Front hook bras are a popular option for women who may have difficulty fastening a traditional bra closure with hooks that are located on the back of the bra. They can be great for people who have limited hand or arm movement, such as someone with arthritis or other joint related problems.
Another advantage of the front-hook bra is that by design, generally because there is space between the cups where the gore would normally sit, they can be a great option for women with wide-rooted breasts.
Possibly the best advantage of a front hook bra is the fact that you get a smooth back! There’s no bumpy closure in the back to deal with, which means you will have a smoother look than if you wear a traditional bra.
|Glamorise Women’s #9245 Stretch-Lace Wonderwire Bra||Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Front-Close Shaping Underwire Bra||Playtex Women’s Front-Close Bra with Flex Back #4695B||Glamorise Women’s Plus-Size Elegance Front-Close Lace Underwire Bra|
|Cup: Not padded||Cup: Lined||Cup: unlined||Cup: Not padded|
|Fit: Band runs small||Fit: True to Size||Fit: True to Size||Fit: Band runs small|
|Best attribute: Looks||Best attribute: Comfort||Best attribute: 360 degree support||Best attribute: Side support|
|Rating: 3/5||Rating: 3.5/5||Rating: 3.5/5||Rating: 4/5|
|Sizes: B-F, band sizes 36-46||Sizes: B-DD, band sizes 34-42||Sizes: B-DDD, band sizes 36-54||Sizes: B-GG, band sizes 34-48|
Personally, I prefer not to wear front-hooking bras because they cannot be adjusted. All bras relax after being worn and washed a few times, and thankfully, with a back-closing bra, you normally have 3-4 columns of hooks that you can use to make the bra more snug. Once a front-closure bra starts to loosen, there really isn’t any method of adjusting it for a better fit. This means, you may not get as many wears out of a bra that closes in the front. One way to combat this may be to go for a bra size that is slightly more snug in the band than you would normally buy, so that when the bra does relax, it will loosen to your correct size. This option may not be suitable for everyone, however.
The benefit that makes them appealing to women with wide-set breasts makes it difficult for me as someone who has very narrow set breasts. The lack of gore also makes it less supportive, as there is nothing to ’tack’ to your sternum.
All of that said, there are some women who still do prefer front-closure bras, despite some their drawbacks when compared to a bra with a traditional back closure. Here are a few great options if you’re in the market for a front-closing bra.
I’ve written previously about the Wacoal Women’s Basic Beauty Front Close Contour Bra. I like this particular one because it’s a comfortable everyday option that looks good under a t-shirt and is low enough that you can get away with it under a number of necklines. The fact that the straps are fully adjustable, and can even be converted into a t-back bra means that this style overcomes some of the support issues you can sometimes have with a front-closing bra.
Here are four other picks that are worth considering if you’re in the market for front-opening bras.
Glamorise Women’s Stretch-Lace Wonderwire Front-opening Bra (9245)
Glamorise offers up a very pretty lace option in its plus size front-hook range. This bra goes all the way to 46F, and has a relatively smooth appearance under shirts despite how lacy it is, making it a great option for plus size women looking for front hook bras.
My favorite feature of this bra is probably Glamorise’s Wonderwire feature. Basically you get all the support and shaping benefits of a bra with underwire, without having to deal with the underwire rubbing against your skin, as there is cushioning between the underwire and where it lays on your chest. This makes this bra a super comfortably option for women who are particular sensitive to underwire.
The only downside to the underwire, is that depending on your shape, it might jut out around the area that normally forms the gore of a bra.
The straps on this bra are comfortable with enough width that you don’t feel any digging into your shoulder, even when you have a more ample chest. The straps are a little widely placed, meaning that you won’t get a whole lot of center-pull from this bra. This bra won’t work very well on someone who is pendulous like me, but if your breasts are fuller, it should provide enough support for you chest.
The cup may be the weakest part of this bra. The vertical dart makes for interesting seam placement. If you’re wearing a thin shirt, it might give off the appearance that your nipple is protruding, when it actually isn’t. Once the lace softens, this isn’t as much of an issue.
