Bra types and styles

There are many different terms you will see when you are out looking for a bra and overall it can be stressful and confusing. Well, we are here to help break it down so you know all the ins and outs. Below is a list of some bra terminology  you should know before we go through the different types and styles of bras you will see. 


When you see a bra being described as being lined it simply means that the bra contains an extra layer of fabric. These bras tend to conform to your breasts more because of the extra fabric or padding and offer more nipple coverage than unlined bras. 


When a bra is described as being unlined it means that no extra fabric or padding has been added to the cups so they have less coverage than lined bras. These bras tend to be very lightweight and comfortable depending on the style you choose and can be composed of several different materials. 

Front Closure

A front closure bra simply refers to the fact that you can open and close the bra from the front instead of from clasps in the back.


A minimizer bra is one that helps reduce the size and appearance of your breasts. 


This refers to adhesive bras which are stuck to your breasts for coverage and support. They are mainly used to keep the nipples covered in garments that do not allow for bras.


This refers to bras that are constructed out of a single piece; therefore, they  have no seams that can rub against you causing irritation. 


This refers to bras that have straps that can be worn crisscrossed.  Some styles allow you to wear the bra strapless as well. This can also refer to bras with a J-hook which allows you to wear the straps of a bra like a racerback when utilizing the hook feature.  


Underwire Bras

An underwire bra describes all of the bra types and styles that have a semicircle piece of wire or other rigid material sown beneath each bra cup. These bras offer great support and lift. However, finding the right one can be tricky and you can experience some discomfort if you get an ill-fitting underwire bra. In fact, that most common bra complaint. There are several different cup options such as full cup, demi-cup, and angled cup bras. They also come in several different strap options and can be lined or unlined.

Example: Fantasie Aurelia Side Support in Black

When to wear it:

There are so many different styles and types of underwire bras that you are almost guaranteed to find one to fit each situation. 

Breast Type:

These bras are suited to all breast shapes and bust sizes. These are great especially great for those with fuller or heavy breasts because of the amount of support they give. Sizing is extremely important, in fact, most pain and discomfort complaints stem from having the wrong size. 


Full Coverage Bras

Full coverage bras are all about offering extra coverage and support. They are ideal for larger breasts as the full cup helps to make sure that you have no spillage. They usually have underwire and hug close to the skin. If you are looking for a dramatic bit of cleavage this bra probably isn't the right one for the job. 

Example: Fantasie Fusion Full Cup in Black

When to wear it:

Full coverage bars are a great everyday go to bra as they look great under all sorts of clothing. There are several different styles that usually boast full coverage, such as the T-shirt or Molded bra. 

Breast Type:

These bras are fantastic for all sizes and shapes of breasts. This type of bra is  ideal for those who have larger or fuller breasts for that extra bit of support. 


Demi Bras

Demi bras have lower cut cups that do not cover the full breast. They tend to cover about half of each breast, but can cover a bit more depending on the style. These bras are usually lined and are great about flattering your breast shape. 

Example: Freya Expression Demi Plunge in Black

When to wear it:

This type of bra is perfect for under lower cut necklines such as V-necks and dresses. However, you can wear them under just about any top. 

Breast Type:

Works great for all sizes and breast shapes, however, they are more suited to those will smaller or medium size busts. For larger breasts the Balconette bra offers the same kind of cut, but with more support. 


Balconette Bras

Balconette bras are fantastic for those who want a sexy look that showcases cleavage. They are cut similar to the demi-cup but with more support. They give a gentle lift that helps enhance your bust and tend to have wide set straps. This style of bra is great for achieving that iconic pin-up look. 

Example: Fantasie Aurelia in Black

When to wear it:

These are perfect to wear under scoop-necks or other wide neck garments. It is also great for low-cut tops or dresses that have plunges. They are also fine to wear on regular tops as well. 

Bust Type:

They work for many different breast shapes and sizes, however, they work best for those with fuller busts. These are fantastic for those with rounded breasts as they help enhance your natural shape. If you have looser breast tissue, you may find that these bras do not flatter you.


These types of bras tend to be thin and lacy without any wire or molded cups. There are some with support, but for the most part they offer very little. They are, however, great for comfort and coverage depending on the style you go with. 

