The Different Types of Bras: An Ultimate Guide

The Different Types of Bras: An Ultimate Guide - Leonisa

Each woman is unique, and so are their breasts. Some are small and perky, while others are fuller and more voluptuous. Thank goodness there are different types of bras to suit every lady’s busty silhouette.

Since their creation, bras have undergone a transformation and evolution and, today, there are countless varieties of options from which to choose. From bras to fit different sizes and shapes to bras that fit a woman’s lifestyle, there’s something for every woman!

Fortunately, Leonisa has put together this collection, showcasing the ultimate guide to different types of bras. Totaling 15 bra styles, we’ll dive in and take a look at each style and shape to discover which might work for you, as well as your personal lifestyle and wardrobe faves.

So, let’s jump right in and discover the wide world of bra styles. After that, you can find the perfect bra style for your unique shape and bust size.


Bralette - Leonisa

Bralettes are typically designed without wires or molded cups, meaning they don’t offer too much when it comes to bust support. You can find a few Leonisa bralettes with a light bust support. However, they still offer a sexy look, usually crafted with sheer materials in patterns of laces or stripes. Many bralettes can be found as high neck crop tops.

Apparel Match: Bralettes are great for showing off beneath a tank top, giving a little glimpse of lace. Some bralettes can be worn along and beneath a top that is sheer or a bit more revealing.

The Different Types of Bras: An Ultimate Guide - Leonisa

Bust Shape: Since bralettes lack the solid support for heavy busts, bralettes are best for smaller breast sizes.

Sports Bra

The Different Types of Bras: An Ultimate Guide - Leonisa

Sports bras are designated for physical activities to reduce breast movement, impact and strain. You can find sports bras that provide different levels of coverage and support, designed to carry out different types of activities Lighter activities like yoga only require a light or medium impact sports bra.

Apparel Match: Sports bras can be worn under workout clothes or just on their own with some stylish leggings. You can also wear them when you want to avoid underwire or cups or clasps. A sports bra is even great for wearing around the house on a lazy weekend.

Bust Shape: There’s a sports bra for every woman. It just comes down to your preferred exercise routine and your bust shape.

Wireless Bra

Wireless Bra - Leonisa

Wireless bras are found in a variety of bra styles–from bralettes to racerbacks to sports bras. Many women prefer a wireless bra because they are designed for women seeking maximum comfort and that feeling of freedom".

Apparel Match: Wireless bras offer such a wide variety that they can truly be worn under practically anything. Some women wear a wireless bra for a touch more extra support as they lounge around the house or even when playing with the kids

Bust Shape: Wireless bras are pretty universal and fit many bust shapes and sizes.

Strapless Bra

Strapless Bra - leonisa

Strapless bras are obviously strapless, and all offer the option of removable straps that can be hooked in for additional support. Strapless bras support women’s busts through an underwire and anti-slip grip lining that keeps the bras from slipping, and sometimes a molded cup to keep everything in place.

Apparel Match: Strapless bras should be a part of every woman’s wardrobe to wear under dresses and tops with revealing necklines and exposed shoulders.

There is a perfect strapless bra for every bust size - leonisa

Bust Shape: There is a perfect strapless bra for every bust size. In order to find the perfect bra, make sure to look for the correct size and fit. With the right-fitting strapless bra, you’re guaranteed to avoid any slipping. Just be sure that it feels right for your unique bust shape and that the underlining does not dig into your armpit or chest area. Also, make sure the band stays in place without slipping and that there’s no spillage or gaping in the cups. On the hunt for a quality strapless bra, be sure to test it out first to find the perfect fit for you.

Padded Bras

Padded Bras - Leonisa

Padded bras can be any bra style, just with additional pads inserted into each cup. Some pads are built-in, while others can be conveniently slid in and out of an interior sleeve. It’s important to note that not all padded bras are designed to make the bust look bigger. Some padding in bras are designed to prevent breasts from sagging and offer proper support for a more well-rounded bust.

Apparel Match: Padded bras are so versatile. They’re great under anything. Really, they help to enhance the appearance of your bust size, so they look stellar under a simple T-shirt or even a formal dress.

Bust Shape: Padded bras are great for any women, but are exceptionally fitting and flattering for women with smaller breast sizes, giving that extra bit of fullness. However, some padded bras can be uncomfortable if you choose an incorrect size, so always be sure to try them on.

Push Up Bra

If you want some lift, a push up bra is what you need! A push up bra will give your bust a boost through the use of angled cups and extra padding. These angled cups and pads will essentially push your breasts inwards and upwards, showcasing your girls.

Apparel Match: Since a push up bra is meant to showcase your cleavage, these work wonderfully under low-cut tops and dresses with plunging necklines. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to wear a revealing low-cut top. You can simply wear a push up bra to give your breasts a lift and feel confident.

Bust Shape: A push up bra can work with any woman’s unique shape and size.

Push Up Bra - Leonisa

Underwire Bra

Underwire Bra - Leonisa

Underwire bras offer a thin, semicircular wire material sewn into the fabric beneath each bra cup. Underwire bras offer some women the extra support and lift they need. However, as mentioned in our wireless bra breakdown, some women find that these underwires can often pinch and prod. But this typically only occurs when you buy the wrong size bra.

Apparel Match: Underwire bras are offered in a variety of bra styles–from strapless to balconette to demi cups. For women who don’t mind the underwire, it can really be worn under anything!

Bust Shape: Underwire bras are excellent for larger, fuller breast sizes.

Full Coverage Bras

Full coverage and full figure bras are the pinnacles of bra comfort and support, offering extra coverage so nothing slips out. Typically, full coverage bras offer underwire beneath the cups, giving a bit of lift, too.

