Bra Buying Guide
Bra Styles 101
Types of Bras
Bra Buying Tips:
• Bra styles range from thick seamed to seamless to suit different looks and support needs
• Make sure your breasts don’t overflow or gape in your bra cups
• Your bra should fit snugly, not tightly, against your body
• Buy bras that suit your wardrobe
• Have enough bras to wear a different one every day of the week
• Consider going up a size when buying a strapless bra
• Buy bras that suit both your personal style and your functional requirements
• Replace your bras every 6 months
Bandeau bras are made from super stretchy fabrics like nylon, spandex and viscose to fit snugly against the body without fasteners or straps. While this style of bra may have some extra padding for support, there are no straps or underwire for shaping or lifting. Bandeau bras are ideal as a layering piece under cut-out tops, and often come in bright colours with patterns or lace, since they’re made to be shown, not hidden.
Sometimes called a longline bra, a bustier has adjustable straps and underwire like other bras. What distinguishes the bustier is a lower band of material that covers part of your torso for extra support and a smooth silhouette. A bustier is a good option for women with large cup sizes as it provides extra support lower on the body to take the pressure off your shoulders.
Bra Straps +
Bras have a band underneath the cups with an adjustable hook closure and adjustable shoulder straps, so you get a perfect fit. As they’re worn every day, bras stretch out faster than most other clothes, so the adjustable bra straps ensure you still get a close fit even after months of wear.
Contoured Cups +
Some bras have contoured foam or gel cups that mould themselves to your breasts for a smooth and seamless silhouette. Because of the extra cup padding, contoured bras hold their shape better than other bras with fabric cups.
A corset is most commonly worn under wedding gowns because it provides support without straps. It also covers the torso and waist for a slimming silhouette without seams.
Cup Size +
Bra sizes are guided by cup size, which can range from A to N. Bra cup sizes refer to the measurement across and underneath your breasts; to get the right size, you need to measure both. If your breasts overflow your cups, your bra cup size is too small. Conversely, if you have gaping cups, the cup size is too large. Bra cups can be lined or unlined, reinforced with underwire or wireless, and packed with extra padding or made from thin fabric. The features you choose will help you achieve the look you prefer and the functional support you need.
Demi-cup bras have a lower cupline than other bras, so you can wear low-cut tops and dresses without worrying that your bra will be visible. Demi-cup bras can also have padding and underwire to provide lift and support.
Fasteners and Closures +
Most bras have hook fasteners with three adjustments so you can maintain a close fit even as the bra stretches with wear. The closures can be at the front or the back of the bra. Sports bras and bandeaus don’t usually have fasteners, but their stretch fabric lets you pull them on easily over your head. T-back and racerback-style bras are available with and without fasteners. On some bras, the fasteners and closures are positioned low on the back to keep them out of sight when worn under backless shirts and dresses.
When you need extra support or coverage, a full-cup bra fully conceals the breast without enhancing or exposing cleavage like push-up bras. For women with large breasts, full-cup bras can also have thicker straps to provide comfortable support that doesn’t dig into your shoulders.
Lingerie Sets +
Matching bras and panties can be purchased in sets. This allows you to easily coordinate your underwear and to choose matching sets to be worn as lingerie on special occasions.
Mastectomy Bra +
Mastectomy bras come with a cup pocket to fit breast prosthesis for women who have had one or both breasts removed. These bras are specially designed to help make the healing process more comfortable.
Bras are generally made from a soft, stretchable fabric that conforms to the body and is comfortable enough to wear all day. Sexy bras like lace bras and sheer bras feature see-through fabrics like satin or silk that can be worn every day and on special occasions as lingerie. Sports bras are made from breathable cotton and innovative fabrics that wick sweat away from the body to keep you cool and avoid chaffing during workouts.
Padded Cups +
Ideal for women with small busts, or if you want to add a little extra oomph to your look, padded bras have cups with foam, gel or rubber lining to make breasts appear larger. Padded bras also have underwire to lift and support your bust. The extra padding can be removed for easy washing and to ensure that the bra retains its shape.
Plunge Bra +
Plunge bras have lower-cut cups, bands and necklines so you can wear deep v-neck tops without your bra showing. Plunge bras also have underwire and padding for support and to add cleavage when wearing a low-cut top.
Shelf Bra +
Also knows as a quarter-cup bra, a shelf bra has underwire and a very small cup to lift and expose the breasts. Shelf bras can also describe built-in bras in camisole and tank tops that give you support without having to wear a strapless bra.
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Bra Care Tips:
• Do not iron your bras
• Hang your bras to dry vs. tumble drying them
• Hand wash your delicates to avoid damage and make them last longer
• Remove any extra padding in your bras before washing
• Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for care and cleaning