Bra and Fitting Terms

In order to help our new bra enthusiasts better understand common bra and fitting terms we have compiled a list of terms that you will often see in many of our posts and reviews.   We hope this helps make your bra journey just a little bit easier 🙂

Band: the base part of your bra which wraps around your torso and typically is done up at the back (but can also be done up at the front. See Front Closure). This is where the real support to your breasts comes from. The band should be firm but not so firm it is painful. If it is too loose the lack of support will put extra pressure on the straps, potentially causing back and shoulder pain. While a band is best not to be too tight or too loose, ultimately it will come down to ones personal preference.

Bralette: typically is a soft, unlined, wireless bra which gives minimal support but maximum comfort. Most commonly comes only in smaller sizes and used for relaxing and sleeping.

Depth (also referred to as Perimeters): is the measurement from the center of your cleavage where your breast begins, over the fullest part of your breast and across the nipple, ending at the very edge of your breast tissue on the side.

Front Closure: a bra that has a closing mechanism at the center of the front of the bra. Often found in sports bras and post-operative recovery bras as they are easier to put on and take off.

Full Coverage: a bra which cups cover most of or all of the breast tissue.

Gore: the center part at the front of a bra where the two cups meet. Gores come in all varieties of heights and widths.

Half Cup: a bra which has cups that covers half to three quarters of the breasts. This style is designed to give uplift and create cleavage. Suitable for wider, lower necklines.

Hooks and Eyes: the most common closing mechanism is hooks and eyes. These are the tiny hooks and loops on the ends of your brand band which you hook together when putting the bra on.

Molded: cups that are smooth and will mold to the breast shape to give a rounded seamless appearance under tight clothing.

Multiway: these bras have straps which are not permanently attached to the rest of the bra. Typically they are connected to the bra with hooks which can moved to create multiple styles like racerback and halter to go under the appropriate clothing.

Padding: this one is pretty self explanatory! Padding can be used in bras to achieve all sorts of different effects. It is most commonly used to enhance the appearance of the breasts and create extra volume and cleavage. It can be permanent or removable. It can also be used to a lesser degree with light padding which serves to conceal the nipples.

Plunge: designed with smaller gores and lower front cup angles suitable for wear under deep V-line tops and dresses. Often a good style for those with close set breasts because of the lowered gores.

Sports: another self explanatory one. Bras which are designed for exercise and activity to provide maximum support and reduced bounce. Often also used for relaxing and post-operative purposes.

Straps: the parts of your bra which go over your shoulder and connect the front to the back of the bra. Almost always are adjustable.

Strapless: a bra designed to be worn with no shoulder straps. They often have rubber strips on the interior edges of the bra to help stick to the body and stay in place. More difficult to find in larger sizes.

Tack: a term used to describe how well the center gore sits against the sternum. If a gore “tacks” this means the gore sits flush against the sternum with no gaps and is not sitting on or squashing breast tissue. There are also levels of tack, such as firm tack or soft tack.

Unlined: A bra which has cups that are made of lace or sheer material. They are breathable and often see-through, and will not disguise nipples that like to come out and play.

Wire: the firm channel that runs under the cups of most bras is filled with a wire. This creates optimum support for the breasts and should encapsulate all breast tissue from end to end.

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