29 Common Types Of Bra Designs And Their Functions


Developed late in the nineteenth century, the feminine icon has since been views as a symbol of a girl’s coming of age. The bra does not only covers, supports and elevates the breasts, but also shapes the wearer’s figure. The degree of which the bra frames the breasts varies between style, functionality, fashion and fabric. Most of the bras today fall into more than 1 category mentioned below.

It is important to know the types of bras available so that you can pick the right one for the right time so as to protect the general health of your breasts.

  1. Adhesive Bra
  2. A bra which adheres to the breasts. It has no straps or bands of any sort and provide little support to the breasts. This type of bra is intended for backless and strapless fashions. There are two types. There is the disposable paper ones that use a strong adhesive and the reusable ones that use silicone that can be washed and reused.

  3. Bandeau Bra
  4. A simple band of cloth worn across the breasts, providing little support or shaping.

  5. Belly Dance Bra
  6. It is commonly assumed that a belly dancing bra size is the same as normal bra size. This is not necessarily so. For instance if you normally use a size 32C you may well find that a 34B will fit quite comfortably with a few minor adjustments to latch settings since most belly dancing bras are designed to cover very well.

  7. Bridal Bra/Corset
  8. A bridal bra/corset mold and shape the upper body into a desired shape to fit the wedding dress. In addition to that, it promotes good posture and can be more comfortable as the weight of the breasts is carried by the whole corset rather than the brassiere’s shoulder straps.

  9. Built-in Bra
  10. Supportive brassiere-like structures on the inside of another garment, such as a swimsuit or tank top, which provide support for the bust without the need for a separate bra. In most such garments, these built-ins consist of a horizontal elastic strip, although some do have cups and underwires as with other bra types. In some cases these may easily be removed, if desired.

  11. Convertible Bra
  12. It has 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.

  13. Demi Bra
  14. A half-cup bra style with wide-set straps and a horizontal bust line. Often seamed or boned, they give 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 do push-up bras.

  15. Front Closure Bra
  16. Bras that have closures, usually hooks and eyes, on the front rather than at the back. These bras lie completely flat at the back under clothing. Some feature a racerback style back which is great for wear with tank tops and for lending a no-slip effect to the straps.

  17. Full Support Bra
  18. 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.

  19. Mastectomy Bra
  20. Designed so that a prosthesis may be held in place and are intended for individuals who have lost one or both breasts in mastectomy treatment for breast cancer.

  21. Male Bra
  22. Bras worn by men with Gynecomastia, usually to flatten and conceal rather than lift and support.

  23. Maternity Bra
  24. Designed such that they can be expanded to adjust as the breasts increase in size over the course of a pregnancy.

  25. Minimizer Bra
  26. Designed to play down the bust, in particular for women with cups of 34C and above. Minimizers, by compressing and shaping the breasts, help to create the illusion of being a cup size or two smaller, and are often more comfortable.

  27. Novelty Bra
  28. Designed more for show and sensuality than for function. They may include unusual materials, such as leather, coconuts or be unusual in design.

  29. Nursing Bra
  30. Designed to help make breastfeeding simpler by allowing the baby easy access to the nipple. Traditionally, the cups of nursing bras are covered with flaps of fabric that can be unclasped at the top and pulled down to expose the breast.

  31. Padded Bra
  32. Bras with padding inside the lining. They are designed to provide a fuller shape for small breasts and are an alternative to bra stuffing, a practice among teenage girls in which ‘falsies’ like 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.

  33. Peephole Bras
  34. The type of bra that has cups loosely covering the breasts, which also includes holes around the nipples.

  35. Push-up Bra
  36. 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 is centred outside the centre of each breast such that the padding pushes the breasts inwards.

  37. Racerback Bra
  38. Has shoulder straps that come over the shouder in a V pattern very close to the neck. This design is sometimes worn under strapless dresses or tops where traditional straps would be very obviously exposed. Many Sport bras use the racerback.

  39. Shelf Bra
  40. Essentially a rigid band, usually underwires, along the inframammary line that pushes up while covering none, or only a narrow strip, of the breast.

  41. Softcup Bra
  42. Has no underwire support in the cups. Rather they rely on the strength of the underband to provide support to the bust.

  43. Sport Bra
  44. Provides firm support for the breasts, and are meant to prevent discomfort or embarrassment during vigorous exercise.

  45. Strapless Bra
  46. With no shoulder straps, they are designed for wearing with clothes that reveal the shoulders, such as halterneck tops.

  47. T-shirt Bra
  48. Designed without raised seams, so that a tight t-shirt may be worn without the bra being visible. These often have padded cups to conceal nipples and to provide a smooth line under t-shirts.

  49. Trainer Bra
  50. Designed for young 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 very little support.

  51. U-plunge Bra
  52. Allows you to wear clothes that have a deep plunging neckline.

  53. Underwire Bra
  54. Designed to give extra support and endurance. They have a wire, metal or plastic, running under each cup to provide rigid support to the bust.

  55. Vintage Bra
  56. A type of full support bra with cups in the shape of a paraboloid of revolution with its axis perpendicular to the breast. Invented in the late 1940s, they were still being sold well into the 1960s.

  57. Water Bra
  58. Bras which have water or silicon gel-filled cups to make your breasts look larger.

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63 thoughts on “29 Common Types Of Bra Designs And Their Functions”

  1. Mind blowing collection of bras, at a single place.
    I wish , if you allow me, to quote all these in my forthcoming book on breast care.

