Image courtesy of Y.O.U
Seeking the perfect T-shirt Bra
The girls at The White T-shirt Co have a common issue. We have struggled to find a quality, ethically made t-shirt bra to wear under our organic cotton t-shirts. We’re real women, 30 + and all larger than 32B’s. We want bras with support, that are attractive AND tick our ethical boxes...
Preferably made in the UK
Responsibly sourced and manufactured
Transparent supply chain
Made to last
So for those who have boobs that require a bit of support, and are unwilling to compromise on design or ethics, these are some brands we are excited to have found and tried.
Lara Intimates is an ethical dream of a company. Lara Intimates are made to order in the companies London based factory, using waste fabric from high end lingerie companies. These luxury materials are re-fashioned into their own collections. Runs are small and exclusive and to our joy sizing runs large.
Ethical Credentials: Lara Intimates uses re-claimed materials for the body of their bras and all other components are responsibly sourced, primarily from the UK. All bras are made to order and made in batches to avoid unnecessary waste.
“First, maintain sustainable practices to reduce our environmental impact. Second, provide opportunity, training and a high standard of living for our makers. Our third goal is to be efficient so prices remain accessible - while always keeping sustainability and ethics as a first priority.”
Wearability: Lara Intimates have four shapes, all focused on comfort and support for larger sizes. For t-shirt wearers the Wren was perfect. Support comes from the design of the straps and a clever cutting on a central panel. There were no seams over the front of the bra, so the silhouette was smooth. If you live in London they also run regular bra fitting sessions.
Conclusion: We loved everything about Lara Intimates, from their ethics to their designs. The Wren we tried felt comfortable and supportive with no visible seams for a smooth silhouette. Profile was a little more relaxed than some of the brands we tried but for casual, everyday wear was perfect. Sizing goes up to 36I, but read the size guide as sizing is slightly different to normal.
Y.O.U Underwear is a brand designed with comfort in mind. And giving back. All their underwear is made in GOTS certified organic cotton and for every undie bought two are donated to Small For All a charity distributing underwear to women and children across Africa.
Ethical Credentials: All Y.O.U underwear is made in Kolkata in India, garments are GOTS, Fair Trade and PETA Approved Vegan. Very well made with easy care and a shrink resistance guarantee.
“Super-soft organic cotton isn’t the only thing about our underwear that makes you feel good - inside every pair is a positive message designed to inspire and bring confidence to the wearer. I'm also committed to using real men and women of all shapes and sizes as our models, encouraging everyone who buys Y.O.U underwear to be healthy and happy in their own skin. “
Wearability: Y.O.U Underwear focus on one style of Bralette. The cup is a triangular shape, so gives good coverage and is very flattering and smooth under a t-shirt. With a little elastane and a clever two way strap the fit was perfect and extremely comfortable. Sizing is garment sizing up to 12-14, however, the size of the triangle means that they will fit up to a DD.
Conclusion: Definitely a brand of choice for comfort and ethics, so we’re hoping for an increase in sizing for the more endowered amongst us.
We all loved All Undone. Not t-shirt focused, but chic and sexy. All Undone specialise in designs for larger cup sizes, but small backs. This means that although the band size only goes up to a 34 the cup size goes up to a GG. Fabulously supportive in shape and ethical approach.
Ethical credentials: All Undone lingerie is made in their own factory in Wales. We understand that materials a global mix, but lots sourced in the UK. The Willa bra we bought was beautifully made and fit perfectly. It had a bespoke feel that would be a treasured piece for a long time to come.
Wearability: There are some beautiful designs, with underwriting AND side panels. Although there are no t-shirt bras as such, the WILLA worked well under our Relaxed and Loose Fit tees. It gave a great shape and although it was constructed in several pieces it still gave a smooth outline. The other collections had too many seams and pieces for a smooth tee silhouette…but the shapes looked really well constructed and would work wonderfully under anything else!
Conclusion: No t-shirt bras, but the company focuses on two key shape - Balcony and Full which are beautifully constructed for a fuller bust. So if you're looking for a little bit of well constructed luxury All Undone is perfect.
