Do you have a pressing style question that nags you every time you open the closet door—like can you wear white to a wedding? After Labor Day? To a Christmas party? Email your most problematic sartorial queries to email@example.com and PureWow’s fashion editor, Dena Silver, will answer in a new column, Can I Really Wear That?
“What color bra should I wear with a white T-shirt? I always thought it should be white, but I’ve been having a hard time even finding white bras...and I’m starting to think I’m totally wrong.”
This question is a bit more layered (ha) than you might think. So, I’ll begin with the “actual” answer, and then dive into my own two cents.
White shirt, white bra, right? Not…quite. If you’re looking to disguise your bra as much as possible beneath a sheer top, opt for a bra that matches your skin tone. While a white bra will match your fresh white tee, the difference between your skin color and that stark white bra will make the thing you’re trying to conceal all the more visible.
But sometimes, this requires some trial and error. True&Co. founder Michelle Lam has made some of the comfiest lingerie out there, and naturally had some astute knowledge to share: “The key is to remember that it’s important how the bra looks under a T-shirt. It might not necessarily be an exact match for your skin tone (unlike a foundation).” Lam suggests trying out a few different shades of nude to find your best match—so yeah, you might want to bring a white T-shirt along on your next shopping trip, to put each bra to the test.
If you really want a seamless experience under a T-shirt, consider the fabric of your underpinnings. “Microfibers, silks and tulles that are sheer are the most forgiving,” says Sarah Shotton, the creative director of Agent Provocateur. But even if you opt for the most beautiful (and expensive) fabrics in the world, it will do nothing to flatter you unless it’s your exact size. So don’t be shy about asking a sales associate to whip out the measuring tape the next time you go to buy a new bra.
As Shotton puts it, “There is nothing worse than ill-fitting nude underwear. Not sexy!!”
My Two Cents
All that said, I promised you my own hot take on this subject. And, to me, this seemingly simple question actually has a more complicated answer: It’s a personal choice that generally falls into two camps of women:
- Those who like to show off their gorgeous, lacy lingerie.
- Those who never want the world to know that they even wear a bra.
Welcome, ladies of all sorts. I’m here to tell you that both approaches to lingerie are totally, 100 percent correct. If you want to let a little lace peek through your favorite linen crewneck, go right ahead. But if that overt show of undergarments makes you feel uncomfortable, find a nude bra that works for you and rock the seamless, no-bra-under-here look. Like most of the fashion rules that have seemingly been in place forever (such as not wearing white after Labor Day and matching your shoes to your purse), your day-to-day comfort is way more important than an old-fashioned decree that lacks any actual basis.
I personally prefer to wear a white bra under a white T-shirt, as I think the peekaboo factor of a lacy white underlayer is just the right amount of sexy for a boxy top. But I can confidently assure you that I am not the majority of people who hold this opinion. My mom falls into that camp, as do most of my close friends, and I’ve had more than one celebrity stylist tell me it’s all about the nude—as in, they would never send a client down the red carpet wearing anything other than a nude layer under white fabrics.
But what is sexy is feeling comfortable in your own skin—and in the bra color you choose to wear.