The A to Z of lingerie shapes Part 2 - Bras

Illustration by Caitlin Shearer

Illustration by Caitlin Shearer

Continuing from our article on The A to Z of lingerie shapes Part 1 - Briefs we wanted to shine the spotlight on the various bra types that are currently available on the market. In our article How to measure your bra size, we provided you with simple tips on how to determine your breast size. We pointed out that once you have successfully identified your size, you can then go on to decide which lingerie brand produces the bras to suit your breast shape, because bras differ from brand to brand, and then you can finally experiment with styles.

So, to help you along, we have listed some bra styles below, but please note ladies, as we have pointed out in our previous articles, don't be disheartened by the process. Once you have worked out your size, your brand preference and your bra style, buying your bras moving forward will be more relaxed and a lot more enjoyable. 

1. The non-wire soft bra is wire free and made to feel comfortable and lightweight. These bras can be worn at night or during the day when you need light support. 

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2. The balconette bra is a low cup bra designed to support and lift your breast fully. This bra gives the same support as a fully rounded bra but it’s a little sexier and is one of the most popular bras types on the market. Balconette bras works well with outfits with low or scooped necklines to show off your décolletage. 

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3 T-shirt bras are seamless, smooth cups designed to look invisible under clothing, there is a saying If you don’t notice a T-shirt bra, then you know it is doing its job. Designed to wear under clothes which are generally clingy to give you a seamless look.

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4. The push-up bra is designed to push your breasts up to create an enhanced cleavage, a fuller and uplifted shape which is stylish and comfortable. These bras are designed to wear with low cut tops and dresses

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5. The Minimizer bra isdesigned to reduce the appearance of your breasts by lifting and redistributing your breast tissue, making them flattering and not compromising the natural shape of your bust and body. This bra work well under both tight and loose clothing pieces and make your form look natural and shapely under tighter tops and dresses.

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6. Padded bras are designed to add fullness to the bust line and enhance the appearance of your bust. Women use padded bras to compensate for uneven or disproportional breasts, they come with removable inserts or are padded to give your breasts a more natural, rounded look.  These bras are designed to wear under tight, form-fitted clothing, t-shirts, when you want great cleavage under low-cut tops and when you want to prevent nipple show-through.

7. The Strapless bras tend to include a silicone or rubber lining to provide support and designed for garments with no shoulder straps. You can find different types such as in longline styles, plunge styles, push up styles, full figure styles, low cuts and bridal styles and best worn with off the shoulder tops and dresses

8. Maternity Bras. Expectant mothers will notice their breasts will become fuller, more tender and will start to change around 12 weeks into the pregnancy. It is within this period, it is advised to get fitted for a maternity bra. The average mum will go up two underbands and four cup sizes so its important that your bra is adjustable – with at least four hook positions so you can adjust your underband throughout the day. Maternity bras have a fuller cup shape, deeper center front, and wider straps and made from fabrics which are breathable such as cotton, which allows your skin to breathe easier. They also have brushed back elastics which feel soft against your skin.

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And there are more...

7 Convertible bras are unique as they are designed to be several bras in one. Convertible bras come with detachable straps that can be arranged in multiple ways by hooking them onto different slots at the front or the back. Some convert to halter bras. Strapless... the list goes on and can be worn according to your dress style

Adhesive backless bras - this bra has no back and is held in place by adhesive cups ideal for backless dresses 

Plunge bras - are designed with a cut low at the centre and work really well with clothes that have plunging and deep v necklines. 

Mastectomy Bras are for women who have had a full, partial mastectomy or reconstructive surgery, or no surgery at all. Most mastectomy bras contain cup linings or pockets to contain a breast prosthesis and have been selected primarily for their excellent fit, comfort, and support. To make women who have been through surgery feel like themselves.

SSo, ladies, there are a lot of bras out there, We hope our articles help you find the best fitting bra and if there are any other questions you have that you would like us to write about please feel free to comment below. In the meantime happy bra shopping! xx

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The Best of 1920's Lingerie

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   1920's Lingerie


The 1920's was an exciting time - the first world war had finished, people were exuberant and there was reason to celebrate. it was called the roaring twenties for good reason, the Great Gatsby, flapper dancers, prohibition, free expression, new dancing styles, the jazz era and radical new ways of dress styles - the 1920's ushered in a era of modernism, glamour and liberation like never before. 

This freedom  was expressed in the way women dressed, a revolution had started, women were allowed to vote and dressed how they wanted, dresses were a little shorter so legs were shown and they dared to dress in suits which was unheard of. gone were the days of tight corsets and constricted dresses and in came slimline silhouette slip dresses adorned in sequins and beads and made for flexibility. Hair was shorter - the pixie cut or short bob was the style of choice and makeup was bolder.

Lingerie was lighter - women transitioned from the layers upon layers of petticoats, corsets and very constrictive underwear of the early 1900's to light single slips and bras and women were liberated. The types of fabrics used for lingerie were delicate and flowy - silk,  satin, shantung, crepe de chine, cottons and rayon and at times highly embellished with lace, beading and appliques. It was a time of self expression and  glamour. 

Olyinka gains a lot of its inspiration from this era and to celebrate we wanted to give you the 101 on 1920's lingerie which styles which we love and are still available to buy today. (3).gif


Stockings in the 1920's were a staple accessory. Gone were the days when stockings were used for the purposes of warming your legs, or hidden under petticoats - stockings were in part there to be noticed. This was the jazz era and with all the various dance crazes emerging, dresses were lifted and legs shown so they had to look good and held in securely place by suspenders. Stockings or hosiery were made in silk, wool, cotton or synthetic rayon. 

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These lightweight chemise garments were made for comfort and glamour. The desired look for women at the time was boyish and flat chested, so these slips designed with a low, straight neckline, held together by thin straps or ribbon, embellished with lace, ribbon and buttons, which was so far removed to the "push up and out" lingerie of the early 1900's. These slips were made to look delicate and combined with stockings provided the complete look. The step in chemise was a variation on the slips  but with wide leg openings. 

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The boyish silhouette was the trend and bras in the early 1920's were made to give the illusion of the flattened breast to give women a more androgynous look. Bras were designed like a bandeau with light support, made in silk, with thin straps and embellished with lace., however this was not flattering or supportive of all breast types therefore Maidenform a bra company founded in 1922 was formed to provide bras that provided uplift for all bra types. Knickers or french kickers or cami knickers were also very popular - designed like shorts and embellished with buttons, lace or ribbon made the perfect accompliment to the bra. 

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In an era of where people were carefree and very chilled darling, it was not uncommon to finding women hanging out in their boudoirs and doing so in style. Pyjamas and robes were the order of the day and the more luscious and extravagant the better.

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Corsets or corselettes were made unboned, or very lightly boned, flexible and were less rigid than the Victorian style corsets of the early 1900's. These corsets were designed to accommodate the new loose flowing flapper style dresses and were worn beneath the bust down to the mid-thigh and had garters to connect to the stockings if required. These corsets reflected the age and the time of freedom of expression so unlike the corsets of the past and women were able to bend and move around and not feel constricted in any way. Corsets were made for women with slight, boyish type figures, flat chest but this style of corset eventually faded out to make way for corsets that were more accommodating for all figures

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These are our favs - What are your favourite lingerie pieces from this era?  Please Comment below. x