Lingerie Glossary

Lingerie Glossary

3 Part Cup: A 3 cup bra features bra cups that are constructed with three pieces of material being separated by seams. Typically, a 3 cup bra will have two parts at the bottom and one at the top, which can help bring breasts together and keep their shape in tact.

Add-A-Size: An add-a-size bra features padding in the cups to help enhance the size of your bust. The special padding adds extra volume to the bust and pushes the bust upwards.

Adhesive: An adhesive bra features sticky components that sit around your bust, to get the effect of a bra without all of the straps and bands. Adhesive bras are made with silicone or polyurethane.

Antibacterial: Antibacterial material in lingerie helps to absorb moisture build up during physical activities while also reducing the risk of bacterial buildup. Some antibacterial lingerie is made with bamboo or specialized material such as Guardin by Miel.

Back Closure: The majority of bras are built with back closures, which are most often hooks, buttons, or metal pieces to keep the bra in place.

Back Hooks: The hooks on the back of a bra help to keep the bra secure on the body. They are typically made of metal or plastic, and hook into eyelets or rings.

Backless Bras: Backless bras tend to have back bands that sit lower on the back to avoid showing underneath low back tops. Some backless bras can also be adhesive bras that stay on the body by sticking underneath the armpits.

Back Wings: Back wings are parts of the bra that attach the cups of the bra and along the back band. Back wings help maintain the fit of the bra and smooth out around the armpits and the back.

Balcony Bras: A balcony bra features cups that sit lower on the bust, exposing the tops and middles of the breasts which leads to more cleavage than most bras. Balcony bras are similar to a balconette bra or a demi-cup bra.

Bandeau: A bandeau is a strapless bra or camisole that lays flat against the chest, and usually extends from the top of the armpits to below the breasts. Sometimes bandeaus feature cups or shaping mechanisms, and can be worn as a layer, in place of a bra, or as a top.

Basque: A basque is similar to a corset, in that it features cups and a slimming bodice, and sometimes, garter straps towards the bottom of the garment. In the Victorian era a basque was commonplace, and in modern lingerie it’s designed as a fashionable, romantic item.

Body Tape: Body tape features a skin-safe glue that can be used to keep clothing in place on the body. Body tape is typically used for low necklines or high slits, and can also be used in place of a needle and thread for hemlines and quick repairs.

Bra Back Extenders: Bra back extenders are pieces of fabric that feature hook and eye closures, and can be found in various sizes to fit all bra bands. They add extra room to the back band of a bra, which can be useful to get the perfect fitting bra.

Bralette: A bralette is a light, unlined bra that typically does not feature underwires or boning for a more natural fit. Most bralettes are not designed for support, but are rather fashion items, while some bralettes have some extra fabric and underwire to suit all body types.

Bra Pockets: Bra pockets are pockets that are attached to the inside cups of bras that allow for padding or bra pads to be slid in and out at ease to change the shape of the cup, add lift, or even out breast size. These are ideal for prosthetics as well.

Bridal Lingerie: Bridal lingerie is designed to maximize the fit of wedding attire. Bridal lingerie can feature corsets and shapewear, or bras and underwear designed to be concealed under wedding dresses while offering the optimal support. On the other hand, bridal lingerie can also be designed to embody a bridal look in a romantic outfit, like a chemise, teddy, or babydoll set.

A Built-in Bra: A built in bra is often sewn into camisoles, shirts, and dresses, that helps add some bust support to the garment. Also referred to as a shelf bra, the fabric features an elastic strap that can replace a bra for some, or can just add a little bit of extra support.

Bullet Bra: Bullet bras were popularized in the mid-90s, and were bras with exaggerated cups that extended from the middle of the bust outwards in a bullet shape. The cups of bullet bras also typical features a circular pattern or spirals that extended from the base of the cup to the top. Madonna was known to sport bullet bras earlier in her career designed by Gaultier.

Bustier: A bustier is a shaping garment that extends from the bust down to below the waist or on top of the hips, to enhance a woman’s curves. Bustiers have built in push up bras and constrict slightly around the waist to make a person’s form look like an hourglass shape.

Camisole: A camisole is a basic top that typically features thin straps that expose the shoulders. A camisole is typically worn underneath another garment as a shell for an outfit.

Camisole-Corset: A camisole-corset is a basic top that features special stitching to emulate the appearance and fit of a corset. This top enhances the curves and adds some definition to the body.

Centre Gore: The centre gore of a bra is the piece of fabric that meets in the middle of the chest, right between the cups. The centre gore is supposed to sit flat on the body, and is shaped as a triangle most of the time.

