Lululemon Bra Comparison: Free to be serene vs. Free to be lifted
On the program today: a showdown of two larger cup sports bras from lululemon.
The free to be serene bra is designed for C/D cups and the free to be elevated bra is designed for DD/DDD cups. Both are rated by lululemon as lightweight support. They’re the same price at $52 each (though some colors are $58) at the time of this writing.
I’ve already written dedicated reviews for both bras: the high here and the serene here. This article is intended to show more clearly the main differences between these bras. They may look similar, but in practice they have several key differences. These side-by-side photos and notes will show you these differences.
Throughout this post, the raised bra is on the left side in purple (“purple verbena”). The serene bra is in deep blue (“night diver”) on the right.
Size: the Free to Be Serene bra is slightly larger
I wear both bras in size 2, which is my usual lululemon size. In traditional size bras, I wear a 30D/DD. If you’re between sizes, you might be happier in a smaller size for the Serene Bra. I don’t recommend downsizing the raised bra because it’s tighter.
The straps of the free to be serene bra are slightly looser. This is a noticeable difference from my other lululemon bras. As a little girl with smaller shoulders, I always wished I could tighten the straps. I have no strap issues with the free to be lifted bra, which has a comparable strap length to my other lulu bras. I received these bras at the same time, so it’s a real difference and not a strap wear issue.
Coverage: Free to Be Elevated Bra offers more coverage
The raised bra provides much more coverage. The neckline is a little higher on the top and the cut-out is also a little narrower.
Notice there is also more coverage around the armpits and back for the raised bra. You can see from the side photos (below) that the underarm cutout is quite open on the serene bra. If you’re concerned about side and armpit coverage, you’ll want to steer clear of Serenity.
Similarly, the serene bra has a wide section at the back where the only fabric is the band and straps. In contrast, the lifted bra has extra fabric above the band running the full length of the bra.
Support: the Free to Be Elevated bra offers more support
The thickness of the band is a key difference between bras. The serene bra band measures 1″, while the high comes in at a much beefier 1.5″. Since the band provides a lot of support for the bra, it makes the raised bra much stronger.
The raised bra has an extra diagonal seam in the front, probably placed there to enhance the figure.
Overall, the Elevated Bra is significantly more compressive and supportive than the Serene Bra. For me, the lifted bra provides about the same support as the lululemon energy bra. The serene bra has a more “natural” level of support that isn’t as compressive for me.
The point where the straps separate in the back is just behind the top of the shoulder on both bras. The serene bra appears to split slightly higher, but the difference is pretty negligible. That said, the straps of the raised bra are clearly more robust, with an “anchor” strap complemented by several thinner straps, which makes it easier to maintain. The serene bra has the same number of straps, but all are narrow.
In this photo, I’ve lined up the two bras on top of each other, matching the bottom of the strips. If you look closely, you’ll see many of the differences I mentioned: the longer straps on the serene and the lower coverage. While it’s easy to miss, note that the serene is also cut to flare outward at the armpits, while the high is cut straighter from top to bottom.
Both are popular bras, but in my opinion they have very different ideal uses.
Personally, with its lower support and coverage, I only wear the serene bra for occasional, light use: travel, camping, hiking, or light work. I like to wear the elevated for things where I like a little more support, like cycling, studio fitness classes, or strength work that might involve a bit of plyometrics.
You can get both bras from the lululemon website: free to be high bra // free to be serene bra
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