Designers create many types of bras because women have different breast sizes and shapes. The right bra will provide your breasts’ needed support, the coverage that you want, and meet your special needs in certain stages of your life and match your top perfectly. Let’s look into the features of various bra types to help you decide what you must purchase.
Different Types of Bras to Consider
Fashion continues to grow, and the same goes with the development of many clothing and accessory designs, including bras. This greatly benefits us, women, because we’re sure we’ll find something to meet our personal needs, wants, and lifestyle. However, it also led to a high number of choices that can confuse us. Fret not; discussed below are the most common and essential bra types that you need to be familiar with, and divided into four categories, namely:
General Types of Bras
Before we proceed with the specifics, let’s learn about the basic bra types since you’ll encounter these terms later. We have eight general bra types, including:
- Back Closure
- Front Closure
1. Padded Bra
Aptly named, this bra has padding, gel or foam, in its cups to ensure nipple coverage, perfect for the cold season. The pads also help add breast volume, especially for women with small or medium breasts. They can also make the breasts look fuller and rounder than normal.
2. Non-Padded Bra
If you have large breasts, non-padded bras are better for you than padded ones, as long as you’re comfortable. Since they don’t have padding, they won’t add any volume to your breasts but enhance their shape. Don’t worry about your nipples showing either; these types of bras have double layers of fabric to ensure coverage and comfort. Being lightweight, they’re comfortable to wear all day.
3. Seamless Bra
Like seamless underwear, the contour, pre-formed, or seamless bra is perfect for your tight-fitting or body-hugging tops. There are no seams visible on the outside, while it also ensures it gives you good bust coverage and support. Another good thing about seamless bras is that they have molded cups that maintain their roundness even when not worn. They’re also smooth and neatly finished, enhancing your curves.
Bandeau bras are a type of seamless bra. This type of bra goes straight across your chest, rather like a tube top.
4. Underwire Bra
These bras have thin wires, metal, or plastic under the cups that will help support, strengthen, and lift your breasts. Hence, they’re perfect for those with large or mid-sized breasts and ladies with small but saggy breasts. You’ll find that there are two types of underwire bras: banded and non-banded. Banded ones are those with an additional piece of fabric under the wired area.
5. Wireless Bra
The problem with wired or underwire bras is that some of them tend to dig into or poke your skin. This is where wireless bras excel; they sit comfortably below your busts. Breast support and lift aren’t issues since wireless bras have bands but only work well for mid-sized and small breasts.
6. Back Closure Bra
The most traditional types of bras are those with back open or closure, which means the fasteners are at the back. The fasteners are usually of the hook and eye type.
7. Front Closure Bra
The front open or closure bra is a more convenient option, especially for large bust size women, since you can quickly fasten the bra. The fastener can be a clasp, hook, or clip, meeting in the middle of your lower cleavage for it not to look out of place.
8. Pull-On Bra
Unlike the last two bra types, you won’t need to fasten anything with a pull-on bra. All you’ve to do is slip it into your body as it’s made of lace or stretchy fabric. That said, it might not work for those with large bosoms, not just because it would be challenging to put on but also because it won’t give enough support.
Types of Bras Based on Cups Differences
We all know that there are different cup sizes, but only some are familiar with the high number of cup shapes or styles. Some of the most common ones are:
- Full Cup or Full Coverage Bras
- Half Cup or Demi Cups
- Quarter Cup
- Cupless or Shelf
- Cup and Sew or Seamed Cup
1. Full Cup Bra
The full cup bra will provide complete coverage of your breasts, making it perfect for those with large breasts.
2. Half Cup or Demi Bra
On the other hand, demi cup bras will only cover the lower half of your breasts, including the nipples. They also have lower necklines to help reveal your cleavage. No matter the size of your busts, you can wear them as long as you’re comfortable with some skin being exposed. That said, these bras don’t provide enough support, so they’re best for ladies with small and firm breasts. Nonetheless, some designers incorporate bands or underwires.
3. Quarter Cup Bra
The quarter cup types of bras are more revealing than the half cup since they will cover less than half of your breasts. They are suitable for low cut tops and dresses where you want to show lots of cleavage.
4. Cupless or Shelf Bra
More of lingerie than an everyday bra, cupless types will provide little to no nipple coverage but still offer support. They’re made of some of the most luxurious fabrics like lace, tulle, silk, and satin.
5. Bullet Bra
Are you familiar with the cone-shaped bra popularized by Madonna? It’s exactly what a bullet bra is; it has a conically shaped cup. You’ll find that it has circular stitching to create its signature shape. These types of bras are more fashionable than functional and worn as is rather than under clothes.
