Written by Kitty McGee
Research shows that women spend up to four hours a day in discomfort due to their underwear, but this past year the pandemic and working from home has inspired us to up our underwear game. Lingerie sales are booming and these are the styles the nation have been buying.
Despite stripping our wardrobes back to basics – quite literally – during the past year, it’s not just sales of loungewear and comfy separates that have been strong, lingerie sales have also been soaring.
Tu at Sainsbury’s reported an increase of 28% in bra sales, M&S have also seen an increase, particularly in non-wired bra styles, and NET-A-PORTER.COM have seen customers spending more on lingerie with heightened demand for luxury bras and briefs.
After decades navigating complicated cup sizes and uncomfortable underwires, a year spent indoors has shifted attitudes, with women putting comfort, simplicity, and what works for them first.
Insights gained from a survey driven by Tu at Sainsbury’s, examining how women’s underwear habits have changed a year on from the first lockdown revealed that almost two in five women spend up to four hours a day in discomfort due to their underwear, over half of the women surveyed said they can’t wait to take their bra off at the end of the day and 46% said they had ditched their bras at least once a week in the name of comfort since lockdown started.
The survey also showed that 60% of women have switched to a non-wired bra, with 27% swearing to never buying an underwired style again post-pandemic and 41% claiming they will always wear their most comfortable bra post-pandemic regardless of what they’ll be doing.
NET-A-PORTER customers have been gravitating towards both comfortable everyday styles from high end basics brands Baserange and Skin, as well as more elevated special pieces from brands including Agent Provocateur, La Perla and Fleur du Mal. The Skims ‘Fits Everybody’ range with its second skin comfort and revolutionary range of inclusive shades and sizes has been a stand out favourite on the site.
Marks and Spencer has also noticed major shifts in how women have been buying underwear over the last 12 months. Soozie Jenkinson, Head of Design, Lingerie & Sleepwear, explains: “Comfort has been a priority for many of us, and during the pandemic we’ve seen a call for lingerie which delivers on comfort. During lockdown sales of high-rise knickers, and softer non-wired bra styles such as bralettes have increased. Conversely, to juxtapose the trend towards more casual dressing, we’ve also seen customers buy into luxe styles such as silk and intricate lace.”
Here are 8 of the best stripped-back, comfortable and functional bras to see you through the remainder of lockdown and beyond.
Myla Covent Garden Bra Top
Elegantly understated, the sleek lines of the Covent Garden Bra Top skim your curves and enhance your natural contours. The key is secret elastic and a deep, contoured under band combined with seam panelling, which gives natural shape to the cups.
Myla soft cup black bra, £110
Tu at Sainsbury’s Seamfree Underarm Smoothing Bra
Tu’s Seamless Stretch range is made with 360 degree stretch fabric designed to move with your body. With chic silhouettes, soft finishes and inclusive sizing XS – XXXL, there is a piece to suit everyone.
Sainsbury’s seamless stretch bra, £10
SKIN + NET SUSTAIN Gracelynne Stretch Triangle Bra
Cut from smooth organic Pima cotton-jersey, this chic oxblood bra is soft, super stretchy and perfect for working hard under all of your work-to-weekend looks.
Skin Organic cotton bra at NET-A-PORTER.COM, £55
Agent Provocateur Lucky Leopard Mesh Underwired Bra
Designed during the pandemic, Agent Provocateur’s All Hours collection is made up of more functional, wearable everyday pieces in a wider size range from 32A to 38G. Simple soft cup styles in sheer fabrics, designed to sculpt, shape and support. We love the printed and plain mesh underwired styles to be worn under cotton and silk shirts all summer long.
Agent Provocateur leopard mesh bra at MATCHESFASHION.COM, £85
Skims Everyday Bralette
With sizes ranging from XXS: 30A / B / C to XXXXL: 44D, 44DD, 44E and a wide range of shades, Kim Kardashian West’s SKIMS collection has proved as popular as ever this year.
Skims everyday triangle bralette, £38
FLEUR DU MAL Luxe stretch-silk satin soft-cup triangle bra
Fleur du Mal’s luxurious, flattering lingerie is a great choice if you’re looking for an elevated option for everyday. With gentle support, this baby-pink stretch-silk satin looks great barely seen under a round neck, ribbed sleeveless top this summer.
Fleur du Mal pink silk bra at net-a-porter.com, £90
La Perla Bralette in Burgundy
La Perla lingerie is the ultimate post-lockdown treat. This delicate bralette has been cut from superfine viscose and is impossibly comfortable. Wear yours under everything from silk short sleeved shirts to floral maxi dresses this summer.
La Perla burgundy bralette, £170
Rosie for M&S Silk Animal Print Full Cup Bra
Marks and Spencer noticed a spike in interest in more lacy and bold underwear sets, like the Rosie animal silk range. We love the full cup bra and matching briefs – the perfect foundations to help us feel a bit more pulled together when we need to.
Rosie Animal silk bra, £28
Hanro Moments Soft Cup Bra
Synonymous with both comfort and luxury, Hanro makes some of the most desirable underwear available. This dusty pink style strikes just the right balance between pretty and practical.
Hanro soft cup lace bra at Selfridges, £60
Main image: Tu at Sainsburys
Product images: courtesy of brands
Survey data was collected from Censuswide with 1090 women in the UK between 05.02.2021 – 18.02.2021 and Attest who surveyed 1,000 UK adults aged 18-65.
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