Considering there are thousands of different bras to choose from, picking The One can seem like a daunting task. Factor in your breast size, shape and personal preferences, and finding the perfect bra for your body type can feel completely overwhelming. But once you find the right styles for your figure, you’ll be infinitely more comfortable, physically and mentally. Check out the top 16 different bra types and styles for every body type, then shop the ones that speak to you most.
What is a t-shirt bra? T-shirt bras are designed to look smooth and invisible, even under a thin cotton tee. Typically, T-shirt bras are seamless, as many have molded cups. Some may feature padding or built-in push-up technology, but by no means is that across the board; go for those if you’re looking for a little extra oomph.
What It Does: The molding, usually a thin layer of foam, is meant to create a perfectly rounded look. What’s more, this layer ensures there will be no nipple show-through.
When To Wear It: T-shirt bras are your everyday go-to. Wear them under pretty much anything for complete body confidence.
Breast Type: Absolutely everyone can wear a T-shirt bra. That's what makes them so popular: the cups sculpt, shape, smooth and contain as needed.
Styling Tip: Since T-shirt bras look all but invisible thanks to the seamless construction, they’re ideal for pairing with form-fitting tops, clingy fabrics and sheer looks.
What is a push-up bra? A push-up bra enhances the look of your chest (specifically, your cleavage) for a fuller, more voluptuous profile.
What It Does: Push-up bras typically rely on padding to lift breasts up and into the center of the chest.
When To Wear It: Try this style with lower-cut tops and cleavage-baring dresses for the ultimate va-va-voom effect.
Breast Type: Women with smaller breasts will appreciate the extra lift, as will women with asymmetrical breasts (so long as the padding is removable).
Styling Tip: Since you’re drawing the eye to your natural assets, you may as well choose a pretty bra that doesn’t shy away from being noticed.
What is a padded bra? A padded bra has a little or a lot of filler material inside the cups, depending on your preference. You can find a padded version of pretty much every style of bra.
What It Does: That inner padding, be it thick or thin, boosts the fullness of your bust.
When To Wear It: Every day, if you like. Padding has the added benefit of disguising alert nipples.
Breast Type: Anyone can wear a padded bra. The smaller your breasts, the more you might appreciate one. Of course, even bigger chests can feel a bit deflated now and then; padded bras to the rescue!
Styling Tip: Reach for a padded bra with any top that doesn’t do your chest justice, be it a deep V-neck or a turtleneck.
What is a balconette bra? Balconette bras, also known as demi-cup or half-cup bras, reveal the upper half of the breasts.
What It Does: The band, which supports the breasts like a balcony might, pushes your breasts up rather than together towards the center.
When To Wear It: Whenever you want the flattering effect of a demi-cup without added cleavage.
Breast Type: Balconette bras work amazingly well on average to fuller busts. The wide-set straps also sit nicely on broad shoulders.
Styling Tip: A balconette gives an great-looking finish when paired with scoop or sweetheart necklines.
What is considered a sexy bra? Everyone’s definition of sexy may differ, but the good news is that there’s a slew of sexy styles to choose from that’ll flatter your figure.
What It Does: With details like straps, lace and peekaboo cutouts, sexy bras demand attention.
When To Wear It: Leave your workaday T-shirt bra in the drawer in favor of a sexy bra when you’re in the mood to be positively worshipped. It can be your little secret all day long or shared with someone who deserves a thrill.
Breast Type: Sexy is for everyone! Take the sensual demi-cup bra, which covers about half of each breast while simultaneously lifting them front and center for some serious cleavage.
Styling Tip: Bonus points for matching panties.
What is a strapless bra? A strapless bra is exactly what it sounds like—a bra without straps. These bras differ because they often feature silicone or rubber trim for additional support and to prevent slipping. You can find a slew of strapless bras in longline styles, plunging cuts, push-ups, plus-size options and more.
What It Does: Strapless bras solve wardrobe problems. If bra straps would detract from the look, this style is the way to go.
When To Wear It: Pull out your strapless bra for special occasions or whenever you’re wearing an off-the-shoulder shirt, dress or jumpsuit (or one with thinner straps).