6. Cup and Sew or Seamed Cup
Padded or non-padded, these bras don’t have molded cups. Instead, designers sew together various fabrics to create the cup. This design ensures it conforms to your breast shape.
7. T-Shirt Bra
Theis bra style can be a subcategory of seamless types of bras. They have seamless, molded, round cups, either with an underwire or band.
Types of Bras Based on Neckline
Most bras will have necklines that will fall right in the middle of your cleavage, but here are some other common types of bra necklines that you can find:
1. Half-Lined Bra
If you’re not comfortable wearing half-cup or quarter-cup bras and full-cup bras that have no flattering effect, the half-lined bra might just be ideal for you. It’s a half-cup bra but with an outer cover, making it less revealing. The cover can be in the form of lace or see-through fabric.
2. Plunge Bra
Make wearing wedding dresses, long evening gowns, or any tops with low necklines more comfortable. You don’t have to worry about your bra or nipple peeping anytime soon, thanks to plunge bras. This half-cup bra has a deep V neckline, ending a few inches below your sternum.
Types of Bras Based on Number and/or Style of Straps
Many types of tops exist, and bra straps can make or break their styles, so designers ensure you can find one that matches your top.
- Balconette or Balcony Bra
- Cage or Harness
- Halter Bra
1. Backless Bra
These types of bras make it appear like you’re not wearing one because the shoulder and back straps are all transparent. Hence, they’re also sometimes called transparent bras. They’re perfect for low-cut and backless tops or dresses. Some designers don’t use transparent back straps; instead, they design their bras with low backs. These types, though, won’t work for backless outfits.
2. Balconette Bra
From the term balcony, you can easily identify the balconette bra because of its wide straps. The top part of its short cups lay almost horizontal across your breasts, still revealing your top-most cleavage. You can find balconette bras in plunge or underwired varieties. It is perfect for those with broad necklines and when wearing clothes with square-shaped necklines or wide-neck tops.
3. Cage or Harness Bra
These types of bras have multiple thin, flat, elastic straps arranged in a criss-cross pattern at the back or front. You can wear them underneath a jacket or blazer or tops with low necklines.
4. Strapless Bra
Aptly named, strapless bras don’t have straps but usually have underwires for support. Some designers include silicon lining along the bra’s edges.
5. Convertible Bra
Convertible bras have removable straps so that you can change their styles or make them strapless.
6. Halter Neck Bra
Instead of shoulder straps, halter types of bras fasten at the nape, either by a knot, hook, or clasp, leaving your shoulders bare. Sometimes, they don’t come with a fastener, as they come as a pull-on bra.
Types of Bras Based on Specific Function
There are particular activities or events in your life that will make you feel uncomfortable when wearing your everyday bra. At times, they might even make your breasts sag. Here are some bras with specific purposes
- Beginners or Training
1. Sports Bra/Yoga Bras
These types of bras ensure sufficient breast support while you’re exercising, working out, or playing sports. They also have excellent breathability or moisture-wicking features to ensure you don’t overheat. You’ll find three types:
- Compression: As the name suggests, this sports bra will compress your breasts to minimize movement.
- Encapsulation: Perfect for high-intensity workouts or activities, this bra has separate cups.
2. Beginners or Training Bra
Teens starting to grow their breasts wear these slip-on or pull-on types of bras to help them get used to wearing regular bras. These are lightweight and comfortable.
3. Maternity Bra/Pregnancy Bra
A pregnant woman’s breasts will continue to grow, so you need a bra that can support this stage. It’s made of fabric that will do so and has wide underbust and back bands.
4. Nursing Bra
After childbirth comes breastfeeding, so you need a bra that will help make the process more convenient for you and your baby. Nursing bras have flaps that you can close and open quickly to expose your nipple. The fabric used is also skin-friendly.
5. Medical Bra
Medical types of bras are designed for individuals who’ve undergone breast surgery. That includes mastectomy, augmentation, and breast reduction.
6. Minimizer Bra
The minimizer bra is a godsend for ladies who want to make their breasts look a little smaller than usual. It has full cups that help give your breasts a smaller silhouette and wide straps for sufficient comfort and support.
7. Push-Up Bra
On the other hand, the push-up bra helps make breasts look larger than normal by pushing them upwards and inwards. With extra paddings in the cups’ undersides, this bra also helps lift your breasts.
8. Sleep Bra
Some women sleep without their bras, but there are sleep or leisure bras that you can wear while you sleep. They’re soft and lightweight without any underwires.
Choosing the Types of Bras for Your Needs
Who would’ve thought many types of bras existed? In fact, the ones we listed are just a few of them. Whichever bras you choose, make sure you select the right size, as the wrong size can affect your posture and overall comfort. Coverage is also important, but it's more of personal preference.