25 Types of Bras Every Woman Should Know

25 Types of Bras Every Woman Should Know

While there are many great places to buy bras online, bra shopping can be a daunting experience, especially choosing amongst the many types of bras. With an overwhelming amount of styles, fits, and fabrics, your choice should also be customized, where you’re ideally picking a design that’s catered to your individual body and needs so that it's the best bra for you.

A thoughtful bra wardrobe not only supports your size and shape but also accounts for varying activities, clothing cuts, and personal preferences. Read on as a lingerie expert helps us break down different types of bras so you can find the most flattering fit for your body and lifestyle.

T-Shirt Bra

First up, we have the T-shirt bra, which Jené Luciani Sena refers to as “the workhorse” of bra styles. “It’s supportive (typically with full cups and an underwire), smooth (often made of foam), and goes with just about everything (with the exception of wide and strapless necklines), making it the perfect everyday bra for most women.”
Styling tip: Opt for everyday colors, such as nude, white, or black, that will layer seamlessly under your favorite tees and other go-to tops.
Best for: Everyday wear; all breast types; under T-shirts; bodycon dresses; anything formfitting

Wireless Bra

If you're tired of underwires poking you in the ribs, try a wireless bra. These bras come in both padded and non-padded formats, and although they're missing a wire, they're very supportive due to sturdy underbands.
Styling tip: Check the label to see whether the bra is padded. If you're worried about having enough support, move around and jump to see if the bra will work for you.
Best for: Everyday wear, small to medium breast types, or under any tops/dresses

Padded Bra

As Sena points out, a padded bra is a great option for anyone who wants a little boost in the bust. “There are also different types of padding to choose from now so you can achieve a more natural look, such as bump-up pads in the underside of the cup for women who have more volume loss on the bottoms of their breasts.”
Styling tip: Try to remain within two cup sizes for realistic appeal. Too much extra padding can also serve to weigh down your bra (and chest!).
Best for: All occasions; all breast types; any outfits


Bralettes, a unique fusion of a bra and a crop top, are distinct for their non-padded and non-wired design. Some are slip-on, while others feature clasps, emphasizing their style over structure. It's important to note that these bras offer less support compared to traditional ones.
Styling tip: Feeling bold? Slip on a bralette under a blazer for a fun, fashion-y look.
Best for: Parties; small to medium breast types; under see-through shirts or under blazers/jackets

Push-up Bra

“A push-up bra is similar to a padded bra in that it has padding to help push breasts upward,” says Sena. “Sometimes it has a plunge too. Other styles, like a balconette bra, can provide a push-up effect without padding, but there’s typically at least some padding present.”
Styling tip: Turn any bra into a push-up bra with your own silicone gel bra inserts. Some bras also come with removable pads for added customization.
Best for: Cocktail/evening wear; small to medium breast types; under low-cut tops/dresses; anytime you need some lift

Front-Open Bra

Front-open bras are aptly named—they have a clasp in the front instead of a back closure. Some people consider this bra the easiest to wear because there's no need to struggle with the back clasp.
Styling tip: Look for a sturdy clasp. Front-open bras can tend to pop open unexpectedly, so make sure you get one with good hardware.
Best for: Any wear; any breast types; all tops/dresses

Balconette Bra

Sena considers the balconette one of the most underrated bra styles. “It’s cut in a way that the tops of the cups go straight across your breasts, almost like a horizontal line. It’s not the bra if you’re looking for cleavage, but it’s a very flattering and supportive choice for both smaller and larger breast sizes.”
Styling tip: Choose a lace pattern that feels more like lingerie. Solid satin and cotton fabrics offer more coverage for tight-fitting tops and more professional occasions.
Best for: Everyday wear, parties, weddings; small to medium breast types; under broad necklines

Cage Bra

Cage bras have a sexier look to them, as they feature multiple straps in the front or back, mimicking a "cage." Designed for all breast sizes, cage bras work well under sheer tops and backless dresses.
Styling tip: Show off your cage bra with a see-through shirt or under a jacket.
Best for: Bedroom, nights out, parties; all breast types; under sheer tops, jackets/blazers, backless dresses