Clear Straps: Clear straps tend to be attachment straps that are sold separately, and are translucent. Clear straps are used to hide the appearance of wearing a bra strap, but maintains the support of the straps when attached to a strapless bra.

Comfort Wire: Patented by Triumph, a comfort wire is an underwire within a bra that is made with more flexible material. It moves with the natural shape of the bust and gives the support desired in a more comfortable way.

Contour Bra: A contour bra features seamless cups that support the bust in a smooth yet light way. The cups generally have a foam or substantial cup that is pre-formed, meaning the cups contour the breast to give them shape. These bras typically feature underwire.

Convertible Bra: A convertible bra features straps that can be attached or detached to create a number of bra styles. Convertible bras can become strapless, single strapped, halter, criss cross, or both straps can be worn in a normal fashion.

Cookies: Cookies are pads that can be inserted or removed from a bra in order to promote lift or shape. Some bras come with removable cookies that are inserted into bra pockets.

Corset: The corset has evolved through time. Traditionally, a corset was a confining, restricting garment, worn on the torso, that could be tied tighter to enhance the bust and define the waist. In the current lingerie world, a corset is a fashion and lingerie item that defines the curves when tightened, with boning that is a little less stronger than before. A corset can also sit under or over the bust.

Demi-cup Bras: A demi cup bra has cups that sit straight, covering half or three-quarters of the bust. Demi cup bras can feature padding or lining, or can be unlined, and typically push the breast up for enhanced cleavage. Some demi-cup bras feature underwire, while some do not. They are similar to balconette bras.

Foam lined cups: A foam lined cup in a bra is a thin layer that is sewn into the cups to create a very light shape to the bust. They are round in shape to cup the breast gently.

Full Coverage Bra: A full coverage bra features cups that surround most or all of the breast, which is fairly common in bras designed for bigger busts. The cups are designed to shape and support the bust in its entirety.

Fuller Cup Bra: A fuller cup bra is similar to a full coverage bra, which features cups that cover the majority of the bust. These cups can be lined or unlined.

Gusset: A gusset is a small piece of fabric, typically cotton, sewn into a pair of underwear around the crotch to protect the area and prevent infection and bacterial growth.

Half Cup Bra: A half cut bra is similar to a demi-cup bra, in that the cups of the bra cover half of the bust. The cups are designed to push up the bust and enhance cleavage.

Halter: A halter neckline starts from the top of the bust and travels up the neck to meet at the back of the neck. Convertible bras can be altered into a halter style.

Hide-A-Strap: A hide-a-strap accessory is a plastic ring that looks like a number 8 that can help push your bra straps towards the middle of your back to hide them under tops. Simply push one strap into each side and push the plastic piece down your back until it’s in the desired spot.

Jogging Bra: A jogging bra is a sports bra that helps support the entire bust while doing vigorous activity.

Leisure Bra: A leisure bra, sometimes referred to as a sleep bra is a bra with a relaxed fit made with soft material. This type of bra has no underwire or structure, in order to allow breathability and comfort during sleep or other leisure activities.

Lining: The lining of a bra is typically a double layer of a soft material, such as cotton or mesh, which makes the bra more opaque and adds to the support.

Longline Bra: A longline bra is a bra with extra fabric that starts under the band, sometimes with boning for more shape. This also allows relief to the shoulders for support.

Male Gynocostia: This product can be used to flatten the chest area and conceal the appearance of the bust.

Mastectomy Bra: A mastectomy bra is designed for a woman that has undergone the procedure. This bra supports the addition of prosthetics or pads, and discreet pockets to help conceal anything inserted.

Maternity Bra: A maternity bra is designed for a woman’s bust when she is expecting, to help support a growing chest while also being gentle on the sensitive area. Some maternity bras are adjustable and may also have nursing capabilities.

Maximizer Bra: A maximizer bra enhances the bust to make it appear fuller and bigger due to extra padding within the cups.

Medical Bra: This bra is designed to be supportive and comfortable for a woman who has gone any type of surgery such as a breast reduction or alteration of any kind.

Memory Foam: Often used in bras, memory foam is made of synthetic fibers that molds to the surface it surrounds. It is known to be breathable, with air pockets throughout.

Minimizer Bra: A minimizer bra is designed to gently compress the bust by lifting it and making them appear more even and flatter. When you look at this bra on it can look like the bust is reduced by one size.

Molded Cup Bra: A molded cup features seamless cups that are shaped to conform to the bust, rounding it out. These bras retain their shape underneath clothing and can come in a number of styles.

Nipple Covers: Nipple covers stick over the nipples to cover up the area when going braless, covering up piercings, or even that are nursing. These could be made of fabric or silicone.

Non-Underwire Bra: Also referred to as a wireless bra, these bras don’t feature underwire of any kind, but instead, an elastic band to support the bust. Multiple styles of bras can come without underwire.

