Types of Bra Designs
There are several designs of brassieres, depending on a number of factors such as your body type, the setting, the type of outer garment you wish to wear, the comfort or support you desire and so on.
This leads to bras that differ in shape, functionality, fabric, color, class, breast coverage and so on. While most bras are made for basic support and comfort, a good number of other designs are essentially lingerie, realizing sexual appeal.
While bra sizing is somewhat regionally standardized, there lacks a standardized criterion for bra type categorization and thus the list of bra types can be endless.
(i) Full-figure bras
These are also referred to as full-support, full-coverage or plus size and they are designed to provide optimal coverage and support to large breasts. They are suitable for those with big busts or the plus size and the best full figure bras typically feature a rigid underwire and other supportive materials.
(ii) Backless bras
Also called adhesives, are stick-on bras normally made of sticky material such as polyurethane or silicone that attaches to your boobs. The bra pair can be in separate pieces or conjoined.
Some backless bras have shoulder and/or waist straps, eg JUST BEHAVIOR Low Back Converter Bra and so they don’t need to have the nipple adhesive. For the sticky bras, the adhesive has limited reuse times before it starts to fail.
Most backless bras for nipple coverage do not provide much support to your boobs and they are an alternative when you can’t wear a strapped or strapless bra and still don’t want to go braless altogether.
(iii) Strapless bras
Instead of the usual shoulder straps, the best strapless bras use other means to support your boobs and hold in place.
These include a wider and stronger band, a longer and studier underwire, silicone padding for the cups, side boning and so on. It is the preferred choice of bra for bare-shoulder outfits and other outer garments with a wide neck.
(iv) Underwired bras
Underwire is a thin and curved strip of material (metal, resin, plastic, etc) sewn into the bra under channel, from the center band to the armpits.
It is meant to enhance the cup shapes and support to the breasts. Undewire is a contemporary design and the best wireless or no underwire bras have been the popular designs traditionally.
(v) Maternity bras
These are full cup bras worn during pregnancy. Their shoulder straps are wider for maximum support and they use soft non-irritable fabric. Their cups may also be adjustable to expand as the breasts enlarge during pregnancy.
(vi) Nursing bra
These are meant for breastfeeding and like maternity bras, they have full breast cups, wider shoulder straps, and soft fabric.
They are meant to support the enlarged breasts during breastfeeding and they also feature clipped flaps that can be folded to expose the nipples.
(vii) Sports bra
These are adapted to your sweaty activities, such as rigid support and minimal to zero breast movement, stretchable and moisture-wicking fabric.
Also referred to as shelf or balcony bras, they lift your breasts to accentuate their shape and appearance as well as the cleavage. This bra is not full coverage, and thus from above, the breasts appear like balconies because the bra is not visible from above.
(ix) Shelf bra
This is also referred to as a half-cup, open-cup or cupless bra and it is an underwired bra designed to minimally cover the breasts while supporting their underside and pushing them upward.
They don’t cover the nipples and they may be built-in or detached.
This is a strapless band of cloth that is wrapped around the breasts. It is more applicable to those with a small bust and only provides minimal shaping and support. It’s similar to but smaller than a tube top.
(xi) Tube top
Like the bandeau, a tube top is a strapless and sleeveless garment that covers a woman’s upper torso.
(xii) Convertible / multiway bra
This brassiere features detachable straps as well as different arrangements for fastening the straps, such as over the shoulder, halter, criss-cross, one shoulder and so on.
(xiii) Bridal bra
This is meant for your wedding day and it can be strapless, sticky and may also be laced to enhance sexiness.
(xiv) Built-in bras
These bras are built into the outer garment, and this is common with swimsuits and tank tops. They can be in different designs, such as a bandeau, underwire or wireless cups, and some are even detachable.
(xv) Bullet bra
In this brassiere, the cups are shaped like decorated paraboloids centered around the nipples. Popular in the 1940s, they have found a comeback and have been modernized in the last couple decades.
(xvi) Push-up bra
This is a trendy bra meant to create the impression of a fuller cleavage. The cups are angled and padded to push your boobs upwards and inwards, thus revealing a sexy cleavage.