Every few weeks or so, I’d get an e-mail from someone asking me for underwear and intimates recommendations. For the most part I ignore those requests because with the range of emails I get (which comprises many foot fetishists and men with yellow fever), it’s hard to take seriously such a personal request.

But some recent e-mail exchanges actually appear legitimate so I thought I’d touch on the topic lightly (I promise I won’t make things awkward by posting and sharing more than the bare minimum).

I switched from buying my bras from Victoria’s Secret, Gilly Hicks, and miscellaneous Asian retailers to strictly Aerie about two years ago. Aerie bras are generally “contoured” (i.e. padded and molded) so not for everyone; I personally prefer this style of bra as they serve my needs well but I have many girlfriends whose experiences diverge so I am not recommending these bras without caveat.

One perk unrelated to the product that I like about Aerie is the AEreward program which tracks your purchases and sends you a spending statement at the end of every quarter along with coupons and free bra certificates (for every five bras purchased, you get a free bra). Aerie also offers free shipping and return shipping on all bra purchases.

Generally speaking, I find Aerie bras to be well made and the price points reasonable. The styles (Brooke Pushup Bra and Brooke Racerback Pushup Bra) I wear almost exclusively rarely (if ever) go on clearance in neutral colors so the best discounts typically come only a few times a year (the two semi-annual sales, Black Friday, and after Christmas) and I save about 50% off retail prices.

Aerie, like other AE brands, routinely runs “an additional 50% off clearance items” sales but clearance items are normally more colorful and the styles less useful to me (usually an excess of frills or padding).

Style: Maddie Pushup Bra
Padding: The amount of padding decreases gradually with increase in cup size (from Perky to Whoa!)
Comments: Aerie pushup bras come in five levels–perky, perkier, perkiest, whoa!, and double whoa!!–the Maddie falls just to the right of center but I was taken aback by how much padding there was. I am a fan of padded bras, but prefer only enough foam to conceal the outline of one’s nipples (why I subscribe to this somewhat unnatural look is an investigation for another day).

Style: Brooke Pushup Bra
Padding: Pushup/Perkier, so level two of five.
Comments: The Brooke, both the racerback and the traditional clasp-in-the-back models, is my go-to bra. I have an average-sized chest and feel this style offers adequate support without looking cartoon-y. If I must nitpick, I would prefer slightly less padding in the cups and no bow in the front.
On durability: I machine wash my bras and air dry them and the Brooke has maintained its shape well through dozens and dozens of washes.

Style: Brooke Racerback Pushup Bra
Padding: Level 2 Pushup
Comments: As I mentioned earlier, “Brooke” is the style I wear almost exclusively; I’ve worn it running and feel it offers me sufficient support (though I really can’t in good conscience recommend wearing a non-sports bra to exercise). It’s just a style that has worked well for me and if you are built like me, this is a style that’s worth checking out.

Jacklyn Hidden Wire Pushup Bra
Padding: Level Three Pushup
Comments: As with most Aerie bras rated at a 3+ padded level, this style looks and feels too padded to me. For this particular style, the cups are also too molded for the shape of my breasts which result in uncomfortable and unsightly gaps.

Emma Pushup Bra
Padding: Level Four Pushup.
Comments: I think this bra is designed for those looking to significantly lift, shape, and enlarge the look of one’s breasts. I find the amount of padding to be excessive but I am just not the target demographic.

Lexi Pushup Bra
Padding: Level Two of Five.
Comments: I really like the understated look of the Lexi and the cups are somewhat less molded, which I prefer. But I think the design is just not suitable for me (I think those with more rounded, fuller breast shapes would fit these better; these gape slightly on me). I also prefer bra straps that are firmer (which could be constrictive) and the straps on the Lexi are more elastic.

Drew Pushup Bra
Padding: Double Whoa!! So this is one of the most padded bra that Aerie offers.
Comment: This style might be great for those who like dramatic cleavages; I don’t think most people would consider this an “everyday” bra. I personally don’t have use for this style of bra (again, my preferences are oddly specific when it comes to amount of padding and this style had too much for my needs).

As always, I am happy to answer any questions or supplement any of the comments made above.

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