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types of bras
By Alicia Drinkwater on

Types of Bras

  • Guides

Now you’ve found out How to Measure Bra Size and identified your Type of Boobs, let's move on to types of bras. There are so many different bra types out there, so it's great to know which is best suited to you based on your shape and size.

Your measurements are only half of finding a bra that fits you perfectly, and you should always keep in mind that your boob shape won't be compatible with every bra style. Don't be disheartened by this, as there is absolutely a bra type that is going to fit and flatter you properly.*

*This is all speaking from first-hand experience. As someone with a bottom-heavy shape and a larger cup size, I was devastated when I tried on my first full cup bra and found that half of the cup was empty. It's experiences like this that mean I can be entirely transparent and help you find the best bra style for you, so you're in safe hands!

If you're looking for fast navigation to particular types of bras:

Full Cup Bras
Half Cup Bras
High Apex Bras
Longline Bras
Moulded Bras
Nursing Bras
Plunge Bras
Push Up Bras
Side Support Bras
Sports Bras
Strapless Bras
T-Shirt Bras
Wireless Bras

What Are the Main Types of Bras?

There are so many different types of bras (which I'm going to take you all the way through), but bras can mainly be divided into four categories: wired, wireless, padded and non-padded.

Types of Bras: What Bra Style is Best For Me?

Balcony Bras

Balcony bras are a versatile style, meaning that they suit a variety of breast shapes, which is probably why they're one of the most popular types of bras out there. Balcony bras:

  • Are underwired with less coverage and wider set straps than a regular bra

  • Create a boost and give rounded support to the breasts

  • Are similar to half cup or demi bras, but these styles typically have even less coverage and less curve on the cups

Go For Balcony If:
  • You have round breasts, as a balcony will ensure coverage and support
  • You have a teardrop shape. A balcony (especially one with a vertical seam) will provide all the lift and fullness you need
types of bras: what is a balcony bra


Bralettes are fantastic types of bras, as they come in all sorts of different styles and sizes, and can be worn for a variety of occasions. Bralettes:
  • Are usually wireless, although some will be underwired, so make sure to always read the description!
  • Have soft handle cups (a bralette is very rarely padded)
  • Are great for loungewear or comfortable alternatives to everyday bras. They can also be worn as outerwear, making them incredibly versatile
  • Are especially flattering on more petite boob sizes

types of bras: what is a bralette

Full Cup Bras

Full cup bras, which are sometimes referred to as full coverage, are types of bras that do exactly as the name suggests and provide complete coverage. Full cup bras:

  • Cover the entire breast and avoid cutting over the fullest part
  • Are typically worn by fuller cup sizes to provide better support and reduce heavy cleavage
  • Usually come with additional side panelling features which increase the comfort and support of the bra
  • Are often not compatible with bottom-heavy shapes! 
  • Are great for bell shape boobs, which need bottom support and projection on the top (an underwired full cup is perfect for this)
types of bras: what is a full cup bra

Half Cup Bras

Half cup bras are types of bras that are similar to balcony, but with even less coverage. They:

  • Have less curve on the cups than a balcony bra
  • Are sometimes referred to as demi bras or shelf bras
  • Are the perfect option for people with bottom-heavy boobs, as they're designed to push the breasts up and give lift, providing the illusion of a fuller cleavage (another one of my personal favourites)!

types of bras: what is a half cup bra

High Apex Bras

High apex bras, which are sometimes referred to as triangle bras, are types of bras that have triangle-shaped cups. The apex is the part of the bra where the straps join to the cup, so having a higher apex is what creates the triangle shape. High apex bras:

  • Usually have a plunging neckline

  • Are good for close-set boob shapes

  • Provide a fantastic natural look for shallow shapes (particularly wireless triangle styles)

types of bras: what is a high apex bra

Longline Bras

Longline bras are simply types of bras that have extra fabric below the bust. They can be designed with all kinds of different necklines and features, meaning that you'll usually see them called something like a 'Longline Plunge Bra'. Longline bras:

  • Have a longer band below the cups to protect the ribs
  • Reduce strap pulling on shoulders
  • Are excellent sexy lingerie choices
  • Can come with additional features such as side support, so they're not exclusive to a particular size or shape

types of bras: what is a longline bra

Moulded Bras

Moulded bras are types of bras that have a pre-formed shape and are also referred to as 'Seamless Bras'. They're typically designed with:

  • Cups made out of a single piece of fabric
  • No seams over the middle of the cup
  • Foam padding in the cups (but this isn't exclusive to moulded bras and some won't have any padding at all)

Try a Moulded Bra If:

  • You have asymmetrical breasts. The structure means that the bra won't crease or pucker if it isn't filled, making it perfect for those with one boob bigger than the other. Moulded bras with removable padding are also great for levelling out the breast size

types of bras: what is a moulded bra

Nursing Bras

Nursing bras are types of bras designed for women post-pregnancy, allowing for easy lactating/breastfeeding. Nursing bras:

  • Are designed with nursing clips (detachable straps) on the cups 
  • Allow for breastfeeding without bra removal
  • Have soft breathable cups
  • Typically come with wider straps to ensure comfort
  • Are usually full cup style to provide complete coverage and support the boobs properly, but different types and brands will vary

types of bras: what is a nursing bra

Plunge Bras

Plunge bras are another popular style under types of bras, known for creating the ultimate cleavage and providing fantastic lift. They:

  • Have a low centre front, usually in a V-shaped neckline
  • Create and boost cleavage
  • Are suitable for all cup sizes
  • Are my personal go-to for wearing under low-cut clothing!

