Meet the Merchants Personal Style

What Color Bra to Wear Under White? The Little Red Bra (and More Bra Styling Tips)

Valentine’s Day is imminent, and we’ve got red on the brain. In fact, this is usually right about when we start attempting to unearth the scarlet bra from the far reaches of the lingerie drawer. But why reserve rouge for February alone?

Bare Necessities has learned the red-bra styling trick French women have long used that’s guaranteed to blow your mind…

“I’m pretty sure no one knows that a red bra is as invisible under a white shirt as a nude bra,” says Heather Viskovic, our premium brands buyer. The proof: Heather in the above photo. “In fact, you’ll notice that in the basic bras we carry, we almost always offer a red. It’s really a wardrobe staple, not a fashion color.”

How on earth can a red bra under a white shirt possibly work? “Skin has red undertones, so red bras often blend fairly well under a white shirt,” says Adrienne Coleon Gaskell of the French lingerie house Simone Perele.

When it comes to the right red, fair skin tones should look for a true blue-red; olive complexions play best with cranberry; darker skin tones can go deep into scarlet or burgundy territory.

Simone Perele Promesse 3D Amour Convertible Plunge T-Shirt Bra
Heather’s favorite red bra: Fantasie Fusion Side Support Bra

So what is the right color bra to wear under a white shirt?

“There is no ‘wrong color’ bra to wear under white; it’s all a question of style,” Adrienne says. “A beautiful bra with touches of lace can make a lovely fashion statement, regardless of color, as long as it works with the outfit.” (Interestingly, a white bra under a white shirt turns out to be glaringly visible.) The key to wearing any high-contrast style is to make sure the bra is all-out gorgeous. Think pretty straps, touches of embroidery, and a perfect, curve-hugging fit, suggests Adrienne.

For pairing a bra with a lightly colored top, here’s the range of your safest bets to the most risqué:

  • a T-shirt bra that matches your skin tone exactly
  • pale blush or toffee shades that are a bit distinct from your complexion
  • a bra that reasonably matches your skin tone, but in an interesting, textural material like lace
  • red
  • another bright color or a print
  • black
  • white

In general, the best types of bras to wear with button-down shirts are minimizers—or, if you’re smaller on top, go for a minimalist, smooth, sleek bra. “That way, you’ll never have big, gaping, peekaboo moments or buttons popping off,” says Heather.

Under T-shirts, besides of course a T-shirt bra, you can also wear three-part cups, unlined styles like minimizers, or flat lace.

All of which is to say: Go ahead, give a red bra under a white shirt a go. No one will be the wiser, and you get to have a secret thrill, not to mention get more use out of a “special” bra. (And hey, just maybe a lucky someone will learn your French style secret on the 14th.)

By Brooke Glassberg

Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.

10 replies on “What Color Bra to Wear Under White? The Little Red Bra (and More Bra Styling Tips)”

Hi Brooke, it’s a really long story which I’ll spare you, but for the purposes of your advice, I recently moved from Chicago (relatively manageable summers) to west, WEST, Texas, where the average daily temp hovers around 98 degrees. We also moved with a days notice and almost all our belongings were left behind and I’ve since learned, been tossed away! It’s been brutal to say the least. But the reason I’m writing is bc I somehow didn’t manage to grab a single nude bra and every white shirt and tank top I did grab, shows my bra colors in what I would consider a less than lady like fashion. And given the temp, I long to be in white tops! Do you have any tricks for lightening or bleaching the color out of a bra? Until we’re settled and have a car, just running out to get a few new ones is sadly not an option. Any advice is wholeheartedly appreciated. I’m not particularly large in the chest either, Im prob a 34B (altho I’ve also never found a bra that was flattering and comfortable so that may be wrong. According to VS I’m a 32C. However I enjoy breathing so I’ve stuck with my 34Bs) and my bf says that I don’t even need one. But I am not quite that secure in my appearance that going without is an option. I’ll do built in tank top bras which I had many of but again, they’re now long gone. So again, thank you for your advice and time. I truly sincerely appreciate it.

Hi Kate, hope you’re doing well. We wouldn’t recommend attempting to change the color of your bras; you’re not going to be happy with the results from bleaching, and that’s the only thing that would make a visible impact. Embrace those flashes of color! When you’re ready, a Bra Fit Expert can help you find deals on new nude bras that fit well and make you feel great. All the best to you in TX!

It would be nice to have a bra that isnt full figure. 40 B is my size but the b cup is a little to large. Not having enough bust is my problem. I fill like I am drowning but they fell good and are very comfortable., The cup again is the only problem I have. Thanks

Hi Mary! I would recommend a 38 band and staying with the B cup or trying a 40A, though your best bet would be to call us to get fitted: 877-728-9272, select option 4. Hope to talk soon!

Help, I am very full diabetic and it seems that is causing my boobs to keep growing . Looking for a wireless minimize with very good lift and support .my size is 50 double or triple d

Hi, Linda! Thanks so much for reaching out. While we don’t have any wire-free *minimizers* in a 50 band, we do have some excellent wire-free bras in those sizes. Since you mentioned two different sizes, your best next move is a bra fitting. Give us a call us at 877-728-9272 and select option 4 to be connected to one of our Bra Fit Experts. Can’t wait to connect and find you something you love!

Be mindful of those with darker skins tones. Agree that Deep red & burgundy definitely works most of the time; but a white bra against darker skins tones will always show. Nudes aren’t nude for us so brown or black works best in those situations.

Thanks for weighing in! We definitely recommend the deeper reds for darker complexions and never endorse a white bra under a white shirt. What’s great is all the shades of “nude” out now that compliment pretty much every conceivable skin tone. Look for hues like café latte, mocha, sand, etc.

I want bras with xtra wide under arms and back with wide or xtra wide straps. The small side and back are uncomfortable as is the narrow straps. It’s like holding up two balls with string with those narrow straps. I mean like at least from 1 to 2 inches for straps. I got ruts in my shoulders because of narrow straps there just not comfortable. And even when I was young I wanted coverage under arm and back wide enough to cover and be comfortable. I’m 68 young a 34 D have been DDD depending on 20/30 lbs weight loss or gain. 123 now. Old age skin sag and skin folds over back and under arms. I don’t have a tape measure handy tonight but as soon as I get measurements what bra do you have fitting above description. Xwide sides back and straps. Thank you.

Hi, Linnie, thanks for writing. This is exactly what our Bra Fit Experts are here for! Give them a call when you have a minute (877-728-9272 and choose option 4), or chat with them online at They’ll help get you in the best bras, with or without a tape measure!

Comments are closed.