Bra Style Guide
For a bra to fit badly or well, there are a whole host of different considerations. In other sections, we explain the different breast types, and the ways to check that you are wearing the correct bra size, but it’s also extremely important to choose a style of bra that works well for you and for the occasion.
Luckily, we have you covered! Take a glance at this comprehensive guide to each bra style alongside the best times to wear them, and an overwhelming wealth of bra-jargon will become complete clarity in no time at all!
Full cup bras are the queens of support, giving a smooth outline and maximum comfort while suiting pretty much every body type out there! For women with large cup sizes, a full cup bra is a particularly good choice to avoid the dreaded quad-boob effect, caused by bras with a lower level of coverage that cut into the breast tissue.
Usually complete with wider straps, full cup bras are generally associated with a more modest look, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t still be fun! Plunging or lacy styles of full cup bras are the ultimate combination of comfort and sexiness!
Looking for a bit of a boost? Wide set straps, rounding underwires and relatively low cut cups characterise the balconette bra, which is also sometimes referred to as a ‘half cup’ bra.
This type of bra is absolutely perfect for giving a sexy cleavage with a slight gap in the middle, so wear it with pride on a date night or when you’re out at a party! If your boobs have slightly less firmness, a balconette bra can cut into the breast tissue, causing some discomfort so look out for one with three-quarter coverage rather than half coverage if this is the case.
Where a balconette bra separates the breasts and boosts from the bottom, the aim of the game with the plunge bra is to push your boobs together, boosting from the centre of the cup. If you’re finding it tough to style a sexy, v-neck dress, then the plunge bra might just become your best friend with its (unsurprisingly) plunging cup and thin centre gore.
A word of warning, however, to ladies with a particularly large bust, the plunge bra can cause breast tissue to gravitate towards the centre, causing an uncomfortable gap at the sides of the bra, so a bit of experimenting might be necessary to find the perfectly fitting plunge!
Seams? What seams? The T-shirt bra is an undisputed necessity in any lingerie drawer for creating a smooth and moulded line without a seam in sight. Not just a one-trick pony, the t-shirt bra is also great for wearing underneath sheer tops, work dresses and casual outfits, with a thin layer of foam also helping to disguise nipple outlines.
At Brastop, we aim to educate, so a top tip from us to you is to wear a t-shirt bra that matches with your skin colour underneath a white top, not a white one, if you really want your bra to look invisible!
If you’ve had a read of our bra fitting guide then you’ll know that the back band of a bra should be responsible for 80% of the support and that the shoulder straps take on 20%. In that case, a strapless bra is embracing a whole heap of extra responsibility! Luckily, most strapless bra styles have a few extra tricks in their arsenal to keep them supportive and comfortable underneath clothing that requires, a low cut, strap-free design.
Particularly if you have a larger bust, look out for strapless bras that have strips of silicone along the back band for extra grip, and choose a bra featuring supportive elements such as moulded cups and strong underwires.
Not every woman benefits from wearing a bra with an underwire, particularly those who have sensitive skin, especially wide-set breasts, or those who have had breast augmentation surgery. Equally, a non-wired bra is just so comfy that we don’t blame you for wanting at least one in your wardrobe! Sometimes referred to as soft cup, the non-wired bra is generally in a full-cup design and provides structure and support without any underwires.
Of course, this lack of a wire does result in a loss of breast definition, and a non-wired bra is not the best choice for creating cleavage and uplift, but for comfort and gentle support it wins every prize!
In catering for D-K cup sizes, we are a huge fan of the side support bra style here at Brastop! This flattering bra combines the added coverage of a full cup style around the armpit with the sexiness of a plunge bra. It is perfect for larger busts due to a horizontal bone structure that pushes your boobs to the front and centre, stopping their attempt to escape east and west right in its tracks!
In eradicating the means for your boobs to gravitate towards your armpits, side support bras also showcase the added benefit of reducing breast mass, making them look smaller and more rounded.
Yoga or high jump; horseback riding or salsa, it doesn’t matter what sort of physical activity you’re participating in, a sports bra is an absolute must! Most sports bras are wire-free, gaining their support instead from a compression fabric that holds you in tightly; however wired types with more traditional cups are available if you prefer.
When buying your sports bra, there is a reliable trick for making sure that it works for you that, admittedly, might get you a few funny looks if you try it in public! This involves jumping up and down and then side to side in front of a mirror to check that your boobs don’t bounce around. If they don’t, you’re onto a winner!
Technically speaking, a maternity bra is designed to fit you comfortably during your pregnancy while a nursing bra allows you to be able to access your breasts for breastfeeding, without having to remove the entire bra. A vast number of maternity and nursing bras available combine both of these features so that it’s not necessary to purchase a new one after childbirth but it’s still worth getting several bra fittings during the pregnancy process to make sure that you are wearing the correct size bra for your changing body shape. When shopping for a maternity or nursing bra, be sure to look out for soft, non-wired cups and no seams across the nipples to keep you as comfortable as possible!