Try a Plunge Bra If:

  • Your boobs are close-set, as the low centre gore will allow the centre of the bra to lie completely flat (this is essential for a great fit)
  • You have wide-set or east-west boobs. Plunge styles will push the boobs together and work to enhance the cleavage
  • You have a round shape and want support and coverage
types of bras: what is a plunge bra

Push Up Bras

Push-up bras are similar types of bras to plunge, in that the aim of the game is to enhance cleavage. Push-up bras:

  • Have extra padding at the bottom, which elevates the boobs and shapes them
  • Are great if you have a shallow shape and are looking for extra depth
types of bras: what is a push up bra


    Side Support Bras

    Side support bras are types of bras that have an extra panel on the side to provide support (the clue is all in the name). They're usually combined with a full cup style, making them perfect for providing unrivalled support. They:

    • Have high coverage

    • Feature side panelling which provides the added side support

    • Have sectioned cups

    • Give forward projection to wide-set breasts

    • Are great for larger breasts (particularly those that are spread more evenly)

    types of bra: what is a side support bra

    Sports Bras

    We've all heard of sports bras, and they're pretty self-explanatory types of bras if you haven't. It's really important to know the features of a *good* sports bra though. They:

    • Are sturdier than normal bras, designed to support the breasts during exercise
    • Will vary in support levels, ranging from ones designed for low-impact exercise, all the way to high-impact (always keep in mind that if you have larger boobs, you're probably going to need a higher-impact sports bra for it to work)
    • Have breathable fabric to wick away moisture
    • Are usually wireless with a wider underband to maintain support
    • Completely cover the breasts
    • Have wider straps for added support and comfort

    types of bras: what is a sports bra


    Strapless Bras 

    Strapless bras are designed to be worn under strapless clothing, meaning that they're built either without straps or with detachable straps. Types of bras that have strapless features are typically:

    • Sold as multiway bras, which means that the straps are detachable and able to be worn in a variety of ways (halter neck and racerback are just some of the possibilities)
    • Made with a non-slip, wider underband to provide added support
    • Worn by all different shapes and sizes, so if you've got an outfit that isn't strap-friendly, a strapless bra is the one for you
    • Worth investing in. Good strapless bras (well, all good bras) aren't going to be the cheapest thing in the world, and that's because good quality does cost a bit more. With strapless bras especially, they are only going to do their job properly if they've been built with proper support and structure, so they're worth spending a bit more on

    types of bras: what is a strapless bra

    T-Shirt Bras

    T-shirt bras are types of bras that are one of the most popular styles for everyday wear. They:

    • Are designed to wear under tight-fitting clothing
    • Are typically lightly padded and underwired
    • Are normally seamless or designed with flat seams, making them invisible underneath clothes

    Try a T-Shirt Bra If:

    • You have asymmetrical breasts (everyone has one boob bigger than the other so please don't panic if your boobs are more visibly asymmetrical). T-shirt bras with no seams and full coverage work well to visually reduce any size difference. (If you’re not feeling too confident, you can always consider getting a pad to fill the cup of the smaller boob!)
    • You have a round shape, as a t-shirt bra will provide support and coverage

    types of bras: what is a t shirt bra

    Wireless Bras

    Wireless bras are types of bras that provide support without any underwiring. They can come in a wide variety of styles, and are often referred to as 'Soft Cup', meaning that they're fabulous for providing extra comfort.

    • Whilst wireless bras are fantastic, they aren't going to provide support in the same way that bras with underwiring will
    • Because of their flexibility, they're suitable for most sizes and breast shapes

    types of bras: what is a wireless bra

    Types of Bras: Bra Styles and Features

    There are SO many different types of bras out there, and it can seem pretty overwhelming at times. Whilst I've covered the ins and outs of the most popular types of bras, there are also a lot of features that can go with them, alongside lesser-known bra styles. Here's a breakdown of what they are and what they do.

    • Front Fastening Bras: Another one with the clue in the name... Front fastening bras simply fasten at the front instead of the back, whilst providing support, shape and comfort. Without a doubt, my top recommendation for a front fastening bra is Gossard's Superboost Lace Deep V Bralette (we stock a stunning range of colours, so make sure to have a look at the full collection). It's designed with a plunging neckline, so offers you plenty of cleavage, with all the ease of being able to fasten it from the front. It also makes pretty good outerwear, so has just about everything you need!

    • Minimiser Bras: Minimiser bras are types of bras designed with structured full cups to reduce the appearance of a heavy bust, so they're great if you're conscious of your cleavage. 

    • Racerback Bras: Racerback bras are designed with criss-cross straps to form an X-shape. Most racerback bras will be convertible or multiway, meaning that the straps can be worn in several different ways. If you see a bra referred to as 'Racerback', it's only referring to the type of straps.

    • Underwired Bras: The opposite of wireless! Underwired bras are designed with fitted wire to help lift, shape and support the breasts. As previously mentioned, they are much more supportive than wireless bras. So, whilst it might not seem like the most comfortable thing at first, underwired bras are going to do your boobs much more good in the long run.

    • Wide Strap Bras: Wide strap bras are crafted with wider straps than normal bras to alleviate shoulder pressure and pain (so they're great for fuller busts). They also provide good support and prevent strap slippage, so they're essentially are guaranteed way of gaining some added support. Most wide strap bras will also be designed with comfort straps to ensure that no comfort is sacrificed - win-win!

    Bra Fitting

    There's a lot to get to grips with and it might seem a bit overwhelming, which is why we've got a complete set of bra fitting guides to follow to help get the perfect fit. You can follow each guide to take you through the individual fitting steps, or you can head straight to whichever one you need now.


    If you’ve got any questions about types of bras, you think I've missed anything, or you need a bra recommendation, simply send us a message. We love hearing from you and our dedicated team is always on hand to answer anything you need to know. We all know how difficult it can be to find the right bra, so we want to make the process as easy as possible for you. 


    Back to Bra Fitting and Guides

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