Example: Fantasie Smoothease in Black

When to wear it:

If you like to have a little peek of lace from under your tops, these are fantastic for the job. They are also great under tops that are sheer or a bit more revealing to give a really sexy look. They are usually designed to be worn visibly so you can wear them stand-alone as well.

Breast Type:

These are great for breasts of all shapes, but if you have a larger bust size you may be disappointed in the support you get from most styles. 


Sports Bras

As the name suggests, these bras are used during physical activity and are designed to minimize breast movement, strain, and impact during activity.  You can find styles with varying levels of support and compression such as low impact yoga bras, or high impact bras for running. Most offer support without any cups, underwire, or clasps making them super comfortable.

Example: Freya Dynamic in Jet

When to wear it:

Designed to be worn during all kinds of workouts and sport activities. You can also wear them as your everyday bra if you do not like underwire, cups, or clasps as most do not have these features, but still want support.

Breast Type:

These are great for all breast shapes and sizes. You just need to make sure you are getting the correct sports bra for the amount of movement you will be doing. If you get the wrong impact type you risk injury when your breasts have more movement than they should during activity. 

Maternity and Nursing Bras

Maternity bras are specifically designed for those with breasts that are constantly fluctuating like they do during pregnancy. They tend to have stretchy fabric that helps adjust to growing breasts as well adjustable straps and extra hooks to make it easier to get that perfect fit. They also tend to offer extra support to accommodate fluctuating breast sizes. 

Nursing bras are a type of Maternity bra designed for breastfeeding and offer the ability to unclip the side of the cup for easier access.

Example: Freya Pure Molded Nursing in Black

When to wear it:

These bras can be worn under all types of garments. For many expectant mothers, it is all about preference when it comes to switching to a Maternity bra. Some women switch as soon as the first trimester, however, it is strictly based on need and preference. 

Breast Type:

These are great for all shapes and sizes of breasts. When purchasing a maternity bra, it is important to make sure you are getting the correct sizing for your needs. Most suggest you get a slightly larger size than your regular bra size.

Longline Bras

A longline bra has been very popular over the years. Its most notable feature is that the band extends down lower than typical bras in fact it can go down as far as your waist depending on the style and the support. These bras usually have a fantastic amount of support because of how they are designed. Did you know a lot of bridal bras are longline since they help give a lovely silhouette? Some styles even help with shaping and control.

Example: Elomi Charley Bralette in Black

When to wear it:

Since there are so many styles and variations you can find a longline bra for pretty much every occasion, from everyday wear to bridal. Many wear this style bra like a super supportive crop top to show off all the beautiful lace they can have. Since they are usually so pretty, most people like to show little peeks of them, kind of like a bralette. 

Breast Type:

These are great for people with fuller shapes and larger breast sizes because they have that extra bit of support. Make sure you get the correct size, if you get a size too small you can have issues with the band trying to roll up. If you have a short torso, you may find that these do not fit as expected and can become uncomfortable with long wear.


Plunge Bras

Plunge bras are similar to demi-cup bras because they do not have a full cup. They tend to have wider set straps and are designed with an angled cup with a low cut center to help enhance your cleavage.  Even though these bras do not have full cups, they do not lack in the support category. Not all plunge bras are padded and you can find many different styles of Plunge bra, each with their own least of features. 

Example: Freya Signature Plunge in Black

When to wear it:

This bra is designed to be worn under lower cut tops and necklines. So if you are going for a night out, one of these bras will help give that party dress some extra cleavage oomph. They also look fantastic under regular everyday garments as well.

Breast Type:

This bra looks good on all breast shapes and bust sizes, but be careful if you have fuller or heavier breasts. You will want to make sure you get a style that has extra support.

Padded Bras

Padded bras can come in all different bra styles. They simply refer to a bra that has pads built in or have an area where you can insert pads. When most people think of padded bras, they think of bras that make their bust look bigger, but not all padded bras are designed with that in mind. Some padded bras are designed to help prevent sagging and to offer more support.  They can also offer you a rounder fuller look with more volume depending on the style you choose.

Example: Fantasie Ana Padded Half Cup in Black

When to wear it:

Padded bras can be worn with pretty much anything. They are meant to increase fullness and give some lift to those who want it. They are also fantastic about keeping your nipples hidden.

Breast Type:

These are great for all breast shapes and bust sizes, however, they are better at  accentuating smaller breasts since they help to give you a fuller look. They are also great for those who have a breast type that sags a little more than others. Make sure you get the correct size since incorrect sizing can lead to discomfort. 

