The Ultimate Guide to Bras

Posted October 16, 2021 by in Fashion

Between cup sizes, band sizes, and the variety of styles on the market, it is no surprise that bras may be a source of confusion for many. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, a trip to Victoria’s Secret can become overwhelming fast.

Whether you need to buy a gift for your partner or it’s your first time bra shopping, the guidelines below can help you fill that top drawer with everything you need and nothing you don’t!


You may have noticed that some bras have thick padding in the cups. These types of bras are typically referred to as “push-up” bras. This name was given to this style due to the extreme support that the thicker pads provide. Push-up bras enhance the appearance of cleavage by lifting the breasts.


Unlined bras are essentially the opposite of push-ups. The cups are usually made from a thinner fabric meant to provide support and shape without lifting. They come in many different materials like lace and cotton. These bras are excellent options for under T-shirts because they offer a seamless look.

Bras With Underwire

Underwire is the hard wire underneath the cups of a bra that holds it in shape. Most bras include underwires. However, some find it to be uncomfortable. Bras with and without underwire are available in a plethora of styles. Styles that don’t have underwire will typically be marked as such, but there is an easy way to tell whether or not it is present if the tag or description doesn’t say. Run your fingers along the bottom of the cups, where the band meets them. If you feel a rigid line, that is the underwire.

Sports Bras

Sports bras focus on comfort and support. They are ideal for playing sports or vigorous movement, hence the name. Unlike regular bras, they ditch the cup shape and opt for more coverage. They come in various styles, including padded and unpadded. They are designed to move with you, making them the perfect lounge bras.


At the intersection of sports bras and regular bras, you’ll find bralettes. They can be padded or unpadded and vary in material. Some come in flashy, lacy styles meant to be shown off under sheer tops. Others come in nude colors, perfect for light support.

Maternity Bras

A nursing or pumping bra is a staple item for every new mom. They provide optimal comfort and support through adjustable straps and easy access for on-the-go nursing needs. Pumping bras are great for finding and holding the most efficient angle for your breast pump.



Technically, a cami is more like a tank top than a bra. Camis are light, fitted tank tops that have built-in bras. Like bralettes, they can be padded or unpadded but more commonly come unpadded. Camis are excellent lightweight options for layering.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, the styles mentioned above should serve as an adequate guide. In terms of specifics, there are a few vocabulary words you may want to familiarize yourself with. For example, racerback is a bra style that includes crossed straps in the back for enhanced support. Conversely, halter tops wrap around the neck. Triangle bras refer to the type of triangular coverage you might see in a bikini top.

Every person is different, so it may take some trial and error to figure out which bra will fit you best. It is a good idea to keep a few styles handy so that you can ensure comfort no matter what activity the day holds. A new bra-wearer should have at least one sports bra for lounging or activities and one regular bra for under “going out” clothing.

Pro tip: find a bra with removable straps for off-the-shoulder tops.