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Welcome to the Bra Glossary. In this section, you can learn more about brassieres from our definitions.
Back Wings : back wings are the strips of fabric that extend from the outer base of the cups, around the wearers sides, and latch in the back. Some manufactures utilize basic back wings and others take great care with decoration and styling.
Balconette Bras :
Balconette also often referenced as a demi cup bra. However, the
balconette typically has a little less coverage then a demi cup bra. A
true balconette cup will be cut horizontally just above the bust line and
give ones breast the look of fullness and uplift. A balconette cup often
has some padding to enhance bust size appearance. Here is an interesting
piece of history for the term. The name balconette originated because men
in the balcony of a theater had been looking down upon women (trying to
catch a sneak peak). A balconette bra could not be seen as easily from
Center Gore : The center gore is the piece of fabric that joins the wearer's bra cups together at the front. The center gore should always lie flat against the breastbone. If the center gore does not lie flat, the bra will not fit as well as it should. When looking for "support", you may want to go with a non-stretch center gore. Some center gores are made with stretch fabric and others with non-stretch fabric.
: Contour cups are used in bras to help hold their shape, even when the
bra is not being worn. This type of bra cup has an underwire and a foam
lining molded into a specific shape (foam or some other type of material).
Contour cups are beneficial for women that are wishing to obtain a more
sculpted silhouette. The contour cups offer the appearance of a
symmetrical breast shape. Although the contour cup has padding, it is not
typically worn for the sole purpose of padding (increasing the size
appearance) of the chest. The concept of the contour bra is to add
definition and a smooth shape to the breast to help eliminate uneven
appearance from nipple contours etc.
/ Bra Components
: in the fashion industry, findings are
also called trimming or components. In regard to bras and lingerie,
findings refer to the plastic or metal hardware found on the bras.
Findings may actually come in other materials then plastic or metal as
well. Findings may include rings, slide closures, and clasps of
various styles. Findings are often dyed to match the garment.
However, they can be in contrast colors such as gold, silver, etc. as
Full Cup Bra : The full cup bra is designed so that fabric covers the majority of your breasts. This type of bra provides good support and is aimed at assisting with the comfort of women with naturally large cup sizes. In addition to providing more coverage, full cup bras are designed to provide more support then bras such as demi cup bras. The full cup bra would typically not cause a crease or lines along the top of the breast. They are not guaranteed to prevent creases, but they should help.
Inner Sling : The inner sling is a curved strip of fabric in underwire bras that mimics the line of the underwire. This fabric is usually made of non-stretch material and typically rises no more than half the height of the cup itself. The inner sling is utilized to offer additional support. An inner sling provides a taut, invisible shelf that supports the weight of the wearer's breast.
Lined Cups : Lined cups provide additional support and added opaqueness to the bra cup.
Maternity Bras : maternity bras are typically made for comfort. They use breathable and soft fabrics. The goal is to prevent irritation.
Minimizer Bra Cups : The purpose of a minimizer bra is to give the appearance of smaller breasts. Basically, to "minimize" the appearance. The minimizer bras help to allow larger breasted women to wear front-button shirts and blouses without as much gapping. Rather then allowing the breasts to project outward, a minimizer bra distributes the breast flesh more towards the underarm and the center front. A minimizer basically shifts the position and shape of the breast. This bra can not reduce the volume of breast tissue.
Molded Bra Cup : A molded cup is seamless and has a pre-formed breast shape molded into the cups fabric.
Nursing Bras : A nursing bra is a bra that has specially designed bra cups and closures that open to allow access for a baby to nurse without the mother having to take off her bra. They are often made with snaps for easy opening and closing. This bra type is a very practical method for nursing ones child.
Padded Bras / Padded Cups
: A padded bra cup has some sort of padding in the bra cups. This is
often referenced as fiber-fill in the cups. This padding adds both size
and definition to give more size and a proportioned look to smaller bust
lines. All padded bras have some sort of extra thickness added to
the cups. The padding can be manufacturered of foam, silicone, air
pockets, liquid, etc. When shopping for bras, you may see the term
graduated padding. Graduated padding will be thicker at the base of
the cups. This helps add to cleavage.
Seamed Bra Cup : A seamed cup bra has a cup made with 2 or more fabric pieces. Seaming (using sewing seams) on a cup allows more variations in cup shapes. Vertical and diagonal cup seams add to the cups support and tend to be more flattering to one's breasts. A bra cup with seams can be made out of many more fabrics such as lace, silk, satin, etc. Seamed cups (especially 3 section cups) will almost always be more supportive than a molded cup.
: a self adhesive bra is a bra with no straps and no back. This top of
bra is used when wearing an open back top or dress when you do not wish
for people to see your bra straps. Silicone-based products are often
used to create self-adhesive bras.
Strapless / Convertible Bra : Strapless bras that have detachable straps, would be called convertible bras. This type of bra can be worn in multiple ways. Beneficial when wearing a revealing top and you are trying to hide the straps. By adjusting the straps, you can wear it strapless or with the straps in their normal position. If you hook on the straps so they cross in the back, you now have a racerback bra. And if the straps are long enough, you can extend just one and halter it around your neck. Then you would have a halter bra.
Straps : The bra straps rise up from the cups, pass over the women's shoulder, and attach to the back. Straps may be constructed of rigid or stretch material, or some combination of the two. Rigid straps offer more support and are often thicker than stretch straps. Some straps may be more comfortable then others. Bra straps are some times an annoyance to the wearer.
Structured Bras / Contour Bras / Lined
Bras / Molded Bras are
all ways of describing styles of bras that are not padded, but do have a
measure of foam or other material that mirrors the contour of the wearers
breast. This helps provide structure and protection against nipple