Are Online Lingerie Brands Worth the Hype? I Bought the Bra that Kept Following Me on Instagram

If you’re a woman who uses the internet, it’s likely that you’ve been targeted by one of the many up-and-coming direct to consumer lingerie brands that are all over social platforms. For months, I was bombarded by ad after ad for bras that promised to be unlike anything I’ve ever tried, supportive but not restrictive, comfortable but polished, etc, etc, etc. In short, Instagram hates nipples but loves bras.

In recent years, Big Lingerie™ has been disrupted by smaller start-up brands like Thinx, True & Co., Knixwear, ThirdLove, Cuup and many, many more that are leaning into body positivity, forgoing perfectly airbrushed models in favor of real women and embracing diversity and inclusivity.

Of all the bra brands that I have been targeted by, one in particular stood out to me: Cuup. Its chic, minimalist style was intriguing to me and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it comes in an impressive range of sizes and colors (with names like grass, merlot and blush). I went ahead and spent $68 on one their bras, for science.

THE ORDER

Bra sizes can be tricky and ordering them online doesn’t make it any easier. When I went to order, they were out of my size but a customer service rep let me in on a little secret about “sister sizes.” If you, like me, have no idea what that means, I’ll fill you in. Basically, there are four different bra sizes that fit the same. For example, 36 A is equivalent to 34 B, 32 C and 30 D. In other words, if you size up a cup size, you size down a band size. This came in handy for me when my usual 36 D was not in stock, but I was able to get a 34 E and have it fit equivalently.

THE BRA

I ordered the plunge bra in black. I was pleasantly surprised when this bra arrived in the mail 4 days after I placed my order (and I didn’t even pay for expedited shipping!). It was nicely packaged in a cute box and came with a lingerie bag so I can throw it in the washing machine without ruining it.

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Unfortunately, the buck stops there and I’m sorry to say that I hated this bra upon the first wear. Like, absolutely hated it. It looked great but it felt horrible—and since I’m single and the only person that sees my bras, I was on the verge of returning it.  It’s not that it was slightly uncomfortable,  it was digging into my skin every way possible. When I took it off, my skin was red, angry and marred with indentations where the fabric had cut into my flesh. I contacted customer service, who told me that the bra takes some time to stretch out and adjust to your body. Having done many painful things for the sake of vanity, I decided to stick it out but maintained a healthy dose of skepticism that it would ever be anything more than an expensive door hanger.

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I’m not sure when it happened but slowly, over the first couple of wears, the bra adjusted to my body and was no longer terrorizing my skin. In fact, much to my surprise, over the course of the past two and a half months, this has become my favorite bra. It’s comfortable, supportive and walks the line between being elegant and sexy. It’s made of mesh and ultra-thin underwire, which lends the feel of a bralette while simultaneously providing the support of a more traditional bra. After spending years wearing ugly, basic bras, it’s refreshing to find something that is feminine, attractive and supportive.

They offer five different bra styles: the Balconette, the Demi, the Plunge, the Scoop and the Triangle. As I mentioned before, I got the Plunge which is a mesh, unlined bra, and will not do anything to conceal your nipples, which I learned at my mom’s surprise birthday party. After perusing the website, I learned that some of the other styles offer more coverage, so make sure you do your research and know what you’re getting into.

THE BRAND

I really love what Cuup stands for. They acknowledge that bras are not a one-size-fits-all thing, that bras should be made to fit you, not the other way around. Their vision, according to their website, is: “a collection of flattering, comfortable, and unrestrictive bras built for all women; that doesn’t compromise comfort, fit, or aesthetic. A collection that lifts, shapes, and supports — without excess materials that pinch or bulk. Bras that look and feel great in every size.”

TL;DR

There are no shortage of online bra companies that want your business. If you’re in the market for a chic, minimalist bra that is both supportive and feminine, I highly recommend Cuup. But don’t be surprised if you have to break it in a little bit.

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