I get asked all the time: How much should I spend on bras? What is a normal price of a bra? Why do bras cost so much? Where can I find bras on sale? I hear you. I hear you! Bras can be expensive and a big investment. I happen to believe you are worth that investment in support. And, I understand that everyone has a different budget. So to help you I’m answering the questions above and I’ve provided some examples of bras in a varying range of prices, starting at just $5. Yep. Let’s see if they measure up!

As an Undergarment Educator, it’s my job (and honor, truly) to help you know your options so that you can make a loving and informed choice about how to support, understand, and love your body and yourself. Hurray! The tips here is just the start. For more information and a round up of my most popular and supportive resources, visit my Underneath Resources page.

psst! A hurray head’s up that some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links or a paid brand partner. As allllways I only share brands and products for whom I truly say hurray. Try them for yourself and let me know what you think!

How much does a decent bra cost? How much should I spend on bras?

When I help clients shop for well fitting bras, I typically suggest they budget about $55-$85 per bra. That middle range in price is my rule of thumb for a bra that is of reasonable quality, construction, and uses sound bra fitting innovation and knowledge. That being said, there are plenty of bras above and below that price range that may serve just as well – if not better – for that person’s needs and style requests.

In general, I find that having 5-7 great bras in your wardrobe is the basic starting place. And if you’re spending $65 per bra, that can add up! So I find that most people spend the extra money on the bras that they will wear the most or that provide the shape and support they will reach for most often. Typically for my USA clients that means smooth t-shirt bras in neutral colors. Then they spend less on fashion bras or fun colors, and wire-free bras for travel and sleep. Bralettes are an easy place to spend less. I don’t suggest skimping on a good strapless bra or sports bra if you really want it to do its job. However if you’re looking for light support for low impact activities or very casual outfits, you may find that you can spend less on less structured styles here, too.

What is the difference between a cheap bra and an expensive bra?

“Cheap” and “Expensive” are relative, so I’ve broken down the pricing of bras into four general price ranges below. There’s a great deal of variation between brands and styles, so the differences are really general and a rule of thumb. You get to decide what feels “good” and what “quality” means to you.

  • Low Budget $5 to $45
  • Moderate Budget $45 to $80
  • High End $80 to $120
  • Luxury $120 +

In general, bras that are on the lower side of the budget use less material, hardware, and sewing steps. That means bralettes, for example, are easier to create and require less investment from the brand, so they can pass along the savings to you. It’s also why bras in larger sizes can sometimes cost more. You’ll also find that brands with no frills, less adornments, lower quality or less sophisticated materials, and that leave off refined finishing touches will cost less. Bras that are in the high end of the budget spectrum tend to focus on sophisticated materials, superior design, bra sizing vs. small/medium/large, and attention to detail and fashion forward style. There is some truth to more expensive bras being more supportive, and mostly that is due to the brand’s investment in higher quality (less stretchy) materials, more parts or sewing, and dedication to fit and service.

You may also want to consider that where a bra is designed, manufactured, and sold will affect the price. Bras made in the USA or France, for example, tend to have a higher price point than those in China, Malasia, or India. Part of this may include labor practices and what the bra maker is earning to create the garment. Another reason may be the availability of machinery and funds, which would affect the ability to create a mass amount of products or not. Brands that can create 500 products vs. 500,000 products will have to pay more per unit, and thus your bra will cost more. And of course, bras that are made one at a time or include hand crafted elements cost more because of the labor intensiveness included in the process.

In addition, some brands (just like fashion companies) can charge more based on their reputation and popularity. Luxury brands, for example, may include high end materials and extreme care for details which will add up to a higher price point, but what you’re really paying for is the luxury of wearing the brand name.

