Bra-ssary (Bra Glossary)
Last Updated: 05/27/2013
Popular Types of Bras:
Ever wonder what some of the terms mean when it comes to bra descriptions? Terms like microfiber, molded cups, racerback, and spandex? These terms describe types of bras, bra fabrics, and bra benefits. And, in the following glossary, we define them all for you...along with other terms related to bras we sell.
Athletic Bras (Sports Bras):
When you move, so does your bust. It's called "bounce." And it can cause discomfort during workouts. Repeated bounce can even damage tissue. The solution? A good athletic bra. Athletic bras give needed support to help control jarring bounce. Most provide either medium or high motion control, depending on whether they're designed for moderate or intense activity levels. Many athletic bras also wick away moisture to keep you cool and dry.
Average-Figure Bras (Moderate-Support Bras):
Do you wear bra size 34 or 36, with a B or C cup? Then you'll want an average-figure bra providing moderate support. Fortunately, most bras come in your size, so you have many styles to choose from!
Back Support (Posture Bra):
Some bras are specially designed to provide extra support to your back. Elastic panels that crisscross in back are one method used to provide additional support. Women with large cup sizes or women who exercise vigorously sometimes experience back strain and prefer a back-support bra. Most back-support bras are front hook, so that the back of the bra can have more support built in.
Simply put, the band size is the number of inches around your chest under your breasts.
A bandeau is a tube top or alternative to a strapless bra. A bandeau is usually an elasticized fabric tube that slips over the head and has no hardware, but also offers very little support.
A banded bra has a fabric band that extends beneath the cups. Usually this band is elasticized for easy, flexible fit. Often it's plush-lined for comfort. It keeps the bra anchored in place plus provides added support.
A bandless bra has no fabric band underneath the cups. Instead, the underwire channels form the bra's bottom edge. The bra's center and sides connect directly to these channels. The result is "less bra, more you": a clean, contemporary look.
A one-piece support garment resembling a 1 piece swimsuit that is both bra and shaper. Provides comfortable all-over control.
Some are made with special fabrics designed to pull moisture away from your skin, so you stay comfortably dry. Others have cup linings with tiny air pockets to allow refreshing ventilation. Others rely on mesh fabric for ventilation. Most sports bras have breath-ability features.
Camisole straps are back-adjustable. In front, the strap narrows gradually from the cup to the shoulder with no hardware on the front side.
Padded straps that flex to adjust to your body when you move.
Wide cushioned straps that disperse pressure, relieve strain, and ease dig-in. Some comfort straps are cushioned with fiberfill. Others are filled with gel.
Concealers / Concealing Petals:
No nipple show-through! Unique smoothing “petals” are strategically placed inside seamless cups for complete modesty. Prevents embarrassing show-through, even under tight tops or t-shirts.
Contour bras conform to your curves for a naturally shapely look. Most have sculpted cups, either lined or lightly padded, plus wires for lift and shaping.
Convertible bras have detachable straps which allows multiple strap configurations
Most convertible and some “regular” bras can be detached and repositioned to crisscross in back. Crisscrossing the straps adds lift to the front of the bra for a nicer look under clothes.
Cut-and-Sewn Bras (see also Seamed Bras):
The cup sections are sewn together (seamed). The more seams, the greater the support.
When a fabric is delustered, it is treated to remove the sheen from all or parts of it.
Demi bras cover the nipple and bottom half of the breast and have wider-set ("camisole") straps
Two layers provide more coverage (to prevent show through). In some bras, the inside layer may be softer, provide lift or add padding. In sports or active bras, the inner layer may wick moisture away from the skin.
A needlework design on a fabric.
Foam-Cup or Foam-Lined Bras or Stretch-Foam Bras:
Foam bras have cups lined with sleek, thin stretch foam, made of non-allergenic material. This foam conforms to your curves for gap-free custom fit.
When stretch foam is ultra-thin, it's called micro-foam. When it's contoured—thinner in some areas and thicker in others—it's called graduated foam.
Front-Close or Front Hook Bras:
Front-close bras fasten in front, inbetween the cups, with either hooks or clasps.
Full-support bras provide lift and support via clever design details: seamed cups with banded edges, hidden under-cup slings, wide side wings, plus two- or three-hook or more closures.
Hook & amp; Eye Closure:
There is a set of tiny wire hooks down one side of the bra opening and a corresponding set of tiny wire eyes (or loops) down the other side of the opening. The hooks fit securely into the eyes.
Many full-figured bras, especially wireless full figure bras, include a cushioned band on the inside of the cups to provide additional support to the breasts.
These straps angle in, toward the inside of your back, which helps keep them in place on your shoulders and avoids slippage.
Jacquard fabrics have a raised design or pattern woven into the fabric, rather than sewn or printed onto it. Almost always, a jacquard pattern is the same color as the fabric. An elegant alternative to embroidery. Named for the inventor of the first weaving machine that could produce jacquard fabric.
