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BellaOnline's Ethnic Beauty Editor

Brassiere Terms

We've discussed many aspects of brassieres, and are at the end of our bra series. However I'll ask a few questions. Are you aware of the components that make up a bra? Do you know what underwire is? Can you name some of the types of bras there are? If not, in a few moments you will...

Bra Parts/Components
Cookies - removable half pads, nearly oval shaped, these may be used in bras that allow for enhancing one's look.
Comfort straps - are often wide, many are padded/reinforced to enhance comfort and weight distribution. These straps seek to eliminate shoulder pain.
Cups - half moon shaped fabric that covers, holds and supports breasts.
Gore - the portion of fabric in the front that connects bra cups in the center.
Inner sling - does the job of underwire, is made of fabric that is curved inside the bra cups. Offers lift and coverage.
Padding - lines bra cups, is sometimes thicker at the cup bottom. This, called graduated padding, like bra cookies, appears to increase cleavage.
Straps - rest on the shoulders, to hold bra in place. Non-stretch straps offer width and support.
Underwire - curved metal in the padded base of a bra cup, supports and uplifts.
Wings - fabric extending from the outsides of bra cups. Wing backs are comprised of hook & eye closures. Wings can be stretch or non-stretch material.
Moisture wick - fabric that draws perspiration away from the body --often in sports bras.

Types of Brassieres
Balconette - also referred to as a shelf bra. Revealing, offers little coverage, showcases uplifted cleavage.
Bralette - a bra with soft unlined cups. Looks like a short top; offers little support.
Bustier - has boning for shaping. Often also has underwire for lift. Rear or front closures are hook & eye. Often has a garter attached; can be worn strapless.
Convertible - can be worn a variety of ways, strapless, one-shouldered, crossed; straps detach. A great go-to bra for different clothing.
Contour - can have underwire, its cups are lined or padded. When not worn the cups yet appear curved as though they're holding bazooms. These bras offer coverage and control, give one a sculpted appearance.
Demi - a bra for small or average bust sizes; offers minimal coverage, shields the nipple and slightly more.
Foam lined - not to be confused with a padded bra. Foam lined bras have a thin lining which decreases nipple sightings, but don't increase one's appearance.
Full cup - maximum coverage, shields most of the breast.
Full figured - 38C's & up, these offer support, style, and comfort for the well endowed.
Nursing - many have absorbent pads, are easily or one-hand opened and refastened. While freeing baby to nurse, the remainder of bra stays put. Available in sports form, wraps, seamless, and underwire.
Masectomy - brassieres especially for those who have had breast surgery. These bras often have receiving pockets for breast forms/prosthesis; many sizes, styles, and colors.
Minimizer - diminishes the appearance of the bust by at least one cup size, various styles.
Molded - usually unlined, mimics the natural shape; offered in underwire/soft cup.
Push up - increases cleavage with angled cups, and underwire. Sometimes offered with accessories.
Padded - increases cup size and cleavage using padding.
Plunge - for low necklines, has angled cups (usually not thickly padded) ampS up cleavage.
Racerback - sometimes considered a Sports Bra, straps cross in back. Both can offer wireless support and can be 'invisibly' worn beneath tank tops.
Support - offers full coverage; lifts and shapes breasts. Sturdy center gores and wings minimize back fat and offer opacity --no nipple sightings.
T-shirt - a smooth, nearly 'invisible' bra; offers comfort and support. Wear it beneath seamless garments or others that hug.

Ladies, the list above was comprised because wearing the right bra for one's body type can greatly enhance the appearance, and thus elevate self-confidence. Sure, you're smart, and a veritable dynamo -- getting more done than most people, but you want to look extra too. Therefore, in being knowledgeable, take your time; try on a few bras, then decide. Don't forget to also take into account style, fit, and feel, and should you get befuddled, just refer back to all that we've discussed. Then when you've got no spillage, when your bazooms -- your gurlz -- are sitting pretty, and you appear sleek, and or sexy, then va va voom lady! You've found the bra for you.

Here's to beautifying the world, one set of gurlz at a time -- Cheers!

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