In our last post, we covered all of the basic styles of bra you would find in any lingerie store of even supermarket. Today we wanted to talk about some of the more specialist styles out there. These bras have been designed for a particular type of person, event or clothing, and might not be the everyday wear bras you are used to. Some women may not ever need to wear any of them, while some might find themselves needing to for other reasons.
Bralettes have very much come into fashion in the last year or two and have 2 purposes. They started out as thin, lightweight bras designed for people with smaller chests. These bras have absolutely no underwire or padding, instead opting for minimal support and a more natural feel. Recently, bralettes have been manufactured with another purpose. To be seen. Women have been told for years not to show their bras, but now it’s become stylish. Fashion bralettes often have intricate straps or lace to compliment your clothes, so they’re great if you like wearing daring dresses. There’s a full review of bralettes here.
Backless bras come with a very low back band, or no band at all to accommodate low backed clothes. We all know the struggle – a backless dress can be fabulous, sexy and classy, but it makes it very difficult to wear a bra! Backless bras were designed to combat this, and come in many designs from convertible and strapless to adhesive (we’ll talk more about that later). Most backless bras will fit you in your normal size, but some styles will tell you if the need different or specific measurements to work out your size.
Nursing & Maternity Bras
Maternity bras are designed to provide comfort, support and safety to women during pregnancy. When you are pregnant your breasts can become heavier or more sensitive than usual, which means you will need higher levels of support and comfort. Many maternity bras will not have underwire to avoid irritation, will have a band with extra size settings and stretchier cups to accommodate changing breast size. We recommend you switch to a maternity bra for at least your third trimester, and once the baby is born switch to a comfortable nursing bra.
Nursing bras are specifically designed to accommodate new mothers who are breast feeding their children. Rather than have to fiddle with moving straps or cups when it’s time to feed, nursing bras have cups that can be easily moved out of the way for breastfeeding, without sacrificing support. Most are soft cup and don’t have underwiring to maximise convenience.
A mastectomy bra is specially designed for women who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy, and work with breast prosthetics. Post-surgical bras are made with discreet pockets inside the cups for extra padding, and mastectomy bras will be made to have pockets in one or both cups for prosthetics. Mastectomy bras are made of soft materials to avoid irritation to the skin and offer a good amount of coverage to help secure your breasts form. Right after surgery your doctor might recommend a compression or a sports bra to help with the healing process, so you should make sure you don’t switch to a normal mastectomy bra until they have given you the OK. You will probably need to have a professional bra fitting once you have healed to determine which size of bra you will need, as well as your prosthesis size, all of which can be done by specialist teams.
If you want to draw less attention to your chest, a minimizer bra is perfect for you. These bras have the capability of reducing your chest size (outwards) by up to 2 inches, giving you a smooth and flattering silhouette. They manage this miracle by redistributing the breast tissue evenly across the entire cup instead of in the natural semi-circle shape, creating the illusion of a smaller bust. Even if you don’t want your breasts to appear smaller, minimiser bras are great for outfits that need a more streamlined silhouette like turtlenecks and button down shirts. You should buy this style in your usual size – you don’t need to go down a size to achieve a smaller look.
Front Closure Bras
These are nice and simple – instead of closing at the back, front closure bras claps closed at the front, between your breasts. This style can be used for any type of bra from sports bras to plunge necklines, but it is most popular for one reason. It is much easier, quicker and simpler to put on and take off than a regular bra, especially on hot days. When buying a front closure bra you should get one that is a little snug, as this style doesn’t let you adjust the band size. Instead a slightly tight band will stretch and conform to your shape.
Adhesive bras are another (relatively) new find, and are the saviour of halter neck and low backed top lovers the world over. Adhesive bras are literally cup that stick to your breasts, with no straps or back. Most will have a clasp that fastens the two together, creating cleavage and support. They often come in ‘one size fits all’ or a limited range of sizes, mainly because they are designed to provide coverage rather than shape and lift, so work best on small or medium sized breasts. They tend to be sized on cup size, but it is important to remember that your cup size can change depending on your band size, so you may need to adjust the size you order slightly.
Natural Curves provides a range of basic, fashion and specialist bras to women of larger breast sizes, who might find it difficult to get bras that fit in high street retailers. Now that you know all the lingo, please browse our selection of plus size bras to find the perfect bra for you for every occasion.