Apparel Match: Full coverage bras make easy undergarments for any day of the week. They look great under a simple T-shirt, tank top, blouse or dress.

Bust Shape: These cozy bras are great at supporting all shapes and sizes of busts, but more specifically larger, fuller breasts.

Full Coverage Bras - Leonisa

Demi Cup Bra

Demi Cup Bra - Leonisa

Not quite a full coverage bra, demi cup bras cover about half of each breast, maybe a bit more. Each cup is low-cut and typically lined around the edges with a seam that flatters your unique breast shape.

Apparel Match: Demi cup bras make an excellent undergarment for low-cut tops and necklines, such as V-neck T-shirts and dresses.

Demi Cup Bra: This style of bra really works on any woman - Leonisa

Bust Shape: This style of bra really works on any woman, but is especially flattering and supportive on small to average size busts. For women with larger busts, a balconette bra, which we’ll discuss more next, will give the same design aesthetic but offer enough support.

Balconette Bra

Balconette Bra - Leonisa

With a pin-up girl look, balconette bras offer a gentle lift that enhances a woman’s natural bust shape, showcasing the cleavage and beautiful bosom. This classic bra style was made famous by Marilyn Monroe and can be worn for special occasions and casual evenings, allowing you to feel as confident and sexy as a Hollywood starlet. Balconette bras are perfect for women with rounded breasts because they enhance the bust.

Apparel Match: Balconette bras are perfect for wearing beneath low-cut tops, wide necklines (scoop necks and square necklines) and dresses with deep, revealing plunges. Pro tip: most balconette bras have the option to be worn as strapless bras as well.

Bust Shape: Balconettes are great for many bust shapes, but work the best for women with fuller cup sizes. However, certain women who have loose breast tissue may not find a balconette to be flattering, causing their breasts to appear flat and squishy.

Convertible Bra

The wonderful thing about convertible bras is that they’re quite versatile. This bra style has straps that can be adjusted to go straight across each shoulder or crisscrossed at the back to offer a bit more support. They’re also offered in a range of styles, from demi cups to balconettes, and can also offer padding for smaller breast sizes.

Apparel Match: Since convertible bras are a highly versatile undergarment, these bras are great for a quick wardrobe change and work beneath both a dress or a tank top. Simply rearrange the straps.

Bust Shape: Convertible bras come in a variety of styles to fit any bust size.

Strapless Bra

Front closure bras are exactly what you’d expect, offering a front closure–either with a single clasp or a row of clasps. Some women prefer a front closure for accessibility purposes or because they require a specially designed back such as a T-back or a clear back strap to wear under formal dresses and garments. Front closure bras are also quite versatile when it comes to style, resembling anything from sports bras to push up bras. Additionally, these bras are perfect for women who struggle with fastening a back closure bra or for women who are breastfeeding.

Apparel Match: Since they’re quite versatile, front closure bras can be worn under almost anything.

Bust Shape: Front closure bras look flattering on any size woman!

Front Closure Bras - Leonisa

Petite Bras

Petite Bras - Leonisa

Petite bras are perfect for petite women with smaller frames and bust sizes. For petite women who struggle to find the right bra size, petite bras are a wonderful option and available in a variety of styles and shapes. They just simply have smaller cup sizes and smaller bands to fit more appropriately.

Apparel Match: Anything in your petite wardrobe!

Bust Shape: Best suited for petite and smaller breast sizes.

Maternity Bras and Nursing Bras

Maternity Bras and Nursing Bras - Leonisa

For expecting mothers whose breasts fluctuate immensely, a maternity bra is an excellent bra for wearing before and after pregnancy. Maternity bras are designed for a pregnant woman’s growing breasts, made with a stretchable material that grows right along with her–as well as extra support, of course. On maternity bras, you’ll also find adjustable straps and extra hook-and-eye clasps for tweaking to a precise and comfortable size.

A nursing bra, which is a specific type of maternity bra designed for breastfeeding, offers a clip-down, double-opening cup design for easy access on both sides. Leonisa’s nursing bras also come with a helpful reminder clip to keep track of breast rotations to know which to use to feed your baby.

Apparel Match: Expecting mothers can wear a maternity bra under anything and as soon as they feel they need that extra support. For most moms-to-be, the first trimester is when they really start to see (and feel!) the change in breast size.

Bust Shape: Maternity bras and nursing bras are perfect for expecting mothers, but it’s important to buy these bras at the right time and in the right size. We suggest to purchase a larger size than your typical bra size

Racerback Bras

Racerback Bras - Leonisa

This racerback bra style is typically designed with a center strap or crisscross strap that runs between the shoulder blades. Racerback bras are excellent at providing support and for aligning the spine into a proper posture. Racerbacks can also be found in many sports bras, as well.

Apparel Match: Racerback bras are great for an everyday bra, but perfect for wearing beneath a tank top, under gym clothes or even under a sleeveless top or dress. Since these bras are usually made from a lace fabric and don’t have hooks, racerback bras can be shown off under a flowy tank top or blouse.

Bust Shape: Racerback bras can fit any size cups; however, they’re ideal for women with narrow, sloped shoulders.

Fortunately, there are numerous varieties of bra cuts and styles to choose from. However, it’s wise to take notice of what bra type would look great under the everyday apparel you love and consistently wear. You may find there are several varieties that suit you, and that’s okay! Every woman should own at least a handful of staple bras to fit your everyday wardrobe and even some specialty bras to suit your every fancy.

Be sure to take Leonisa’s quiz to find your perfect fit bra or discover your Brastrology to find the perfect bra match through your zodiac sign and horoscope for a little fun.