Lingerie for Real Women of the World

Who the hell wants to be an Angel anyway?
July 23, 2019
July 22, 2019
What We Considered
Our Picks

A note from our founder, Jaclyn. We don’t normally do this, but when the occasion calls...

So what does it mean to be sexy today? Pretty much anything you want it to mean. 

For the 30-somethings out there, you’ll know what I mean when I say, growing up in a world where sexy was defined by the annual Victoria’s Secret show and models I could never quite measure up to, was no easy feat. Oh, the dreaded memories of going to the mall and dashing into Victoria’s Secret - a store that radiated sex so intensely across the mall floor that I felt uncomfortable being there, hell, uncomfortable just walking in. I always had this fear that other kids from high school would somehow see me and point and laugh because I didn’t belong. Who did I think I was anyway - an Angel? And yet, it felt like it was the only place to go. Time after time, I would specify “no padding and no push-up”, just to be met with stares of disbelief and escorted to the back of the store, where tucked away amongst the corner display I could find the only options that would meet my requirements.

Fast forward to 2019 and I have to say, I was cheering a little too hard when the Victoria’s Secret show dropped to its lowest viewership ever in December ( I know you’re curious - it was a 3.3M viewership, compared to 5.5M in 2017 and 12.4M at its peak in 2011). Why? Maybe because women are tired of feeling like they have to live up to some unrealistic standards. Tired of comparing their bodies to flawless models strutting down the runway with wings affixed to their back.

So what’s better than male execs deciding what’s “sexy”? Well, real women, of course. 

Meet the brands founded by real women, making lingerie for real life - and simultaneously redefining what “sexy” looks like every step of the way. Enter size inclusivity, diversity, women supporting women - and most importantly an absence of uncomfortable cups, wires & padding (because life is short and that shit hurts). The new stereotype of what a beautiful woman is, is staring you right back in the mirror no matter what you choose to wear.

There’s a chance you’ve never heard of Michelle Grant, Heidi Zak or Joanna Griffith, and all the other inspiring founders of the brands featured here - but in our books, they deserve all the credit. They set out to change the perception of how lingerie should make you feel, and in doing so have simultaneously waged battles against what the lingerie industry has previously stood for. And they didn’t stop there - they have gone above and beyond to make product that’s comfortable for you and your body. Thirdlove introduced half sizes, Negative Underwear makes an extra soft non-wire bra known for selling out, and Harper Wilde offers an at-home trial to save you from the dreaded department store fitting rooms - and there's more where that came from.

I could keep going, but I’m guessing you’re ready to meet your next favorite lingerie brand. Enjoy. And don’t thank us, thank the women behind these brands. 

Jaclyn (Founder & CEO)


Meet ThirdLove - the lingerie company with a Fit Finder that has helped over 10 million women find the perfect bra. All you have to do is answer a few easy questions, and you can join the club too. Their introduction of half sizes accounts for the fact that not everyone has the same shape boobs - an important truth that has been ignored for all too long. P.S. new moms - be sure to check out their nursing friendly bra – it’ll up your breastfeeding game. 

The Goods

  “Best for these shapes” guide when picking out your perf bra

  Half sizing options to better fit your needs 

  Hybrid Foam Conforms to your body

  Seamless, elastic free, and stitch free

  Size range:  Band Size- 32-48, Cup Size- AA-I

  Founders: Heidi Zak & husband David Spector

Why We Stand Behind Them

  Partners with I Support the Girls to donate bras to women in need

  Donates to St. Anthony’s clothing drive on International Women’s Day

  For women, by women 


Lively is embracing what really makes us sexy - like being adventurous, athletic, and quite frankly, our true badass selves. To describe it, they’ve coined the term Leisurée. Basically it’s athleisure for our lady parts - Amen sister. Their bras fit all shapes and body sizes and are 100% designed for comfort. Also, they own their own factory, and we won’t get too technical but that basically means they have ultimate control over their product fit and materials (lucky you). 

