seamless bra

Photo: Courtesy of Curvy Couture

The Seamless Bra
The seamless bra is the most essential one in any collection. It’s simple and versatile— and it is the one you will wear most.

Structure and Style: The seamless bra has smooth, preformed round cups and is sold only with an underwire. These bras are available with a contoured style, which offers a bit more coverage, or with a plunging décolletage. A good option for women with a fuller bust is the seamless bra designed with elastane fabric on both sides of the cup. The fabric covering the inside of the cup is the same as that on the outside of the bra. The second lining will provide additional support, and together the lining and the cup ensure your nipples will never show through.

Benefits and Beauty: This bra does its job without adding any fullness to the breasts, thereby creating a more natural appearance. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, seamless bras with great fit are available up to a size H cup.

Buying It: This bra is the workhorse of every intimates collection, and you will rely on it for its versatility. When shopping for it, bring along a favorite T-shirt and blouse to make sure it fits just right.

Wearing It: Seamless bras look great where you want a very smooth look, such as under T-shirts, thinner and fitted tops and blouses, and lightly woven knits.
strapless bra

Photo: Courtesy of Curvy Couture

The Strapless Bra
Finding a strapless bra with perfect fit cannot be a hurried purchase, and in this case it pays to think ahead. Even if you don’t think you need one, you should have one. Trust me, there will come that day when you will find you need it!

Structure and Style: A strapless bra is exactly that—a bra without straps. However, clear convertible straps may be attached for wear with intricate necklines and design details. Although bra technology has come a long way, this bra can still pose a fit challenge for women with a fuller bust. If finding the right strapless bra seems elusive, a strapless corset is a great alternative.

Benefits and Beauty: The support of a strapless bra comes from its wide bandeau, boning, strategic seaming, and underwire. Additionally, the boning in the cup shapes the breasts, while silicone strips reduce slippage.

Buying It: Look for a wide bandeau, underwire under the arms and in the center front, silicone strips along the inside, strategic seaming in the cups, and the ultimate support detail, boning in the cups. If the fit is good, but support is still a concern, purchase invisible convertible straps. In addition to the reinforcement, the straps also offer the option of wearing a variety of necklines and design details—cold shoulder, racer back, halter—while maintaining a refined look.

Wearing It: Years ago the strapless bra lived solely in the domain of after-five cocktail dresses and evening gowns. Today, plus size clothing is sexier, and much more cutting-edge, and may require a strapless bra for daytime attire as well.
seamed bra

Photo: Courtesy of Curvy Couture

The Seamed Bra
Every woman should own a seamed bra for the lift and structure it adds to the bust line. It is a must if you wear a D cup or larger.

Structure and Style: What makes a seamed bra different from a seamless bra is the strategic cup seaming, which adds more structure to the bust line. There is no preformed cup in a seamed bra. All the work of maximizing the lift and the shape of the breasts is steered by the seams at the side, center, and across the cups. Seamed bras are available with or without an underwire.

Benefits and Beauty: The seaming is what makes this bra so useful, and designers have also made this detail a part of its beauty. Seamed bras do more than enhance the lift of the breasts; they also provide great support. For women with a full bust, an underwire style takes support a step further.

Buying It: Seamed bras are offered in a mix of mesh, lace, and stretch nylon. This blending of fabrics is lovely, but the first choice, especially when you’re just beginning to build a collection or are buying a large quantity of bras at one time, is an unembellished fabric in a neutral hue.

Wearing It: Seamed bras look terrific under a suit, and they perform beautifully under heavier garments and layers.
convertible bra

Photo: Courtesy of Curvy Couture

The Convertible Bra
The convertible bra makes designs with various shoulder cuts available to all women.

Structure and Style: A convertible bra has detachable straps that may be configured to accommodate the design details of outer garments.

Benefits and Beauty: An exposed bra strap is a distraction and can ruin the look of any outfit. A convertible bra solves that problem. Convertible bras with an underwire are perfect for women with a cup size of D or larger, because it provides additional support.

Buying It: When purchasing this bra style look for the same design qualities as a strapless bra.

Wearing It: This is an option for strapless dresses, gowns, and tops for women with smaller breasts. If you frequently wear tops or dresses with revealing shoulder, back, and neckline details, such as halter, racer back, crisscross, and one-shoulder silhouettes, look for a bra with modifiable clear straps that can be either removed or adjusted.
sports bra

Photo: Courtesy of Lane Bryant

The Sports Bra
Every woman who works out needs a sports bra for support and protection.

Structure and Style: Sports bras are designed to minimize breast movement during exercise. This item is essential for all women, particularly for those who wear a D cup or larger. Designs that have compression and encapsulation—two distinct cups—are also very important for women with a fuller bust because they lessen the bounce during exercise. Encapsulation also prevents the tearing of healthy breast tissue, which is especially important if you participate in high-impact workouts.

Benefits and Beauty: As with other bra styles, the technology behind sports bras has evolved. Some designs look like a regular bra with seaming, while others have underwire. There are styles that provide back smoothing, and those with substantial adjustable straps.

Buying It: When purchasing a sports bra, consider the vigor of the sports activity for which it will be used. When trying one on, make sure it provides maximum coverage. Your breasts should feel secure, but the straps should not dig into your shoulders. In fact, it’s a good idea to purchase styles with wide straps for extra comfort and control. Look for the latest high-tech fabrics, such as Coolmax and Supplex, as they have moisture-wicking properties that dry five times faster than sports bras made of cotton. Quick-drying fabrics eliminate under-bust chafing.

Wearing It: A sports bra looks well under the latest, high-tech workout tank tops, T-shirts, and jackets. It is not designed for daily wear.
minimizer bra

Photo: Courtesy of Curvy Couture

The Minimizer Bra
Buttons make a comeback when you add the minimizer bra to your arsenal. With this item, you can say good-bye to bust line gap! Because women who are inverted triangles or ovals are smaller in the lower part of their bodies, they benefit from wearing this bra as it helps to visually balance their proportions.

Structure and Style: This strategically seamed bra is available in long-line and strapless styles, and in a variety of fabrics.

Benefits and Beauty: The minimizer is the bonus bra among the essentials and designed to give the appearance of a smaller bust. It does so by reducing your breasts’ projection, that is, the forward distance of your breasts from your chest wall. By shifting the breast mass toward the underarm it also changes the shape of your breasts. This is a great bra for a little reduction for those who wear a DD cup or larger. Wearing a minimizer will reduce the bust by one and a quarter inches or even more.

Buying It: Purchase a minimizer in the same size as other bras. Beware: a smaller size will not provide greater results, only a horrible fit. When shopping, bring a shirt or blouse that always gaps across the bust to try on with the bra. The difference will be apparent immediately.

Wearing It: Minimizers work especially well under button-down shirts, fitted blouses, dresses, and jackets.

Love Warrior

From the book The Art of Dressing Curves: The Best-Kept Secrets of a Fashion Stylist by Susan Moses. Copyright © 2016 by Susan Moses. Published on April 19, 2016 by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.