This cup is also not lined, which is always a double-edged sword. On the plus side, the bra is airier, and for those of us with big boobs, it means we don’t have to worry about any bulk being added to our frames. On the downside, it means that if ‘headlights’ are usually an issue for you, this bra might not be so appealing.
When it comes to front-hook bras, the fit of the band is super important, as this is going to loosen over time and there’s not much you can do by way of adjusting the bra. The band for this bra is one of its strong points. It fits well without feeling like it’s digging into you, and feels fairly sturdy. Reviews online say the band is bit on the tight side, but I would still recommend going with your normal size in order to compensate for the eventual ‘relaxing’ of the bra.
A nice lacy but functional bra that still manages to have a feminine appearance despite the amount of coverage that it provides. 3.5/5
Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Front-Close Shaping Underwire Bra
The Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Front-Close Shaping Underwire Bra is a moderately-priced front-hooking bra that I quite like. The only downside to this bra is its limited sizing, as the biggest size I’ve been able to track down is a 42DD.
It comes in five easy colors and has a smooth back that cuts down on the appearance of back fat, which I appreciate.
I think women who wear front-opening bras will be a big fan of the Bali, and it is good enough to convert skeptics like me as well. The bra is comfortable, with one of the most comfy yet well-structured cups that I have come across in a long time. As with most front-closures, this bra separates extremely well. The center of the bra does not really touch the skin, so there are no discomfort problems in that area.
The overall effect of this bra, is that you don’t feel like you’re wearing anything at all! It’s super light and fits well without making you feel like you’re constricted.
While this bra will certainly support you and keep the girls in place with a nice shape, it doesn’t really do anything to lift your breasts, so if you’re looking for a bra that can do that, this one probably won’t be for you.
The bra is ‘lightly’ padded, so the upside of that is that you won’t have to deal with any headlight issues, and you get a nice, smooth, t-shirt bra-ish effect under shirts. The downside though is that you might feel like you’ve added unnecessary bulk when you wear it, though the effect is not too bad that it would put me off recommending it to women who are well-endowed.
The biggest downside of this bra is that after a few washes, the material on the outside of the cup starts to pill and snag. It’s not an issue that affects how the bra will look when you’ve got a top on, and it doesn’t impair the bra from doing its essential job, but this is probably not the bra you’d want to choose for a first date.
For an affordable, comfortable every day bra, I would say the Bali does the job. The narrow straps and the racer back make up for some of the support that is lost structurally from bras that hook in the front. 3/5
Playtex Women’s Front-Close Bra with Flex Back #4695B
When it comes to support and durability, I think the Playtex Front-close bra with Flex Back is the best on this list when it comes to plus size front hook bras. This bra goes up to a 50DDD, and while you wouldn’t mistaken it for a sexy bra by any stretch, it doesn’t look bad, for a functional bra. It comes in a pretty standard offering of three colors, and depending on the size you choose, can be found online at some pretty decent prices.
One of the strong points of this bra is definitely the straps. They come in narrow in the back to create decent center pull support. The straps are also quite wide and feature padding around the front/shoulder area, which is great for minimizing any feeling of shoulder dig normally experienced by the very well-endowed.
One of the unique features of the bra is the elastic supportive stretch panel in the back of the bra that replaces the standard back band. The fit of this strap reminds me of the supportive band and at the back of posture support bras, and indeed does help to make this bra feel a lot more supportive than your standard bra.
There is no mistaking it, this bra is absolutely full cup. Nothing spills out, which as someone who normally has to readjust after spontaneously running for the bus, I can appreciate.
I also like the fact that the front has a hook and eye closure as opposed to clasps. Clasps, especially the plastic ones sometimes have durability issues, so it’s nice to see the ‘traditional’ hook and eye closure, as it makes me feel like everything is well-contained.
The straps of this bra are not fully adjustable. That’s probably okay for someone of average height. But if you are tall, have a long torso, or are on the petite side, you might not necessarily find a strap length that works for you, and the shoulder padding might end up in an odd spot for you.