The Goods

  Easy to use, detailed fit guide

  Front adjusting straps

  Designed for ultimate comfort

  Maternity options available

  Size range: 32A, Up to sizes DDD 

  Founder: Michelle Cordeiro Grant

Why We Stand Behind Them

  Inspiring women to redefine ‘sexy’

  Extend their values to their company owned factory

  For women, by women 

Negative Underwear

Tired of seeing bows on the behind of your underwear like you’re some kind of prize? So is Negative Underwear. Just because there are frills on something doesn’t mean it’s hot. Plus, all of that lace time means those undies are likely to get sweaty in all of the wrong places. Ick. Negative Underwear is all about the details, so instead of getting frills, we get finely crafted undies that last for more than three weeks until the next 10 for $35 sale. Score.

The Goods

  No lace, padding, bows, decoration or itchy tags

  Use top quality materials

  Known for their honeycomb micromesh in their bras

  Japanese elastic for the undies

  Size range: Cup- A-DD 

  Founders: Lauren Schwab and Marissa Vosper

Why We Stand Behind Them

  For women, by women 

Harper Wilde

Get a bra that can do both: hold up the ladies and give back to the girls trying to run the world. Harper Wilde is breaking the stereotype because girls should not have to go through hell and back when trying to find a comfortable bra. That’s why at Harper Wilde, there are only 3 options including their newest sassiest option: The Base: Fuck Your Laws (oh damn, it's already sold out). And for those of us who don’t want to scroll through pages and pages of different styles, opt for the bundle option, letting you customize all of your bras all in one shot.  

The Goods

  Make only 3 styles of bras, all priced at $35

  Fit quiz & home try-on program

  Signature X Bridge so we can fold ‘em up and take them wherever we go

  Microfiber fabric

  Size range: Band Size- 32-42, Cup Size- A-F

  Founders: Jenna Kerner, Jane Fisher

Why We Stand Behind Them

  Portion of each sale goes to The Girls Project, an organization that provides girls around the world with access to education

  Collabed with @for___days to help recycle unwanted bras

  For women, by women 

True & Co.

Founder Michelle Lam started her business with 500 bras on her apartment floor. Thanks to their simple fit quiz, picking out your bra is a breeze. So instead of being stressed about spilling out of your LBD, you’ll feel exactly how True & Co wants to make you feel: empowered.  The variety of styles on this site means there’s a bra for the get lucky nights to the just something to make them stop getting so sore from hanging styles. Plus, their quick top 3 quiz gives you styles that you didn’t even know you needed. 

The Goods

  Underwire and lightly lined for support

  Adjustable straps

  True guides that have lady parts shapes explained to a T

  Variety of size options

  Size range: 32A-36D

  Founders: Michelle Lam and Nikki Dekker 

Why We Stand Behind Them

  The Future is Female Scholarship

  For women, by women 


Knix is all about sleek, chic function. After all, Joanna Griffiths started Knix to help women with all the little leaks that happen in our lives, and now that they've got the whole panty thing down they've expanded into wire-free bras - because women deserve all around support in chafe-free designs. And boob sweat is no joke. 

The Goods

  Four way stretch fabric

  Bra cups all the way to size G

  Moisture absorbent– and we mean for all of their pieces

  The Lift Blog that gets real about fertility and body image

  Size range: 32A-42G

  Founder: Joanna Griffiths

Why We Stand Behind Them

  Community events like fertility and hormone panels

  For women, by women 

No items found.
image credits: ThirdLove, @kellylemon, @thirdlove, @allieleedaisy, @kendallmariecmakeup/ Livley: @natalie_knows, @wearlively, @beautifullychelsea/ Negative Underwear, @bethanycmeyers, @aya_kanai, @onenitewithparis, @chinaealexander/ Harper Wilde,, @noelledowning, @readypretty, @sustainablyfasion/ True & Co., @a_matos, @lis_fashionablemis, @hellokody, @ligayaslegit/ Knix, @ligayaslegit, @missjullyblack, @allisonkimmey, @2beansmeg, @kirbycerosek/

At The Verticale, we’re here to help you find the internet’s best brands. We independently review each brand to see if they meet our standards, and then we create unique content to share them with you. The Verticale may earn commission if you buy something we link to from our site.

Close x