30 Types of Bras Every Woman Should Know – A Complete Guide

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Did you know that 64% of women are wearing the wrong bra? And ironically 24% know for a fact that they are wearing the wrong size. No wonder we just can’t wait to pull the bra off the moment we reach home! We all are doing something fundamentally wrong. So I had to find a method to this madness before it affects me (my health) anymore. Simply put – start with a professional fitting, understand the different types of bras out there and most importantly invest in the bra that’s meant for YOU. That takes care of all your bra woes and so does this article. Scroll down to view various bra types with images.

In This Article

30 Best Different Types Of Bras With Images and Names

Understanding, the right size is one thing and matching it with your body type is another. Our anatomy might be the same but each of us are unique, so it is important to be fully aware of your body, needs and what it needs. So, let’s discuss the best from the lot and look at 30 types of bras meeting the needs of various body type.

1. T-Shirt Bra

Image: Source

I’m not fussy about a lot of things in life, but a T-shirt bra is not one of them. Fishing for a seamless T-shirt bra did not come easily to me because I was always under the assumption that they were the padded bras. They are very similar, except they are not. These come with molded protection, sometimes with an underwire, but not necessarily padded. They add rigidity, and depending on your bust size, give a minimized look. It is the underwire that offers complete coverage, and the whole idea is to take you far away from the fear of a double boob or a pop out. The experts always recommend a professional bra fitting at least once to avoid that.

2. Sports Bra

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If I could put this better, I would, but choosing a sports bra has no magic formula. For most of us, it is tried and tested, simply because it is a deal breaker and can make your workout as comfortable or uncomfortable as your bra. So, we need to pay attention to the fundamentals – straps, cups, and the band. It needs to be snug and encompassing all around. However, it cannot suffocate your breasts or result in a uniboob. A few things to remember – run your finger along the band between your breasts and ensure you are able to pull about an inch from the chest – the front straps should be as less stretchy as possible for better motion control. And lastly, there is no spillage of the breasts, which will imply that you need the next size. Choose a bra based on the activity – a low impact sports bra is suitable for yoga, hiking or walking, and a high impact one is needed for rigorous exercises like aerobics, running, zumba, etc.

3. Push Up Bra

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This is based on a simple mechanism of adding lift and volume to the breasts so that they are symmetric, closer, and fuller. For starters, a push-up bra helps women with a smaller bust line or those whose breasts do not stick high up at the chest. So, the myth that women with bigger breasts cannot wear push-ups remains untrue, because it does more than just making them fuller. These are available in every size starting from A to E, and come in myriad designs. Since most of the push-up bras are wired, make sure the underwire is not pinching your skin at the bottom but just snugly fits at the end of your bust line.

4. Padded Bra

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The padded bra has been a savior for so many reasons. It gives a fuller look for women with smaller boobs, and in winters, it gives you complete nipple coverage and an overall fuller look. Some women, however, do not prefer it because it can sometimes make their boobs look double their size. The reason could be an error while choosing the size or the design. Another interesting variant that I personally love is the soft-padded bra. If you do not prefer padded, wired or push-ups – this is your best bet in winters, plus they are super soft and comfortable. You also have the semi-padded cup bras that will go with deep neck dresses. And, the demi bra is a good option for women with petite frames or smaller breasts or both.

5. Strapless Bra

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I don’t know about you, but for me, wearing a strapless bra was a fiasco – every single time, until I had my first professional fitting. It is a real blessing if you get your basics right. Besides, always meddling with your bra is a real turn off. Apparently, you need to go down one step smaller because the band is like the one-man army holding the girls together, plus supporting your chest. Remember, your dress should be slightly looser near the chest and tighter near the waist, else we are back to square one.

6. Lace Bra

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Lace is sensuous, and it just feels great to wear the fabric on your body, especially if it’s lingerie. You will never run out of options, but more often than not, they are known as a fancy variant than the actual functionality. So, check with the sales associate in the store or talk to a professional if you have questions on sporting these flawlessly unless you prefer your nipples pointy. On the contrary, lace fabric is used as an add-on outermost layer in everyday intimates like padded ones, push-ups, etc.

7. Halter Bra

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As the name suggests, these go perfectly well with your tanks, tubes, strapless dresses or racerback T-shirts. Most of the convertibles give you a choice of clear strap, cross-over back or halter neck, so camouflaging those straps is oh-so-easy!

8. Soft Padded

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A pain area that needs an answer and a customized solution for one problem that unites us all. Honestly, it is not all that fancy, we just need a T-shirt bra. These are basically well rounded yet seamless and natural. Not just T-shirts, these are ideal under flimsy fabrics like shirts, satin tops or dresses. You get a range of options in these like soft padded, padded, underwired, etc, so go with something depending on the size of your breasts.

