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People have told you you should stick to a certain cut. Or you are reading about cuts everywhere and want to figure out what they mean and how they differ. Or you're starting to become truly obsessed with bras. :D

So let's find out about different types of bras and their characteristics.
We sorted them by cup coveragecup shape, function, strap material, underwire presence, band type and cup material.

By function

Sports braPanache Sport

Sports bras are designed to inhibit strong motion to prevent pain and other effects, like jiggling around.
There are two main types of sports bras: Compression and encapsulation bras. Compression bras work by pushing your breast tissue as close as possible to your torso. Encapsulation bras separate your breasts into preformed cups and support them from beneath.


Further reading:

Maternity/Nursing brasFreya Emily Drop Cup

Nursing bras are designed to provide easier access to your breasts for nursing children. There are various mechanisms with which a part of the cup (or the whole cup) is removable or "droppable" and easy to reattach to the rest of the bra.


Further reading:

By strapsFreya Deco Strapless


Bras without straps are sensibly called strapless bras. They are designed to be worn beneath tops/dresses which aesthetically work better without straps beneath them.


HalterneckHalterneck Freya Pier

The straps of halterneck bras don't go over your shoulders, but fasten behind your neck, forming a U around the front of your torso. Bikinis are often halternecks, but there are also bras which fasten this way.



A multiway bra has different options for fastening the straps. It can be a combination out of the ways to fasten straps: "Normal" fastening, strapless, halterneck and racerback.


By boning

Wireless/Soft Cup

Panache Sophie Support

For sleeping, feeling comfortable or for various health reasons you may prefer a bra without underwires. These are usually called soft cup or wireless bras.


By band type

Full bandCleo Juna

A full band bra has the band encircling your whole torso with the cups set into it. This provides a lot of stability.


Partial Band/BandlessCleo Jude

A bandless bra is not really a bra without a band. It only means that there is no band beneath and between the cups. This is found in a lot of plunge bras. This may lead to instability of the bra since a band beneath and between the cups helps to stabilize the cup by non-stretchiness.


Cleo Bonnie

A partial band bra is a cross between the full band bra and the bandless bra: It has a bit of band between the cups, but not underneath them.


Leotard BackLeotard Back Curvy Kate Emily

A leotard back bra has the straps fastened in a U form at the band instead of straight (in a sort of H form). This provides more stability and inhibits the straps sliding off the shoulders. It also gives more freedom of movement to the wearer.


By cup material

Molded brasFreya Deco

Molded bras are preformed by a heating process of their material and they will keep their shape when you take them off. They're seamless, which is why a lot of T-shirt bras are molded bras.


Padded brasCurvy Kate Thrill Me

Padded bras have a volume-adding lining in their cups.


Unpadded brasCurvy Kate Princess

Unpadded bras do not have a lining in their cups. They may be see-through.


Resources and further reading

We used pictures from Bratabase to illustrate different types of bras. They are not traceable to an account. Please let us know if you found your picture here and would like it removed!