And finally, bras cost a lot because they are complicated to create! There is a lot of science and technical design that goes into creating a supportive and good looking bra. And depending on its craftsmanship, it may contain 100+ parts and pieces! Creating the pattern, mocking up a sample, grading it to different sizes, fitting it on real human bodies, sewing the final pieces, and then bringing it to life on a large scale with a manufacturer is hard work! And if you’re looking for real support and not just a stretchy, over the head, no hardware, low support bra. . . your bra has a BIG job to do. Crafting something that is a combination of comfortable, stylish, supportive, and clothing appropriate is a tall order. And of course, I believe that bras support one of the most sacred parts of your body and are right over your heart, so the extra care, attention, and investment radiates throughout your whole being when you start here. Hurray!

When should I spend less on bras?

In general, I believe that great quality bras are a sound investment, and being able to put on something that makes you say hurray is worth your hard earned cash. However, there are times when it will serve you more to spend more, and some times when it’s not as necessary. In general, I don’t suggest skimping on support or quality. But alas, here is a list if you must budget less per bra:

  • Rapid weight gain or loss. Because your bra size will be changing a lot, you may not get as much use out of your bras before needing a new size.
  • Maternity bras. Speaking of changing sizes, maternity bras during pregnancy could be a great place to save. The first trimester shows the greatest shift in size, but the fluctuations and bra size adjustments are hard to predict. However, breasts are heavier and sorer than ever during this time, so finding a good mix of comfort, support, and budget is key.
  • Sleep/Travel bras. If you are someone who likes to wear a bra to sleep, make sure it’s wire-free, stretchy, and not too snug. Because this isn’t a support bra and most likely doesn’t have hardware or need to be fashionable, it’s a great place to spend less.
  • Bralettes. Bralettes are made with less material and hardware, and naturally cost less. While there are plenty of supportive, bra sized bralettes now, the more simple styles are available at a very low cost from fast fashion stores.
  • Fashion bras. Your basic, go-to styles have a big job to do on a regular basis. Your special occasion, hardly worn, or only worn with a certain outfit bras get less use. Cut down on the price per use by spending less on these styles.

Where can I find bras on sale?

Ask Your Fitter: In small boutiques there is often a sale section of what I’m going to call “random bras”. These are leftovers from seasons ago or a size that just didn’t find a home. Because space is tight the store owner may have taken it off the rack or out of its regular section and placed it in a sale section. Ask your fitter or the store associate to show you the sale section or bring you discounted bras in your size(s) from the back. If you’re worried about being judged for shopping on sale, just be up front about your budget and thank them for their help.

Fashion Colors: If you have a favorite, basic bra that the company makes every season try finding a fun fashion color on sale! Most fashionable companies will make a tried and true favorite in a fashion color just for a season. As the season ends, if it hasn’t sold the retailer will mark it on sale. Same awesome fit and support, new fun color. In addition to saving money, you’ll also fill your bra drawer with new colors and prints. Hurray!

Email Coupons and Storewide Sales: Big online and brick and mortar lingerie retailers follow the sale trends just like fashion sites, so sign up for emails to get the scoop on Labor Day sales and Black Friday Deals on bras and undergarments. You can also often get a discount on your first purchase with a store by joining their newsletter list. Also, in Paris stores generally have two big sale (Soldes!) times a year in July and January. Holding off on buying your bras until then (and what better place to buy lingerie and undergarments than Paris?) can score you a big discount.

Hurray Treats: I created a Treats page on this very site to round up a few discounts and deals (and even freebies) that you can cash in on and treat yo’self. Of course, there are plenty of bra and undergarment deals and I’ll have new offers on different brands and products all the time. So check back often and sign up for my emails do you don’t miss a thing. Hurray!

Discount Stores and Sample Sales: Discount retailers like Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx carry a small selection of bras and undergarments. In general, the sizes vary widely from store to store and can be hit or miss. And it’s hard to gage what quality of brands will be available. Outlets can be a similar story. The same can be said for sample sales where finding bras in your size can be tricky. And in all cases, it’s rare to get knowledgable bra fitting help.

