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Your bra glossary: The A-Z of the bra and the important terms every woman should know

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By nature, bras are truly technical garments so it becomes in every woman’s interest to get to know this piece of clothing that sits the closest to their hearts, quite literally, a little better and a little more intimately. Listed ahead are a few key terms that are commonly heard amidst top drawer talks but not commonly known – a cheat sheet of sorts. Understanding the functionality of each part of the bra makes us that much more informed and aware as we shop for our favourite bras. So, scroll down to discover your ultimate bra glossary…

Adhesive
(Backless) bra

This bra is built to be worn under backless outfits or outfits that require a ‘no-bra’ effect. With only the help of medical-grade adhesive, these bras stick to your breasts for a seamless look. They feature no wings or straps for support.

Band

The bottom part of the bra that runs around the rib cage can be identified as the band of the bra. The band plays a poignant role in every bra not just because it is majorly responsible for the support but also because it helps determine your ideal bra size.

Basque or cradle

This is the front part of the bra into which the cups are sewn. The width and the height of the basque determine how the cup sits and fits on the body. While a longer centre front is called basque, a smaller front is referred to as gore.

Balconette

Balconette is a type of neckline that can be identified by wide set straps and low to medium coverage. Bras with this type of neckline provide slightly less coverage than the demi bra and aid in lending a dramatic lift to the wearer. Bras with this neckline are ideal for wearing under pieces that either have low or wide necks.

Boning

Made mostly in steel, plastic or metal, these are typically sewn vertically into the side seams for extra support and structure. You’ll see boning in lingerie pieces like corsets or contouring bras.

Bra hook extenders

Sold separately, these essentially perform the function of the hook and eye closure but are used to extend the band size of the bra. These come handy when you’ve outgrown your band size but are happy with the cup size.

Centre gore

This is the fabric that connects the cups at the front centre. To give a clearer picture, plunge and deep plunge bras have narrower centre gores as opposed to t-shirt or full-coverage bras.

Convertible

Bras that come with detachable straps can be called convertible as they allow the wearer to experiment with the type and direction of the straps for different occasions and outfits

Cups

The cups of a bra are essentially what hold your breasts together; these are the very centres of the bra. They are of various types such as molded, cut & sew, padded and so on.

Darted seams

Commonly found in full-figure or full busted bras, this is a construction technique where each cup is overlaid with fabric, the excess of which is removed using stitches towards the centre, also known as darts. These darts can leave an unclean finish, but can look seamless if placed below the apex where they are not visible. The advantage of darted seams is that they provide added support while giving a rounder and smoother silhouette.

Deep plunge

Like the name suggests, deep-plunge bras are low cut and come with a wider basque to provide that extra support. While their coverage is low, these bras are perfect for low-cut and sensual upperwear, to ensure your bra doesn’t peep out.

Hook & eye

This is the most commonly found closure of the bras. It is built to be adjustable and allows for better comfort as it can be changed as per body measurements.

Moisture wicking

This feature is commonly found in sports bras. It is responsible for drawing away the moisture and the sweat from the body of the wearer, thus keeping you dry and fresh during rigorous activities.

Plunge

A low-cut neckline with a very narrow centre gore can be classified as a bra with a plunge neckline. These are ideal to wear under outfits with deep necklines.

Ring slider

The flat metal trims on your straps are called ring sliders. They ensure your straps stay in place and make them adjustable to the fit you desire.

Straps

Straps are the parts of the bra that go over your shoulders to connect the front and the back. It’s essential that they are built strong and sturdy as often they are responsible for carrying the load of the breasts. Straps of the bra can go from thin to thick depending on your breast profile and body type.

Sweetheart neckline

Mimicking the shape of the top of a heart, bras with this neckline typically have a lower front and closer straps. These bras aid in achieving a significant cleavage.

Underwire

This is the thin, flexible and soft wire that’s sewn into a concealed casing under the cups to provide a gentle lift to the breasts.

Wings

These are the strips of fabrics that extend from the cups to your back. Wings can be stretch or non-stretch but they are responsible for providing a considerable amount of support in your bra so it’s very important for them to be built in a sturdy and strong manner. The back closure of the bra also forms a part of the wings.

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