We have put together a glossary of bra, briefs, lingerie, swimwear and clothing terminology and meanings.
Balcony / half cup bra
this has a square neckline and seamed cups which push the bust upwards to give an appearance similar to a corset.
Basque / bustier
a top which offers bra support and full torso shaping underneath clothing. Designed to slim, shape and smooth your figure.
Body / corselette
combines a girdle with a bra. Designed to improve your outline and make you look slimmer.
Bra band size
a bra band size is the underbust measurement around the body in inches. To determine the band size add 4ins. if the measurement obtained is an even number of inches. or add 5ins. if the measurement obtained is an odd number of inches. For example, if your underbust measurement is 31ins. add 5ins. to obtain bra size 36, or, if your underbust measurement is 30ins. add 4ins. to obtain bra size 34.
Bra cup size
a bra cups size is calculated by finding the difference between the overbust measurement and the bra band size. Cup sizes are identified by letters of the alphabet ranging from AA, A , B, C, D, DD and upwards.
these bras have a hook between the cups for ease of fastening.
the cups cover the whole breast.
the cups stop just above the nipple.
a midriff slimming bra with panels to the waist for extra smoothing.
stops the breasts protruding so much and therefore prevents shirts from gaping.
seamless cups moulded from a single piece of fabric.
the straps can be detached for a strapless look, worn as a halterneck or crossed over at the back.
the cups can be opened to facilitate breast feeding.
padding adds size and definition to the cleavage.
garments for people who have had breast surgery. Pockets can be added as necessary.
designed to push the breasts inwards and upwards, creating a better shaped cleavage for the more daring!
Racer back bra
a racerback bra has a y-shaped back that curves in between the shoulder blades.
Soft cup bra
a soft cup bra does not have any wires under the cups.
designed to provide comfort and support during exercise. Most have a support level rating and are recommended for different sporting activities. Sports bras are also suitable for people who have had heart or breast surgery. Most provide motion control as well as the ability to wick away moisture to keep you cool and dry.
can be worn under strapless tops.
seamless or flat seamed, slightly padded cups ensure the nipples don't show through when a tight top is worn.
an underwire bra is a bra that has covered wire under the cups.
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these go to the waist and are full at the back. The hip height of these briefs may vary.
leaves the bottom bare like a thong but only has a string at the back.
Long leg briefs
these briefs have long legs which come above the knee.
full briefs with legs, deep coverage of the hips.
these have a medium waist.
these have a low waist and minimum coverage of the hips.
these have a lower cut leg than traditional briefs.
these have a high waist and high legs.
this has a small triangle at the back which tapers into a string, banishing the visible panty line.
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Lingerie, Shapewear, Swimwear & Clothing Glossary
a rectangular shaped back.
a lower style back.
fully covers the back.
a rounded back which tapers in lower down the back.
the straps of the bra join at the centre of the back.
a deep, rounded back.
allows freedom of movement and gives a comfortable fit.
straps meet in a v shape at the back.
This is usually incorporated into the vertical seam line of a bra in order to give support and structure. The bones are made of steel or plastic.
a section of fabric that enhances the fit over the shoulders.
a piece of cotton material used to strengthen or enlarge a garment.
Double-ply cotton undercups
the bottom section of the cup is double thickness to improve comfort and support.
the cup unclasps, also known as a nursing cup.
a foam side piece which gives better shape.
made from one piece of fabric.
provides firmer control.
cups can be divided into two, three or four sections or may be non-sectioned with a dart. The more sections there are, the better the shape of the bust and the greater the support.
contains silver fibres which enhance the fabric with anti-odour and anti-bacterial properties.
fabric is more likely to retain its colour when exposed to chlorine.
transports sweat away from the body, dries fast and allows the skin to breathe.
a unit of weight used to measure how fine the yarn is that is used to make hosiery items. The lower the number, the finer the material.
provides firmer control.
fabric is gathered in.
cotton fabric that contains lycra, offers support.
lace fabric that contains lycra, offers support.
a light soft fabric with a crinkled surface.
holds the bra securely to the chest.
the neckline is cut into two semi-circular curves and so resembles a heart.
semi-circular in shape.
neckline forms a v shape.
Other bra elements
connects the cups of a bra at the centre front.
a wider band under the cups which ensures good support, prevents the bra riding up.
deeper side panels that help with comfort and provide a smooth outline.
Plush wire casing
gives support and improved comfort.
provide firmer control.
the side section of a bra in front of the arm. Gives improved shape.
lends support and shape to the bra. Located inside the bra, in front of the arms.
ensures optimum fit and comfort.
the band that runs horizontally around the bottom of a bra.
can be tightened or loosened as necessary.
the straps are an extension of the cup which gives a smooth shoulder line.
made of thermo-plastic polyutherane.
these straps are usually wider than normal, in order to more evenly distribute the weight of the breasts and therefore prevent shoulder pain.
give extra comfort on the shoulders.
straps which adjust from the front, difficult to find but we do have some bra styles with this type of adjuster.
Nickel free adjusters
for women with nickel allergies.
prevent the shoulders becoming sore.
offer more support.
ease strain on the shoulders.
very thin straps.
Stay in place straps
straps are close to the neck to prevent them slipping, good for women with narrow shoulders.
wider straps that give better comfort around the shoulders as the weight of the breasts is more evenly distributed.
these straps will not stretch, however, some woven straps do contain a small amount of elastic for ease of wearing.
Support / control
control garments create a slimmer look.
provides support in a certain area, to flatten the tummy for example.
light, concealed bust support in a swimsuit.
can be light, medium or firm.
a diagonal band of material down the front of the swimsuit.
a diagonal band of material just across the lower half of the swimsuit.