Building a Summer Bra Wardrobe (+ Other Favorite Summer Undies from Soma)

building a summer bra wardrobe by wardrobe oxygen

It's clear by now that I am a fan of Soma for sleepwear, loungewear, and intimates. As someone with a larger bust, and one who has soft curves and is over 40, I appreciate a retailer that offers a great range of styles and sizes of bras and undies as we all don't have the same shape, size, or needs for our intimates.

Summer is right around the corner, and this is the time that I not only get my summer wardrobe ready, but also my summer bra wardrobe (and undies too!). With heat, humidity, lighter-weight fabrics, sleeveless and strapless garments, and pale colors of summer clothing, our needs for underpinnings are different.

Soma invited me to check out their collection to create a summer bra wardrobe, but I ended up also visiting their undies as well. This was for a sponsored/paid post on Instagram, but because I truly do wear and love Soma, I chose to share photos here and dig deeper and do a proper Soma intimates review here on the blog with what is in the photos, but also what beyond the photos I own and love.

Building a Summer Bra Wardrobe

For the campaign, I decided to not just show a summer bra wardrobe from Soma but coordinating undies and to show what kinds of clothes I wear over such intimates. Sure, it's great to get a list of what you need in a bra wardrobe, but what if you don't dress that way? Do they really work under such clothes? I wanted to show how I actually wear these bras everyday.

The Wireless (but still supportive) Bra

I know I am not the only one who started dipping her toes into the wireless bra world during lockdown… and it's hard to give them up. The thing is some wireless bras are just as heavy and padded as wired bras, and a lot of wireless bras destroy any shape of the breasts.

Alison in the Soma Full Coverage Wireless Unlined Bra in Warm Amber and a pair of black underwear briefs. She is standing in front of a wall smiling at the camera, her hand touching her hair
I have this bra in black and in beige; they also make great sleeping bras if that's something you desire!

I am in love with the Soma Embraceable Full Coverage Wireless Unlined Bra. With a 36 DDD/G bust, I have worn this style of bra for many years finding it to still offer shape and definition, a bit of lift, but still all the comfort that comes from soft stretchy fabric and no wires. Read my original review of this best wireless bra for large busts.

While this wireless bra is pretty fantastic, it isn't one I'll be rocking under a fitted tee because it still doesn't offer the lift and shape of a traditional bra. But it is one I wear under my looser shift dresses and tops like this linen dress from Universal Standard. It's way cooler and more comfortable on a hot summer day than most any other bra in my closet and keeps my breasts from getting sweaty and sticking to my ribcage.

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With it I am wearing the Cotton Modal High-Leg Brief in size L, also from Soma. This is a great go-to pair of summer undies, I regularly wear them under shorts. To be honest with dresses, I usually wear slipshorts to prevent chafing. Soma has their Smoothing Short which is smoothing in that there aren't any visible lines or waistband, there isn't really any compression. However, I find they roll down on my apple figure and prefer Thigh Society for size-inclusive slipshorts that stay in place and are comfy (BTW use WARDROBEOXYGEN15 at checkout to get 15% off at Thigh Society).

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The Like Wearing Nothing Bra

In the colder months, I like a molded cup bra because it keeps everything cozy and warm and prevents “headlights.” But come summer… I just don't want to overheat and some bras end up feeling like a sweat sponge after a day outside. The Soma Sensuous Lace Unlined bra has been a summer favorite for a couple of years now.

Alison in the black Soma Sensuous Lace bra with Soma retro briefs also in black
This is clearly a very sheer bra and there are some things I'd like kept off the internet…

As a woman with a large bust that requires good support and design as well as a large cup, it's hard to find truly pretty and sexy bras that get the job done. This is one that has yet to fail me. It looks so delicate and romantic, the straps are so pretty, yet it gives great lift and support.

This is a great Date Night bra, a great I Deserve It bra, a great You Have No Idea How Sexy I Am Under This Suit/Coveralls/Sweatsuit bra, and it's a great summer bra because it's unlined and light and breezy and doesn't look frumpy if a strap accidentally peeks out.

Alison wearing a black sleeveless v-neck cupro dress. She is smiling at the camera leaning against a wall
While the dress is discontinued, the earrings are from Jenny Bird and the necklace from REALM

With it I have the Vanishing Tummy Retro Brief with Lace in Large which is one of my favorite undies from Soma. I resisted this brief for a while because the whole “vanishing tummy” part made me think it would suck me in giving me both gas pains from compression and a major muffin top from sucking in the covered part and letting the rest hang loose. But this doesn't suck you in, it just smooths a bit.

I comfortably wear these all day without gas pains, and they aren't so tight I end up with a muffin top. Plus, the lower leg openings reduce the effect of the leg to lower belly curve but the lace keeps them from looking frumpy. All this, and the seamless back means absolutely no panty lines. These with the Sensuous Lace bra is the perfect combo of pretty and practical to go under many looks. Here I am wearing the Universal Standard ‘Jade' dress which is now discontinued; this is like the short-sleeved version but mine has pockets.