Strapless Bra

According to Sena, the strapless bra is among the most difficult to navigate. “Even with silicone lining, many simply don’t stay up! The trick is to go down a band size so you get a more snug fit. If you’re fuller busted, look for a wider band and an underwire for more support.”
Styling tip: Look for sticky bras for tops and dresses that are backless, sideless, or have peek-a-boo cutouts.
Best for: Casual, parties, weddings; small to medium breast types; under strapless, tube top, racerback

Halter Bra

Halter bras are perfect for halter tops, but depending on the material, they can also be shown off under a jacket or blazer. These bras have one long strap around the back of the neck. With their low cut, you can wear these bras under shirts with a deep V-neckline, too.
Styling tip: A pretty, lacy halter bralette can be worn under a blazer with high-rise pants as an alternative to a tank top or traditional blouse.
Best for: Nights out, everyday wear; all breast types; under anything halter cut

Convertible Bra

This multi-tasking bra is a must in any bra wardrobe, allowing you to switch up your style in a cinch. “It’s essentially a T-shirt bra with detachable straps that can be removed and reconfigured to support different necklines,” says Sena.
Styling tip: Swap out your strapless for a convertible, one-strap bra for added support when wearing one-shoulder or halter styles.
Best for: Everyday wear; all breast types; under tanks, racerback, halter

Stick-On Bra

Stick-on bras are backless and don't have straps. They have an adhesive on the underside that sticks to your body. These bras can be handy when you need something backless, but they may not be great for those with larger chests.
Styling tip: If you're going backless, you can still get support from this bra! Make sure you don't apply any lotions or oils to your skin before you apply it. Otherwise, it might not stick.
Best for: Parties, weddings, cocktail, nights out; smaller breast types; under backless dresses/tops

Plunge Bra

A plunge bra looks like a t-shirt or strapless bra, but typically features a deeper v-cut down the middle. “This is an ideal option for low-cut tops and makes for a sexier silhouette that can prove more flattering in general,” notes Sena.
Styling tip: Make sure you get the cup size right so you’re not bubbling out or, as Sena points out, “resulting in a quad-boob effect."
Best for: Cocktail parties, weddings; small to medium breast types; under V-neck tops or dresses

Minimizer Bra

“A minimizer bra is a popular pick among very large-busted women who are looking to reduce the projection of their breasts, in some cases by an inch or more,” explains Sena. “The issue with this type of bra is that the bridge often doesn’t lay flat between the cups and it can cause a squished uni-boob look.”
Styling tip: Avoid designs that force breasts to spread out, which can flatten breasts and make you appear wider.
Best for: Everyday wear; fuller breast types; under button-down shirts

Racerback Bra

The racerback style is commonly seen on sports bras, where the straps come up around the neck like a halter, join mid-back, and then divide again into two straps to hook to the band. You can wear them under a regular tank top so they show between the straps or under a top that has a racerback cut.
Styling tip: Always dealing with bra straps falling down? Try a racerback! Its design prevents the straps from falling, making it perfect for anyone who struggles to keep their straps in place.
Best for: everyday wear, athletic wear; all breast types; under racerback or tank tops/dresses

Plus-size Bra

A plus-size bra is known to offer extra support, often in the form of broader and/or cushioned straps. “Opt for full-coverage cups and a wider band that has two layers of fabric (often referred to as power mesh) for a smoothing effect,” suggests Sena. “A hook and eye design with four rungs typically means a wider band and greater support.”
Styling tip: Opt for foam cups as opposed to unlined cups for more structure and support. For lace and fabric styles, a seam down the cups can minimize collapsing.
Best for: Everyday wear; fuller breast types; anytime you need extra support

Nipple Covers

Nipple covers, or "pasties," are circular silicon pieces with adhesive on the back that stick onto your nipples. Commonly worn under backless or strapless tops and dresses, these work well as an alternative to strapless or stick-on bras.

