Bra Style Guide:

Types of bra explained

We’re often asked, ‘what type of bra is best?’. There are many different bra styles and so the honest answer is it depends on what you’re looking for! Our bra style guide is here to help you navigate your way through the different bra shapes and styles and arm you with the knowledge to know what to look for.

If you’re not sure about what bra styles might work well for you or if you have any other questions, we’d love to help. You can call us on 01926 459 859 (we’re open 7 days a week), chat to us via Live Chat or pop into one of our shops.

What are the different types of bra?


Guide:What is a balconette bra?

A balconette is a popular shape as it offers a rounded look and great support with less coverage than a full cup style. The straps tend to be a little wider-set and join at the side of the cup rather than the centre. Find out more about balconette bras (and why they’re a great choice for bigger boobs!) in our detailed guide What is a balcony bra?


Guide:What is a plunge bra?

Plunge bras offer less coverage (but no less support!). Many big-boobed women find that the low centre wires in a plunge are super comfy and they work really well under low-cut outfits as there’s no pesky lines peeking out over the top of your clothes! Not sure you’re ready to take the plunge?! Find out more in our detailed guide What is a plunge bra?


Guide:What is a full cup bra?

Just as it says on the tin – full cup bras offer all-over coverage and great support. Lots of Bravissimo girls tell us they feel really secure in this shape. The straps are a little closer-set, joining at the centre of the cups so this style is ideal if you find that your straps tend to slip off your shoulders.

Did you know?

Not everyone's boobs 'fit the mould' so a seam-free style may not always work for you - however we do offer styles with barely-there seams for a smooth silhouette which are a great option for under T-shirts, too!


Guide:What is a T-shirt bra?

T-shirt bras can be padded or unpadded. They are seam-free (or moulded) which means the cups are a fixed shape and give a smooth line under clothes. Not everyone ‘fits the mould’, so we have a range which are cleverly constructed with barely-there seams, so they offer the same smooth silhouette. Find out more about the difference styles of T-shirt bra in our guide What is a T-shirt bra?


Guide:What is a strapless bra?

Bravissimo girls can feel secure while going strapless (yes, really!). Strapless bras give you the freedom to wear what you want and they’re cleverly designed to prevent slipping.


Guide:What is a half cup bra?

Sometimes called a demi-cup, this style is slightly less covering than a balconette and offers an upfront and uplifted shape. These bras boost your cleavage from the bottom and can be great if you don’t have as much volume at the top of your boobs.

Did you know?

You are probably not 'one bra size'! Compare buying a bra with buying a pair of shoes - you might know what size generally feels good, but things like styles, shapes and brands can make a difference. Browse all DD+ bras and find the right bra for you that leaves you feeling supported and amazing, Bravissimo girl!


Guide:What is a bralette?

Bralettes tend to be non-wired and give lighter support. We also offer wired bralettes to give the look of a bralette (but with all the support us Bravissimo girls look for!). Find out more about bralettes, and what style could work for you, in our Bralettes Buyers Guide.


Guide:What is a front fastening bra?

Business at the front… party at the back! Front fastening bras have the clasp or hook and eye between your boobs at the front, so they’re really easy to get on and off, and often have pretty detailing at the back. They are a great option for lower-cut outfits as they usually have a low centre front with wires slightly wider set which some Bravissimo girls find really comfy.


Guide:What is a sports bra?

Sports bras work by holding your boobs close to your chest for maximum hold and minimum movement. They tend to be made from non-stretch fabric with minimal stretch to reduce jiggle, so you can beat the bounce and go for it! Find out more about sports bras, and what style could work for you, in our Sports Bra Style Guide.

Did you know?

It's completely normal to have one boob bigger than the other. For most of us they are not identical - think of your boobs as sisters, rather than twins!


Guide:What is a non-wired bra?

There are lots of reasons why you may prefer to wear a non-wired bra. While they tend not to offer as much support as underwired styles, they offer a soft fit and natural shape that it great for those us who prefer not to wear wires.


Guide:What is a nursing bra?

Nursing bras are designed to accommodate your body through pregnancy and beyond and have clips and drop-down cups for breastfeeding. They tend to be non-wired or have flexi-wires, which are softer and more flexible than normal wires and help to provide more uplift and separation than a non-wired style. You can find out more about nursing bras in our Maternity & Nursing Bra Fitting Guide.


Guide:What is a sleep bra?

Our sleep bras are designed to give you a bit of extra support while you’re sleeping or lounging. They’re non-wired and have a soft band and padded straps so they’re super comfy.

Find out more about sleep bras in our Sleep Bra Guide.

Did you know?

We offer a friendly, knowledgeable and free fitting service in our shops, over the phone, by email or via Live Chat on our website. We'd love to hear from you soon!

Other things to look out for when choosing a bra…

Stretch Lace

Stretch lace bras are great for those of us who have one boob bigger than the other (which is most of us!). They mould to your individual shape, so they work for Bravissimo girls with more or less volume or those of us who fluctuate in size during the month.

Side Sling

A side sling (or side support) is a panel at the side of your bra that pulls your boobs in for a forward-facing look.


Padded bras don’t necessarily add bulk – the padding is there to give a rounded shape and a smooth look (as well as an extra job of nipple coverage!).


Moulded bras = seam-free! Moulded bras are made from one piece of material which gives a smooth look under T-shirts and can be padded or non-padded.

How do I find a bra that fits?

There a few things to look for, to know if your bra is fitting you well. The underband should be firm but comfortable, the wires should lie flat against your chest and your boobs should be fully enclosed in the cups. You can read more about this in our bra fitting guide.

If you ever have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to get in touch - we love to help women feel confident and amazing! Come and see us in one of our shops, give us a call or contact us via live chat. We can fit you over the phone and via chat (yes, really!) so you don’t need to be near a shop to get the Bravissimo experience.

What to do if your bra is uncomfortable

Let us know! It’s important you feel comfortable in the bras you buy from us. If you wear a new bra and find it uncomfortable, or you’re not happy with it for any reason, please get in touch so we can help.