The cups consist of two fabric layers bonded or sealed together. Two-ply construction gives them extra strength for better support and shaping.
Leisure Bra (Sleep Bra):
Leisure or sleep bras are soft, stretchy, and made of smooth, breathable cotton or nylon with little support. They can provide coverage and comfort without causing irritation.
Lightly lined bras provide an extra layer of coverage for modesty and no-show through.
Magic Lift Bras:
The famous Glamorise line of wirefree bras for full figures. The Magic Lift non-stretch foam band crosses over and under on the inside of the cups and shoulders for all-over shaping and comfort—like magic.
Maternity Bras or Nursing Bras:
Maternity bras come in softer fabrics to pamper tender tissue. The cups usually stretch to accommodate changing breast size. Plus, the cups have special openings for easy access during nursing.
A loosely woven fabric that has a large number of closely-spaced holes. Sports mesh fabric is lightweight, durable, soft and sometimes stretches. In lingerie, mesh is used mainly in sports bras for cool ventilation and breathability.
The bra construction that made the Playtex 18 Hour wirefree bra famous. You can see the M-shaped frame in the way the bra is designed, for plenty of long-lasting support that lifts, shapes and remains comfortable, even during 18-hour days. The frame around the sides of both cups offers a custom fit that moves with you.
Microfiber refers to synthetic fibers finer than one or 1.3 denier or about 1/100 of a human hair
Minimizer bras reduce your bustline one and a half inches or more. They gently redistribute tissue to shape and streamline your curves. Result: Your clothes fit and feel better. Choose from seamed and seamless minimizer bras, in both wirefree and underwire styles.
Moderate-Support Bras (Average-Figure Bras):
Do you wear bra size 34 or 36, with a B or C cup? Then you'll want a moderate-support bra. Fortunately, most bras come in your size, so you have many styles to choose from!
The cup fabric is molded on a boob-shaped form.
No-Wire Bras (see also Soft Cup Bras and Wirefree Bras):
No-wire bras have no underwires.
Padded bras have thicker padding than regular stretch-foam bras. Their cups are lined with enough foam or fiberfill to add volume as well as shaping.
A bra that is cut deeply between the cups is described as plunge. Cups are connected by a small piece of fabric at the bottom of the cups
Posture Bras (Back Support):
Some bras are specially designed to provide extra support to your back. Elastic panels that crisscross in back are one method used to provide additional support.
Push up bras usually have graduated foam, gel pads or other special linings to shape and enhance your bust.
RacerBack Bras (T or Y Back Bras):
Racerback bras have Y-shaped backs (sometimes called T-backs) that curve in between the shoulder blades. These racing-style backs add extra support plus keep bra straps anchored in place.
When the fabric (usually the lace) extends beyond the edges of the bra in a decorative pattern, like a tiny, smooth ruffle. A pretty scalloped edge, usually around the insides of the cups but sometimes on the straps or band, adds beauty and femininity to the bra.
Satin / Sateen:
A popular woven fabric since the Middle Ages with a smooth, glossy side and a dull side. Originally made from silk, it is now also made from nylon, polyester and other synthetic fabrics. A similar fabric, sateen, is sometimes made from cotton. Satin is popular for its softness and its silky, shiny appearance.
Seamed Bras (or Cut-&-Sewn Bras):
The cup sections are sewn together (seamed). The more seams, the greater the support.
Seamless bras have no seams on the front of the cups, for a sleek modern silhouette.
Seam-Free / Stitch-Free Bras:
Seam-free bras are seamless all over, not just in the cups. The only seams appear where the bra straps attach to the Seam-free bras feel blissfully soft and look super-smooth under clothes.
Shelf bras are often sewn inside camisoles and swimsuits.
Soft Cup Bras:
Soft cup is the traditional name for bras without underwires.
Spandex is a synthetic fiber with built-in "stretch memory." It's usually blended with another fabric.
This special fabric is actually owned by Playtex Intimates and is one of the reasons 18 Hour bras have been so popular for so long. Spanette is a woven fabric that provides 360-degree stretch support and custom fit. It is usually used on the side or back panels of the bra.
Sports Bras (Athletic Bras):
A good sports bra. Sports bras give needed support to help control jarring bounce. Most provide either medium or high motion control, depending on whether they're designed for moderate or intense activity levels. Many sports bras also wick away moisture to keep you cool and dry.
T-shirt bras are almost always seamless, so they're smooth under clingy clothes. Plus, they're either lined with sleek foam or lightly padded with polyfill, so they block embarrassing show-through.
Many full-support bras come in tricot (either nylon or polyester). This finely knit fabric doesn't stretch, so it provides more stable support. Plus, since it's thin and fine, it looks and feels light and sleek. That means tricot bras bring you the best of both: full support plus airy comfort.
Fabric that stretches vertically and horizontally is called two-way stretch fabric.
Underwire bras have flexible wires inside the bottom cups for added support.
Wirefree Bras (Wire Free Bras or Soft Cup bras):