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5 ways to identify high-quality bras on the spot

When it comes to bras, the cliché is more true than ever: Looks aren’t everything. No matter how cute a bra looks on you, it’s not worth the cost if you don’t love wearing it.

A high-quality bra can improve your posture, reduce pain in your back, neck, and shoulders, and be just as cozy to wear as your underwear. A bad bra, on the other hand, can do the opposite: make you physically uncomfortable and put you in a rotten mood.

So how can you spot the difference when you're shopping for intimates? Just follow these steps:

1. Give it a wing test

A quick way to check the quality of the fabric in a bra is to gently stretch the wings. (In case you’re a little rusty on your bra anatomy, the wings are the piece of fabric that runs from the fastening hook to the cup.)

If it feels flimsy and stretches out too easily, the bra won’t be able to hold up very long before its elastic becomes fatigued. You can also feel confident it won’t be very supportive before the fabric gives out. While you’re at it, check the straps. They should be able to pass the same stretch test as the wings.

2. Check the return policy

No matter how sure you feel about your size, every brand is different - and low-quality bras are more likely to have odd and inaccurate dimensions. And of course, even high-quality bras vary in sizing from brand to brand. That’s why you shouldn’t drop any money on a bra unless it comes with a hassle-free return policy. 

Ideally, a new bra should fit on the outermost hook. That way, as the bra ages, you can use the tighter hooks to still get the same support. Of course, you can’t try a bra before you buy if you’re shopping online. In those cases, check the size guide and measure yourself. 

3. Does it breathe?

If your boobs feel like they're suffocating in a plastic bag, then it doesn’t matter how much support you’re getting - the bra is no good. Excess sweat can lead to rashes and fungal skin infections. (Yeah, bad news.) So when you’re investigating a new bra, look for smart materials designed to wick moisture away from your skin while allowing air to move freely through the fabric.

On that note, you should be able to breathe when you wear it. If the only way the band can give you the lift you need is by squeezing you like a boa constrictor, you need to buy from a different brand. 

4. Check the wire

An underwire helps shift the weight of your breasts forward for more support and to help you flaunt your natural curves. It’s also great at preventing the dreaded uni-boob. Unfortunately, cheap box store bras use a “one-wire-fits-all” approach. 

A high-quality bra brand will use different sizes and shapes of underwire for different bra types. When you try it on, the wire should start at your underarm and continue all the way to the cleavage.

But what about an underwire without the metal wire? Tommy John’s Lightly Lined Demi Bra features Embedded Flexible Support to create a versatile fabric wire that goes where you go - and it will never pinch or dig. 

5. Consider your wardrobe

High-quality bras come in very specific styles and flavors. If you love to rock T-shirts, you need a seamless bra, and you probably want padding. If you prefer plunging necklines, choose a demi bra with a slimmer band that won’t show up if you lean forward. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice support for discretion. When you’re out trying on bras, make sure the bra is specialized for whatever occasion you’re shopping for. And again, if you’re shopping online, look at the measurements and don’t forget to read the reviews. 

It’s best to stock up on a variety of bras that work for different occasions, but you also need to have enough weekday bras to give them a day of rest in between wears. Otherwise, a bra will lose its elasticity and give out well before its time, no matter how high quality it is. 

The bottom line

Bra shopping should be simple. And with Tommy John, it is. Our premium materials and innovative designs create truly dreamy bras like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Every garment we make is carefully crafted to be air-light and silky soft. Frankly, we’ll be shocked if your new Tommy John bra doesn’t become your favorite overnight.

Think we’re full of it? We’re willing to take that bet. If you’re not in love with your new bra, we’ll foot the bill. That’s our “best you’ll ever wear, or it’s free” policy. Shop Tommy John’s bra collection today and find out what you’ve been missing.