Nursing Bra: A nursing bra features hooks that can be undone from the bra straps to reveal the bust, making it convenient for mothers to breastfeed. Sometimes these bras are referred to as maternity bras, and can come in different styles and are typically wireless.

Padded Bra: A padded bra features foam or lining within the cup of the bra to help round out the shape of the breast and support cleavage.

Plunge Bra: A plunge bra has cups that are more open towards the centre of the bust to show more of the bust and centre cleavage. These bras work well with low cut tops and dresses, and can be underwired or not. Plunge bras are also referred to as U-plunge bras.

Plus Size: Plus size, or queen size, often refers to extended sizes or curvy sizes, usually extending above extra large. This could refer to clothing and lingerie.

Push Up Bra: A push up bra features strategice padding and angled cups to lift the bust in and upwards and create a firmer and higher looking bust. Many push up bras are demi cup to expose the top of the bust.

Queen Size: This is another term for plus size that indicates sizing that goes above extra large.

Racerback Bra: A racerback bra is one which has straps that form a V or X like shape. This style works to expose the shoulders and shoulder blades, and this style is fairly popular for sports bras.

Replacement Tape: Replacement tape is used to add stickiness to an adhesive bra to encourage more use of the garment.

Seamless: A seamless bra, panty, or shapewear conforms to the skin in a soft way to ensure that the garment does not show underneath clothing. There are no seams or lining featured within a seamless item to ensure it’s smooth.

Shapewear: Often referred to as Spanx, although that’s a brand name, shapewear is a garment designed with innovative fabrics that help support and smooth out the body, showing off a woman’s curves. Shapewear comes in multiple styles.

Sheer: Sheer lingerie or clothing is translucent to show off the skin in a subtle way. It’s very popular and sultry when used to design lingerie.

Shoulder cushions: Shoulder cushions are an accessory that slip right under a bra strap to alleviate some of the pressure a bra can undertake. Most cushions have grooves to insert the strap into so it stays up all day.

Shoulder Pads: Shoulder pads are foam pieces that are inserted into clothing to help enhance the appearance of shoulders, and have been very trendy in previous decades.

Silicone Pads: Silicone pads are used to either enhance the bust size of one or both breasts, and can be inserted into most bras with or without pockets.

Sleep Bra: These are also called leisure bras, and are bras that tend to be full coverage without pads or underwire for a relaxed fit. These bras are soft and breathable for leisure and for sleep.

Soft Cup Bra: A soft cup bra has no pads or underwires, hence the name; it creates a soft layer over the bust for a natural finish. These types of bras are still supportive, with slings or lines in the cups or criss crossed patterns within the bra.

Spacer Cups: The bust gets a relief from sweat with innovative spacer technology through lightweight layered fabric within the cups. This fabric is not bulky, but can help reduce moisture building up within the bra.

Sports Bra: A sports bra or athletic bra is specially designed to keep each part of the breast supported during physical activity of all extremes. Sports bras are built with durable material, with strong straps and plenty of stretch to maintain flexibility without damage.

Stitching: Stitching is the part of the bra that brings the cup together, and each direction offers a different style and finish.

Strapless Bra: A strapless bra either has no straps or removable straps to avoid exposed straps under certain types of clothing. Support comes from a wider band and usually extended underwire that holds up the bust, along with boning and strong cups.

Support: Bras come with a varied level of support, which is how a bra is structured to lift and keep the breasts in the right spot. Support is usually rated from light, medium, and full support; i.e: sports bras are full support and training bras are light.

Support Cups: Support cups are adhesive cups that aren’t formed like a bra that stick to the bust to create the illusion of bra support. Adhesive tape will hold the cups in place.

Tagless Bras: These are bras that don’t have a fabric label sewn into the band. Instead, they have information written at the back or side of the bra.

T-Back Bra: A t-back bra has straps that form a T at the back of the bra that can sometimes be converted into another style. Many sports bras are designed like this.

T-Shirt Bra: T-shirt bras may also be called contour bras or seamless bras, and are designed to essentially disappear under clothing while rounding out your shape. Many t-shirt bras have soft foam padding or thin padding to avoid any bumping.

Training Bra: A training bra is for young girls who are developing, to help conceal and support a growing body. They are usually soft cups with little padding and no wires.

Underwire Bras: These bras have metal, silicone, or innovative patented wire that starts at the centre gore and surrounds the bottom of your breasts up to the armpit area. The wire is inside the fabric of the bra and is meant to keep the bust lifted and supported.

Wash Bag: A wash bag is usually made out of nylon mesh, and is used to place your intimates inside when placing them in the washing machine.