Bras for {Almost} Every Budget

While shopping for bras on sale may seem like a great way to save money, you may be able to find good bras in your size and budget without the need for a discount. Below I’m sharing a few examples of bras in several budget ranges, including very inexpensive bras to high end. Keep the tips in mind about quality, manufacturing, sizing, and more from above when looking at these options. I’ll say that the bras in my sweet spot for good quality and a great price are in the “Moderate Budget Bras” range, so I have included several options there. And I want you to have options in case you want to invest more or less – emphasis on a request for “less” so I’ve included several there as well. And just a sprinkling of high end and luxury styles to try. See what works for you and helps YOU say hurray!

Low Budget Bras $5 – $45

Miel: Around $40. This yummy bra brand makes stretchy bralettes and cozy, wire-free bras that stretch and move with you. Bralettes usually cost less because they are made with less hardware, stitching, and flair. However, if you’re going to go with a stretchy bra, I suggest trying some that have an adjustable band and straps, like the Nana Bra from Miel. This style is also convertible, which is a cool bonus. I also like their Racerback Bra because even though it slips over the head, it still has adjustable straps. These have been a great go-to for me for casual days, light athletic activities, and traveling. PS: they use antimicrobial material (for real) and they’re owned by two sisters who are the sweetest! You can find Miel in some boutiques, Amazon, and their online store. (And I’m a big fan of their underwear, too, FYI.)

SheIn: Starting at $5. This fast fashion company has zillions of clothing, home, and (you guessed it) lingerie options. You can expect trendy bralettes and novelty stick-on bras. Don’t expect super high quality or bra fitter approved support. But if you’re looking for fun styles and lace bralettes to layer over your bra, they have many options. Often their sizes run Small to Large, or are one size and most certainly gear toward the petite consumer. I have yet to try these and suspect they’ll be too petite for my bust, but at $5 and up, they are an easy way to test out fun fashions.

DreamFit: Around $12. This low cost bra brand can be found at Walmart, and the average cost of each bra is just $11.44. That’s right! They make fuller figure bras (starting at a 38 band and going up to 46). Though the quality or materials may be less superior to others, I spoke with the team behind it and they have some great designers on staff. I tried it on some women myself, and was impressed with their designs, too! For a $12 bra, they’re pretty great. I recently shared this bra brand on the Today Show and a (lovely) colleague emailed me asking why I’d featured such a low price brand instead of a higher quality brand she sells in her boutique. While I adore boutique brands, I also know that the Today Show airs to many people who do not have a boutique in their area, or who don’t have the budget to invest in higher quality bras. DreamFit is a great solution for the fuller figure woman whose most accessible store is a chain store, and who may be revamping her bra wardrobe on limited income. For that, I say hurray!

Mae: Around $16-$24. Full disclosure, I have yet to try these bras. However, Amazon has made a big stir by creating their own line of bralettes, loungewear, and underwear. I’m very curious to see how these stack up to similar styles. But it’s important to note that the bralette styles they offer cost less for the reasons mentioned above: less parts, smaller size range, less material, and overseas production. If you have feedback on these, I’d love to hear it! It’s my impression that bras like this are for light support, and fashion over function, and most of their styles claim to fit A-C cups. Again, I haven’t tested these out personally, but their Eyelash Lace Bralette looks promising in its fun colors. This Microfiber Longline Bralette looks could look like a pretty camisole peeking out of a low cut top. (Have you tried any? Let me know how it goes!)

Warner’s: Around $40. These simple bras are great staples in mainstream sizing (meaning they fit mostly B-DD cup sizes and 34-40 bands). Their sister brand, Olga, creates similar styles in a fuller band size range. I’ve worked with Warner’s many times, including in their two national TV commercials! And I’m always blown away by how soft and comfortable their bras are (like their Cloud 9 collection) and innovative – with cool styles (like their No Side Effects collection which has a special piece of material that smooths out underarm bulge, or the Play it Cool collection that wicks away moisture). They are a no frills company with smooth cups and great everyday bras with smart features like front adjusting straps, and just a few polka dots or a fun spot of lace here and there. You can find these brands at department stores like Kohl’s, Macy’s, Belk, and online at Amazon.