Often with bras, their main selling points can also be the pain points for others. I would say this is the case with the ‘full coverage’ nature of this bra. There is no doubt that it is one of the most supportive wire-free bras out there, but there’s this feeling that you’re wearing a whole lot of material when you put this on. It reminds me of how I feel in my sturdy sports bras.
Okay, my next focus is a point that disappoints me, only because I thought Playtex had a great opportunity to create a point of differentiation here. I’m talking about the fact that this bra only has one row of hooks. How great would it have been to create two or three rows of eyelets? Then this bra would have overcome one of the main issues that front-closure bras have, which is fit issues once the bra ‘relaxes’ and has been worn several times.
As someone on the larger side of the spectrum, my assessment is that the larger sizes of this bra do not provide the best level of separation. An inner sling would have gone a long way toward creating some separation between these cups for a more flattering shape.
If you’re looking for something sturdy that will keep the girls in and not fail you in every day, non-sport situations, then consider this bra. 3.5/5
Glamorise Women’s Plus-Size Elegance Front-Close Lace Underwire Bra
The Glamorise Women’s Plus-Size Elegance Front-Close Lace Underwire Bra is another great plus size front hook bra option from Glamorise for women like me who are not crazy about lace. This bra ranges from 34-48 in band and B-G in cup.
This bra does some things very well. First of all, the clasp is pretty easy to hook in the front.
If you’re trying to decide between the 9245 lace and this bra, the material on this bra is a lot softer, and the straps are far more comfortable, as they are quite wide and cushioned on the front and over the shoulder. The band is not adjustable the full way, which as usual means that women who are particularly petite or long-torsoed should take this into consideration when buying this bra.
The back of the bra has a great smoothing effect with its wide, U-shaped band. The straps do provide a bit of center-pull which helps to provide a little more support for your breasts.
When comparing this bra with the Stretch Lace Underwire bra, this one feels a lot more supportive, with built in side support in the cups that help to keep your boobs from ‘spreading’ out to the sides. Though I wouldn’t totally class this bra as a minimizer, the side support does make your breasts look more contained.
In addition to the side support, the bottom part of the cup is lined with an inner sling that really helps to contain your breast well within the cup.
Though the weather isn’t quite hot enough yet for me to test this feature out fully, the bottom of the cups are designed to be moisture-wicking, which is great news for women who suffer from the dreaded sweaty underboob.
Another win for this bra is the fact that it sits on the chest quite well. Often times with front-hooking bras, they tend to jut out in the middle where the gore would be on a back-hooking bra. Despite having big, heavy boobs, this wasn’t an issue with this bra, and I didn’t have the appearance of anything poking out through a fitted shirt.
Aesthetically, I think this bra is a great everyday option that balances beauty with functionality. I absolutely love the scalloped edging on the cups, as it brings to mind a certain Freya bra of mine that I absolutely love to death.
One of the nice design features of this bra is that the top half of the cup is lace and the bottom half is a nice, breathable, moisture-wicking material. The trouble with this is that there is a vertical seam that goes up the cup and can be visible through light clothing. As someone who will choose support over aesthetics almost any day of the week, this aspect doesn’t bother me, but I could see how others might be annoyed by it.
For women used to wearing back closing bras, this bra may not feel like it has enough lift to it. If we’re comparing this to other front-closures though, this would be my favorite pick of the bunch, with only the Playtex bra being more supportive.
This bra does have Glamorise’s sheathed underwire—Wonderwire as well which makes it quite comfortable, even for those who are sensitive to underwire. My only issue with this underwire is that it does come up a little high on the sides. It’s manageable for me at 5’7, but smaller women may want to take note of this.
The material of this bra and the level of support it provides make this bra my fave of the bunch. Though it isn’t as supportive as the Playtex, this front-opening bra is easier on the eyes and doesn’t come up as high on the cup, meaning it can be worn with a wider variety of tops. 4/5