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Types of Bra or Brassieres

28 different types of bra - a complete list of commonly used bra names

Bra or Brassiere is a type of lingerie worn by preteen, teens, girls and women which covers, supports and elevates the breasts, and also shapes the wearer’s figure. The degree of which the bra frames the breasts varies between style, functionality, fashion, and fabric.There are different shape bras that are suitable for different body shapes and breast shapes, and also for different occasions.The brassiere is essential to obtain the perfect figure lines called for by the prevailing fashions.

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Manufacturers produce an extremely wide variety of brassieres (commonly called as ‘Bra’) today that serve a variety of purposes. Bras can enhance the perceived shape of a woman’s breasts, minimize or enlarge her perceived breast size, restrain breast movement during an activity such as exercise, enhance her cleavage, conceal her nipples, overcome sagging, serve prosthetic purposes, or facilitate nursing, thus different types of bras are used.

Most bras are designed to be form-fitting, to lift the breasts off the chest wall if they sag, and to restrain their movement.

Bra Anatomy and its Size

Bra Categories

Bras are broadly classified into following major categories or identified with the following names.

Adhesive Bra
Adhesive Bra

Adhesive Bra

Adhesive brassieres are bras which adhere to the breasts. It has no straps or bands of any sort and provides little support to the breasts. This type of bra is intended for backless and strapless fashions. There are two types. There are the disposable paper ones that use a strong adhesive and the reusable ones that use silicone that can be washed and reused.

Bridal Bra Corset
Bridal Bra Corset

Bridal Bra/Corset

A bridal bra/corset brassieres mold and shape the upper body into the desired shape to fit the wedding dress. In addition to that, it promotes good posture and can be more comfortable as the weight of the breasts is carried by the whole corset rather than the brassiere’s shoulder straps.

Built-in Bra
Built-in Bra

Built-in Bra

Supportive brassiere-like structures on the inside of another garment, such as a swimsuit or tank top, which provide support for the bust without the need for a separate bra. In most such garments, these built-ins consist of a horizontal elastic strip, although some do have cups and underwires as with other bra types. In some cases, these may easily be removed, if desired.

Convertible Bra
Convertible Bra

Convertible Bra

Convertible brassieres have straps which may be detached and rearranged in different ways depending on the outfit. Alternatives to regular straps for strapless bras are beaded bra straps or clear plastic bra straps that provide support and style.

Demi Bra
Demi Bra

Demi Bra

A half-cup brassieres style with wide-set straps and a horizontal bust line. Often seamed or boned, they give great cleavage and a frame-like effect. These offer less support but enable low cut garments to be worn without the bra being seen. Demi bras may be designed to provide lift as do push-up bras.

Front Closure Bra
Front Closure Bra

Front Closure Bra

Front Closure bras are brassieres that have closures, usually hooks and eyes, on the front rather than at the back. These bras lie completely flat on the back under clothing. Some features of a racerback style back which is great for wear with tank tops and for lending a no-slip effect to the straps.

Mastectomy Bra
Mastectomy Bra

Mastectomy Bra

Mastectomy brassieres are designed so that a prosthesis may be held in place and are intended for individuals who have lost one or both breasts in mastectomy treatment for breast cancer.

Maternity Bra
Maternity Bra

Maternity Bra

Maternity brassieres are designed such that they can be expanded to adjust as the breasts increase in size over the course of a pregnancy.

Novelty Bra
Novelty Bra

Novelty Bra

Novelty brassieres are Designed more for show and sensuality than for function. They may include unusual materials, such as leather, coconuts or be unusual in design.

Nursing Bra
Nursing Bra

Nursing Bra

Nursing brassieres are designed to help make breastfeeding simpler by allowing the baby easy access to the nipple. Traditionally, the cups of nursing bras are covered with flaps of fabric that can be unclasped at the top and pulled down to expose the breast.

Padded Bra
Padded Bra

Padded Bra

Padded brassieres are with padding inside the lining. They are designed to provide a fuller shape for small breasts and are an alternative to bra stuffing, a practice among teenage girls in which ‘falsies’ like tissues, sugar packets, cotton balls, or socks are placed inside a bra to simulate larger breasts. Unlike push-up bras, however, most padded bras support the breasts but do not significantly lift them.

