A wide range of styles of brassieres now exists, to be worn in a variety of situations, and with a variety of outergarments. The degree of shaping and coverage of the breasts varies between styles, varying in both functionality and fashion, fabric, and colour, from purely utilitarian to sensual. Others include various accessory structures such as padding and 'underwiring'. Many bras will fall into more than one category, such as a maternity bra designed for facilitating access to the nipple, but also designed to provide the lift that a push-up bra would. Definitions are not always very accurate or exclusive (e.g. shelf bra).
Alphabetical list of brassiere designs
*Adhesive, a bra which adheres to the breasts; features no straps or bands of any sort. This type of bra is intended for backless and strapless fashions. There are two types; disposable paper ones that use a strong adhesive, and the re-usable ones that use silicone and can be washed and re-used.
Bandeau, a simple band of cloth worn across the breasts, providing little support or shaping.
*Built-in bras, sometimes known as shelf bras [ [http://www.dressking.com/search/glossary.htm Dress King Fashion Glossary] ] (not to be confused with the shelf-bra described below), are a supportive brassiere-like structure on the inside of another garment, such as a
swimsuitor tank top, which provides support for the bust without the need for a separate bra. In most such garments, these consist of a horizontal elastic strip, although some do have cups and underwires as with other bra types. These are easily removed, if desired.
*Bullet bras are a type of full-support bra with cups in the shape of a
paraboloidof revolution with its axis perpendicular to the breast. Bullet bras were invented in the late-1940s. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/13/opinion/13SEIG.html?ex=1392094800&en=3ccbbda0c86fb91f&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND Jessica Seigel, "The Cups Runneth Over", New York Times, February 13, 2004.] ]
*Convertible bras have straps which may be detached and rearranged in different ways depending on the outfit. Alternatives to regular straps for strapless bras are beaded bra straps or clear plastic bra straps that provide support and style.
Cupless bras (also called open cup bras or portrait bras; cf. shelf bras below) is a brassiere frame with no support cups, or which exposes the nipples with notched or contoured support cups. Usually worn as eroticlingerie, a cupless bra can cause the shape of the nipples to be prominently visible on an outer garment.
*Demi bras, also known as balconette bras, a half-cup bra style, with wide-set straps and horizontal bust line. Often seamed or boned, it gives great cleavage and a frame-like effect. These offer less support, but enable low cut garments to be worn without the bra being seen. Demi bras may be designed to provide lift as a push-up bra does.
*Full support bras are a type of bra designed to offer good support for the whole of the breasts and, as such, are a typical, practical bra for everyday wear.
*Gel bras Like Adhesive Bras, they consist of two moulded, silicon gel filled cups that have a reusable adhesive on the inside of the cups and are designed to clip together to draw the breasts together and upwards without straps or a band.
Handbrais a modeling technique wherein the woman, though topless, conceals her areolaeby covering both breasts with her hands.
*Mastectomy bras are designed so that a prosthesis may be held in place and are intended for individuals who have lost one or both breasts in
mastectomytreatment for breast cancer.
Male bras are bras worn by men with Gynecomastia, usually to flatten and conceal rather than lift and support.
*Maternity bras are designed such that they can be expanded to adjust as the breasts increase in size over the course of a pregnancy. Maternity bra may also refer to
*Minimizer bras are designed to de-emphasize the bust, in particular of large-breasted women (34 C or above). Minimizers, by compressing and shaping the breasts, help to create the illusion of being a cup size or two smaller.
*Novelty bras designed more for show, and sensuality than function. Include unusual materials, such as leather, or design such as
Peephole bras, which have cups which loosely cover the breasts, but include holes around the nipples.
Nursing bras are designed to help make breastfeedingsimpler by allowing for easy access to the nipple. Traditionally, nursing bras are made with flaps of fabric over the cup which can be unclasped and pulled down to access the breast.
*Padded bras are simply bras with padding inside the lining. They are designed to provide a fuller shape for small breasts and an alternative to bra stuffing, a practice among teen-aged girls in which tissues, sugar packets, cotton balls, or socks are placed inside a bra to simulate larger breasts. Unlike push-up bras, however, most padded bras support the breasts but do not significantly lift them. (see also Water bras)
*"Push-up" bras are structured so that the breasts are lifted and placed closer together to enhance the cleavage. The best known brand of push-up bra is the
Wonderbra. Many push-up bras contain padding, typically made of foam or rubber, but some contain gel-filled pads. The main distinction between padded bras and push-up bras that incorporate padding is whether the padding is centred under each breast to simply lift them, or whether the padding is centred outside the centre of each breast such that it pushes the breasts inwards.
*Shelf bras [ [http://www.lamasbeauty.com/glossary/glossary_S.htm Lamas Beauty Glossary] ] essentially a rigid band (underwired) along the inframammary line, that pushes up without actually covering any, or only a thin strip of the breast.
*Sport Bras provide firm support for the breasts, and are meant to prevent discomfort or embarrassment during vigorous exercise.
*Strapless bras, with no shoulder straps, are designed for wearing with clothes that reveal the shoulders, such as
*T-shirt bras are designed without raised seams, so that a tight
t-shirtmay be worn without the bra being visible.
Trainer bras are designed for girls who have begun to develop breasts but have yet to be considered "developed" enough to allow for a standard-sized bra to fit properly. They are of simple construction and offer little, if any, support.
*U-plunge bra allows you, according to its shape, to wear a deep
*Water bras were a vogue in which bras were padded with a water gel. Air bras were a similar concept.
*Other There is no standardised system of bra design categorisation. Other terms include Full figure, Bridal,
BBW, Underwire, Vintage, Teen (see "Training"), Belly dance. [ [http://www.thebreastsite.com/bras/bra-styles.aspx The Breast Site: Bra styles] ]
Currently underwired bras are the fastest growing segment of the market. [http://reports.mintel.com/sinatra/reports/display/id=125741 Bras and Pants. Mintel International Group Ltd., 2001, 2005] ]
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