  2. I am not a fan of lingerie so I only have the normal kind of bra in my closet until one day my boyfriend gave me a set of cute babydoll dress and panty for my birthday. I didn

    1. Well I just accidentally red your comment. Anyway, I also gave same kind of gift to my wife(when she was my gf) from a shop in Sri Lanka. I was hoping she ware it at our honey moon but she didn’t and I didn’t want to force too. But indirectly I was expecting each day.. may be on anniversaries she’ll ware it. But didn’t. Now we have kids and I have no such feeling to see her in such dress. may be we have many other life priorities :) I’d say mature. ppl should be little wild when they were young. So I think you better ware it. It should not ‘comfortable’ as its only you two.

  3. Very informative, in easy language but in a practical way. It will be more informative if you give some examples in Brand Names.

    1. The best kind of bra to hide nipples is a t-shirt bra. Some even come with extra padding to hide nipples if you need them.

      Some bras have cups that are made of shaped foam, and I think you will find any of these will help. But it is very important to make sure the cup is the correct size. They are all sized by the cup size, but some of them have cups that are larger than you think.

    2. shalu i guess u shud show ur breasts to us.. only then v can suggest u something good/right for u.

  4. my girlfriend has had a breast inplants and her breast are far apart from each other, do they make bras that push them together to give her a clevage?

  5. Where can you buy male bra? I have not seen them ever, for sale.

    Do males measure same way as females do, for bra cup etc.?

    Is there a female bra that will work for a man?

    1. Because males usually have broader chest than women do, the size of the cup can be very wrong.

      The best way to get the correct cup size is to try them on. You can also wear a sports bra that is made to fit all cup sizes with the same band size, and then measure over the breast. That will give you a more accurate cup size.

  6. hey my size is 30.but the prblm is whatevr i wear my nipples always visible frm my clothes.m fed up for this.so i choose padded bra.it covered my nipples…am i right in choosing bra??? plzz help me…plz rply me …send ur ans in mail….

    1. henna,
      yes u selected right type of bra. my gf also has same problem. u can also try push-up bra with padded. ur boobs will also look great in those

    2. The best kind of bra to hide nipples is a t-shirt bra. Some even come with extra padding to hide nipples if you need them.

      I do not agree about push-up bras. They are not made to hide nipples, and some can even make them more obvious.

      Some bras have cups that are made of shaped foam, and I think you will find any of these will help. But it is very important to make sure the cup is the correct size. They are all sized by the cup size, but some of them have cups that are larger than you think.

  7. hi

    i recently bought a dress. i m lookin for a bra that doesnt show off the cleave as it has a deep neck. which one should i go for ?

    1. Yeap, malls.

      Tell the shop assistant that this is your first time buying bras for yourself and she will be more than happy to help you out.

  8. I have to purchase a cotton bra for my 21 years younger sister. She has been wearing Tape under her Sleeveless Suit. She has not worn Bra till. She is slim and she has normal weight about 50-52 kg. How to measure her bra

  9. thanks for sharing. i was not aware these many types of bra. Usually i prefer to wear tshirt & sports bra. I feel very much comfortable on those.

  10. I think you forgot one type of bra: the quarter-cup bra. Partial support of a full bra, but all the sensual revealing of an cupless bra.

  11. My breast size 34B, I want to know what’s type of bra & bra strap good for breast lifting & firming.
    please please………..advice.

  12. hi I am 11 in September I will turn 12 hate wearing bra I prefer vests but my nipples are seen in it my mum tells me to wear it but my boy friend say I look hot and sexy without them without but I hate the elastic in bras I prefer cotton vests what should I do

    1. You shouldn’t skimp money on cheap bras. Spend on quality ones as you will be wearing a bra most of the time.

  13. Hi! I was wondering what sort of bra I could use for this really nice dress I just bought. It is very low-back and the straps are on the sides of my back. I am a 32C so I usually like to have some support. Any suggestions?

  14. Hi, I bought a silicon adhesive bra for strapless dresses and tank tops as I am not comfortable with my bra straps shwing but it doesn’t really hold my breasts up and they end up ‘sagging’. I think the size is right, am I the one wearing it the wrong way or what might be going on? Note that I am a size 34DD US

    1. Silicon adhesives don’t really do much in terms of ‘sagging’ as they do not contain underwire support.

      For strapless dresses, strapless bra is the way to go.


  15. hie em a bit shy types..
    i have a huge breast..can you plss help me.. which type of bra i should use… please.. i em too shy to tlk to nyone abt the same.. but i want my breast to look a lil less than it is..

    1. Hey ashi.

      It’s okay to be shy.

      The key to getting over it is to fix the things you’re insecure about.

      Give the minimizer bra a try.


  16. iam 24year old girl nd my size is 32 bt my boobs are nt correct nd very small in size i want a help from u dat woy kind of bra i must use i dont want to use sponge bra bt my i need a bra from which my breast looks nice nd my dresses cn fit me

    1. 1. Small sized boobs is better than no boobs. Nothing “nt correct” about that.

      2. Racerback, strapless, and u-plunge depending on your dress type.

  17. It’s good you have this. It has helped me with getting the right bra for my large bust. A lot of girls have been less lucky than I have so I hope this helps them. What was large when I was growing up is the normal of today so I’m thankful for this post.Cathy

  18. my gf have strange pare of breast…
    both of them never come close… i meen they spread side way. hope u understand what i wanna say..
    what type of bra u suggest for her.

    1. As women age, their breasts lose firmness. When they lie down, their breasts don’t keep plumping up toward the ceiling, like a young girl’s might. She can try to preserve whatever firmness and muscle tone that’s left by wearing an underwired bra all the time but only breast implants will correct her problem. It will set you back at least US$6000 (in South Korea).

  19. I have larger breasts with sagging. Please tell me which type of bra should I use for breast support? padding, push up or underwire

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