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The Strapless Bra (That Actually Stays Up)

So many people have been burned by strapless bras, myself included. They hurt, they roll, they gape, they slide down, they make your breasts a weird shape. Did I mention they hurt? I've had such success with Soma strapless bras; my favorite one they discontinued and had been worn to death, so I decided to try their Stunning Starlet, which is designed for a larger bust.

Alison wearing a black Soma Stunning Starlet strapless bra with black briefs. She is standing against a wall and smiling at the camera
This bra has five hooks which is a workout to get on, but once it's on it doesn't move (and doesn't hurt!)

I see why they replaced my old favorite; the Stunning Starlet Strapless Multiway Bra has a better fit under the arms, has a wider band in back, and the smooth finish makes it nearly invisible under clothing. This one comes with removable adjustable straps and a variety of loops inside so you can turn this bra into a halter, cross back, one shoulder, and more.

With a great strapless bra, you aren't as limited with your wardrobe. I can wear off the shoulder, spaghetti strap, those dresses that are essentially a string gathering the front and back together at the neck, and all the creative cutouts that have been on trend the past few seasons.

Alison in a black halter neck knit dress holding a raffia clutch purse
The dress is very old from Ann Taylor; this one is similar. The bag is also old and not available but this is similar. The ring is from Chico's, the earrings from Baublebar

This dress is from Ann Taylor and it's over a decade old. It's jersey, but has this weight and drape that is luxe. With a handkerchief hem, thin self belt, and one of those necklines that looks like a string gathering the front and back together, it can dress up or down and is a favorite to take on travel. But gosh it needs a strapless bra!

I added the Vanishing Tummy Retro Brief with lace because the dress does skim the bum and I didn't want any VPL (visible panty line); if I know it will be hot, I will wear Spanx Thinstincts High Waist Shorts underneath, which will go up to my bra for a seamless line and will protect my thighs from “chub rub.” If you go one size up with Spanx they will still fit but not be as restrictive.

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The Great Support and Invisible Under Clothes Bra

When you have a large bust, shape matters. And I love a bustline that is high and centered. Wrong bra, and one can have breasts spreading across biceps and drooping down to the navel with wires poking and the dreaded “quad boob” (when the bra's cups dig into your breasts causing a dent/the appearance of four boobs).

Soma's Stunning Support bras have been a favorite of mine for a while. The collection has minimizers, full-coverage, and balconette bras in a range of colors, textures, and fun prints.

Alison in the navy Stunning Support balconette bra with matching navy briefs
You should see this bra in the leopard print; I also have it and it's so fun to wear!

This is the Stunning Support Balconette, which I prefer for summer because it is lower in front, making it less likely to peek out of straight-necked sundresses and scooped tanks. The molded cups give great shape and the bra is so smooth it's virtually invisible under fitted garments, lightweight fabrics, and in a color close to my skintone, invisible under a white linen tee.

I like now navy is going to hide under darker, even sheerish fabrics, but it's not basic black. It feels elegant, especially in this shiny satin fabric. With it I have briefs that I find to be a necessity in my intimates drawer – the Vanishing Edge Microfiber Modern Brief. I have these in many colors but the skin-colored ones (they have three skin-like tones, I hope they have more in the future as Soma has been good with offering non-beige nudes) are my go-to.

Alison in a teal knit t-shirt dress with a yellow crossbody bag
The dress is from Universal Standard (color no longer available but they have plenty of other great colors), the earrings from Baublebar, and the bag is from Talbots

These are what I call “Ken Doll Undies” in that they are completely seamless and make you look completely smooth down there like a Ken Doll. Lightweight linen pants that are a hair transparent? Wearing white jeans? Fitted dress that will show everything? You need these. Maybe you had a similar concept in a thong back in the day; these are the undies you need to complete a lot of summer fabric looks.

They are a great choice for jersey knit dresses like the Universal Standard ‘Geneva' dress I'm wearing here. Even if I bend over, there won't be any VPL.

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Other Soma Intimates Favorites for Summer

soma bra review by wardrobe oxygen 3
Wearing the no-longer-available Soma Cooling Balconette; TBH the Full Coverage is a better fit.

What makes Soma unique is their hope to solve solutions. Technology, design, fabric… it's a very innovative brand. I have had the pleasure to visit Soma's headquarters (Soma is part of Chico's FAS which also owns Chico's and White House | Black Market) and met some of the brilliant minds behind Soma. Patent-pending fabrics, revolutionary design, space-age materials, while also understanding women have specific needs from their intimates:

  • Want a smooth back under those fitted tanks? Try the Vanishing Back Full Coverage Bra. With 3-zone panel innovations, it provides stronger hold where you need it and stretch in the right places for maximum smoothing with comfort. The straps are adjustable in front, to not only give you a smooth back but to also create a custom fit by yourself, without having to remove the bra. Available in bands 32-44 and cups B through G, the Vanishing Back comes in four different skintones as well as black, white, and navy and I find the straps are slim enough to hide under my thinner tanks and sundresses with wider straps.
  • Have a favorite bra but wish it would hide under your racerback tank? I know there are a bunch of TikTok and Reel DIYs of adjusting your bra with a ribbon… but then you have this ribbon going down your back and lumping up under your clothes. These bra clips are so easy and so genius; they lie flat on your body so they won't show under your clothes. I find I can get it on by myself, though depending on the neckline may need another person to slide it down my back so the straps don't show. I take one of these always on travel.
  • Hate shelf bras but don't want to wear a bra and a tank on a hot summer day? Check out the Enbliss Tank. It's like the cult-favorite Enbliss Bra but full length and of a beautiful microfiber that looks like a “normal” tank or camisole. I hear they work best up to a C cup or a firmer D cup; consider sizing up for a more comfortable everyday fit.
  • Love your bra but hate that it shows “headlights”? Check out these gel pads. They can also be worn without a bra, and I know many who use them in swimwear and activewear to offer more coverage.
  • Want breathable cotton blend undies but want them cute AND don't want VPL? I love the Vanishing Edge Cotton Blend High-Leg Brief. There is a panel of comfy non-scratchy and non-denting lace on the front and Soma's trademark vanishing back (seamless with silicone strips to prevent wedgies).
  • Are you in between sizes for bras? Consider a bra strap extender. I also used these when I was pregnant and was changing sizes but wasn't ready to drop a lot of coin for a new bra wardrobe that wouldn't fit in a few weeks.
  • Wish you could find a supportive bra that didn't trap heat in the summer? It seems Soma is discontinuing their Cooling Full Coverage bra and that's a shame because it's one of my favorites. I love the straps; three skinny ones of smooth satin look pretty, even if they end up exposed. They're made of a quick-drying fabric that transfers away heat and give great shape. Soma also has a Cooling Wireless Bra; both are on sale for an amazing price. I recommend if they have your size consider trying one.

Shop Innovative Options from Soma:



  1. Missy Me
    May 23, 2021 / 3:59 pm

    I so appreciate your underpinnings posts. The wireless “Embracable” is a revelation. Actually comfy, and yet still enough lift. I’m rethinking my entire relationship with underwires.

  2. Michele
    May 16, 2021 / 9:28 am

    This is a super helpful post and so lovely to see pics of a real woman in her undies! You look amazing! I’ve been waiting for a good Soma bra sale based on your rave reviews of them.

  3. Mary Beth
    May 15, 2021 / 2:03 pm

    Thank you, Alison! My bras were sad before the pandemic and I never got around to replacing them last year. This was just the motivation I needed to get some bras that’ll have me feeling and looking good for my vaccinated summer.

  4. Susan
    May 15, 2021 / 10:38 am

    Great review Ally. I agree, the Sensuous Lace bra is a gorgeous, sexy bra for those of us who have big girls. Unfortunately for me, I have narrow shoulders so straps on Soma bras tend to slide down which stinks since they make such good bra! I’m going to try the strapless one…would be so cool to wear a true sundress for the first time since I was thirteen!!!

  5. Hadilly
    May 15, 2021 / 9:32 am

    Thank you for the review and timely post. I just ordered a bunch of bras to try.

  6. Michele Allen Stanton
    May 14, 2021 / 12:42 pm

    Just placed an order for a bunch of bras. I need new ones, especially after wearing wireless for the last year! This is such a great price, hoping they work for me! Thank you for posting photos and normalizing ALL bodies, you look beautiful!

    • Michele Allen Stanton
      May 25, 2021 / 2:49 pm

      I just wanted to check back in and say that the Stunning Support balconette worked great for me, I love it! I had to return a couple of other styles and was able to exchange them for the balconette at the same $29 price!

      Also, while I was there I was introduced to the lightest Lift Full Coverage bra and I love it! It’s going to be great for summer. I think it’s a newer style.

      Thank you again!

  7. Cameron Barry
    May 14, 2021 / 10:24 am

    Great review, Ally. Thanks! I have all kind of options in my cart.

    I do have one challenge that Soma can’t solve. I know this from trying their otherwise very nice wireless bras and bralettes. I’m short-waisted and have a full bust. For wireless bras to hold you up at all, they need a band, and on me, that inevitably means they roll up. A bandless, wired bra that fits well is my best option and can be comfortable, but at some point, I just want to tear it off. At the same time, I don’t want to scare our mail carrier.

    Am I looking for a unicorn in hoping to find a wire-free bra?

    • May 14, 2021 / 10:38 am

      I don’t know of one off hand. I like the Soma wireless because it has five hooks which is ridiculous when putting it on but it makes the band so stiff it doesn’t roll on me like the wireless bras I’ve gotten with two or three hooks. Have you tried a bandeau? No wires, but also no band? Soma has one but I haven’t tried it: I also tried Lane Bryant’s which was almost great but I think my breasts are too heavy/saggy:

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