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Bra Glossary

Full Figure Bra Glossary

As you explore the Leading Lady Website, there may be some words and phrases that are unclear to you. So, when needed, just refer to this handy glossary for helpful definitions and meanings.

A

Adjustable Straps
Bras with adjustable straps allow the wearer to position the straps for maximum shoulder comfort and breast support.

B

Back Closure
Back closure is a term used to describe how a bra closes or fastens. A woman’s body will change due to pregnancy and weight loss or gain. A back-closure bra has a series of hook-and-eye fasteners that allow the bra band to be adjustable for a perfect fit. Larger bra sizes will have more hooks and eyes for maximum stability and support. A bra should be purchased when the closure fits best when fastened in the middle. This gives the ability to tighten or loosen the band in the future.

Back Wings
The back wings are the fabric that extends from the outer base of the cups and extend around to the back closure of the bra.

Blends
A blend is a term used when combining two or more types of fibers in one yarn to achieve a color mixture such as heathers.

Bra
Bra is the shortened word for brassiere. A bra is a woman’s undergarment that is worn to support and stabilize the breasts.

Breathability
Breathability is a term used to state that the fabric will not hold in moisture and allow airflow. Breathable fabrics are used in sport bras to help keep the sweat away from a woman’s skin. Nursing bras use breathable fabrics to help keep moisture way from the nipples during lactation. 

C

Cami/Camisole
A cami or camisole is a sleeveless undergarment previously worn as a negligee but it is now a versatile piece of clothing in women’s wardrobes. A camisole gives a seamless look under layered clothing, or it can be worn by itself. Often, camisoles feature a shelf bra to support the breast during activity.

Center Gore
The center gore is another term for gore. The gore is the fabric panel that connects the cups at the front center of a bra. The size of the gore will depend upon the style of the bra. Typically, the larger the gore the more supportive the bra is. A lower, smaller gore will offer more cleavage for clothing with low necklines.

Center Panel
The center panel is another term for the gore. The gore is the fabric panel that connects the cups at the front center of a bra. The size of the gore will depend upon the style of the bra. Typically, the larger the gore the more supportive the bra is. A lower, smaller gore will offer more cleavage for clothing with low necklines.

Certified Organic
A certified organic product means that the product has documentation to prove that it is organically produced from start to finish.

Chemise
A chemise is a long A-line-style sleeveless undergarment that is loosely fitting.

Clasp
A nursing clasp is a two-part clip in which the top piece is attached to the bra at the top of the cup and strap area and the bottom piece is attached to the top of the cup that flips down. These easy open plastic clips can be used one handed. These are also called nursing bra clips, maternity bra clasps, or maternity bra clips. 

Cleavage
Cleavage is the cleft between a woman’s breasts and is revealed by a garment with a low neckline. A lower gore on a bra will offer more cleavage. Bras with under-breast padding will push up the breasts to enhance a woman’s cleavage.

Comfort Straps
Comfort straps are wider than normal and are typically lined or have light padding. Comfort straps are great for larger breasted woman and sport bras as they provide maximum comfort and support by evenly distributing the weight of the breast. Women who have experienced discomfort from normal bra straps will benefit from comfort straps.

Contour/Contoured Bra
A contour or contoured bra has a shaped cup that is padded or lined. Contoured bra cups will hold their shape even when not being worn. Contoured bras are similar to molded bras, except that molded bras may not be padded or lined and are usually not as structured. A contoured bra often has varying depths of padding to lift the breast in certain areas. They also provide coverage and control.

Cookie
A cookie is a padded insert that is added to the bra cup for breast support. Cookies are often removable or can be purchased separately for adjustable enhancement.

Cotton
A soft fiber obtained from the seedpod of the cotton plant and one of the major fashion fibers in the fabric industry.

Crossover
A crossover bra is a wirefree design that creates an “x” in the center front to provide gentle shaping and support of the breasts. Crossovers are typically worn as a sleep or leisure bra.

D

Dart
A dart is sewn into a garment is meant to take in fabric to allow for added shape.

Decoration
Decoration is added trims such as bows, lace or buttons to decorate the bra.