9. Stick On Bra

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When you go shopping and see some dresses, the first question that occurs to you is what bra you need to wear. The shapes, bodice, and necklines are so fancy that nothing seems to be a match. That’s when you need a stick-on bra. These silicon pads are adhesive sticks to your body and are intact. It gives just enough nipple coverage, but it’s not like your regular bras.

10. Bandeau Bra

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We all know of tube tops, don’t we? So bandeau bras work similarly. They need to be worn on the head and have no hooks to fasten them. And probably that’s what makes these comfortable. The support is taken purely from your breast and shoulders, so ensure you try them out to be sure it sits there right. You get these in plain as well as superior material such as lace, satin and layered. You could also use the fancy ones as a layer for your racerback tops.

11. Shelf Bra

First things first, these bras are not meant for every day. These fall under the lingerie category because unlike the regular bras these do not give you nipple coverage. They usually come in fabrics like tulle, lace, and satin that support the entire breast but are transparent near the breast. You get a lot of variants in these, so go check them out and invest in a couple of them. After all, we all need some self-pampering too.

12. Balconette Bra

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Underwired bras often get the support from the bottom and offer very little coverage in comparison to the other bras. They are horizontal like the demi bra but are much fuller around the breasts. These reveal the top parts of your breasts, so keep this in mind and map this with your dresses. It’s usually suited for small and medium-sized breasts. The only support system for these come from the thick straps and underwire.

13. Longline Bra

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Just as the name goes, longline bra extends till a little above your belly button or over it depending on the brand. These are usually snug and intact from the start till the very end, thus suitable for body hugging, corset, evening wear dresses etc. The straps are thick and offer support to any breast sizes except you need to be sure of the size—If the bra is too tight, it looks bulgy and protruding.

14. Sheer Bra

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Sheer bras basically show off a little bit of your skin with the fabrics used. These are usually made with fancy materials like satin, tulle, lace or chantilly lace etc with convoluted designs that are supportive yet fashionable. Unlike the lingerie and sensuous ones, these give nipple coverage and are well rounded.

15. Racerback Bra

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This is pretty self-explanatory. The straps hover around the collarbone and not the arm, unlike your regular bras. And these bridge a huge gap for T-shirts, dresses, tanks and tops that have racerback necklines. The padded ones are comfortable and convenient during high-intensity workouts, either way, this is a bare essential.

16. Demi Bra

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Demi bras are ideal for smaller and firmer breasts. These are low cut with lesser coverage and smaller cup size. This lends support from the band and the underwire and makes it twice as important to choose the correct size. It also means that this is not for all body and breast types.

17. Underwire Bra

Image: Source

Designed for the purpose of providing strength and support to the breasts, these come with an underwire at the bottom of the cup. They were initially made with a thin wire but now are also made of plastic and metal. They are meant to round off the shape of your breasts and contour any unwanted bulges. You might see a lot of articles floating around to question if an underwire is advisable to begin. But there’s no conclusive result so far. However, the only thing that matters is the quality your brand provides.

18. Front Open Bra

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A model that has been around from the inception of women’s bra. It’s a little old-school according to some people considering the number of options out there. There is nothing right or wrong about them, it is a matter of choice and comfort. Women in the late forties and early fifties prefer these over the back open since they seem more convenient to wear these.

19. Convertible Bra

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Bras and lingerie are getting expensive by the day. But you cannot afford to not invest in these because these are bare essentials and a necessity for every woman. But, thanks to the novelty of the fashion industry, there is no dearth of ideas. So, convertible bras are the next big thing. I mean why not? Buy one that actually doubles or triples up for you. You have a variety of combinations for the multi-way bras. They usually come with a few types of strap sets that convert into halter, racerback, strapless, etc. A breeze while traveling as well.

20. Bridal Bra

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The first thing that invariably comes to your mind when you think of your wedding is the wedding dress. A dress that you have been dreaming of is finally here, and you can’t wait for the big day, we know that feeling. But, I hope you have sorted your intimates as well because it is no surprise that it is a big part of your puzzle. You need to make sure it’s comfortable, goes with your wedding outfit and does not turn out to be a peeping Tom. Lace and satin are preferable because they are seamless, light and comfortable. Do a dry run well in advance just to make sure it’s all concealed and good.

21. Wireless Bra

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Padded, push-up and wired bras have taken over the lingerie world. We are in a way glad that it was a breakthrough we all needed. However, wired bras can be tough to deal with, they dig into your skin and poke your breasts constantly. I personally avoid anything wired for the very same reason. Something about these makes it cumbersome and difficult to handle an entire day. Doctors also advise against it for the same reason, especially for women who have undergone a mastectomy. The only thing you need to remember is, just like any other bra, size is the most important part of it. Nothing else matters, and it will still be uncomfortable.

