This post contains referral links. I may receive compensation if you sign up through one of the links.
So you’re here to learn how to get bras cheaply (without getting cheap bras). Easier said than done, but it is possible.
First, though, for a bit of humor. You need to read a Twitter exchange, which made one person tweet “I’M SOBBING this sweet summer child.”
That was the actual title of the email from my mom when she sent me this tweet.
Because both of the respondents are pretty far off track. I mean, I’ve yet to see a bra that’d make someone pale if she’s forking over $300 at a salon. (Though to be fair she’s probably prone to buying higher-end brands than I am.)
But bras sure as hell aren’t $5-10 either.
(To veer off topic briefly, can we just stop to ponder how the question-asker reached her 20s or 30s — I can’t tell from the picture — without ever having had a bra? That’s just… impressive or scary. One of the two.)
Okay, back to the matter at hand.
They’re pricey suckers
Bras are one of the hidden costs to being a woman in this society. It’s one that I don’t think about, even when talking about the pink tax, since it’s just such a natural part of my life/expenses.
Of course, if you treat them well, bras will last you years. Still, they can be expensive lil buggers. But they don’t have to be shockingly high.
I mean, short of a super-clearance one, you’ll never find one for $5-10. But it is possible to get affordable bras.
Like most things fashion, bras range in price, especially depending on the brand and the store you buy from. If you go somewhere like Kohl’s, Macy’s or JCPenney, you’re probably paying between $20 to $30 with sales/coupons.
Victoria’s Secret — where I get all of mine — has come down in price on some styles. Now, instead of all bras being $60+, the store has some in the $40 range. The rest hover around $60.
That said, the store has sales and sends coupons to its cardholders, vastly lowering the cost. The most expensive of my five (yes, five, so sue me!) has been $24. Those low prices are all thanks to sales and mailed coupons.
That said, those prices are usually only to be had if you can shop retail stores. If you’re a specialty size (anything over a DD), you’re probably going to be stuck going to pricier stores like Nordstrom or going online (and hoping you like the fit).
In these types of cases, $40 is considered a steal. You could be looking at $80-100 (or more) — especially if you want something remotely attractive.
You can’t have just one
As I said, if you treat your bras well — hand wash or at least the hand wash cycle on the washer — they can last years. Still, since you need multiple bras, these undergarments are always going to be a significant investment.
And you do need multiple bras. Even penny-pinching, you need at least two because you’re not supposed to wear the same bra two days in a row.
But most women are going to have at least three: a black, a white and a nude to go under different colors of shirts. You may also find that you need special bras (lower cut ones or racerback ones, for example) to go with the cut of certain tops.
So knowing that you need a few to several, it’s important to know how to save money on bras.
The obvious: department stores
If you’re comfortable going with full-coverage bras, then department stores should be your go-to for affordable bras.
Notice I said “full-coverage bras.” If you want lower cut or specialty cut ones, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding what you need. But if full-coverage bras are your thing, look no further than the department stores.
Why are department stores a great deal? Well, the prices start lower than other stores, usually hovering around $30. Then you have the coupons and sales.
JCPenney and Kohl’s regularly have $10 off coupons, and Macy’s has incredibly frequent sales. Plus the brands themselves usually have a BOGO50 or Buy 2, Get 1 Free offers.
Stack those deals and get cash back through Mr. Rebates to really save money on bras!
You can also shop brands directly, such as Maidenform.com. As of the time of writing this, I saw a 50% off sitewide sale. Hanes and Jockey tend to have pretty good deals too, which will definitely help you save money on bras.
All three of those companies are also on Mr. Rebates, which further increases the chances of you getting affordable bras.
So if you want something more delicate/lacy/lower- or specialty cut, I’m recommend Victoria’s Secret. Sure, it used to be known for pricey bras — and prices can still be high if you’re not careful — but it’s possible to get some pretty well-priced pieces, as evidenced by my own collection.
The first step is to get the Victoria’s Secret card.
If nothing else, you get $15 off your first purchase, plus about twice a year, the store sends out a free panty coupon — no purchase necessary. But it also semi-frequently sends out “$10 off ” bra or 30% off any one item coupons.
With the card, you’ll also get rewards as you reach certain (spending) points levels and you get a $10 reward in your birthday month. It’s worth noting that rewards are stackable with coupons. In fact, coupons themselves are stackable — up to three coupons/rewards per order.
Another way to save is to get on the email list. The store sends out a fair number of deals there. I recently took advantage of an emailed coupon for 40% off a single item. Getting the card automatically puts you on the email list. But you should also just be able to sign up for alerts if you’re really against getting the store card.
Another great way to save money on bras is to load up during the store’s Black Friday sale. Last year, it discounted all bras (or it may actually have been sitewide, I can’t remember) by 50%. It’s how I got four bras for about $20 each.
Worried about the fit? I tend to buy several bras, then just return the ones I don’t like in-store. I was a little nervous the first time I went to do a return, but they don’t hassle you in the least. At most, you get asked if there was a reason for the return. They accept, “I just didn’t like them” without comment.
But you have other choices for affordable bras. Plenty of ’em.
I mean… c’mon. Amazon has got everything, right? Bras are no exception.
Alas, while clothing is sometimes an eligible department on Mr. Rebates, intimate apparel is excluded. So no cash back here.
But with Amazon’s bra prices starting around $10, you’ll be just fine without it. (By the way, that’s an affiliate link. As an Amazon affiliate, I make a small commission for sales through the link at no cost to you.)
Aerie (by American Eagle)
These online-only retailers are great if you’re a specialty size or just can’t find a good deal elsewhere. Both are on Mr. Rebates.
The Fig Leaves and Bare Necessities prices tend to be a little higher than other ones in this post, but they have sales and coupons fairly regularly, meaning that there’s a very good chance that you’ll find affordable bras.
The retailer is also great for affordable specialty bra sizes going through K-cups (though it starts with A, so everyone has options). Lane Bryant has some good sales, and yup, you guessed it: It’s on Mr. Rebates.
This online company (yes, also on Mr. Rebates) is slightly confusing with a “VIP program” but its prices are decent too. As an AdoreMe VIP member, you get $10 off any set (bra and panty) bringing the cost down to $39.95 a month.
Again that’s for a bra and matching underwear. Also, the store is currently running a deal to get your first bra and panty set for $24.95.
It’s important to note that you can skip any month and not be charged. And every sixth set is free. Sizes go up to H cups.
This store has bras that start at $30. Bras going up to $50 means that, at first glance, this store isn’t always that good a deal. But La Senza’s sales are great (as I’m writing this, quite a few $40-50 bras are marked down to $25), so it’s worth checking out.
Don’t skip the clearance section, where bras are, as of writing this, 70% off.
H&M, Walmart and Forever 21
H&M, Walmart and Forever 21 all have very low prices — around $10 to $18 before any sales — but I’d urge caution here. I’m suspicious of how long this fast fashion stuff will last. Still, some people swear by these brands, so I thought they were worth mentioning.
But I’d say you may be better served paying a little more for something that is more likely to hold up over time. However, if you do decide to go with one of these stores, just know that Walmart and Forever 21 are on Mr. Rebates.
There’s also a site called CheapUndies that has some seriously low prices, and it launches new deals daily.
According to its homepage, the site has been featured in The Washington Post and Time. So it’s not exactly a fly-by-night operation from what I can tell, but I didn’t recognize the brands being sold on there. So take this one with a grain of salt, I guess.
How do you find affordable bras? What are your go-to stores/brands?