Another key to buying bras online, to be confident when bra shopping, is knowing different bra types.
Truthfully, especially if you are new at gaining knowledge of bras, no one needs to know all these types. If you can nail down a couple of bra types that work well for you, stick to them.
When you become a bit more seasoned and if your interest spikes in learning more, then sure, play around. But most ladies want a couple of bras that fit well and then not think about them until they need replacing.
Use our handy list to learn the names of different types of bras.
This is what most people think of as your standard cut bra. It shows some skin but isn’t particularly low cut. It covers the lower part of your breasts but exposes the upper part; beware if you have full on top boobs! The centre gore is a little low. This bra type separates your breasts instead of bringing them together. Balconette bras come in both basic and fancy fabrics. It has an underwire and is available in a wide range of sizes.
Bralettes are wireless and generally seen as more fashionable than practical. These bras are less structured than most bras and made of soft, stretchy materials. Bralettes have become popular during the pandemic, because, if you don’t have to, why wear a wire all the time? Traditionally, bralettes focused on smaller cup sizes but several companies produce great options up to a K cup. Many women enjoy bralettes as a sleep bra. They also perform well when your breasts are in flux due to nursing, health issues, etc.
This type of bra is often referred to as t-shirt bras and are one of the most popular bras sold. Contour bras are designed to disappear under thin fabrics because of their seamless, round, cups. Moulded bras have smooth cups and often have padding built in. They generally create a rounder shape and are ideal for a smooth, formatted look without bulk. A great silhouette bra.
A demi bra is a lower cut bra that is a classic. It’s great under lower necklines when you don’t want a full plunge bra. A demi bra cup cuts straight across the bust, holding half the breast. The cups often have vertical seams to create shape. Like a full cup bra, it most often has wide set straps. A versatile bra type that works under a wide range of clothes. Ideal to have at least one of these in your bra wardrobe.
Full cup bras are cut higher than other types of bras with straps set closer together. They provide a high degree of support for people who wear larger cup sizes. Side panels contain, lift, and bring your breasts forward. Ideal for most women from an average bra size and up, but loved by the plus size bra shopper. This is probably the most common everyday bra especially for a full bust.
A halter bra often features straps that can be worn different ways, including strapless. These bras can become halter bras or cross strap bras. They’re perfect for summer outfits when you want to get a lot of use out of one bra.
Longline bras take most of their inspiration from vintage lingerie looks. Called a longline because band that comes down over your ribs. Often made with beautiful designs, women find them to be exceptionally comfortable lingerie.
Mastectomy bras are specially made bras for women who have had a mastectomy or had their breasts removed. These bras have inner pockets breast prosthesis, often called cookies, to give the wearer the shape of a breast. These bras also focus on soft fabrics and are often wireless.
These bras and their prosthesis are often covered by health insurance.
There are so many pretty and practical nursing bras out there for new mothers! Maternity bras are often worn during the pregnancy to allow for changes to your breasts. Nursing bras are made for nursing life. They are made with drop cups for easy access to your breasts for feeding, light padding in the cup to prevent leakage, and soft fabrics to avoid chafing. Brands like Cake Maternity, Elle MacPherson, Hot Milk, and Royce, focus on comfortable fabrics and flexible underwires. Many women wear these bras outside of nursing due to their comfort.
Minimizer bras are designed to flatten and separate the breasts to be as unobtrusive as possible. As the name says, these bras types work to create the impression of a smaller breast size beneath your clothing. You’ll usually look about a cup smaller. These are great for work blouses or in other situations where you don’t want to think about your underwear.
Plunge bras are one of the lowest cut bras, but don’t lack support. There are many incredibly supportive plunge bras out there. These bras feature low, narrow, gores and deep v-neck cuts. The cups are more triangle than round. These bras work well for wide set breasts as a plunge bra excels at bringing your bust together. Padding is common along the lower part of the cups, but not always.
Pushup bras are designed to push the breasts up for more lift. They are shaped like a demi or plunge bra but padded to pushup your breasts.
We might connect these bras with only creating lots of cleavage. but they are also built into most quality plus size bras and do an excellent job of creating a flattering silhouette under clothing.
Spacer bras are the lightweight version of the t-shirt bra. They’re made with spacer fabric (3D knitted fabric to create airflow) to create an extra light, thin, and breathable fabric. It is also incredibly smooth. Spacer bras are the product of incredible modern fabric engineering.
Sports bras come in two styles: Encapsulation and Compression.
Encapsulation sports bras have compartments to encapsulate the breasts. The idea is to keep them apart and supported. This sports bra usually has an underwire and is often preferred by full bust women.
Compression based bras strap the tissue down against your body so it can’t move. This type of sports bra is often marketed to the small bust. These bras often come in a wireless form.
Sports bras are also designed for a wide variety of intensity levels. A bra you wear for Yoga might not be suitable for running or horse back riding.
Most people have a strong preference for one or the other, so you may want to try one of each type to see how you feel about it.
Many women love the support of a sports bra that they often wear it in many circumstances. Don’t let the title confine how you might use it.
The key feature of the strapless bra is in the title, it can be worn strapless. We say “can” because most strapless bras bring straps with them that you can remove when needed.
The straps can be used in different forms; traditional strap formation to criss-cross. This makes a strapless bra a versatile bra type.
If you are full busted and need a plus size strapless bra, spend a little more to make sure you get the quality you need. Nothing worse than being at an event, with a beautiful off the shoulder top or dress, and your bra is not holding you up.
The support for a strapless bra comes from the band, so get something snug. Also, a silicone band edge will also do wonders to improve the hold and stability of the bra.
If you can, it is always recommended you test a strapless bra at a bra store with the clothes you expect to wear it with.
Once you start browsing for bras online you’ll see that many of these categories overlap!
You can have a demi cut spacer bra or a plunge bra with a pushup or a maternity bralette.
This list should help you decode those listings, so you know what you’re actually looking at.