Skin is in.
It’s no secret that bralettes have taken off in popularity over the past few years. The fashion world has forgone stiff underwire, thick padding, and too-tight straps of traditional bras and instead have opted for stretchy, sports-bra-style pieces that sit comfortably underneath everything from a T-shirt to a chunky sweater. As the weather warms, however, we’re no longer hiding these delicate designs beneath our clothing: Instead, the summer 2021 bralette trend calls for making them a centerpiece of your outfit.
Luckily, there isn’t just one type of bralette, nor is there only one way to style them. They can be silky, lacy, knit, or leather; they can be as much a focal point of an outfit as a finishing touch; they can be worn solo, or layered atop a T-shirt or button-up; and they can be dressed up with a pair of kitten heels for a night out, or worn with sneakers on one of those steamy summer afternoons.
This season, the question shouldn’t be whether or not you’re going to start wearing bralettes as tops — it should be about how you’re going to wear them. To find your ideal piece, consider fabric, weather, and occasion. As for the remainder of the outfit? Below, we’ve got you covered with three ways to style one of this season’s most versatile trends.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Go Over The Top
For some, modesty is the best policy — and that’s completely fine. Just because a bralette is comprised of minimal fabric doesn’t mean it needs to be totally skin-baring.
This black and white embroidered crop top features intricate embroidery, cutaway shoulders, and a curved hem. Though it’s a show-stopper when worn on its own with coordinating leather shorts, you may prefer it layered over a slightly-oversized white button-up (it adds interest to a standard poplin top, and feels way less expected).
Balance out the formality of the bralette with slightly-ripped denim Bermuda shorts, platform sandals (with a cool, velvet velcro strap), and textured silver hoops. For a slight pop of color, finish off the look with an embossed top-handle bag in a vibrant green.
Bare It All — Almost
Life’s a beach, even when you’re nowhere near one. For those who wish they could live in a bathing suit 24/7, this stretch-knit bralette is the full package: The cool, unconventional cut, sleek dual straps, and a soft, sandy shade all dial up the summer fun.
To complete an outfit that can easily take you from day to night, go fully monochromatic with an ankle-length khaki skirt, a collared cardigan (for when temperatures dip), woven raffia mules, and lots of chunky gold jewelry. Beige may be a neutral, but in the right shapes and textures it’s anything but boring. Plus, you’ll be just one Le Chiquito away from looking like you walked straight off the Jacquemus runway.
The Lady Of Athleisure
Everyone knows the rule: As soon as it hits 65 degrees, you swap your black leggings for bike shorts. But that doesn’t mean the oversized T-shirt you’ve been wearing all winter long should also make it through the seasonal transition.
Skip your worn-through workout top for a silky bralette with ruched straps and a subtle check stitching. Sure, this is more daytime errands, brunch with friends, or happy hour drinks that inevitably turn to dinner than gym-ready, but that’s the fun of it — the best styling comes from pairing unexpected pieces together.
The rest of the look is all about the details: Keep a vinyl blazer nearby (preferably worn belted at the waist) for any blasting AC coming your way, and pile on the playful accessories, like a flower hair clip and gold cat-eyes. On your feet, plain white sneakers make the outfit feel crisp and cool, but still practical for whatever the day holds.