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Bras Buying Guide – Styles

Bras can be supportive, sexy, comfortable – ideally all at the same time.There are bras for many needs and occasions so be sure to research before you buy.



Demi Bra

Demi bras, also known as “balconette” bras, offer less support and coverage than a full cup but allow lower-cut clothing to be worn without the bra being seen. This style is a favourite for lingerie looks and is ideal for sustaining still, firm breasts. They are designed to provide lift and a cleavage-enhancing shape and cover approximately one half to three quarters of the breast. This style is best suited for petite to average-figured women.

Front Closure Bra

Unlike conventional bras, a front closure bra has closures (usually hooks and eyes) on its front rather than its back. Front closure bras feature a racerback-style back and lie completely flat for a smooth, discrete look. As many women find the hooks of a traditional bra cumbersome, the ease of access front closure bras provide can be something to consider when making a purchase decision. Additionally, many women find front closure bras more comfortable as they are normally constructed without metal clasps and feature a stronger band that provides significant back support. Front closure bras come in a variety of styles, including sports bras, push-up bras and padded bras.

Full Coverage Bra

As its name indicates, a full coverage bra covers most of the breast. These styles come up high in the cup and are great for giving lift, support and separation. Its shoulder straps sit closer to your neck and are thicker in comparison to other styles.

Full Figure Bra

Full figure bras offer comfort and support features designed specifically for full figured, voluptuous women and can range in sizes from 38 to 56 band size. They can include features such as a leotard back, multi-part cups and wider straps for sturdy support. Full figure bras are available in a multitude of styles, ranging from minimizer bras to support bras to plunge bras, and more. Full figure bras are designed for more than simply function. They often feature beautiful and sultry embellishments such as lace, tulle netting and embroidery.

Lace Bra

Lace bras offer a look that is sexy, elegant, feminine and intimate and have long been a popular choice for women that wish to combine an alluring look while not sacrificing comfort and support.

Longline Bra

Longline bras feature a design similar to a partial corset. They are worn to give the appearance of a smooth and slim figure and provide additional back and shoulder support. Longlines are available in a number of styles, including strapped, strapless, lingerie/lace and posture. As this style of bra covers a larger portion of the torso you might wish to get properly sized before purchasing one.

Maternity Bra

This bra is specifically designed for women who are pregnant. Pregnant women often have swelling and sensitivity in their breasts. This style of bra is constructed with comfortable fabric and wider straps that increase support and reduce bounce and irritation. Its cups are designed to expand and adjust as breasts increase in size over the course of a pregnancy.

Minimizer Bra

Minimizer bras help to de-emphasize the bust, and are great for women with larger breasts. This bra can help reduce the look of bust size by one to two cup sizes by compressing and rearranging the breasts. Not meant for every woman, some find that this bra’s compression causes discomfort and choose to wear it selectively.

Nursing Bra

The nursing bra is designed to help make breastfeeding simpler and easier by giving a nursing infant easy feeding access, while still supporting the mother. Typically the cups of nursing bras are covered with two flaps of fabric that can be unclasped at the top and pulled down to expose the mother's breast for nursing. It's best to choose a nursing bra as close as possible to your due date for the best fit.

Plunge Bra

This style is often worn with a low-cut blouse, dress or top and plunges between the wearer’s breasts. This allows the bra to remain covered even in low neckline apparel.

Posture Bra

A posture bra is designed to help reinforce correct spinal posture and as well as alleviate upper back stress. They typically come in two styles: longline and athletic. Longline designs provide more support and are recommended for women that have a natural forward shoulder roll or a larger bust. Many posture bras have front closures, specially designed criss-cross bands in the back that provide extra support and front/side panels to support the breasts.

Push-Up/Padded Bra

Push-up bras create the appearance of increased cleavage using angled cups (which generally have underwires) and a variety of padding types (with more padding in the lower cup) including graduated padding, cookies (oval shaped, removable demi pads) and demi cups.

Racerback Bra

A racerback bra is designed for an invisible fit under tank tops and is ideal for low impact workouts and relaxing at home. The name for this style comes from the unique configuration of its straps. Racerback bras have straps that join in the centre of the back either in a T-back or Y-back. This design is useful for wearing with garments where traditional straps would be visible. Many sports bras use racerback construction.

Seamless Bra

Molded from one piece of fabric and often featuring underwire construction, a seamless underwire bra is designed to fit smooth under clothing, creating a shapely silhouette. Seamless bras are a great choice for pairing with clingy tops and lightweight jerseys as their smooth lines help the bra to remain undetectable. Seamless bras are available in many styles, including push-ups, minimizers and demi bras to name a few.

Special Needs Bras

Some bras feature specialized designs to help women with specific requirements. One example is a mastectomy bra. This bra is intended for women who have lost one or both breasts in a mastectomy treatment. It is designed so that a prosthesis can be inserted and held in place.

Sports Bra

Sports bras are specifically designed to offer support during physical activity. They feature varying levels of support – from light support (ideal for yoga) to maximum support (for running and aerobics). Sports bras work by compressing the bust close to the ribcage for minimal movement. They provide total coverage and are very high cut and full in the cup. Sports bras are often available in racerback style as its straps stay in place and the halter-like fit provides superb support.


This bra style is ideal for strapless outfits. Some strapless bras come with detachable straps, allowing you to wear the bra in the normal way or as a halterneck or crossover back. They come in a variety of styles, from underwire and push-up bras for formal dresses to bandeau bras you can wear underneath more casual strapless tops and dresses.

T-Shirt Bra

Invisible under even the thinnest fabrics, t-shirt bras have a seamless, contoured style designed to prevent any show-through even when wearing tight-fitting t-shirts. Great for year-round use, t-shirt bras may not have an underwire and are constructed with fabric that won't stick to your clothing.

Wire Free Bra

Wire free bras such as soft cup bras feature designs without underwires and hard plastics in the cups. Instead they are often padded, seamed or lined to provide more comfortable support and shaping. The soft cup bra, for example, utilizes the strength of its underband to provide support.

Bra Accessories

Push-up pads can be slipped into the pocket of push-up bras for a natural lift. They are often made or filled with silicone, water, gel, or oil and are effective for helping to fill out swimsuits, sweaters, t-shirts and more for an enhanced bustline.

Adhesive tapes and pasties provide little support but are good coverage options when wearing backless and strapless pieces. Disposable paper bras use a strong adhesive, and silicone pasties can be conveniently washed and re-used.