Bullet Bras! What are they? Who would want to wear one? Where can I find one?
I am a self-professed bullet bra addict here to answer your questions! I’ve owned easily over 30 bullet bras in the past 5 years and am always looking out for the latest styles and brands who release them. I whinge about the half-melon shape of modern bras and I show off my pointy bust with pride. But I’m not here to convert you (though perhaps I will) but I am going to introduce you to wearing bullet bras in a modern time and I’m going to be comparing some of my favourites and the differences in the shape they provide.
I’m going to give a quick introduction to the bra – the bullet bra or cone bra is one which was popularised predominantly in the 1950s and through the early 1960s. These bras are designed to lift and separate, not smoosh things together like Victoria’s Secret pushup bra! As the name may suggest they form the shape of a cone or ‘bullet’, think Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier – two people who brought the style back into the mainstream in the ’90s and 2000s. If you’ve ever worn a vintage dress with a rounded padded bra you may have noticed that the bust doesn’t quite fit as snugly and doesn’t look as fitted or ‘painted on’ as old photos tend to show. In the modern day, they are the perfect accompaniment to a true vintage dress as they were designed for a more pointed bust.
I love these bras not only for their striking shape – but they also tend to be padding-free and wire-free. Over the years I’ve really moved away from wired bras, I just find the more finicky fit makes them troublesome if you change bra size, and they aren’t as comfortable as a wire-free one. I understand the hesitation of trying a non-underwire bra particularly if you haven’t tried one before, have larger or have more pendulous breasts. But you have to trust me on this one, the amount of engineering put into these bras to provide support and uplift is without compare! But make sure you know your bra size before trying one out, as an ill-fitting one will put you off.
We’ll be starting off with the sharpest pointed bras, this way when you reach the end of the list you’ll see how reasonable some of them are! I’ll also be showing you each bra front the front, a ¾ view and then the same view with a thin stretch shirt over the top so you can see how they look under clothing. My first 2 comparison grids will be on regular length bras and my last will be focusing on longline styles.
If you aren’t interested in getting into the nitty-gritty of each style and their differences, you can head straight to the bottom to find a graphic comparing the cup shapes of each bra I’ll be looking at and my top recommendations.
First up are my 3 bras with the sharpest points. The first is the What Katie Did Padded Bullet Bra, this is definitely not a beginner’s bullet bra for everyday wear! With this bra it is essential to get the right size, the one I am wearing is 1-2 cup sizes too small which is contributing to the downwards point. The best thing about this bra is that it really holds it’s shape, you won’t need bullet bra pads for it!
- A note on bullet bra pads: These are small foam cones made with thicker foam than a bra generally is and is about the size of a pastie. These are designed to go inside your bra to help fill out the shape. These are great for people with a very firm and round breast shape who may not be able to fill out the point of the bra to help enhance the shape. They also work well for very soft breast tissue that may not have the firmness to hold the pointed shape on their own. There is absolutely no shame in using or requiring these, and you can pick them up from most bullet bra manufacturers.
Next up we have the Bettie Page Lingerie Retro Futuristic Bullet Bra. This one is at a great price for an introductory ‘sharp’ bra. It isn’t sized with bra sizing so the fit may not be as perfect as a properly sized one, but it is designed for a more flexible fit. This one has softer foam than the What Katie Did variant so it might be a good idea to pick up some pads for this one. As you can see mine has quite an upwards point and this is because the band is quite loose on me so there is more weight and pressure on the bottom of the cups, distorting the shape.
Another What Katie Did bra, this is the Cathedral style which is often released in a few different styles and collections every year. This was one of my earliest bullet bras and is still an absolute favourite style. This bra is unlined so doesn’t come to a sharp point but due to the boning and strap placement, it provides a lot of lift and structure. I used to own two of these and would alternate them, I wore them about 6/7 days a week! This also has a slightly more flexible fit. The one pictured is actually too small in the cups but doesn’t droop downward like the previous What Katie Did bra. Along with the dramatic styling, I think this would be a great first bullet bra if you just want to dive into the deep end and give one a go.