Breast Type: There’s a perfect strapless bra for every pair. If you wear a D-cup bra or above, take extra care when finding the best strapless bra for your body type. Keep an eye out for more generous coverage and cuts, along with rave reviews from other full-busted women.
Styling Tip: It’s best to save your strapless finds for when you specifically need the no-show design. You may find bras with straps more comfortable for the daily grind.
What is a bralette? Whether made of soft cotton or sexy lace, the bralette is typically wire-free, with barely any padding. Triangular cups provide minimal lift and a natural look.
What It Does: Very little! Bralettes are best with outfits that don’t call for a lot of support.
When To Wear It: Pull on a bralette when you’re chilling at home, sleeping or running errands.
Breast Type: It used to be true that bralettes were only for small busts, but that’s no longer the case; there are lots of bralettes constructed to accommodate bigger busts.
Styling Tip: The bralette is seriously in vogue at the moment. Try wearing one with a low-cut tank in a contrasting color for maximum impact.
What are the most comfortable bras? The definition of comfort may vary from woman to woman depending on your breast size and personal preferences, but there are a few characteristics you can look for, especially if your idea of a comfortable bra is something you can Netflix and chill in. Many comfortable bras, for example, are wire-free. However, keep in mind that the look is usually less lifted. Likewise, these styles may be seamless and often have non-molded cups.
What It Does: Comfort has become a fashion trend with staying power, and bras are following suit. So while they still lift and support like you would expect from any bra, they do so with details like no underwires, underwires tucked into padded channels, cushioned straps, longer underbands, and thin and airy fabrics.
When To Wear It: Comfort bras are a given on the weekends, but you can also rock them on a Zoom call or at the office under a top that isn’t too revealing.
Breast Type: Anyone with breasts who appreciates feeling at ease can find a comfort bra to love, from AA to O cups.
Styling Tip: Comfort bras are big on both comfort and style. When it comes to easy wearing, whatever feels best on your body is the right choice.
What is a bandeau bra? Bandeau bras are strapless but, unlike their more conventional counterparts, resemble more of a stretchy tube top than two distinct cups. They go on overhead, without any fasteners.
What It Does: Bandeau bras exist for coverage as well as fashion. They impart a natural look, if not lift or a whole lot of support.
When To Wear It: You can wear a bandeau under any strapless shirt or dress. For a design that’s begging to be seen, put one under a top with oversized armholes—or all on its own.
Breast Type: Go bandeau if you’ve got smaller or average-size breasts, as they lack the support a bigger bust needs.
Styling Tip: Bandeau bras are your warmer weather secret weapon. Like a bralette, they may be all you need under a T-shirt, tank or dress on a sunny weekend outing.
What is a minimizer bra? Minimizer bras can reduce the look of your chest by up to two inches, providing a flattering silhouette for women with larger breasts. These can be either seamed or seamless but always have underwire to provide the maximum lift.
What It Does: The specially designed cups of a minimizer are made to redistribute the breast tissue from front-and-center to up-and-away for a front-facing profile that projects less.
When To Wear It: Since the straps tend to be wider and the cups fuller, minimizer bras work best under clothing that covers a lot up top. Go with a minimizer under a button-down blouse, turtleneck sweater or clingy shirt.
Breast Type: Rounded breasts that are full top and bottom can use minimizers to their aesthetic advantage.
Styling Tip: Despite what the name would suggest, minimizer bras are great for those who aren’t necessarily looking for a smaller size so much as a more streamlined shape.
What is a smoothing bra? If you’ve ever been curious about how to get rid of pesky back bulge, know that the issue may not be wearing the wrong size—the band should always be snug. It’s the design of a smoothing bra that makes all the difference.
What It Does: Thanks to their seamless edges, wider wings and deeper sides, smoothing bras blend lumps, bumps and bulges into oblivion.
When To Wear It: Made for silky fabrics and curve-hugging clothes, smoothing bras are what to wear when there’s a little less left to the imagination. Wear a smoothing bra for a flawless finish anytime your clothing might indicate what’s going on underneath.
Breast Type: Bigger busts fill smoothing bras; what actually matters more is rolls you’d like to conceal a bit more than your usual bra can handle.
Styling Tip: Sleek, modern smoothing bras look more fabulous than functional, so don’t be afraid of yours being seen.
