Amended to add a couple more styles & pics.
No Beauty or Fit categories. This is about when comfort is paramount and you have decided to just go there with a bralette that is really not meant to handle more than a D-cup. Boobs in the air like you just don't care, if you will. Well, more like boobs off the floor, you can't ask for more. Because, I mean, really, you just can't. Because gravity.
Bali basically rules this field. They've specialized in a whole range of styles that are 'comfort first'. Very little lace or scratchy elastic. But the styles all have annoyingly similiar names - and Bali keeps changing the names slightly so that it's hard to tell which style you're getting.
This first bralette is what I reach for if I am experiencing serious PMS swelling and discomfort. Which will be the only time I actually want to sleep with some kind of support. This is the only style that I actually cannot feel while sleeping, and does not irritate in any way whatsoever. That is a huge deal for me.
Bali Comfort Revolution Bralette
Once I have turned it inside out, I cannot feel the edging at all, which is the only thing that would otherwise irritate me.
The Revolution's straps are far comfier than the Bali Comfort Revolution Wirefree bra (used to be called Devotion) which I will actually wear out of the house as a bra. That one has the much thicker double fabric & heavenly padded clasp I rhapsodized about here: The Wirefree Bali
But for soft control, and pure comfort I can sleep in, I opt for this version instead. This is not about cup capacity, coverage, and certainly not about containment or proper fit.
What this bralette provides is very breathable comfort in an ultra thin layer of fabric. It just skims the body like a second skin, acting like a gentle shelf-sling that supports from below. It doesn't provide the slight compression of the Devotion, but just a very soft hold. Just enough to stop the painful bounce, or even the discomfort that rolling over in your sleep can cause. The sides are nice and low, so no chafing there.
I wear this in a size Large, which is 2 sizes smaller than the Devotion. But this size provides the perfect fit for what I need it to do. It is very soft and very stretchy, so I have little trouble getting it over my head if I want to, or I can step into it. I have worn this around the house under loose pj's if I have company, but this is not one I'd wear out of the house.
Bali Comfort Revolution Wirefree
This is the definitely the bralette I wear the most. It's what I reach for as soon as I come home from work, when I'm boarding a late night flight, or when I'll ill.
The other Bali styles, such as the ones with pads (hysterically inept on large cups sizes), a floppy crop top, and a wired style (don't even try it if you're above an E cup and FOT) do not work for me.
There are a plethora of these bralettes, all basically knock-offs of the Ahh Braby Rhonda Shear. There's almost no point in taking pics of them all because they all look pretty much alike. However, they do not feel alike. So I will just run through a few easily available styles that I've tried:
The Ahh Bra, in several iterationsYeah, I'm not really a fan. It's unusual in that it has a very snug deep band. The 2x fits like a 36. But that just causes it to roll & bunch.
The cups are quite thin and really stretchy, so they don't actually hold well, defeating the snug band.
Material: not very soft.
Finally, the dealbreaker: godawful elastic edging along the high sides. The elastic doesn't stretch much either, so the combo results in irritated skin for me beneath the armpit and around the back of my shoulder.
The DivineThis is the only one I still occasionally wear. It suffers from the same too-tall sides in the back; you can see how it cuts upward from the armpit toward the back. But this one is wired, and surprisingly more comfy. The fabric is much smoother & silkier on this style but the wire casing is really awful. I do have to flip the bra inside-out, which renders it fairly comfy for a few hours before the elastic on the back armholes becomes an issue. You can definitely wear this one out of the house: you will get a super-round, though wide - there's quite a gore on this thing - shape.
Just My Size Pure Comfort braAnother one that looks really similar, but doesn't feel it. Fits similarly to the original Ahh Bra: tight band that rolls & bunches, but larger, stretchier cups. Not much lift there. I had no trouble getting good coverage in a 2x, but the very high sides and back, and smaller armholes, cause the same chafing issues.
Genie braI found this one to be fairly awful and the worst of the bralettes I've tried. It had the roughly stitched edging, plus the thin elastic had little stretch, so a recipe for cutting into sensitive skin. Plus the ultra-high side issue again. Really underwhelming cup capacity, coupled with a slightly abrasive fabric, and really, why bother.
Leading Lady Cami BraletteThis one surprised me. I liked it more than expected and found the fabric very soft. Unexpected at a price point of $15. This is the only bralette among the group that 1) has actual normal bra straps, and 2) covers cleavage instead of creating it. I also has 4 hooks in the back. I reviewed it here: here:
So, the Leading Lady & the Balis are the only two bralettes I have in regular rotation, and the only two that can act as actual bra replacements. I love the Revolution 'bra' style (used to be Devotion, in my original review) for its hooks and how easy it is to whip on/off, and the quite acceptable (to me) look under clothing.
Personally, I'm fine going to the grocery store on a Sunday with this relaxed level of support under a comfy sweater.
I have not tried any of the newer lacy bralette styles such as those from Torrid, because for me bralettes are where I go when I want complete comfort, and cheap, scratchy doesn't do it for me.
But I'm of a mind to try the Cosabella Never Say Never, which is supposedly very soft, but on the spendy side.
I'd love to hear if any fellow boobilicous folk have had success with bralettes that are beautiful, as opposed to my utilitarian go-tos.