Calvin Klein: Around $28-$46. This well-known underwear brand has some great basics and a few fashion forward pieces. They are most popular for their smooth, t-shirt style bras {and seamless underwear}. You can shop for them in person at stores like Macy’s, online, and on Amazon.

Elila: Around $38-$45. This full figured brand has an amazing size range (up to N cup and 54 band in some styles), a steady stream of great basic bras (in neutral and fun colors) and a mix of wire-free and underwire styles. I know this team well, and they are really committed to offering great styles at fair prices on a regular basis. You may not find fashion colors on sale a lot, but their lower prices and amazing construction and support make them well worth the extra bucks. These bras are no joke, and their team knows what’s up! Elila is carried at several boutiques, big online retailers, and Amazon. Their Jacquard Wire Free bra is a classic that I’ve fit on many customers up to N cup. Their Longline Strapless Bra is a godsend for full figured and full bust brides! And their Full Coverage Stretch Lace bra is so pretty with its matching Cheeky Panty.

Moderate Budget Bras $45-$80

Le Mystere: Around $60-$80. It sounds French and fancy, but this USA brand is one of my favorites for basic bras with a nice twist. They were the brand that made that SUPER popular Tisha bra back when Oprah taught people the importance of a well fitting bra in the early 2000’s, and they make some great go-to’s today. Sturdy and supportive, comfortable and crisp. You can find them in a combination of department stores like Saks and Bloomindale’s, on their own website, in boutiques, and on Amazon. I’ve shared a few of my favorite styles on The Rachael Ray show in the past, and I also love the Safari Smoother bra which is SUPER comfortable and smooth without molding/padding. The Comfort Chic bra I’m wearing in the image from Hawaii above is a fav for comfort. Their Infinite Possibilities Bra is SUPER plunging, with mega push-up, and convertible straps. I have found great success with many clients with their Transformative Tisha (not the same as the old Oprah style mentioned above) because of its full, smooth, molded cups and straps that are more narrow set.

Dominique: Around $34-$79 with most at $50ish. This brand creates simple, sleek styles that work great as everyday, no frills options. They nail it when it comes to basic t-shirt bras and minimizers. Their styles are simple, so there are not a lot of fashion elements or high end design, but their structure and sizing is solid. I find them to fit snug in the band and their non-molded styles to fit full in the cup. I recently featured the Anais style on The Rachael Ray Show, and everyone (including Rachael) went gaga for the sleek stretch cups, convertible comfort straps, and the super soft inside. It’s like wearing your favorite t-shirt against your skin! They also create some cute bridal longline bras in a really impressive size range. You can find Dominique bras at shops like JC Penny, online at large retailers like Macy’s and Bare Necessities, and Amazon.

Anita: About $50-$75. This German brand has been making bras for over 100 years! They are well made, built to support, and high quality. They also make a VERY vast range of sizes and styles, serving several different needs like nursing, mastectomy, sports bras (like the one I’m wearing here in Mexico), and everyday. I highly recommend their products and often wear them myself. Anita is available in boutiques and highly recommends working with a bra fitter. And in the USA you can also shop their online site, or on Amazon.

Wacoal: About $50-$70. This popular brand can be found at boutiques, many department stores (from Macy’s to Bloomingdale’s), and online at Amazon. They have an extensive size range (from petites to fuller figures and full bust) with AA to H cup sizes, and 30 to 44 bands (at least) and an amazing assortment of products. They carry push push up bras, minimizers, lace bras, smooth cup bras, and are a great go-to for practical everyday bras. Fit tip: They use pretty firm materials for most of their styles and can fit snug. So if your bra size starting points are in between band sizes, start with the larger band size. If they ever stop making their Awareness Bra (whose style number I have memorized by heart) there will be a LOT of unhappy ladies. It’s a classic! Also their Red Carpet Strapless is super sturdy and fits up to a G cup size.

