What Bra Should You Buy? A Beginner’s Guide
Sometimes walking into a lingerie store or boutique can be overwhelming.We get it.
Most of us are used to buying just one style of bra and aren’t too familiar with the literally dozens of others available. In addition, Swiss lingerie company Triumph founded a study that discovered “a startling number of women are choosing their bras incorrectly. The international survey of 10,000 women found that 64 percent are wearing the wrong size bra”.
At Blue Boutique, we offer free bra fittings as well as a huge selection of bras varying in type. Bra sizing can seem really daunting at first, but it shouldn’t be so! Bra fitting involves measuring the body right beneath the breasts (the band) and at the breasts’ most full point (the cup). This will give us your “true” bra size. So let’s say we take your measurements and conclude that you are a 34C. Seems simple enough, right? Well, sure! Yet, each brand of bra and the materials chosen to make them will fit differently. A push-up bra will not be as accommodating as a stretchy lace bralette. So it’s important when trying on bras to remember one thing: sister sizes. As a bra band size increases, the cup size decreases to accommodate, yet the volume of the cup remains the same. For example, let’s compare your 34C to a 36B. As the band size increases to a 36, the cup size decreases to B…all while retaining the same volume as the 34C. Makes sense, right? It isn’t always the case, but usually if you can’t find the bra you want in your “true size”, you can find a comfortably fitting bra in a sister size by bumping the band and cup up or down. As one increases, the other decreases, and so on.
So… which type of bra should you buy to wear under your wedding dress? How about a bra to wear when you’re lounging around the house or to wear while sleeping? Let’s take a look at the most common styles of bras available:
- The Full Cup– This style of bra has the fullest coverage, covering and shaping the entire breast. Full-cups offer excellent support and come in a variety of colors and materials.
- The 3/4 Cup- The 3/4 cup offers a lower cut to show more skin than the standard full cup. This style is typically a push-up cup, offering more support and coverage for fuller-busted women while still offering a sexy bit of cleavage.
- The Demi Cup- The demi is a half cup with wider-set straps that “frame” the bust while pushing the breasts up and inwards. This creates a sensual amount of cleavage and is good for lower cut tops. The demi is slightly less supportive than full and 3/4 cupped bras.
- The Balconette- A half cup bra that pushes the breasts straight up. Very similar to the demi, the balconette bra typically has a lower upper cup area that cuts off at the breasts’ midway point and shows more cleavage. This bra is best for women with smaller or medium sized busts.
- The Soft Cup- Any bra that forgoes underwire and instead relies on the strength of the band itself to support the breasts. Soft cup bras usually offer the least amount of support or shaping but are extremely comfortable.
- The Shelf– Shelf bras are usually just a small strip of underwire worn under the breasts, providing a little bit up support or push-up while leaving the breasts themselves exposed. Usually worn best for lingerie purposes only.
Once you have a cup style in mind, you can start to look for variants of each style to find the bra that will fit best for each specific function.
- The Push-Up- Any bra that pushes the breasts up and in to provide ultimate cleavage. A sexy option that any women should own.
- Strapless- Just as it sounds…a bra that does not have straps and relies on the strength of the band and the underwire to support and shape the breasts.
- Adhesive Bra- a bra that is both strapless and bandless and uses a strong adhesive to pull the breasts up and in. These bras are best reserved for clothing that shows quite a bit of skin, such as backless and low-plunge dresses or tops.
- Convertible/Multiway- Bras with removable straps. Because the straps can be removed, they can be turned into strapless bras, as well as half-strapped, halter strapped, cross-strapped and more.
- Sports Bra- A bra that offers very firm support to keep the breasts in place during exercise or while playing sports.
- Peephole- Peephole bras are a fun style of bra that offers coverage and support for the breasts but leave the nipple exposed.
- Open Cup/Cupless– Open cup bras usually have all the framework of a traditional bra, such as straps and underwire, with a bit of cup or without the cup itself entirely. An attractive option for lingerie purposes.
- Bralette- The “netflix and chill” of bras…little to no support makes bralettes an extremely comfortable and attractive option that’s perfect for lazy weekends.
- T-Shirt Bra- The term “t-shirt bra” can describe any bra that is made with no visible seams. This option is perfect under silks and tight fitting clothing.
- Bullet Bra- This retro fit is starting to make a bit of a comeback. The bullet bra offers full support while shaping the breasts into a pointy silhouette.
- Bandeau- A strip of stretchy fabric worn around the breasts. Bandeaus offer little to no support so these are best for women with smaller busts and best worn under flowy tops and dresses.
- Longline Bra- The longline bra is another vintage style that offers full coverage and often times the band is lengthened to provide a bit more shaping to the underbust area.
Certain styles are preferable for wear underneath certain clothes, such as wedding dresses, strapless tops, or tight fitting clothing.
- Bridal bras- depending on the cut of the wedding dress, a preferable option would be longline, strapless, adhesive, or convertible.
- Erotic wear- bras meant strictly for lingerie purposes include peephole bras, open cup bras, cupless bras, and shelf bras.
- Vintage wear- some more retro styles include longline bras, balconette bras and bullet bras.
- Everyday wear- T-shirt bras, full cup bras, 3/4ths cup bras, demi cup bras, sports bras and balconettes are all suited for everyday wear.
- Comfy wear- Bandeaus and bralettes as well as soft cupped bras and sports bras are perfect for lazy weekends and night wear.