Bra Style Guide
Soft Cup Bras
Do not have an underwire; they often have a firmer under band to provide support for the breasts. Soft cup bras can come in many styles padded/non padded, slip on/pull on crop tops, hook&eye fastening bras and sports bras.
These bras have a wire which is concealed in fabric running along the bottom of each bra cup providing support and uplift for the breasts. Underwire bras are available in many styles of bras and they are often referred to as a ‘W’ bra.
This is a generic term which covers all bras which have a thin layer of moulded foam to gel filled cups or removable pads i.e. they do not have soft fabric cups. Padded bras provide a smooth, rounded shape and can give women the confidence to wear tighter fitting clothing.
Push Up bras
These are padded bras which are designed to lift the breasts and push the breasts inwards to create a cleavage. A push up bra often has a ‘cookie’ (a thicker layer of padding) in the bottom of the cup which encourages breast to be ‘lifted’.
Full Cup Bras
These are popular with women who have a larger cup size, as they have offer full coverage of the breasts and give a great shape.
Front Fastening Bras or Front Opening / Front Closing Bras
These are highly recommended for people with disabilities, shoulder problems, arthritis sufferers and post surgery patients. These bras are available with a variety of fastener styles such as: hooks and eyes, poppers, buttons and Velcro.
From the very early stages of pregnancy you may find that your breasts become tender and swollen therefore you may need to consider changing to a maternity bra. Maternity bras often are non-wired as underwires can dig into the tender breast tissue causing irritation and seam free designs are also favourable if the breast tissue is sensitive. Maternity bras tend to have wider shoulder straps to prevent them digging into your shoulders. As your breasts will feel heavier you may find discomfort trying to sleep, many women choose to wear sleep bras during pregnancy to support the breasts. During your pregnancy your body temperature may increase, look out for bras made from breathable fibres such as cotton.
In the last month of pregnancy it is advisable to start selecting nursing bras ready for the arrival of your baby. Nursing bras have two layers in the cup; the inner layer supports the breast in place to ease feeding, the outer layer covers the breasts when you are not feeding and folds down when you are ready to breastfeed. The outer layer is usually released by a clip or button system. Some nursing bras have integrated detail systems on the clips or in the centre of the bra to help you remember which breast was last used to feed your baby; such as a slider. Bra fitters advise women who are breastfeeding to select bras which fit on the loosest hook and eye position as during feeding the under band measurement often reduces.
Where possible try seek advice from your medical support team before selecting a mastectomy bra. Initially you will need a post-operative bra it is advisable you choose a bra which is made with high cotton content and features soft seams around the arms, under the bust and around the neckline. Following your recovery stage you should always try your new bra on with your prosthesis, selecting your usual back size and the cup size you have opted for.
If you have a had a full mastectomy select bras which indicate they are pocketed on both sides (bi-lateral), try the bra on first to ensure the bra fits comfortably then add your prosthesis and adjust your straps to fit.
If you have had a single mastectomy you may select bras which are bi-lateral or you may find bras which are only pocketed on the left or the right. It is advisable to try the bra on first to ensure the bra fits comfortably and adjust the strap for your breast, then add your prosthesis and adjust the other strap to fit.
Women taking part in any form of physical activity should wear a sports bra to reduce the upward/downward movement of the sensitive breast tissue. Not wearing sports bras damages the breast tissue and can cause sagging and loss of shape in later life even though now your breasts appear to be firm. Higher quality sports bras often feature breathable panels to reduce moisture evaporation. Sports bras come in a variety of styles such as; full cup, padded, underwired, moulded, front fastening and racer back.
Straps on multiway bras can be manipulated into different positions to sit invisibly under your clothing. The most common multiway combinations are: cross over, halter neck or a singular strap. Remember you can always wear your multiway the conventional style too!.
These are either padded or moulded with no seams on the cups surface to give a smooth appearance under tight fitting clothing.