Good basics are a key part of any capsule wardrobe and that certainly includes undergarments. When you start to transition away from fast fashion you realize there are many unknowns. Brands and stores you always defaulted to may no longer be your go-to and things may not always be clear cut.
For instance, this affordable bra was great for every-day wear, but when it needed replaced after a year and a half (Broken elastic threads everywhere) I had to decide if I wanted to rebuy this Nylon/Spandex option or search for something more sustainable even if it came at a higher price point.
Knix Evolution Bra - $55
I started with the Knix Evolution Bra touted as "The World's Most Comfortable Bra!" and "The Worlds Most Advanced Bra" with it's 8-in-1 design. It was hugely funded on kickstarter. The evolution bra retails for $55, but I snagged a good deal on a NIB option on eBay (cashback + $10 bonus here).
Knix says they are committed to ethical sourcing and all facilities are WRAP, SA 8000, and Oeko-tex approved. I really bought this before I was researching sustainable materials etc. 60% Nylon 40% Spandex.
You can read the full review here.
tldr: I like the reversibility of it, but found that even the padded option was not up to expectations and no slot to change cups and sustainability is lacking.
Meer Bra - $55
The Meer bra was an intriguing wire-free bra with a padded option that had a lot of focus on design, posture, and sustainability as it is made from 100% recycled materials. Meer is also Oeko-tex certified.
They offer 5 bra styles which run for around $55 regular price. I snagged the OG Sport and the high cut which can be work reversible and seemed like it could almost be a cami replacement in some tops. Hooray for multi-use!
What I liked:
What I disliked:
I really wanted to love Meer Bras, but sadly I don't and I missed the return window so.... :-(
If Meer would make the whole bra the same smooth feel including the back X (although I get that it needs to be durable to constantly adjust) and if they could work out a more smooth appearance under tees, I would 100% be on board!
tldr: Fit was great and sustainability on point (100% sustainable materials) , but found the back itchy and didn't like the seam-show-through under clothing.
Boodywear Bra - $20
Boodywear is an Australian brand of sustainable essentials made from organic bamboo. Their bras are very affordable at $19.95 for the Padded Shaper Bra or a 2-pack for just $36. Also available on Amazon Prime.
I was in the middle of 2 sizes so I decided to size down and for once wish I wouldn't have as it tends to ride up a bit. This could just be a design issue, but I can't say for sure since I only have 2 of identical sizing. It's not a deal breaker, but noticeable throughout a long day of wear.
The bra pulls over the head, has no underwire, and is great under basic tees for modesty and no excessive seam-show-through. The fabric is 80% rayon from bamboo with 13% nylon and 7% spandex. So this is definitely a better option over all material-wise from the original amazon bra, but not perfect. If there is such a thing..
The stretchy band at the bottom I find is a little itchy throughout the day.
tldr: A great budget option, slightly itchy at the band, 80% sustainable material.
Finally the Proclaim Tencel Bralette which retails for $59 is an unpadded pull-over bralette made from 92% Tencel and 8% Spandex. I first heard of Tencel from encircled, a Canadian sustainable fashion brand, so when The Garment did an Underwear Pop-Up recently and Proclaims Tencel line was featured, it caught my attention.
Although I dislike the pull-over style as mentioned before, the proclaim tencel brallette has just the right amount of stretch to make it easy. The tencel material feels incredibly soft and comfortable all day long. The silhouette sits nicely under the vast majority of my clothing including all of my "every day" clothing pieces.
This is almost perfect, except it is unpadded. However, it is compatible with cup inserts. So I did a quick Amazon search and was able to order some inserts and now this is my favorite every-day bra!
The bad part is... those inserts were not sustainable. (Does anyone know of a sustainable bra cup company?) So while the bra itself was a great option for sustainability, I did have the extra expense of buying the inserts and they aren't a good option as far as sustainability is concerned.
Also.... their customer service is FAB.
tldr: Luxurious feel, by far my favorite, 92% sustainable materials, but did need to purchase inserts which take down the sustainability rank.
Other Sustainable Bra Brands