Back wings are the strips of fabric, which extend from the outer base of the cups and secure in the back. Important aspects of the back wings are; stretch vs. non-stretch, the measurement at the widest point (which is usually at the base of the cups), measurement at the closure, and type of close including number of hooks and eyes.
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Also known as a shelf bra, Balconettes are a more revealing version of a demi bra. Offering little to no coverage, balconettes create dramatic uplift and cleavage.
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A strapless band of fabric that covers the breasts. It is usually stretchy and sometimes has built-in cups. It is a great option for small busted women who dislike wearing traditional bras .
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Boning is usually incorporated into a vertical seam like to provide more support, structure, or body contouring to a bra. Boning can be made of steel, metal spirals, or plastic.
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A bralette is an unlined, soft cup bra, which resembles a crop top. A bralette is a comfortable bra alternative, with very light support, most appropriate for smaller cup sizes.
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Bra Hook Extenders
These are similar to the hook closures of most bras, but they are sold separately and are designed to attach to your bra to extend the length of the band size. They have multiple rows and columns of hook and eye sets. To use, simply hook one end to the end part of your bra band and adjust accordingly.
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A highly structured garment, which extends from bust to hip, although it will vary in length. Most bustiers have flexible boning throughout the body of the garment for additional shaping, and close in the back with a long column of hooks and eyes. Additional features may include removable or convertible straps or garters. Smooth bustiers are perfect under special occasion-wear as they provide both shaping and uplift.
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Comfort Straps are wider than average straps and are usually padded or lined more evenly distributing the weight of the breast, increasing the comfort of the wearer. Comfort straps are an important feature for any woman who has experienced shoulder pain due to her bra.
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The center gore is the fabric which connects the cups of a bra at the front center. Important aspects of the center gore include: stretch vs. non-stretch – with the non-stretch offering significantly more support than stretch – and width measurement. Bras with low or plunge fronts have thinner center gores making them a good choice to pair with low cut tops.
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A contour bra has shaped cups, which are always padded or lined. They often have an underwire. The cups mimic the natural shape of a woman's body. Contour bras are similar to a molded bra, except molded bras are generally not as highly structured. Contour bras are a perfect choice for any woman seeking a sculpted silhouette, as they offer a significant amount of coverage and control.
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Describes any bra with detachable straps that can be worn in a variety of ways including traditional, criss-cross, halter, strapless or one shoulder. Convertible bras are a flexible option since they can be worn with a variety of tops, including boat neck, halter and asymmetrical necklines.
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A corset is a highly structured, form-fitted support garment that extends from the bust to the hip- although the length can vary. Most corsets have lace up details, flexible boning throughout the body of the garment for additional shaping, and close in the back with a long column of hooks and eyes.
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Darted Seam Cup Bras
The bra cups each have a single seam starting from bottom of the cup straight up to the center of the cup. This construction is usually found on full figure or full busted bras for a rounder silhouette, comfort and greater support.
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A demi-cup bra offers a sexy, cleavage enhancing shape. This style is best for petite to average figure women. These bras offer less coverage than a full cup and more than a balconette. Demi bras cover approximately half to ¾ of the breast, and will create you cleavage and uplift. If it seems like you’re “spilling out” of your demi-cup it's probably the wrong style or cup size for you.
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As opposed to padded bras, foam lined bras have a thinner lining. This lining does not add size, but provides additional shaping as well as protection against nipple show-through. A key feature to look for in foam lined bras is stretch foam lining. Stretch foam will create a natural looking silhouette and will keep its shape even after repeated washings.
A key feature to look for in foam lined bras is stretch foam lining. Stretch foam will create a natural looking silhouette and will keep its shape even after repeated washings.
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Full Figure Bras
Full figure bras offer comfort and support features designed specifically for voluptuous women. Full figure bras range in size from a 38 and up to a 56 band size.
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Graduated padding is thicker at the base of the cups and tapers to a thinner layer towards the top of the cup, creating a natural looking silhouette as well as the appearance of increased cleavage.
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Leotard Back / U-Back Bra
Rather than the conventional rectangle shape in the back, the leotard back provides a U-shape, which prevents the straps from sliding or falling off the shoulders. This style is particularly good for fuller figures and full busted women who need the additional support.
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Inner slings are a support feature built into the cup of bras for fuller-busted sizes. They are curved strips of fabric, which follow the natural curve of the bra similar to an underwire, except they are soft and built into the design of the cup, creating an extra layer of support.
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A bra specifically designed for women who are pregnant. Since pregnant women often have swelling and tenderness in the breasts, maternity bras are constructed with wider straps to increase support and reduce bounce, as well as more comfortable fabrics to prevent irritation.
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A bra specifically designed for women who are nursing. Similar to a maternity bra, it provides increased support but offers detachable clips on the top of each cup to allow easy access for breast-feeding.
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A minimizer bra reduces the appearance of the bust by up to one cup size. This can be especially helpful for women who have trouble with gaps between the buttons on shirts and blouses.
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Molded bras have cups that are pre-shaped and designed to mirror the natural shape of the breasts, for a better fit and comfort. Molded bras are generally unlined and may be either soft cup or underwire.
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Padded Bras have shape-enhancing pads or lining designed to increase bust size and add cleavage. Graduated padding is thicker at the base of the cups and tapers gently, to create a natural looking silhouette as well as an enhanced cleavage.
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Plunge bras create the appearance of increased cleavage because of their deep (plunging) front silhouette, angled cups and narrow center gore. Plunge bras differ from push-up bras in that they are not generally as heavily padded.
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Push-up bras create the appearance of increased cleavage using angled cups (which generally have underwires), a variety of types of padding including graduated and cookies, and demi cups.
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A racerback is designed for a no-show fit under tank tops. Most convertible bras can be worn racerback, but a true racerback bra is a must-have to pair with racerback tanks.
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Non-stretch straps which are generally adjustable. Rigid straps offer more support than stretch straps. Rigid straps are an important feature for Full Figure silhouettes. Some bras have rigid in front straps, and stretch adjustable straps in the back for additional, adjustable comfort.
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A bra constructed without seamed cups. There may be seams in other parts of the bra and still be considered seamless. Seamless bras are a great choice for pairing with clingy knits, and lightweight jerseys since they are virtually invisible under clothing.
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Sports bras are specifically designed to offer the appropriate amount of support during physical activity. Sports bras are designed in various levels of support- from light support (best for yoga and walking) to maximum support (for running and jumping).
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A triangle bra has triangle shaped cups, which offer the perfect amount of coverage and support for petite to average figures. Triangle bras may be padded or lined but generally do not have underwires, and most have thin straps, minimal center gore and back wings.
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Invisible under even the thinnest fabrics, t-shirt bras are seamless, contoured styles designed to prevent any show-through when wearing light knits. Important for all seasons, t-shirt bras create an ultra smooth look under knits, sweaters or clingy tops.
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