Posted on 27 Comments

Wearing a bra with your underbust corset

One question I get semi-frequently is whether you have to wear a bra with your underbust corset. With an overbust corset, it’s easy to go without a bra as the corset itself provides support, lift, and shaping – but what about underbust corsets?

As a wearer of corsets and a keeper of long hair, I’m no stranger to confrontation. On a regular basis I have people telling me that I’m not fashionable; that I’m gross or disturbing or an eyesore. I often stealth my corsets and wear my hair up, because what makes me happy and is not hurting others doesn’t necessarily have to be flaunted. And this experience has made me hyper-aware of what I say to others in terms of fashion and dress.

So what does this have to do with wearing a bra with your underbust corset?

I am in no position whatsoever to make you wear a bra or not wear a bra with your corset. End of story.

But if you are expecting your underbust corset to lift, support, and shape your breasts the way that a conventional bra will, you may be disappointed to know that this isn’t the case. An underbust corset doesn’t cover the breasts and cannot support what it doesn’t touch. So if you want the support /shaping of a bra, you can wear a bra in conjunction with your underbust corset.

I understand that there can be some incompatibility between underbust corsets and certain bras. I’ve been through the frustration of trying to wear mainstream underwired, push-up bras with your underbust corsets. If your corset is just a little too long in the torso, then the top edge of the corset can push up on your underwire and cause a “double-lift” effect – and this is often made worse when sitting down! Many fuller-busted women have complained to me that this looks and feels unnatural, and they don’t like the end result that has become colloquially known as a “chin-rest”. Also, if your corset is too tight around the ribcage and your underwire becomes trapped between your body and the corset, the wire can dig quite uncomfortably into your ribs (I call this “underwire entrapment”).

This is the reason why I always ask for a person’s torso length along the princess line, from the underwire to the lap when sitting down. This is the maximum length that an underbust corset can be before the top edge starts pushing up on the bust, or the bottom edge starts digging into the lap.

So, what can you do if you’d like to avoid the modern bra/underbust corset compatibility issues, but you’d still prefer to wear bras and corsets at the same time?

If you look closely, my left underwire slipped to the outside of the corset. My right underwire is still under the corset, hence the asymmetry. If I had just worn both wires overtop, it probably would have been less noticeable and more comfortable for me as well.
In one of my old, looser-banded bras. My left underwire slipped overtop of the corset. My right underwire is still under the corset, hence the asymmetry. If I had just worn both wires overtop, it probably would have been less noticeable.


  1. Opt for shorter corsets or cinchers, which stop lower on the ribcage and steer clear of the underwire of your bra. If you are savvy with a sewing machine, you can shorten some of your own corsets along the top edge.
  2. Wear a well-fitting wire-free bra with your corsets. I don’t have a huge collection of these, but I like my Enell Lite as it’s wire-free and has a non-rolling band. I like the bust-shaping and support it gives, and it works well under my graphic tees and high-neckline shirts.
  3. If you can’t afford or don’t have access to wire-free bras /shorter corsets, as another resort you can simply lift up your bra and position the underwires overtop of your corset instead of underneath. This works best if you wear your corsets under your clothing instead of overtop, and it really only works with a bra that’s slightly big in the band. Does it mean slightly less support from your bra? Yes. Does this look a little unusual if you’re wearing the corset on the outside of your clothing? Perhaps a little. Are the passionate bra-fitters pulling their hair out at my even suggesting this? Maybe. But I used this technique regularly before I got new well-fitting bras, and I found it resulted in a more natural-looking bust (compared to wearing the bra under the corset and getting the “double-lift”) and it was more comfortable too.

In conclusion: are you required to wear a bra with your underbust corset? Not necessarily, but know that an underbust won’t give you the same lift, support and shaping that your conventional bra will. If you have bra/corset compatibility issues, try out one of the three solutions I listed above and see if any work for you.

Do you have any alternate solutions to avoid “double-lift” or “underwire entrapment” caused by bra/corset incompatibility? Let me know in a comment below!

27 thoughts on “Wearing a bra with your underbust corset

  1. I can not believe that some idiot would ever say that you “are not fashionable” or that you are gross or disturbing or an eyesore. You, my dear, are so lovely you make corsetting a joy! Thank you so much for your informative review of bras and corsets it is quite helpful.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Zelda. :)

  2. I’m trying the pull on bras as they are soft and the corset does give a little lift

  3. Thank you for this. I got 2 corsets for free and never worn them before. Last night i went to a party and when i sat down. Ouch.