Styling tip: Nipple covers are not only functional for covering up under tops with thinner materials, but they also provide a comfortable barrier between the nipple and bra. This can be particularly helpful if nipples get sore during pregnancy, offering a reassuring solution.
Best for: Cocktail parties, nights out, weddings; small to medium breast types; under anything body hugging, strapless

Bandeau Bra

“A bandeau bra consists of a high-spandex fabric strip with no built-in cups or underwire,” says Sena. “These are usually better suited for smaller busted women, as they provide minimal coverage and support.”
Styling tip: Scoop up a few bandeau bras for sideless and cut-out tops. Due to their lack of structure, they’re also good for looser-fitting tops and dresses.
Best for: Any wear; any breast types; under any necklines

Training Bra

Most people have heard the phrase "training" bra, another term for a person's first bra. This variety usually does not have an underwire, is made of a comfortable material like cotton, and is meant to ease young teens into bra-wearing.
Styling tip: Training bras are designed more for comfort than style, so they go well under T-shirts, sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, and tank tops.
Best for: Everyday wear; all breast types; under any tops/dresses

Sports Bra

Sports bras can offer greater support during workouts and other scenarios where you’re more active. “There are two types: compression (that compresses your breasts and can be pulled over your head) and encapsulation (which cups breasts more like a regular bra and usually clasps in the same way). Both should hold the chest firmly to minimize the amount of movement.”
Styling tip: Look for labels that indicate the level of support. When trying styles on, do the bounce test: jump up and down to ensure breasts stay put.
Best for: Athletic activities; all breast types; under any tops/dresses

Maternity Bra

“Any bra that is comfortable and doesn’t press against sensitive breasts can support you during pregnancy. You may want to avoid underwire as anything digging or pressing can cause mastitis, and be mindful of the fabric—nothing that’ll be itchy or annoying,” says Sena.
Styling tip: Go with a stretchier fabric that can support breasts as they expand during pregnancy and removable flaps for easier nursing once the baby is born.
Best for: Everyday wear, pregnancy, or under any tops/dresses.

Demi Bra

Taken from the French term for "half," a demi bra has a smaller cup than a full bra. Full-cup bras cover the entire breast, while demis cut across the middle (kind of like the balconette style).
Styling tip: Demi bras go great with low-cut shirts and dresses since they are low-cut themselves (while still providing coverage).
Best for: Everyday wear, parties, weddings, cocktail; smaller breast types; under anything with a lower neckline

Seamless Bras

If you've ever worn a bra for a long day, you know that the seams can cut into your skin, leaving sore, red marks. Seamless bras are smoother, with minimal seams and cups that fit very close to the body. They're great for long days or underneath clothing that shows lumps and bumps.
Styling tip: With bodycon dresses, sometimes the fabric shows everything. Seamless bras are a good alternative for going braless or using nipple covers, as they provide support while remaining smooth.
Best for: Everyday wear, parties, weddings, cocktail; all breast types; under anything body-hugging

Underwire Bra

When most people think of a bra, they think of an underwire bra. Underwire bras offer the most support, so they help with back strain. They're designed so the underwire sits tight against the body under the breast, providing not just better support but better shape.
Styling tip: Getting the right fit with an underwire bra is essential. Otherwise, you could end up with some severe discomfort. Get fitted by a bra specialist to ensure you're fit correctly to get the best lift and support.
Best for: Everyday wear; fuller breast types; under any tops/dresses

Full-Figure Bras

Full-figure bras have the most coverage of any bras out there. They come in underwire and wireless versions and are designed for women with larger cup and band sizes. There's more material on the side and top of cups to prevent breasts from bulging out.
Styling tip: Shapewear comes in a wide variety of styles now, including incorporating full-figure bras into the design. For extra smoothing, a shapewear bodysuit with a full bra built in can provide lots of support while adding some oomph to the breasts.
Best for: Everyday wear; fuller breast types; under any dresses/tops
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