, to give you the download on all things bras.

 Soma<sup class=st-superscript>®</sup> model lounging on couch, wearing light pink panties and matching lace bra.

We asked our Design Director for Soma® Foundations, Vanessa Collins, to help us explore a key factor that goes into every bra and that is whether it’s lined or not. Do you know the difference between unlined vs. lined bras

What are Unlined Bras?

You might be asking yourself: what is an unlined bra and is it right for me? That all depends on the shape and support you prefer. So does unlined mean no padding? Putting it simply—yes. 

Vanessa shares that “Unlined bras do not have padding and are usually made of a single or double layer of fabric, lace, or embroidery. Depending on the fabric or lace used, they can give you a natural or lifted shape. In addition, unlined bras can offer different levels of support depending on if they have an underwire or are wireless.”

They come in a wide variety of silhouettes. For example, you can find unlined bras in plunge, balconette, or your everyday T-shirt bra, just to name a few.

Soma<sup class=st-superscript>®</sup> laydown of unlined mesh bras in pink, dark pink, and black. Model wearing black unlined mesh bra.

What are the Benefits of Unlined Bras?

There’s lots to love about unlined bras, here are the major benefits:

  • Lightweight: Offers a next-to-nothing feel.

  • Breathable: Breezy option for warm temperatures.

  • Not Bulky: Ditch the extra fabric and padding under clothes.

  • Versatile: Comes in a wide range of styles.

What are Lined Bras?

When it comes to unlined vs lined bras, Vanessa shares that “lined bras have a padded cup which can vary in thickness or coverage. These can fit differently depending on the padding type and can give you a natural shape or can offer great lift.”

This padding can be a thin, foam lining or heavier padding or push-up. The level of lining depends on whether you choose lightly lined bras or traditionally lined bras.

What is a lightly lined bra, you ask? They’re usually made with an airy foam, also known as a spacer cup, that is lighter in weight and more breathable than regular padding. Lightly lined bras are designed to be smooth and seamless within the bra and are popular for those who enjoy unlined bras but want to level up on support and modesty.

Vanessa also adds that “lined bras offer more nipple concealment if that is your preference.”

Soma<sup class=st-superscript>®</sup> model wearing dark blue lace bra. Laydown of lace and mesh bras in nude, dark blue, dark pink, and light pink.

Traditionally lined bras feature thicker lining or padding and aim to provide additional coverage and shape. With multiple levels of lining, you can choose how much you’re looking for. Oftentimes, the padded cup is removable for a customized option.        

What are the Benefits of Lined Bras?

Lined bras might be your top pick based off of these awesome benefits:

  • Shape Enhancing: Extra lining can help contour your shape in a way you prefer.

  • Smoothing: An enhanced shape can provide a seamless look under clothes.

  • Coverage: Additional layer of fabric provides a more modest option.

  • Versatile: Comes in a wide range of styles as well as level of lining.

3 Styles of Unlined Bras

Laydown of hot pink lace unlined bra, black mesh and lace unlined bra, and dark pink mesh unlined bra.

There are endless styles of unlined bras including countless silhouettes. You’ve got plenty to choose from! Here are three of our top picks:

  • Unlined Lace Plunge Bra

Feel beautiful in everything you wear while embracing your natural shape with an unlined lace plunge bra.The plunge neckline is perfect for lower necklines and the lovely lace adds a delicate finish.

  • Mixed Media Bralette

With an unlined look and feel your love with the combination of sheer mesh and beautiful lace. It’s a flirty first layer that is meant to be shown off or simply enjoyed on a lazy day.

  • Unlined Bra with Underwire

Go for an unlined bra with underwire for added lift and support without padding. Stays sleek and seamless under clothes making it an excellent everyday bra option.

 3 Styles of Lined Bras

Laydown of dark pink lined bra, beige lined bra, and off-white lined bra.

Similar to unlined bras, lightly lined and lined bras come in all sorts of styles and designs. Here are just three of our faves:

  • Lightly Lined Perfect Coverage

Ultra-light spacer cups paired and breathable no-dig mesh paired with the coverage you want. It’s the best of both worlds!

  • Enbliss® Wireless Bra

Made with blissfully soft fabric and major support—no wires necessary. It’s so smooth your T-shirt will love it too.

  • Stunning Push-Up Bra

Cheers to the DD+ push-up bra featuring soft padding, contour cups, plush underwire, and straps that stay in place.

Are Lined or Unlined Bras Better?

Laydown of nude and hot pink lined and unlined bras.

When choosing between lined and unlined bras, Vanessa says that it’s “totally your preference. Both can offer great fit and support when wearing the correct size, and they come in a variety of neckline options depending on what you’re looking for in a bra.”

For example, she points out that “the biggest difference between lined and unlined bras is coverage. Lined bras typically offer more concealment in the cup and unlined bras are more natural in shape.”

Which Bra is Better for Everyday Use?

Curious if lined or unlined bras are better for every day? Vanessa highlights that “both are great for everyday wear— it's really up to you and what you like. It also depends on what you’re wearing it under.” 

She goes on to say that “sometimes women want a little more coverage when wearing body-conscious tops or sweaters and will opt for a lined T-shirt bra for a smooth look. Or in contrast, an unlined minimizer when wearing a button down blouse to prevent gapping at the front. Other times they might opt for an unlined lounge bra for more casual occasions. Both lined and unlined bras can have an important place in your bra wardrobe.”

Soma<sup class=st-superscript>®</sup> laydown of lined and unlined bras in dark pink, beige, light pink, and light purple.

Which Bra has Better Support?

Vanessa highlights the variety of supportive styles we carry at Soma®. She explains how we “have a great selection of lined and unlined bras designed to offer different solutions with support, lift and shape. Our in-store fit experts are trained to help our customers find bras that work for them across our lined and unlined collections.”

If you prefer unlined styles but want smooth cups Vanessa points out how our “Unbelievable Lift and Unlined Stretch Lace are great options. For a pretty lace neckline option try our All Day Lingerie lace collection. Our unlined collections consist of Unbelievable Lift, Unlined Lace, All Day Lingerie, Sensuous Lace® and Enbliss® with removable cups.”

On the flip side, she informs that our best lined collections include: 

Bodify and it's Flexicup construction

Vanishing® with it's no-show back

Embraceable®'s super-soft everyday fit, 

Enbliss® our #1 one bra with amazing wireless support

Lightly Lined with an incredibly light spacer cup 

Stunning with 3-zone support