  4. Thank you for that but this morning I actually found a bra that is working…. Believe it or not I found one at Walmart
    cheap-cheap- cheap and works quite well. No underwire – i little bit of shape – comfortable – the brand name is
    Warners, Blissful Benefits (light, natural Lift ) it’s also cut low enough for most tops and wire free. Cost around $12.
    Now you can’t beat that with a stick. Needless to say i came home with 7 bras. hahahahahah

  5. I am still searching for a great bra. I have tried the Victorias Secret bra without an underwire and it simply doesn’t work
    for me. I wind up with it making the girls come out the side in a lump rather than straight in the front, it’s not a good look.
    The underwires push up and stab me under the arm. The hunt goes on — I know there has to be a bra that will work out
    there somewhere. I refuse to give up the search as I wear corsets daily.

    1. Hi MsG, I wear the Genie bra, as well as the Enell Lite bra (although some people have complained that the Enell bras push the breasts too close together, I’m not picky about all my bras having a “lift and separate” effect). Neither of those bras have underwires. They might be more comfortable for you.

  6. I have big boobs and for some reason, havin big boobs is a crime in my family. I wear underwired bra for support and I found it weird to elevate boobs when wearing underbust corset. I feel uncomfortable having my big boobies becoming more bigger, with the help of a corset. I cannot resort to overbust corset as I am breastfeeding my baby. Your suggestion really helps. Thank you.

  7. I seem to have the opposite problem!!
    Since Ive started wearing my underbust corset, when I wear an underwired bra it seems to slip down. It fits perfectly fine when I dont wear my corset.
    My corset is a short one and stops about an inch below my underbust. So my underwire ends up sitting ontop of my corset, which ends up being below my underbust and I keep having to pull up my bra!!
    I usually wear a non underwired bra but sometimes i like to have some extra lift on certain nights.
    I wonder do I need a smaller band on my bra if I choose to wear it with my corset? Im a 36c to give some picture.

    1. Hi Leanne – that’s interesting, thanks for sharing your experiences with us! It sounds like a good time to go bra shopping and take your corset with you to see how they fit together! You might find you need a 34D with the corset instead of 36C.

  8. I can completely relate to the “chin rest” when sitting down. I have a C-D cup size depending on brand (mainly C) so I didn’t think I’d have any problems with this as I don’t consider myself a larger cup. However, I lace looser (not ideal since I want the shape of the corset) if I know I’m going to be sitting down in a underwire bra. Even my wireless bra gives me a double push up, but not to the horrid extent that my underwire ones gives me. I’m going to order an overbust to see if it will help keep my breasts in a lower position. I love longline corsets so I’d prefer to keep them, I know WKD has a longline (ish) underbust (Vamp) that is shorter on the top that might actually work better.

  9. Lucy, do you have a recommendation for a bra(s) to wear with low-cut necklines (scoop or square) for bigger busted ladies? I’m a DD/E and have been searching online for supportive wirefree bras that give a good shape, but they seem to be few and far between for larger sizes. Even without a corset, I find that full coverage bras with high neck tops give my boobs a shelf-like appearance, which I would really like to avoid, lol!

    PS. I’ve asked you a couple of questions on Facebook recently, on other corset-related matters, but I thought it might be helpful to other people too if I asked this question here. I’ve really struggled with finding a solution, as a beginner corseter (closet corseter for now, lol).

    1. Hi Beth, unfortunately I can’t help in this situation – all of my plunge and balconette bras have underwire! If anyone else wants to chime in with their experience, please do!

      1. Thanks. Hopefully someone can help with suggestions :).

        I did come across this bra (Freya Deco AA4231) online yesterday: It looks like it could work, but a few of the reviews are a bit mixed on fit (most are very positive, though). It’s a bit pricey for me to buy without being sure if it will work, and it’s not available in-store here in Australia yet. It’s a very new style, I gather. If anyone reading this has it or buys it, I would love to hear how well it works with your corsets. :)