Now for the next 3! We’re back with another Bettie Page Lingerie Style – the Spiral Stitch Bullet Bra. This is a very easy bullet bra as it has a much rounder shape compared to its counterparts but features the traditional stylings of a spiral stitch that really makes it look the part! This is another perfect one for everyday wear and comes with pads when you buy it which is a great way to try them out. It also has fairly wide straps so it works with a lot of modern clothes or those with wider necklines.
This Triumph Endless Comfort bra is a very attainable one, you won’t have to go to any strictly vintage retailers to pick one up! You can buy them from the Triumph website along with department stores and they are very easy to find at other lingerie retailers. This is one of my favourite suggestions for people stepping out into the road of vintage-inspired lingerie. As the title states, it is a very comfortable bra and several times I have hopped into bed not realising I haven’t taken it off. This bra provides a nice uplift, sturdy straps and comes in basic shades.
My final comparison is the Nisa Alana Bralette. I’m using this one to show what my bust looks like in a soft and neutral position without the uplift provided by a bullet bra. This is such a dreamy bralette – not only are they made right here in Wellington using ethically sourced, organic materials – made by trained ex-refugees AND modelled on multiple skin tones and body shapes – but they are also deliciously comfortable.
My final trio is a selection of longline bras, which are again a slightly different avenue into vintage style lingerie.
The soft peach number by Triumph is a discontinued longline version of either the Doreen or Claudette styles. The cups of this bra are quite soft and stretchy which as you can see provides a very nipped bust shape, if you’ll pardon the pun. The cut and structure of the cup does not lend itself well to uplift and would be suited more to a fuller and more projected bust than my own. The body and straps, however, are very firm and comfortable.
A comparison to a modern shape! This is the Lovable Night Sky Longline Bra and shows you what a rounded padded bra with a modern shape looks like. The profile is such a different shape compared to the other bras. This bra is very firm and comfortable though the shorter length makes it dig in at a strange place as it doesn’t hit the waist. It really does look half spheres stuck onto your chest – though some may, I suppose, prefer that to a cone.
My final of the longline range is a BH4 style bra from Underneath Lingerie. The padding is very soft in this bra so it provides a very subtle and natural uplift while not forcing a rounded shape. This is the most comfortable longline bra I own so if you are looking to try a longline vintage style piece I highly recommend this – you also have the option to mix and match your own fabrics so you can have your very own unique piece!
Now – I understand that is a whole lot of information to digest so I have created a little infographic below comparing the cup shapes. I’ve used the ¾ view of each bra on its own and traced the shape to make it easier to see and compare.I’ve actually found this to be really handy for my own personal reference. I’ve never realised how unique each bra’s shape is. My personal favourite based on shape alone is the What Katie Did Cathedral bra, it provides such a perfectly triangular profile!
My top picks for newbies are:
- For a hesitant buyer, the Triumph Ultimate Comfort Bra. This has one of the roundest shapes I’ve looked at but still has the lift and separate cup style of a vintage bra. They are also easily accessible, you can just pick one up at Farmers and try them on in person instead of getting overwhelmed with online sizing and authentic styling.
- For someone is ready to dive in – the What Katie Did Cathedral bra. The shape of this one is fantastic and isn’t so reliant on the perfect fit. The straps and panelling also make it a really stylish piece and there are some really interesting seasonal designs.
- For someone who wants the added benefit of a longline – Underneath Lingerie style BH4. So comfortable and available in totally custom fabrics as well as a range of pre-made designs. The longline makes it perfect for hiding any lumps and bumps you may be nervous about and the softer bullet shape
If you are nervous about trying this style of bra that is okay. Don’t worry, not as many people look at the shape of your boobs as they may think you do. Many times I’ve pointed out my bullet bras because no one had noticed and even then a lot of people don’t see much of a difference. We often feel small changes on ourselves magnified when no one else even sees them at all. You just need to believe in yourself and fake the confidence even if you aren’t quite there yet. As someone who wears these bras on a daily basis, I can tell you it’s worth it!
Now go on, buy that bra so you can enter a room – boobs pointing the way and head held high!
Anna A.K.A Xamia Arc is a vintage-inspired gothic pinup. As well as running a blog in which she muses about makeup, vintage styling and stockings – she’s also a seamstress and film-maker. With great passions for lingerie, video games and all things horror you can just as easily find her talking about her favourite Korean flicks, arguing which iteration of The Sims is best, or professing her undying love for bullet bras and fully-fashioned nylons.