All bras are different. There are different shape bras that are suitable for different body shapes and breast shapes, and also for different occasions. In the first of our series, we’ll be looking at some of the main shapes and when you may wear them.

Remember though, that you really must try on new bras, (and old ones you’ve kept for ‘best’). If the bra isn’t comfy it’s not right. Also check it out with your clothes on. Your underwear is designed to give you a good foundation for your outerwear, so the shape must be what you need for your top to look good.

So, here we go:
Balcony / Balconette bras – this style is designed to cover about 50-75% coverage of the full cup style, with the straps sitting quite wide on your shoulders, so won’t suit women with narrow or sloping shoulders. The style on some women means that the breasts often just sit in the cups, rather than shaping the breasts in anyway.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, this style doesn’t tend to work well on the fuller breasts you get during this time. After mastectomy this style isn’t advised as it can be too low for a prothesis and doesn’t support the whole natural breast as well as other styles.

Full cup bras – these are ideal for larger breast sizes, and rounder, fuller breasts.The cup encloses the entire breast giving really good support all round. The shoulder straps tend to be above the middle of the breast, giving good lift and shape, with the weight of the breasts being supported across the whole shoulder. Full cup bras can be with wires or without, and go up to an L cup.

During pregnancy and breastfeeing, full cup bras tend to be more comfortable than other styles as they give full support across the whole of the breast.

Plunge bras – this is where the bra cups meet at the band of the bra, below your nipples. These bras are ideal for wearing with low cut tops, with many styles designed to give maximum cleavage. This style of bra is NOT designed for maximum support or security. So with bigger breasts, you may prefer a fuller style.

If you want a plunge bra, make sure the cup is big enough to cover your bigger breast (we all have one bigger than the other), so that the top of the bra isn’t pressing onto your breasts giving you the ‘4 boob’ effect.

All bras fit differently, even from the same manufacturer.


If you need help or advice on styles or sizes, ask your Bra Lady!