The Viral Bra: A Theory on the Irresistibility of Katie Holmes’s Cashmere “Bradigan”

katie holmes KHAITE man repeller

Last week, an image of Katie Holmes hailing a cab in New York City went viral. Not because of the graceful arc of her raised arm, or her very even-looking tan, though either could and probably would have been Daily Mail caption fodder had it not been for the thing that overshadowed both: an oatmeal-colored knit bra and matching sweater from Khaite, a New York-based brand getting a lot of attention lately.

The bra/sweater combo are made of baby-soft cashmere and the pieces retail for a cool $520 and $1,540, respectively. (Overcome with emotion upon processing this, I went so far as to conduct a cost-per-wear analysis on the spot—if you’re interested in a list of places you might conceivably wear a cashmere bra, I am happy to share the slightly delusional findings.)

Images of this now-iconic duo popped up in my feed all weekend long, including those of Harper’s Bazaar, The Cut, Gilt, Who What Wear, Kirna Zabête, Camille Charriere, Emily Ferber, and Marie Claire. The comments under each post were a breed of pure enthusiasm I can only compare to a room of 10,000 golden retriever puppy tails wagging:

Photo via LRNYC/MEGA.


“Must admit, I now want a fn cashmere bra”

“New life goal: become a cashmere bra peer pressurer”

“I never knew I needed a cashmere bra until now”

“I’m tryna look this good and cozy at the same time”

“This outfit gets better every time I see it”

I could have written the last comment—each time the outfit appeared underneath my scrolling thumbs (roughly a dozen times) I re-experienced the thrill I felt upon first witnessing its glory. But why? What the hell is it about this photo, and this person, and this cashmere coupling that shook the internet?

Some theories: The outfit is a rare and therefore sacred example of transitional weather dressing (what spans the late summer and early fall seasons more readily than a cashmere bra, pray tell?).

The way Holmes is posed in the photos is, to use social-media parlance, a mood. She’s hailing a cab, looking slightly bothered but mostly self-assured, and the sweater is dipping just so beneath her shoulder to reveal an even tan and the matching bra underneath. Do you think she knew she was going to break the internet that day? It’s a work of art. Really.

Adding to the already potent cocktail of fashion thirst traps is the recent news that Katie and her partner of six years, Jamie Foxx, have parted ways. As such, the outfit has been memorialized by outlets and commenters alike as the ultimate post-breakup ensemble. “Eat your heart out, Jamie Foxx!,” wrote one commenter under Khaite’s Instagram. “The Best Way to Get Over a Breakup is a $520 Cashmere Bra,” echoed The Cut.

Isn’t this what we all aspire to in the aftermath of a relationship? Looking so good, and confident, and especially iconic that we feel it, too? If I had to guess, which I don’t, but I will, therein lies the secret sauce. We all love the photo because we have, at some point, aspired to luxuriate in the exact type of moment Holmes was in when this photo was taken. It is the world’s most effortless-seeming revenge virality, point-blank.

The bra and sweater (or “bradigan,” as The Telegraph astutely dubbed the duo) are currently sold out, and either way, it would have been a massive miss to not scope out alternatives. For starters, I found this cashmere bra and cardigan from Naked Cashmere. But first—is this ensemble really something we all need? Or is it simply a rebound worthy of a slow clap? Let’s discuss.

Feature photo via Khaite.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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