Ama Ella is a true slow fashion brand. Ama Ella's mission is to encourage and celebrate ethical shopping behaviour by making beautiful and sustainable lingerie in a high-quality, transparent way.
Ethical credentials: All garments are GOTS certified and Ama Ella work closely with two partners. A non-profit social enterprise in the UK and a family run Portuguese manufacturer who trains and employs local women. Ama Ella promises that your lingerie will be as good as new even after 50 washes due to the quality of materials and construction.
“Here at Ama Ella we think that every week should bring us closer to a revolution in the fashion industry. So, we’ve been working hard with disability campaigner Samanta Bullock on a project to be part of that push for equality and inclusion. On Saturday 15th June we’ll be launching some brand new lingerie, made and designed in collaboration with Samanta”
Wearability: Ama Ella is the only brand we have not been able to try, however, our partners over at Buy Me Once are huge advocates. Ama Ella focuses on an ultra comfortable triangular shaped bra with robust straps and thoughtfully designed for comfort. Sizing goes up to a 38, but is based on garment sizing so cup size is equivalent to a B cup. So if the sizing works for you these are definitely bras worth waiting for. Despite being made in small batches there is a return policy shoukld you find the fit not quite right for you.
Under Protection is a Danish brand we originally came across in Copenhagen. The founding principle of the brand was to challenge the concept of sustainable fashion, to combine ethics and aesthetics. Under Protection parade a delicious selection of sizes and styles that tick all our ethical boxes.
Ethical credentials: The majority of their styles are made in New Delhi in collaboration with the small factory Fashion Forte, which only has 20 workers and transparent fair trade conditions. All their garments are made from recycled and sustainable materials, which are accredited with the Global Recycle Standard or GOTS certification.
“We only use sustainable materials such as recycled polyester, recycled wool, lyocell and organic cotton. All our packaging, paper and polybags are either recycled or biodegradable. Most of our products are vegan approved, and if not, it is because it is recycled (wool) or a waste resource (milk).”
Wearability: Sizing goes up to a 38 F in selected styles. Designs work around beautiful fabrics rather than structural control. We used an Under Protection bra in one of our early photoshoots and although this style is no longer available there is still plenty of choice and support.
Conclusion: We would defy you not to find a style to suit, however, materials are generally quite fine so those requiring firmer control may need to keep looking. We love the fact that many of the designs come in a Bralette style, which helps create a lovely smooth silhouette if you have a few little bulges to hide.
So to Sloggi. We’d love to find our go to t-shirt bra from a small, independent brand but Sloggi does offer some good alternatives for larger sizes. Although Sloggi does not totally fulfil our ethical wish list, we know from experience that Sloggi bras last. Sloggi also now offer a manufacturing guarantee.
Ethical credentials: Sloggi are part of Triumph. The brand’s EverNew collection features an unconditional, unlimited lifetime guarantee. Sloggi promises that your underwear will keep their shape, colour and comfort despite a lifetime of washing. Sloggi, as part of triumph, have some UK production and are a BSCI Partner which means that social responsibility is adhered to throughout their supply chain.
Wearability: In terms of t-shirt bras Sloggi has several styles, which are perfect for wearing under t-shirts. Their technical engineering offers seam free support up to 40DD. We’ve found that if you need a size larger than DD, simply go up a band size.
Conclusion: Although not our first ethical choice Sloggi is a good choice for t-shirt bras. They last, have comprehensive transparency and a guarantee of long wear, so not perfect but a good compromise.
This piece is not a comprehensive list of ethical lingeries brands, we're simply sharing the one we found worked for us. There are some amazing new brands emerging. The following is a selection of these, but do please let us know if you have any recommendations too:
Molke - based in Scotland with amazing designs for 'real' women.
Pico - London based developing beautiful basics with a small Fairtrade Indian Factory and cooperative
Luva Huva - based in Hove making luxury pieces from Vintage finds and remnants
Woron - based in Copenhagen making quality organic basics