E

Elastic
A rubber strand, cord, fabric, or thread which has springiness, flexibility, resiliency and recovery.

Embroidery
Ornamental needlework consisting of designs worked on fabrics either by hand or machine.

Extender
An extender is a series of hooks-and-eyes that is attached to an existing bra band closure. The addition of a bra extender allows you instantly increase the length of a bra band.

F

Fabric
In the broadest sense, the word fabric means any woven, knitted, plaited, braided, felted, or non-woven material made of fibers or yarns.

Flexible Wire
A flexible wire is an underwire that has the ability to bend or flex easily allowing it to conform to the shape of your breast and provides added comfort when wearing.

Foundation
Foundation is a term used in the lingerie business to describe bras and undergarments.

Front Closure
Front closure is a term used to describe how a bra closes or fastens in the front. Front-closure bras make it convenient and easy to dress. Front-closure bras typically do not have adjustability for changes due to weight loss, gain or pregnancy.

Full Coverage
A full-coverage bra is designed to completely cover the breast. Full-coverage bras provide more modesty then other bras as well as added support for larger breasted women.

Full Cup
A full cup bra provides maximum coverage of the breast and typically the most support.

Full Figure
Full-figure bras are specifically designed to offer maximum comfort and support for larger breasted woman. Full-figure bras typically feature molded, padded cups, wider comfort straps, and increased hook and eye closures.

Full Support
A bra that offers full support will typically feature padding, wider shoulder straps and increased hook and eye closures to provide maximum all over support for fuller breasted woman.

G

Gore
The gore is the fabric panel that connects the cups at the front center of a bra. The size of the gore will depend upon the style of the bra. Typically, the larger the gore the more supportive the bra is. A lower, smaller gore will offer more cleavage for clothing with low necklines.

Gown
A gown or nightgown is a loose dress worn in bed by women.

H

Hook-and-Eye Closure
A hook-and-eye closure is a 2-part fastening device consisting of a metal hook that catches over a bar or into a loop that is used to fasten either in the back or front of a bra. 

L

Leisure Bra

A leisure bra, also known as a sleep bra, is an unstructured bra that provides minimal support. A leisure bra can be worn while sleeping. Leisure bras are typically crossover or front closure styling and have wider straps for comfort.

Light Support
Light-support bras are perfect for smaller breast size woman. Softcup, wirefree, or sleep/leisure bras all provide light support.

Lined Cup
A lined cup is a bra with lining added on the inner side of the bra cup. This lining is typically added to offer nipple coverage as well as a soft fabric against sensitive skin.

Long Line
Long-line styling is a midriff slimming design with to-the-waist panels for an extra-smooth profile.

M

Mastectomy Bra
A mastectomy bra, also known as a post-mastectomy bra, features an inner cup pocket that opens easily to accommodate and hold a breast prosthesis in place.

Maternity Bra
A maternity bra is designed specifically for pregnant woman and is typically more adjustable than fashion bras and offer more comfortable support.

Mesh
Mesh is a term used to describe any fabric, knitted or woven, with an open texture.

Mesh Lace
A mesh lace is one with an open texture.

Molded
Molded bras have cups that are machine-molded from a single piece of fabric. They do not have seams that give a smooth silhouette. The cups are shaped to give the breast a natural look.

N

Nightgown
A gown or nightgown is a loose dress worn in bed by women.

No Slip
No slip is a term used to describe the design of the bra strap. A no-slip bra strap is designed not to slip off shoulders. Racerback bras are a good example of bras with no-slip straps.

Nylon
Nylon is a manufactured fiber in which the fiber is a synthetic.

O

Organic
Organic products are produced in an environmental process that restores, maintains and enhances ecological harmony.

P

Padded Bra/Cups
A padded bra or padded cups have extra padding in the bra cup to add size and definition to the breast, as well as eliminate nipple show-through.

Padded Straps
Unlike a traditional bra strap, padded straps are typically wider and have additional padding in the area that rests on the top of the shoulder for maximum comfort. Padded straps are, for the most part, found on sport and full-figure bras.

Polyester
Polyester is a manufactured fiber in which the fiber is a synthetic.

