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It’s T-shirt time again, and the quest for the perfect T-shirt bra is well underway for most women. The goal? To find the bra that will blend beautifully under clothes and give the appearance of having perfect breasts. The challenge? Finding that smooth padded cup that won’t make you hot and sweaty when the mercury soars over 30.

The solution? The spacer cup!

It sounds pretty futuristic, the spacer cup, and in a way it is. The term ‘spacer bra’ describes smooth T-shirt bras that are constructed from a dual layer foam fabric rather than a single layered dense padded cup. They feel light and airy, and best of all, they breathe.

Unlike most traditional T-shirt bras which are hot and trap moisture, spacer bras are so cool that you never really perspire in them. The fabric is almost like a honeycomb, and if you hold the cup up to a light, you can practically see right through it. Thankfully, the lightness does not equate to a loss in support. Many of the spacer cup bras that are on the market are stronger than their seamless, non-padded counterparts.

One of the pioneers in spacer cup technology is Prima Donna, the Belgian company. Their initial foray into the spacer cup market with the ‘Satin’ collection (above) is still one of their best. Although they’ve applied this technology to many of their fashion collections, the Satin can’t be beat as a basic. It really embodies the “less is more” lifestyle.

The Satin is simple and seamless — the only embellishment being the smallest of bows on the strap and center of the cup. The beauty of this bra isn’t its appearance, though — it is its lift. Many T-shirt bras make your bust look low (even sloppy), but not the Satin. It has a strong centered strap and a deeper, firm cup that is designed to pull in from the sides and lift from the center. Think strong lift and shape (in C to G cups).

From Prima Donna’s sister company, Marie Jo, you’ll find another fantastic spacer cup, Energy Beads (above). Believe it or not, this is a sports bra. It’s so pretty! Designed with a soft underwire for comfort and a supportive firm, full cup, this bra was moulded to keep your bust line firmly in place while exercising. Thanks to the comfort AND the beauty, most women end up wearing this as their everyday T-shirt bra in addition to buying one for sports. Think cute and controlled (in A to F cups).

If you are looking for a bra that isn’t quite as firm in the cup, something that molds more to your breasts, you’ll be interested in the Exactement Chic from Lise Charmel’s Antinea or the Andora from Simone Perele. Both of these bras are a softer version of a spacer cup; they have the airy, breathable qualities of the spacer fabric, but the cup isn’t as firm as the Satin or the Energy Beads.

The Exactement Chic (above, and main photo) has a more elastic quality that allows the cup to move with your body. This is definitely a softer “hold” than the two bras above, but Antinea has created a built-in ridge on the side panel to provide extra support, and they’ve also included a power mesh sling on the inside to pull the bust forward. Think cool and comfortable (C-H cups).

The Andora (above) from Simone Perele is again a soft spacer cup. It differs from the Exactement Chic in that it is more of a demi cup. The straps sit off to the side of the cup, offering a beautiful open neckline, perfect for summer tops. Magically, this bra offers an oomph that brings a little more fullness to the top of the cup — just the right hint of décolleté.

With such an open cup made of a soft, supple fabric, this bra isn’t right for everyone. If you need a lot of lift and coverage, this is definitely not for you. But for summer scoop dresses, low cut necklines and overall beauty, the Andora is flawless. Think sexy and sophisticated (B-F cups).

These are only some of the many options on the market for a cool, more breathable summer T-shirt bra option. Each bra we’ve described above suits a specific bustline, and there is definitely one out there for you!


Melmira Bra & Swim Boutique is a Toronto lingerie salon. Melmira’s staff offers expert bra shopping and fitting advice to Lingerie Talk readers each month.

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