What is a racerback bra? Racerbacks are as sporty as they sound, generally featuring a strap that comes up from the back center of the bra that splits into a V-, X- or Y-shape between the shoulder blades to cross over the shoulders on either side of the neck.
What It Does: A racerback will stop annoying strap slippage in its tracks. Many sports bras are also designed with a racerback shape to guarantee they stay put during high impact activities.
When To Wear It: Choose a versatile racerback bra anytime you don’t want to deal with runaway straps but don’t require a full-on strapless bra. And of course racerback sports bras hold court at the gym, where slippage need not derail your workout.
Breast Type: While anyone can wear a racerback, they’re extra useful for bringing together wide-set breasts or securing bigger busts.
Styling Tip: Before you decide on a racerback bra—especially if you have specific tops, blouses or dresses in mind—ensure that the shape is compatible with the clothing.
What is a sports bra? Sports bras differ from their everyday counterparts by providing the most support and comfort during all kinds of activities. That support is key to avoiding permanent stretching in the breasts’ connective tissue. Sports bras are usually made from performance fabrics that wick moisture, which prevents rubbing and chafing while you sweat.
What It Does: Encapsulation-style sports bras support each breast individually and give a natural-looking shape. Compression styles, commonly the classic pullover sports bras, press the breasts against your chest. Both stop their figure-eight trajectory while working out.
When To Wear It: If physical fitness is on your to-do list, be it walking in the park or pounding it out in kickboxing class, you should trade up from your usual bra to a sports bra.
Breast Type: There’s a sports bra out there for everyone who works out. Smaller chests can wear compression-style bras; the bigger your breasts, the more you’ll benefit from encapsulation-style sports bras.
Styling Tip: Compression styles can be worn on their own as a top for a sporty-chic look.
What is a maternity bra? Maternity bras or nursing bras are designed with fluctuating cup sizes, comfort and functionality top-of-mind.
What It Does: These bras feature drop-down flaps that snap into place for easy feedings. They’re typically thick enough to prevent chafing and absorb a little leaking breastmilk.
When To Wear It: You can start with a maternity bra near the end of your last trimester and wear it through weaning. You may opt to wear one for comfort and support while you’re sleeping as well as during the day.
Breast Type: Any and every nursing mother can find a just-right maternity bra that makes you feel good, mentally and physically; there are near endless styles to pick from.
Styling Tip: Today’s nursing bras are so pretty! Choose one in soft lace, shiny satin or an unexpected color, and try to remember what life used to be like…!
What is a plus size bra? Available in a wide array of styles, plus-size bras typically have features like wider bands, proportionally larger cups with more coverage and thicker comfort straps.
What It Does: Plus size bras are specifically designed to flatter fuller figures. Design details make the fit better and life easier.
When To Wear It: If you wear plus sizes in clothing, do the same in bras.
Breast Type: These bras are more about body type than breast type. After all, you can wear an A-cup or a B-cup and still require a bigger band.
Styling Tip: Remember that fit is about flattering the individual—whatever style looks and feels best is the right choice for you.
What are DD+ bras? When you’re well endowed, it’s imperative to find bras that provide lift, coverage and comfort—exactly what DD+ bras do. Expect to find molded and seamed cups in the mix; both can work equally well for fuller cup sizes.
What It Does: Whether they rely on seamed cups or molded, underwires or wire-free, bras specifically designed for bigger busts are ideal for shaping and supporting. To make sure you’ve selected a bra of the right size, check the position of the band. It should be snug and lift the breasts until they’re about midway between your shoulders and elbows. Likewise, the underwire—often employed by larger-breasted women, but by no means required—should completely surround each breast without digging into them, and the cup’s seams should lay flat against each breast.
When To Wear It: You can wear a DD+ support bra every day of the week, or whenever you’re after considerable (yet comfortable!) containment.
Breast Type: DD+ support bras are for big breasts of any shape.
Styling Tip: Because there are so many different styles of bras for women in size DD and up, ensure that whichever you choose—minimizer, balconette, etc.—fits well so it will lay flat under clothing.
Now that you know what’s out there, it’s time to go shopping and treat yourself to some confidence-boosting new bra styles that cater to your body type.
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