The Category Is: Bra Types

11 Feb

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By MaryJo Kosisher-Demski
Cupid Intimates

My mom’s always been a certified game show junkie (and a Bingo junkie as well, but that’s a whole separate posting).  Thanks to this addiction, as well as the fact that we only had one TV, I spent an inordinate amount of time watching quiz shows during my formative years.  “Family Feud;” “Card Sharks;” “Treasure Hunt;” “Concentration” – you name it and I’ll know it.  Why the game-show reference in an intimate apparel blog?  Just utter the word “bra” to fifty randomly-selected people and almost as many different mental images will spring into their minds, depending on their age, cultural exposure, reproductive state, gender, etc.  It’s almost like “The $25,000 Pyramid” where players attempted to guess a series of words based on descriptions given to them by their teammates.  Since there are many different types of bras, let’s decipher some of the most common:

  • Say “bra” to a spunky eleven-year-old girl and her first thought might be one of a training bra, a garment made to be smaller than standard-sized bras, and worn by preteens and young adolescent girls in the early stages of breast development.  Youngsters often can’t wait to wear training bras since they signal entry into puberty.
  • What thought would the word “bra” evoke from the average adult woman?  Probably the image of a full cup bra – one that covers the entire breast and provides much needed support, especially to those ladies blessed with a larger, heavier chest.
  • For the brave lady wearing a plunging neckline, “bra” would likely mean a demi-cup (or balconette) bra.  This particular garment is a godsend.  It covers half the breast, yet provides support for daring tops, special evening attire, etc.
  • To a woman who’s not as physically endowed (naturally or not) as Pamela Anderson, “bra” may mean a padded bra, one that adds where Mother Nature did not, or a maximizer, a bra designed to lift and emphasize cleavage.
  • Move to the opposite end of the spectrum and ask a voluptuous woman what “bra” means to her, and the reply might be “an underwire bra” or “a minimizer.”  Underwire bras have – you guessed it, Sherlock – wires sewn into their fabric beneath their cups that provide support for larger breasts.  Minimizers do exactly what their name suggests – visually subtract a size or two from their wearers’ appearance.
  • What about the sporty chick?  She might immediately think sports bra or T-shirt bra.  The former is made for the active woman who engages in regular, rigorous physical exercise and is designed to support the breasts and minimize movement during an activity.  The latter is made without raised seams in order to achieve a look of invisibility beneath a body-fitting T-shirt or turtleneck.
  • For a mom-to-be, a maternity bra may be the first thing that comes to mind as her body enters uncharted territory and her breasts become more sensitive, heavier, and larger over the course of nine months; for a full-fledged mom, a nursing bra could be the next best thing to a full night’s sleep.  This garment is made with flaps that can be moved aside while a mom is engaged in breastfeeding.
  • What about the practical girl who wants to dress with ease and functionality?  She might realize that a few options exist: the strapless bra which is very useful for clothes that will bare shoulders; the convertible bra – a garment with the potential to confound MacGyver himself – with its detachable straps that can be rearranged according to the demands of the wearer’s top or dress; and the built-in bra, found in specialty items such as swimsuits and tube tops, that totally eliminates the need for a separate bra to be worn.
  • What about a breast cancer survivor?  Her first thought – if she hasn’t had reconstructive surgery – might be one of a mastectomy bra, a garment intended for those ladies who have undergone the surgical removal of one or both breasts.  The cups are made with pockets to keep breast prostheses firmly in place and provide a natural-looking appearance.

So, unlike a “Password,” one “bra” is not the answer for all.  Exactly “what does the survey say?”  Don’t “Press Your Luck.”  Invest in a multitude of different bras.  That way, no matter what you may need, at any time, for any occasion or type of fashion, your look will be sure to hit the “Bull’s-eye.”

Which of the following, that you don’t currently own, would you most like to add to your wardrobe?

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CC Image courtesy of jenny downing on Flickr / CC BY 2.0
CC Image courtesy of Mark Barry on Flickr / CC BY 2.0
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