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Bra types and terminology

There are many different types of bras available, and quite often a style will have more than one name. Read below for our guide to different bra types.

Adjustable Strap Bra

An adjustable strap bra or multiway bra can be worn under a variety of outfits. They are made up of the main bra body, and two detachable straps that can be done up in different ways. Adjustable strap bras are the perfect lingerie choice under halter-tops, cross back dresses, low back dresses and strapless dresses. However it is important to note that they are not quite as supportive as proper strapless bras, so large busted women may be better investing in a purpose made plus size strapless bra for strapless outfits.

Back Fastening Bra

Back fastening bras are done up at the back, with a hook and eye fastening. This is the most common style of bra, and the fastening is more discreet under clothing than front fastening bras.

Balcony Bra (also known as the half cup bra, open bra or demi bra)

A balcony bra covers just over half of the breast and creates a squarer neckline. They appear to lift the bust – similar to the look created by an under-bust corset, and create an attractive enhanced cleavage. Balcony bras are suitable for women with a small to medium bust. They are not generally supportive enough for women who require bras in plus sizes.

Balconette Bra (also known as the three quarter cup bra)

A balconette bra covers three quarters of the bust and is cut in a V-shape. They are extremely comfortable to wear for women with medium, large and extra large busts.

Front Fastening (also known as a front close bra)

A front fastening bra is done up at the front. The front fastening is located in the centre of the bra and can consist of a hook and eye or a zip.

Full Cup Bra

A full cup bra covers all of the breast tissue, and is the most supportive bra available.

Longline Bra

Longline bras are shapewear for the top half of the body. They cover the breasts and most of the abdomen and create a smooth and attractive silhouette.

Mastectomy Bra (also known as post surgery bra)

A mastectomy bra is designed for women who have had one or both breasts removed. They contain a pocket to hold the prosthesis. Many women who have had a mastectomy find that they do not need a special bra however and are more comfortable in an ordinary non-wired bra.

Maternity Bra

A maternity bra is designed with additional support; a wider band and fuller breast coverage for wear during pregnancy.

Midi Line Bra

The midi line bra is similar to the longline bra in that it covers a part of the abdomen directly underneath the breast. The difference between these two is that the midi line bra does not extend as far down the torso. The midi and long line bras are ideal for women who want additional support and shaping from their lingerie in order to create a smooth streamlined silhouette.

Non wired Bra

A non-wired bra is designed without under wire. This bra type is often considered more comfortable and is ideal for use by women who are breastfeeding or who have had surgery.

Nursing Bra

A nursing bra is designed to be comfortable and supportive and allow a mother to easily feed her baby. Common nursing bra styles include bras with shoulder strap fastenings and bras with front feeding flaps.

Plus Size Bra (also known as a full figure bra)

A plus size bra is any bra in a size D cup or above. Plus size bras are designed to give extra support and coverage to breasts and come in a range of styles include full cup, three quarter cup, longline, wired and non-wired.

Shelf Bra (also known as the quarter cup bra)

A shelf bra covers only a quarter of the breast and is designed to show off the breast rather than support it.

Underwired Bra (also known as the wired bra)

An underwired bra contains a C shape

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