22. Full Support Bra

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Staying true to its name, these bras give you maximum coverage. They come in all patterns, fabrics, and designs, but the constant here is the full support these bras give you. Ideal for women who have big or sagging breasts. It will round off the shape and also keep them firm.

23. Maternity Bra

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A lot of things change when you’re pregnant, particularly your breasts. The first sign of pregnancy is sore breasts. They enlarge as you progress, prepping for lactation. And, it is critical for women to invest in good maternity clothing—inside, out. Maternity bras are smooth, provide full coverage and hold the breasts intact. Some brands make bras that are good during pregnancy and nursing. They double up, so it’s value for money. Also, remember first to try a few models to understand what suits your body type and the size of your breasts. This is important because, one, they are expensive; two, the discomfort it causes, and lastly, they will be used for a little over a year.

24. Transparent Bra

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Bras that come in a transparent back strap or shoulder bands are basically called transparent bras. We all need them with dresses that are deep neck or tops that come in noodle straps or sleeveless. The other type of transparent bras are the ones that are made of transparent and flimsy fabrics like satin and lace, that are not padded or wired. These go well with light colored dresses.

25. Silicone Bra

Image: Instagram

These have been a rage since the time they were launched, for obvious reasons. For satin, ultra light or see through/backless dresses, these are just perfect. Most of them are reusable, soft, and comfortable. From my personal experience, I can tell you that these work best for women with relatively small breasts.

26. Seamless Bra

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We could not be more thankful! Don’t you hate it when you wear a T-shirt or dresses in smooth fabrics, and you see a clear lining of the bra? A sight that cannot get more annoying. And, that is exactly why we need seamless bras. The fabrics are smooth, finish is neat and is also well supported. These are usually soft padded and thus also give you good nipple coverage, and there’s nothing to worry about.

27. Built-In Bra

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Built-in bra, camisole or cami—these are all the same. It is basically a bra and a slip (tank) in one. A savior when you want to layer up or when you want to tuck your top away. These go perfectly well with your formal shirts or see-through sweaters and tops These are intact and neat.

28. Plunge Bra

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I love the fact that there’s a different type of bra for every dress. We just have to look around, and with a little bit of research, we are sorted. These plunge bras are all that we always needed because the struggle with deep cuts, V and now deep V-neck lines are real. And, that’s why you need one of these and frankly. this is a must-have in every girl’s lingerie closet. More often than not, these also act as push up bras and give added support.

29. Cupless Bra

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Imagine the chassis of a car? This bra has the frame and structure but there’s hardly any cup space, exactly why it is called cupless. A variant that falls under the lingerie bucket. The options in cupless bras are bountiful. Some have strap structure and literally cupless, others have a negligible cup with an underwire, while others just show the nipples. It really depends on your taste. If you’re looking for attractive lingerie options, this might be it.

30. Bralette

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Have you heard? A bralette is the next best thing since sliced bread. The buzz around is worth it, and we are so glad that something women probably needed from the inception of boobs is finally here. It is non-wired, non-padded, and non-structured—it just sounds so relaxing already! Plus, with the umpteen design choices you have in this segment, you will never feel like you’re wearing an undergarment. It is no exaggeration when we say that people swap it with a crop top sometimes and look spectacular. There is no hard and fast rule for wearing this. It goes with see-through dresses, backless tops or anything, really.

Best Bra For You – Based On Need, Occasion And Body Type

So, let’s look at who needs what depending on the need, occasion and body type.

Image: Shutterstock

  • For Big Busts

We get quite excited when we walk into a lingerie store to buy intimates. It feels great to wear lingerie that is not only sensuous but also smooth on the skin. However, it is not all that rosy for everyone, especially for someone with big busts with a size above DD. And disappointment is a regular part of shopping for some of us. We have to look for bras that give full coverage and supportive.

Bra Types You Should Consider – Full Support, Built-In, Longline, Seamless, Sports, Soft Padded, Wireless, Halter, and Racerback are some of the bras that you should use. Other fancy variants like Lace, Sheer, Bridal and erotic are a matter of choice.

  • For Small Breasts

We always complain about having smaller or bigger breasts. Don’t we? Breasts being proportionate to the body size is ideal, but since we do not live in an ideal world, we have to work it out. Go with bras that have padding and that can round off the shape to look fuller.

Bra Types You Should Consider – Demi, Padded, Push Up, Convertible And Sports Bras. The rest depends on your preference and style.