Parfait: About $45-55. The Romina bra I’m wearing in the title image of this very post is from Parfait! This brand has a VERY wide size range and creates several basic styles and loads of fashion colors each season. They are very structured and firm, so sizing up in the band is a good idea. They create a mixture of cut-and-sew bras, and molded or padded styles. I am in love with the Adriana bralette which is adjustable, and supportive for D-G cup sizes (using UK sizing). And I’ve sold thousands of the Charlotte bra to clients and adore its retro style and super support. Parfait does not sell directly to consumers so look for them at boutiques, online bra retailers like Bare Necessities, and Amazon.

Panache: About $65-$70 Specifically designed for D-K cp sizes and starting at a 28 band, this UK brand creates full bust bra favorites at a reasonable price. I say reasonable because creating supportive bras for full busts costs a lot! There is more material and design expertise involved. Their Tango style is a popular go-to and I adore their Andorra lace bra for my full bust clients. And many women swear by their full support sports bra. Panache is mostly in boutiques in the US, or online lingerie retail e-commerce sites, and a few styles are on Amazon.

Montelle: About $48-62. This Canadian company has a great selection of basic and fashion bras in a variety of sizes. I suggest their bra sized bralette (in love with this bra) and wire-free t-shirt bra for everyday use. They’re so comfortable and both are convertible! But for fun, try their keyhole demi bra (seen above) and just try not to fall in love. They’re sold online, in boutiques, and Amazon.

High End Bras $80 – $120

Simone Perele: About $79-$110. One of my all-time favorite brands, this French company makes “everyday chic” styles that combine style and wearability. They are best known for lace and embroidery fashion styles, and 3D spacer molding t-shirt bras with decorative elements. I adore the Amour t-shirt bra, and have sold a gazillion of the popular Andora styles in my bra fitting days. And who could resist the Saga set I’m wearing above in Paris? This is a “softer” brand that fits well but uses slightly stretchier or delicate materials than a work-horse-super-duper-strong-firm-material brand. You can find them at high end department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue in the States, boutiques, their own shopping site, as well as Amazon.

Marie Jo: Around $106-$128. This brand’s best sellers are the Tom and Avero styles which both feature decorative, convertible straps and smooth cups. Winners, for sure, and at $100+ it’s an investment. You can find these bras at higher end bra boutiques, online retailers, and Amazon.

Luxury Bras $120 and up

Empreinte: About $140-$200. This French brand is known for full bust support and luxury level style. The Melody is a great one to start with because of its support and sheer, smooth lace. And similar to most Empreinte bras it features a more narrow underwire that projects the breast forward for a more narrow silhouette. In the USA this brand is mostly carried in high end boutiques or lingerie specific online retailers and you can snag a few styles on Amazon.

Prima Donna: Around $105 to $170. This luxury brand is well known for support, trustworthy design, and high quality materials. Their Madison Full Cup Bra is a reliable go-to for bra fitters like myself. Personally I like their Divine strapless for the creative, supportive use of elastic in the band. This brand combines European style and super support for that extra luxurious touch. Mostly this brand is found at high end boutiques, but you can also shop on Amazon and online.

La Perla: From $125-$600. At this luxury Italian lingerie brand, $125 gets you a simple lace bralette, and $130 for a t-shirt bra. Most fashion bras are in the $200 range with several really special items in the $300-$400 range and a cherry-on-top selection of $600+ bras. La Perla has their own boutiques and is carried online and in-store at high end department stores, and boutiques. I used to work for La Perla yeeeears ago and can attest to their extremely high quality designs and hand-cut leavers lace in the early 2000’s. In most cases, their bras are more fashion over function and there is not a large size range. And this is an example of paying a premium for the brand name.

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Your Turn: What is your bra budget? How much do you usually spend per bra? Is what you budget per bra due for an update? When do you spend less, and when do you invest more? Share with me here or ask me your questions!

PS: The images in this blog post were all taken while on a #HurrayVacay trip to various (amazing) locations. There is NO airbrushing of my perfectly imperfect body. And all images were taken by Becky Yee except for the last one in Paris, which was taken by Laura Boyd of Own Your Sexy.

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