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How to wear a shelf bra

Plus size model wearing lingerie

Since I have begun my plus size lingerie business, I have noticed a huge rise in popularity in the shelf bra trend. Many high-end lingerie boutiques within Australia are now stocking the shelf bra style, however, I'm sure there are many women who are confused about the shelf bra and how it can be worn.

The first time I saw a shelf bra, I remember thinking, where is the fabric? Where is the support? Where will my boobs sit? All very valid questions! I'm hoping this blog post can help you to understand the latest lingerie trend.


What is a shelf bra?

A shelf bra, also referred too as an open cup bra, may have underwire, however, many shelf bras don't have underwire. The design of the bra allows the bra to act as a "shelf" for your bust. It will have fabric sitting underbust and your bust will sit on top.

What about support?

Depending on your bust size, a shelf bra does not offer much support, if any at all. This shouldn't deter you from wearing shelf bras, keep reading to see how a shelf bra can be worn comfortably.

How can I wear a shelf bra?

There are a few different ways you can wear and style a shelf bra, which may also depend upon what your personal preferences are.

By itself

You can wear a shelf bra by itself. This option would be best suited to women with smaller busts or women who may not like the feel of "normal" cups against their bust.

This is also a suitable option for if you are wearing the shelf bra specifically as lingerie.

Layer it underneath

There is a huge trend at the moment for "strappy" and bondage styled lingerie. This is a wonderful option for women who prefer extra support and may prefer to cover up a little more in the bedroom. Simply pick a few pieces of lingerie in the same style or colour, and layer up!

Layer it on top

This option is for the bold! If you are the type of women who loves to take fashion to the next step then this option is definitely for you. Try layering your shelf bra on top! This can be on top of your plain t-shirt or singlet to sex it up. Wearing lingerie as part of an every-day outfit is becoming more and more popular.

If you like the idea of shelf bras, take a look at our collection here.


Bras By S is an Australian Lingerie Boutique, offering sizes 6-30 with more than 500+ styles available in plus size.

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