  • For Sagging Breasts

Sagging breasts seems to be an increasing problem for women over the past decade. Women face this problem post-pregnancy and nursing. However, if you have been using the wrong size bra all your life, you are quite likely to end up with sagging breasts earlier in your life.

Bra Types You Should Consider – Full Support, Built-In, Push Up, Padded And Longline are some must haves. Sports bras are also good for workouts and physical activities, but make sure your sizes are accurate

  • For Pregnant Women

When you’re pregnant, your breasts are sore, heavy and painful all the time. A lot of women told me that it gets almost impossible to keep their bra on and nothing seems comfortable around that time. However, maternity wear has evolved and is catering to solve these issues.

Bra Types You Should Consider – Maternity/Nursing, Sheer, And Wireless Bras. The fabric makes a lot of difference to these bras, so invest in some good quality brands.

  • For Salwars

It can get tricky sometimes, padded and push-ups might sometimes make it awkward the lace ones can show lining and do not give nipple coverage. So a lot of this depends on the material—transparent, opaque, see-through, etc. And the other factors like necklines that plunge at the front and back; with or without sleeves etc.

Bra Types You Should Consider – Padded, Wireless, Push Up, Full Coverage, Lace, Plunge, Transparent, Balconette, Bandeau. Sometimes Silicone or Stick On Bra too!

  • For T-Shirts

A breakthrough need by women arrived a few years ago, and it’s only getting better with time. It goes without saying that you need to pay attention to the bra type when you want to step out wearing a tank or a plain T-shirt.

Bra Types You Should Consider – T-Shirt, Sports And Seamless Bra should be your go-to.

  • For Sarees

Saree blouses are a whole new ball game of late, and it makes all the difference. The necklines are pretty steep at the back and fancy in the front. That is why most of the blouses now are inbuilt with pads—easier and less fussy. However not everyone is comfortable with the idea if you’re one of them, here’s what you need.

Bra Types You Should Consider – Transparent, Plunge, Sheer, Stick On, Silicone, Lace, Demi And Balconette Bras.

  • For Maternity

You use maternity bras during pregnancy, and nursing bras post delivery because they are meant and made to cater to this. Make sure your bra is smooth, soft and supports your breast without sagging or digging into your skin.

Bra Types You Should Consider – Maternity And Nursing Bras.

  • For Sports And Physical Activity

I knew women who brush it off when I say that they need bras specifically for sports and physical activities. However fancy your regular bra is, it just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you are involved in high intensity (HIIT) workout training, consider something that is meant for that. But sports bra is a must-have.

Bra Types You Should Consider – Sports Bra.

  • For Western Wear

When we say western wear, it could be dresses, tops, T-shirts, tanks, formals or just about anything. All of them need attention, and you cannot afford to pick something and wear randomly. Consider the color, fabric, and neckline before you pick one. If you don’t have at least a few of them, then you should invest in some of them at least.

Bra Types You Should Consider – Sheer, T-Shirt, Seamless, Soft Padded, Push Up, Plunge, Transparent, Strapless, Bralette, Stick On, Bandeau, Balconette, Halter, Racerback and Demi Bras are some of them you need to own.

Frequently Asked Questions

Types Of Bras Every Woman Should Own

The answer for this is relative and varies depending on a lot of factors. Like the age, body type, breast size, and the need. However, one thing that remains constant for every woman is that they wear a bra that is of the correct size. I cannot stress enough. However, here are a few must-haves for every woman,

  • Padded
  • Sports Bra
  • T-Shirt Bra
  • Longline Bra
  • Strapless Bra
  • Transparent Bra

What Is The Bra Type That You Should Wear?

Again, there is no hard and fast rule about the type of bra we should wear. But it is important to map the bra with the fabric, dress type and occasion. Let’s say you’re wearing a saree with a deep neck blouse, then you need to go with a transparent bra. For workouts or physical activities, you need a sports bra, a T-shirt bra for T-shirts and a seamless bra for body hugging clothes. So, to answer this question, you need to wear a bra that goes with your outfit and yet fits well.

Which Type Of Bra Is The Best?

Bras that give maximum coverage and support are considered the best. And, It differs from each person. Having said that the best bra type for you would be the one proportional to your breast size and body type.

Thanks to the designers, today, the options are endless when it comes to choosing a bra. As you hit the market, you will know that there is a bra exclusively made for you. From T-Shirt Bra to padded, lace, Balconette, there is so much to choose from. All you have to do is know your correct size and offer yourself the one that caters to your unique needs. So, next time you buy a bra, take this article as your guide and allow it to make your purchasing decisions easier.

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Pratima Ati

After working in Marketing and Business Development for a few years, Pratima Ati jumped ship to pursue two things she… more


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