    2. In a word… Glamorise! I’m also a DD/E girl, and not able to wear underwire bras because they all seem to sit in such a way that they dig into my ribs causing them to bruise black and blue.
      I’ve spent years (and lots of $) weeding through different styles and manufacturers in search of a bra that gives me support, full coverage (the twins are not identical-1 is a full cup larger), and doesn’t give the appearance of wearing 2 pointy cones or sitting on a shelf.
      My favorite style, believe it or not, has turned out to be a sports bra lol. Glamorise sports bras are very different from the rest. They have comfortable adjustable shoulder straps and hook/latch backs. I love them! Besides being super comfortable, great covering, and supportive, they are available in different colors and styles.
      JCPenney Online carries them, but I usually buy them from Amazon due to the best prices and free 2-day shipping with a Prime account.
      These are my 3 favorite styles and the current Amazon price:
      1. Glamorise #1066 No-Bounce Cami Full Support Sports Bra. $27.50
      2. Glamorise #1006 Ultimate Full Figure Sports Bra. $31.25
      3. Glamorise #1070 Magiclift Seamless Support T-shirt Soft Cup Bra. $27.49-$30.74
      I hope this proves helpful to you. Good Luck!

  10. I haven’t tried this myself but I think bras by Fortnight, and indie brand from Canada, might work well with a corset. They are wireless but sturdy and I have read reviews from larger cup sizes that they still support. I am smaller up top myself so I can tell you personally that they give you a rounded but natural shape and are well made, but run small in the cup. I have the long line style but it fits snug and since it doesn’t have wires I think it could work. Fortnight is pretty pricey but you can find them on sale sometimes, I got mine though

    1. Thanks for your input, Trish!

  11. Miss Lucy,

    You are beautiful inside and out…thank goodness we’re not all the same. I couldn’t manage all that amazing hair at all, but you rock it! Three cheers for variety and being our wonderful unique selves.

    I’m big in the bust, an Aussie E cup, so not wearing something ‘solid’ is not an option for me,lol. For that reason, I love the RAGO 2201, and 2202. Even though they have boning in the sides I have no problem wearing them with my corsets. No under-wires, but great coverage and support. Works for me, and it might work for others too.

    Learning LOTS from all your great work. Thanks for taking the time!
    :) Jen.

    1. Ooh, I’ve never tried those Rago bras – but the longline option looks intriguing! I may have to do some further research into that. Thank you for your suggestion!

  12. I’m a small-busted gal (A cup) so this might not work for everybody, but I find wearing a camisole with a built-in bra under my corset fixes the problem nicely! A lot of the ones I have either aren’t wired or have a lighter/thinner wire than a conventional bra. It also saves a layer (tank top over bra) which is cooler for summer and kills two birds with one stone/makes less laundry. I’ve found that the pressure of my corset actually keeps the shirt from creeping so my cups don’t move from where they’re supposed to be.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion – I can see how the corset would effectively anchor your camisole in place so there’s less shifting about. And dual-purpose, a bra and liner in one! Sounds like you hit the jackpot with what works for you. Thanks again for your comment! :)

    2. Haha, same here! But underwire isn’t very popular in Singapore, and I don’t wear a corset on a daily basis (the average temperature here is 95 degrees Fahrenheit or 35 Celsius) so half the time I just use whatever bra I have on at the time.

  13. Well first I must express my shock and disgust and my condolence !
    I cannot believe people would tell you you are gross and an eye sore because of your long hair and corsets!
    That is so terrible! And I’m so sorry you feel like you have to bun your hair all the time!
    Please don’t feel that way! /hugs

    Second I find that some sports bras help especially the Victoria secret sport bras that are new!
    I like my over bust corset I just got and have been wearing for the past 2 or so months :)
    But before this one I was wearing sport bras and then a shirt and then my under bust

    Again I am so sorry people are rotten to you!

    1. Hi Lilly, I haven’t tried any Victoria’s Secret sports bras, but now I might have to take a trip to one of their locations (with corset in tow of course!) and try on their bra to see how they work together. Thanks for your suggestion, and also for your continuous kindness and support. :)

  14. That was a brilliant point u made, about the underwire over or under the underbust corset! I find that in my case it simply depends of the time of the month. Depending where I am in my cycle, and if my breasts are more or less swollen, I either get the underwire over (when more swollen) or under (when less swollen) my underbust. It works fine and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable.

    On a different note let me just share this with someone who understands the achievement,lol. I am now wearing 22″ corsets, and have finally achieved the measurements I had before my first pregnancy! When I first started corseting I wore a 30″! So much of this is due to ur tips and advice! I’ve learned so much, and now 3 of my friends are regular corset wearers after seeing the changes in me. It’s changed my life, literally! Thank u Lucy!

    Keep up the excellent education u’ve got going here!

    1. That’s great news, Ruth! Wow, congratulations – you must be very proud! :D Thank YOU so much for sharing your experiences and contributing to my site/this community, and also being an inspiration to your friends. :)

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