Push Up Bras

Push-up bras are designed to give your breasts a ton of lift. They use angled cups and padding to push your breasts inward and upwards to showcase your bust perfectly. Most push-up bras use underwire for support. There are several push up levels so you can pick a bra that suits your exact needs.

Example: Freya Signature Padded Plunge in Black

When to wear it:

Push-ups bras are great at giving you that extra hint of cleavage so most people wear them under garments with plunging necklines or shirts with v-necks. However, you are limited to these choices. In fact, push-up bras will give you that lovely lift under any garment, so feel free to wear one under everyday clothing items. 

Breast Types:

Push-up bras are great for all breast shapes and bust sizes, however, those with saggy breasts or small breasts tend to get the most out of them. If you have fuller or heavy breasts you may want to get one with a level three lift just for the extra support. 

T-Shirt Bras

The T-shirt bra is a wardrobe staple and shares several characteristics with padded bras. As the name suggests, this bra is the perfect bra to wear under a t-shirt. These bras tend to be all about comfort and boast seamless cups that mold to your breasts to help create a lovely smooth silhouette under your blouses.

Example: Freya Starlight Molded in Black

When to wear it:

These are great for everyday wear under clothing such as t-shirts. They are also great under body hugging clothing like dresses. They tend to give a smoothed out look so if you need a subtle bra that can not be seen under clothing, this one is your best bet. 

Breast Type:

Because of the molded cups these bras are fantastic for any breast shape and bust size.

Racerback Bra

Racerback bras that feature straps on that back that crisscross into an X or Y shape. The strap design means that you do not have to worry about slipping straps. These bras typically offer extra support and help take the weight of your breasts off your back and shoulders which means that they are usually more comfortable to wear. Most sports bras feature a racerback design.

Example: Anaono Niya Pullover in Black

When to wear it:

These bras look great under most garments, however, the straps of this bra make it hard to wear with clothes that have a low cut back. Racerback bras tend to be comfortable and many people use them as their everyday bra.

Breast Types:

These bras are great for all breast shapes and bust sizes because they offer a fantastic amount of support. 

Strapless Bra

Strapless bras are aptly named for the fact that they have no straps. Your bust is supported with a combination of non-slip grip on the band and underwire. They can have a molded cup which helps give a smooth silhouette. One of the biggest complaints about this type of bra is slippage, to ensure that this does not happen make sure you are sized correctly. 

Example: Fantasie Aura Strapless in Black

When to wear it:

Most say that a good strapless bra is a must have for any wardrobe especially since it allows you to wear a bra with garments that otherwise would not allow for a bra. This is perfect to wear with clothing that has revealing necklines or exposed shoulders. Many people wear them underneath dresses. You can wear them under regular clothing as well, but I would recommend you only wear strapless when you have to.

Breast Type:

There are strapless bras designed for all breast shapes and bust sizes. Not all strapless bras are created the same way; therefore, you need to be especially careful when choosing one. If you have heavier breasts you may find it frustrating to find one that can stay in place. Before purchasing you will want to check that the band does not slip, that the underwire does not dig in, and that you do not have any spillage or gaping in the cups. 

Halter Bra

A halter bra is designed with a strap that wraps around the back of the neck instead of over the shoulders. 

Example: Freya Remix Halter Bikini in Black

When to wear it:

They are designed to be worn under tops and dresses with a halter design, however that can be worn under anything depending on the cut. Some people enjoy how these bras look peeking out underneath a top, think bikini top.

When to wear it:

This bra works for all breast shapes and bust sizes, however, if you have heavier breasts you may notice some discomfort around your neck. 


Bandeau Bra

Bandeau bras can sometimes get confused for strapless bras, however, bandeau bras do not have any hooks, cups, or wires and offer little-to-no support. Some have little pockets that allow you to add little pads to help with nipple visibility. They are basically mini tube tops. 

Example: Fantasie Versailles Bandeau Bikini in Black

When to wear it:

These bras are great to wear just as they are. In fact, many do just that. They are also great when worn under strapless tops and dresses. 

Breast Type:

These bras are great for all breast shapes, however, these are better for those with smaller bust sizes. Those with bigger bust sizes will have some trouble with them.