By: HEATHER BIEN
Every morning starts with a series of important decisions: what to wear, eat for breakfast, or what to pack with you for the day. But before all that, we have to choose the right bra for the occasion and our bodies. A supportive t-shirt bra for running errands? A strapless bra for a seamless, no-line look? Bamboo bras that will give you all the comfort in the world? Or maybe a plunge cut to complement your favorite blouse?
There are plenty of different types of bras to choose from. If you know what to look for, you can always find the perfect neckline, strap type, cut, and fabric.
What are the Different Bra Styles?
Like women, bras come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. We’ve broken down bra types into categories based on construction, neckline style, and material to help you choose a bra that complements you and your needs (and makes your bra drawer a little easier to navigate).
What Are the Different Bra Types Based on Construction?
When considering the amount of support your body needs, bra construction is crucial. Women's bras are made in various materials, which affects the bra's purpose and your overall comfort.
Bras are typically constructed in five ways:
Padded – Padded bras either have removable padding or padding that is sewn into the cups. The main purpose of a padded bra is to provide fuller volume for the wearer.1 Padded bras are great for women with a smaller bust looking for an overall rounded look. The demi bra, shelf bra, adhesive bra, balconette bra, and multiway bra are common padded bra options.
- Unpadded – As the name implies, an unpadded bra does not have padding in the cups. These bras are available in many different styles that can suit any shape and size. They’re perfect for women looking for a sturdy bra, without the extra padding. Common examples of unpadded and unlined bra styles include the bralette and some bandeau bra styles.
- Underwire – Underwire bras have a hard material sewn into the lower section of each cup.2 This material is usually wire, plastic, or metal. An underwire can create lift and provide support. While many women find underwire bras to be uncomfortable, they do support larger breasts. Some types of bras that commonly use underwire include the balcony bra, balconette bra, the push up bra, and the classic maternity bra.
Wirefree – When it comes to underwire vs wireless bra styles, wirefree bras are made with softer materials compared to underwire bras. Rather than using a hard material for support, the bra’s fabric and elastic makeup provides an added lift. These bras are considerably more comfortable than the underwire style and support all breast types. While wirefree bras are a great everyday bra option - they work particularly well as a nursing bra option.
- Seamless - The seamless bra is best known for comfort. But that doesn't mean they lack the support compared to their wired counterparts. On the contrary, they provide support for women with different breast shapes and bust sizes. Another advantage with the seamless bra is they come in different styles, like racerback, triangle, balconette, and more. While they can be worn everyday, the seamless type is ideal when you're wearing tight-fitting clothes with thin fabrics.
What Are the Different Bra Types Based on Shape?
Another factor to consider when choosing the best bra for a specific occasion is the shape of the bra and how it can enhance the neckline of your outfit. You’re not going to choose the same bra for a flowy tank top as you would for a strapless cocktail dress.
To help you find the best look and support, check out some of the most common bra shapes (as well as what you can pair them with):
- Scoop – Bras with a scoop shape, sometimes referred to as a plunge bra or t shirt bra, are easy to pair with casual tops or blouses that don’t fall very low below the neckline.
- Straight across – If you’re showing off your shoulders with a strapless top or dress, choose a straight across bra, that is often strapless and easily concealed beneath your clothes. This shape can also be worn with square neckline tops as they sit lower and can come with straight-edged cups.
V-neck – Bras with a V-neck shape have cups that are attached low—a design perfect for low cut tops with plunging necklines. A v-neck can be found on many longline bra and nonpadded bra styles.
- Racerback – This bra shape is designed with straps that cross or meet between the shoulder blades, complementing those cute summer tank tops. A racerback bra style is commonly found in the sports bra.
- Halter – Halter bras have only one strap that wraps around your neck and secures on both sides in the front. The halter bra style fits perfectly beneath halter tops or dresses.
What Are the Different Bra Types Based on Material?
From synthetic fibers to natural cotton, bras can be crafted from several different materials. The perfect bra material for you depends on a few factors, namely your skin sensitivity and your price point. But bra material goes one step further—the bras you choose can have a direct environmental impact.
Some of the most common regular bra materials include:
- Bamboo viscose
While each material has its own pros and cons, bamboo viscose is becoming a favorite for all bra-wearers. It has gained a reputation for its many qualities, including its soft texture, durability, affordability, and sustainability—in fact, bamboo takes one-third of the water to grow compared to cotton.3
To maintain the longevity of a bra, no matter the material, it is important to know how to wash bras properly as well as how to store bras correctly.
What to consider before choosing the right bra
Now that you know the different bra types, you might also wonder which bra type is right for you:
Style - You wouldn't want to wear a scoop bra underneath a halter top because the shape wouldn’t be right. A halter bra or a strapless bra might be better for this shape. For tops with a plunging neckline, go for the plunge bra.
Color - We might know that wearing a black bra underneath a white shirt might be a challenge, but nude bras can be just as tricky. Depending on the look you’re going for, do a quick check in front of a mirror just to see if the bra is visible even through the shirt. If you are wearing a translucent top and don't mind your bra being visible, then pick a style and color that matches the rest of your outfit.
- Breast shape - There are some bras that are made just for certain breast types. For example, a minimizer bra is intended for women who could have larger busts and are going for a more comfortable approach. Women dealing with chest and underarm swelling can go for compression bras. Another example is the shaper bra, which helps give busts more definition.
There are other considerations, such as the occasion and size, but they’re up to your personal preference! After all, you know your bust size and shape better than anyone.
Boody Eco Wear: The Right Bra, Every Time
There is no perfect bra that works for every woman. The right bra is one that is comfortable, durable, and supportive. Boody Eco Wear’s bamboo bras meet all these criteria. Find a comfortable bra to match your bamboo underwear; we have styles for most everyday fits, including padded, shaper, and seamless.
Boody’s bras are made of eco-friendly bamboo viscose and come in racerback, scoop, and v-neck top-friendly cuts. If you’re going to wear a bra, it should be something you feel good about wearing. Whether you’re headed to the grocery store or an interview for your dream job, wear the bra that helps you feel your best whatever the day has in store—Boody Eco Wear.
About the Author:
Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.
- Glamour. 9 Bra Types to Consider When Shopping for Your Breast Shape. https://www.glamour.com/story/bras-that-fit-breast-type
- Bra Theory. Bra Theory 101: What Purpose Does an Underwire Serve in an Underwire Bra? https://bratheory.com/bra-theory-underwire/
- Keeping Our Planet Alive. Bamboo VS. Cotton: An Environmental Comparison. https://keepingourplanetalive.ca/blogs/blog/bamboo-vs-cotton-an-environmental-comparison
- Healthline. How to Find the Best Bra Type for Your Bust. https://www.healthline.com/health/types-of-bra