Post-Mastectomy Bra
A post-mastectomy bra features an inner cup pocket that opens easily to accommodate and hold breast prosthesis in place.

Plunge
A plunge bra has a deep-plunge front and smaller gore that enhance and accentuate a woman’s cleavage. Plunge bras differ from push-up bras in that they are typically not as heavily padded.

Push-Up Bra
A push-up bra is one that has additional padding in the bra cup to push the breast up at the bottom and/or sides intended to lift the breast in order to give the appearance of a larger breast size.

Racerback
A racerback bra has bra straps that are anchored in a “V” shape on the back between the shoulder blades. The racerback bra design allows a wider range of arm movement by not restricting the shoulder blades and prevents straps from slipping off the shoulders. A racerback bra is perfect for sleeveless tops, tank tops or athletic wear.

Rigid Straps
Unlike typical bra straps, rigid bra straps are not made with elastic. The use of rigid straps provides maximum support and eliminates bounce in the breast. Often you will find a rigid strap on the front of a bra and a smaller adjustable elastic strap piece on the back. Rigid straps are found in full-figure, maternity and nursing bras.

S

Scallop Lace
A scallop lace is one that features a continuous series of circle segments or angular projections forming a border on the garment.

Seamed
A seamed bra is one that has a seam running through the cup. A bra seam can add additional support and give a more exact shape to the cup.

Seamless
A seamless bra is one that has been molded into a permanent shape and fit without seamed cups. A seamless bra gives a smooth, virtually transparent look under clothing. Seamless bras are a great choice to wear under t-shirts and clingy, tight fitting clothing.

Shelf Bra
A shelf bra is used to describe a bra with little or no cups. A shelf bra supports the breast by an elastic band only. Shelf bras are found in sport bras, tanks, camisoles and chemise.

Sleep Bra
A sleep bra, also known as a leisure bra, is an unstructured bra that provides minimal support. A sleep bra can be worn day or night. Sleep bras are typically crossover or front closure styling and have wider straps for comfort.

Softcup
A softcup bra does not contain an underwire to support the breast. A softcup bra is also called a wirefree bra. Softcup bras offer light support.

Sport Bra
A sport bra provides maximum support during moderate to intense physical activity.

Sport Tank
A sport tank is a tank top that is designed specifically to be worn during athletic activity. A sport tank can be worn by itself or layered under clothing. Sport tanks typically feature a shelf bra to support the breast during activity.

Stability
Stability describes the garments ability to prevent sagging, slipping or stretching.

Stretch
Stretch is the ability of the fabric to expand and return quickly to its original shape after being released from tension.

Stretch Lace
Stretch lace has the ability to expand and return quickly to its original shape after being released from tension.

T

T-Shirt Bra
A t-shirt bra is one that is seamless and has been molded into a permanent shape and fit. A t-shirt bra gives a smooth, transparent look under clothing and is a great choice to wear under tight-fitting clothing.

U

Underband
The underband is the band underneath the bra cups. The depth of the underband varies by style and is typically made with an elastic band. The underband provides breast support.

Underwire Bra
An underwire bra features a cup with a thin flexible wire sewn into the under part of the bra cup. An underwire helps to lift, shape and support the breast. The wire is often made of a flexible coated metal or molded plastic shape. Underwire bras offer greater support for larger breasted woman. The wire should rest underneath the breast on the rib cage and not on the breast tissue. It is not recommended to wear an underwire while sleeping.

W

Wing
The back wings are the fabric that extends from the outer base of the cups and extend around to the back closure of the bra.

Wirefree Bra
A wirefree bra does not contain an underwire to support the breast. A wirefree bra is also called a softcup bra. Wirefree bras offer light support.

Y

Y-Back
A Y-back is another name for a racerback bra. A racerback bra has bra straps that are anchored in a “V” shape on the back between the shoulder blades. The racerback bra design allows a wider range of arm movement by not restricting the shoulder blades and prevents straps from slipping off the shoulders. A racerback bra is perfect for sleeveless tops, tank tops or athletic wear.

Z

Zig-Zag Weave
A zig-zag weave is a fabric that is woven together in a zig-zag pattern.

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