Ah, the bra. This icon of femininity is no longer simply a functional piece of clothing. The science of the bra has progressed incredibly, providing us with amazing support and exceptional comfort that comes in all shapes, sizes, fabrics, and fashions.
Today we discuss the various bra types that are on the market. They range from the flashy to the functional, from supportive to sexy, from novelty to nursing. Some you are likely aware of. Others may be all new to you. So take a walk with us through the wonderful world of the brassiere. You might just end up a little more bra-savvy than when you started.
- The training bra is designed for young girls whose breasts are just beginning to develop. It doesn’t generally come with underwire support and is much smaller than regular cup sizes. It simply provides a small amount of support while girls get used to wearing a bra.
- The full-cup bra covers most of the breasts and is a practical, every-day bra. This bra is especially good for women with larger breasts, as it provides a lot of support and comfort.
- The demi-cup bra is a half-cup style and covers just over the nipples. It can be worn by all sizes of breasts and works well with shirts or dresses that have deeper necklines.
- The underwired bra has a wire that circles the bottom half of the breast. The wire provides support and helps to maintain the shape of the bra, but some women find underwire bras uncomfortable.
- The soft-cup bra is the alternative to underwire, and relies instead on a strong band for support. Many women prefer the comfort of the soft-cup bra.
- The strapless bra has no shoulder straps so it works well with shirts and dresses that reveal the shoulders.
- The racer-back bra uses a V shaped pattern for the shoulder straps in the back. The straps lie close to the neck, making it a better fit under certain shirts and dresses.
- The sports bra is specifically created for women who are physically active. They are supportive and comfortable even during the most rigorous exercise, as they fit snugly and hold the breasts in place.
- The maternity bra is adjustable as a woman’s breasts change in size and weight throughout pregnancy. It expands to accommodate breast development and sensitivity.
- The nursing bra was created to make breast feeding easier. Traditional bras aren’t exactly accommodating to the feeding process, whereas nursing bras are made with flaps that can easily be removed.
- The mastectomy bra was designed for women who have had one or both breasts removed due to cancer. The bra has special cups to hold breast prostheses, providing the appearance of natural breasts.
- The padded bra is a traditional bra with a little extra padding in the cup linings. This gives the appearance of slightly larger or fuller breasts.
- The push-up bra is designed for maximum cleavage enhancement. It has a unique structure with considerable padding designed to push the breasts up and together. Sometimes the padding is included in the lining, and in other cases, silicone or water inserts can be inserted.
- The minimizer bra is specifically for women with a very large bust – generally over 34C. The minimizer bra compresses and shapes the breasts, not only making the breasts appear smaller, but also providing greater comfort and support.
- The bridal bra is a corset that shapes the waist to fit into a wedding gown. This bra style promotes good posture and provides comfortable support for the breasts.
- The shelf bra is little more than a band that runs beneath the breasts, covering little to none of the breasts. This bra provides no support, and is more of a sexual clothing item.
- The peephole bra is also worn in sexual settings. While it does cover much of the breasts, the peephole bra features holes that expose the nipples.
- The cupless bra is a third style. It is essentially a brassiere frame with no cups, which allows the nipples to be displayed prominently.
- The novelty bra is the final bra style that is more for show than function. Novelty bras are often part of a costume and are made of unique materials like shells or coconuts.
The “New Fangled”
- The convertible bra is a handy bra to have in your wardrobe, as the straps can be detached and rearranged to fit the style or cut of your outfit. Some convertible bras also come with transparent straps.
- The built-in bra comes sewn into the structure of a shirt or dress. They provide a measure of support – most often with an elastic band, but occasionally with a full underwire frame.
- The t-shirt bra is designed for invisibility. It is created without any raised seams so that when a woman wears a tight shirt, the garment sits smoothly without visible bra lines.
- The u-plunge bra is a clever creation that provides excellent support even while wearing a deep plunging neckline. The u-plunge style connects low on the chest, making it invisible even with extremely low necklines.
- The adhesive bra uses no straps or bands, so it really doesn’t provide support. It is meant to be worn with backless outfits. Some adhesive bras are made of paper, and are disposable after one use. Others are made of silicone and can be washed and reused. Both use a strong adhesive to attach to the breasts.
Picking the Right Bra
Choosing the right bra can be difficult. It’s important to have not only a selection of bras that fit correctly, but bras fitted to the right uses as well. If you are a regular jogger or athlete, it’s important to have sports bras that provide sufficient support for your various activities. An expectant mother should purchase a variety of nursing bras if she plans to breastfeed.
Breasts also change over time, so it’s a good idea to have a bra fitting every few years. Many lingerie stores offer help with measuring bra size, and this can provide you with a more accurate fit than trying to measure yourself. If you’ve never had a bra fitting, you might be surprised to find that you’ve been wearing the wrong size for years.
Wearing the wrong fit can be uncomfortable, but it can also cause more serious problems like backaches. So it’s smart to get an accurate bra size measuring before buying any new bras.