What Are the Different Bra Types & How Can You Tell?

Posted by Wesley Flippo on

What Are the Different Bra Types & How Can You Tell?

There are a variety of bra styles available in the market today—which can be both a blessing (convenience! functionality!) and a curse (too many to choose from!).

With so many options, it’s not uncommon to feel baffled when you’re on the hunt for your perfect match, so we’ve narrowed it down to five styles of bras for you to keep in your top drawer.

Five Types of Bras to Know

Fundamentally, individual bra types are distinguished by three main factors:

  • Sewing structure
  • Style
  • Function

The jury is still out on just how many kinds of bras there are out there, but safe to say there are between 30 and 45 unique styles.

All of them can be grouped into five standard types of bras. Knowing how they measure up in both form and function will help you navigate the options and know what to reach for, whatever the occasion.

Underwire Bras

Above all, underwire bras are designed to provide support. They are, as you may expect, defined by their most integral structural element—the underwire—which is inlaid in a fabric canal beneath each cup.

A few things to keep in mind when scoping out underwire bras:

  • Style – There’s plenty of variety on the market when it comes to underwire bras. You’ll find padded options to shape out and add volume to your figure, as well as seamless, non-padded options designed to fly under the radar while under your clothes.

  • Fit – Finding the right fit is a non-negotiable when shopping for underwire bras. If the fit is too loose, you won’t get the support the garment is designed for. If it’s too tight, you may have unnecessary pinching or wire prodding around your ribs and bust.

  • Care – Beware of figuratively casting caution to the wind by literally throwing your underwire bras in with the rest of your laundry. In general, washing and drying machines are too aggressive for this style of bra, causing underwires to dislodge or completely separate from their casing. To offset any prospective poking or prodding, handwash and hand dry your underwire underthings whenever possible.

Looking for an underwire recommendation for smaller breasts? Seek out delicate underwire designs like the Simi Lace Underwire Bra to add a touch of elegance (with adequate coverage) to your silhouette.

Wireless Bras

Wireless bras: the mellow, über-chill cousin of their underwire counterparts.

Also known as “soft cup bras,” wireless bras use sewing patterns, stitching, and fabric to keep breasts in check.

Keep the following in mind when shopping for your next bra:

  • Style – Where underwire bras provide shape and structure to each of your breasts, wireless bras yield a gentler, more even silhouette, making them a go-to for daily wear.

  • Fit – Not only do wireless bras’ flexibility offer a high degree of comfort, but their pliability means they’re far more moldable than their underwire cousins. This also makes the fitting process a breeze, so feel free to fill your online shopping cart and stock up on underwire bras for every day of the week.

  • Care – No wires means you won’t have to worry about getting a stick-and-poke from your bra the next time you fish it out of the lingerie drawer. As usual, always check your labels for care instructions—but, on the whole, wireless bras are easygoing and happy to be tossed in the wash with the rest of your basics.

Wireless bras’ versatility means there’s bound to be more than one in your future. For a sultry yet laid-back option that works for a date or your 4th hour of Amazon Prime-time, our favorite is the Callie Wireless Lace Bra.

Push-up Bras

For a bra to emphasize your shape and make you feel ultra-feminine, look no further than the push-up bra. When looking for a bra that accentuates your curves, consider the following:

  • Style – Push-up bras are gorgeous paired with low-cut necklines, and less comfortable to wear with tight, high-collared ones. While most women don’t use push-up bras for daily wear, they’re ideal for giving you some pin-up glamour on special occasions. 

  • Fit – Balance is key when fitting a push-up bra. Push-ups use padding inlaid on the bottom of the cup to add a bit of fire to your neckline by lifting and accentuating your boobs, so though your regular cup size may feel more snug than usual, this is what produces the spillover effect that gives your cleavage a boost.

  • Care – You should be able to wash your push-up bra in the washing machine, but be sure to use a lingerie bag to protect them from any premature wear, tear, or funky-looking cup shapes. 

With strategically placed padding, everyone can enjoy some extra lift from push-up bras. For a slip-me-on style suited for smaller boobs, check out the wire-free Ava Wireless Push-Up Bra.

T-Shirt Bras

Donning a T-shirt bra should feel utterly seamless: metaphorically, since this style is made for everyday wear, and literally, because a T-shirt bra that lives up to its name will always be creaseless—even through a gossamer jersey tee.

When searching for your boobs’ favorite companion, make sure you look out for:

  • Style – The T-Shirt bra is designed to offer medium coverage and minimal impact, with a subtle suggestion of just a little extra sculpt to smooth over the natural slope of your breasts.

  • Fit – T-shirt bras use ultra-light padding to keep boobs and nipples in check, without adding any unnatural bulk to your torso. They may be wireless or underwire, padded or unpadded, and many styles let you adapt to your day with convertible straps or removable padding.

  • Care – Since most T-shirt bras are lined with foam, they should be hand-washed to help them maintain their clean, seamless shape.

T-shirt bras are perfect for casual dress—but if you’re on the prowl for a more zhuzhed up option, we’ve got you: for a dash of cute with your functionality, check out the Paige Microfiber Lace Print T-shirt Bra.

Slip into Something New with Lulalu

No more making due with bras that weren’t made for you.

Breasts—and bodies—come in all shapes, builds, and sizes, and we think it’s time our intimates were held to a higher standard. Lulalu makes intimates that are made for women who wear AAA, AA, A cup sizes, and we want to keep your lingerie drawer stocked with bras and undies for every occasion.

For fit and functionality that cover the whole style spectrum, shop our closet and find your perfect fit.


Sew Guide. 45 types of bras- Which type of bra would you choose?


Women’s Health. How to Wash Bras. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/a28428575/how-to-wash-bras/


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