Push-up Bra
Push-up Bra

Push-up Bra

Push-up brassieres are structured in a way that the breasts are lifted and placed closer together to enhance the cleavage. The best-known brand of push-up bra is the Wonderbra. Many push-up bras contain padding, typically made of foam or rubber, but some contain gel-filled pads. The main distinction between padded bras and push-up bras that incorporate padding is whether the padding is centered under each breast to simply lift them, or is centered outside the center of each breast such that the padding pushes the breasts inwards.

Racerback Bra
Racerback Bra

Racerback Bra

Racerback brassieres have shoulder straps that come over the shoulder in a V pattern very close to the neck. This design is sometimes worn under strapless dresses or tops where traditional straps would be very obviously exposed. Many Sports bras use the racerback.

Shelf Bra
Shelf Bra

Shelf Bra

Shelf brassieres essentially are a rigid band, usually underwires, along with the inframammary line that pushes up while covering none, or only a narrow strip, of the breast.

Sports Bra
Sports Bra

Sports Bra

Sports brassieres provide firm support for the breast and are meant to prevent discomfort or embarrassment during vigorous exercise.

T-shirt Bra
T-shirt Bra

T-shirt Bra

T-shirt brassieres are designed without raised seams, so that a tight t-shirt may be worn without the bra being visible. These often have padded cups to conceal nipples and to provide a smooth line under t-shirts.

Trainer Bra
Trainer Bra

Trainer Bra

Trainer brassieres are designed for young girls who have begun to develop breasts but have yet to be considered ‘developed’ enough to allow for a standard-sized bra to fit properly. They are of simple construction and offer very little support.

U-plunge Bra
U-plunge Bra

U-plunge Bra

U-plunge brassieres allow you to wear clothes that have a deep plunging neckline.

Water Bra
Water Bra

Water Bra

Water brassieres are bras which have water or silicone gel-filled cups to make your breasts look larger.

Vintage Bra
Vintage Bra

Vintage Bra

Vintage brassieres are a type of full support bra with cups in the shape of a paraboloid of revolution with its axis perpendicular to the breast. Invented in the late 1940s, they were still being sold well into the 1960s.

Peephole Bra
Peephole Bra

Peephole Bras

Peephole brassieres are the type of bra that has cups loosely covering the breasts, which also includes holes around the nipples.

Minimizer Bra
Minimizer Bra

Minimizer Bra

Minimizer brassieres designed to play down the bust, in particular for women with cups of 34C and above. Minimizers, by compressing and shaping the breasts, help to create the illusion of being a cup size or two smaller and are often more comfortable.

Belly Dance Bra
Belly Dance Bra

Belly Dance Bra

It is commonly assumed that a belly dancing brassier size is the same as a normal bra size. This is not necessarily so. For instance, if you normally use a size 32C you may well find that a 34B will fit quite comfortably with a few minor adjustments to latch settings since most belly dancing bras are designed to cover very well.

Full Cup Bra
Full Cup Bra

Full Cup Bra

Lingerie manufacturers don’t always agree on what makes a full cup, but a full cup brassiere is generally one where the cups cover the entire breast.

Balconette Bra
Balconette Bra

Balconette Bra

A balconette brassiere is a sexy style of bra with a low neckline that goes straight across the bust. It has wide-set straps with a square neckline. The cups are seamed to push the bust upwards to give a shelf like an appearance similar to the look created by a corset.

Moulded Bra
Moulded Bra

Moulded Bra

The molded brassiere is called so because the cup is molded from a single piece of foam or fabric – so that it’s seamless.

Strapless Bra
Strapless Bra

Strapless Bra

Indispensable under tricky tops, a strapless brassiere deserves a place in every wardrobe. It’s important to get the tension right: too loose, and it won’t give enough support; too tight and it will pull itself down the ribcage.

Half Cup Bra
Half Cup Bra

Half Cup Bra

Lingerie manufacturers do not always agree on what makes a half cup brassiere but as a general rule, it’s one where the cup stops just above the nipple. It is generally more suitable for a smaller cup but larger cup brands are becoming increasingly skilled at creating supportive bras that give a good impression of a half cup