Choosing the right bra for different holiday party outfits

I have written before about thinking through the practicalities of bras (like here in my post about wearing sports bras as tank tops, and here in my post here reviewing a fancy floral maxidress and detailing what bra to wear with it). Even though I’m on the smaller cup size, I am firmly in the camp of always wearing a bra. It’s just uncomfortable not to, at least in my experience. And I don’t understand women’s clothing that is seemingly designed without that consideration in mind, i.e. what kind of bra to wear with it.

I am a very practical person, and this extends to underwear! When we go shopping, and I see something I like, three main questions pop into my head:  (1) How much does it cost?, (2) Can I think of at least three outfits with this item?, and (3) What kind of bra can I wear with it?

ThirdLove logo

Therefore, when ThirdLove — a company founded by women who make bras for women, focusing on affordability, fit, shape, and comfort for real women — inspired me to talk about finding the perfect bra, I was intrigued. They have a very diverse range of shapes in their bra Fit Finder, and they have a “Try Before You Buy” program. Also, when I read their mission statement, I literally cheered:

Our mission is to empower all women to feel comfortable and confident every day, which is why we’ve donated over $1 million worth of bras to women in need across the country since we began in 2013.

For us, it’s not just about the bra — it’s about how you feel in it.

Please note that although this post idea was in collaboration with ThirdLove, I personally received no products or compensation in exchange for my opinions. Instead, the gift is for y’all, dear readers, with an exclusive promo code for 15% off all ThirdLove orders:


I had the idea of going back through my own holiday party outfits and what kind of bra was best for those different holiday looks. So I put together collages for three of my various holiday party outfits, going in chronological order by oldest to most recent. Enjoy!

Fancy dress for a cocktail party + convertible strapless bra

For a fancy cocktail party for New Year’s Eve in 2012, I wore a purple eShakti dress with a 1950s-style sweetheart neckline, with the straps set far apart. I layered the dress under a sparkly cardigan.

The neckline is a bit tricky on this dress, and there is a lot of fabric with the criss-crossing design. So you need either a padded bra with thin, wide-set straps, or a padded strapless bra that will stay put. The padding is important, at least for us smaller-chested ladies, to help fill out all that extra fabric on that kind of bodice. I ended up wearing a padded strapless bra with this dress. The ThirdLove convertible strapless bra sounds perfect for this kind of outfit, as the bra has removable and adjustable convertible straps that are clear. Plus, it has padded underwire cups with a silicone stay-put grip lining if you need to take off the straps.

Librarian for Life + Style | Collage for what bra to wear with a fancy cocktail party dress

Sequined tank for an informal holiday party + t-shirt bra

For an informal holiday party back in 2014, I wore a silver sequined tank top and red ankle pants. This was a super comfortable yet sparkly holiday combo!

Because the sequined top is pretty thin (and delicate), I wore a t-shirt kind of bra, to stay smooth and sturdy under it. For this kind of top, the ThirdLove 24/7 underwire t-shirt bra would be a great choice for a smooth finish.

Librarian for Life + Style | Collage for what bra to wear with a sequined tank top for an informal holiday party

Ugly Christmas sweater party + breathable fabric bra

For a recent “Ugly Christmas sweater” holiday party, I wore an ugly Christmas sweater vest, layered over an all-black foundation of turtleneck, skinny jeans, and tall, flat-heeled boots. Again, a comfy but festive combo!

A regular coverage bra — but one with breathable, moisture-wicking fabric — is the right kind of bra for this kind of holiday outfit with heavy layers. The ThirdLove strappy bra would be a good choice, as it is made of lightweight fabric, a nylon and spandex mix that is soft and breathable.

Librarian for Life + Style | What bra to wear for a layered holiday outfit

Fun Quiz to Find Your Perfect Holiday Bra

ThirdLove has also produced a fun infographic about how to “Find Your Perfect Holiday Bra,” as seen below. (If the font is hard to read, then click on the graphic, which should open in a new tab/window, and then you can zoom in. That’s what I had to do!)

ThirdLove holiday bra quiz infographic

I took the quiz, and it turns out that the 24/7 Strappy T-Shirt Bra is the one for me! “Deep down you secretly love everything about the holidays — you just don’t want people to know it.” Yep, that’s pretty accurate. 😉

Which bra did you end up with when you took the quiz? Do you also think about what kind of bra is the right one for the occasion or the right fit for each outfit you wear? Please leave a comment and share!

Linkups:  Hello Monday, Monday MingleVisible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning HeadsWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Top of the World, What I Wore to Work/Summer StyleThursdays Fashion Files, Thursday ModaFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayCharming FridayFriday Favorites, Fancy Friday


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