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What difference do bralets, cupless and 1/4 cup bras make?

  • By Catherine Clavering
  • 1 comment
  • In Bra, Fit, Full bust

What difference do bralets, cupless and 1/4 cup bras make?

Recently we've featured quite a few softcup bras, 1/4 cup bras, cupless bras, and bralets on the site, all of which have led to "but what's the point?" queries from folk, especially those at the bustier end of the spectrum.

So, this weekend I grabbed a selection of bras and the nearest pair or bosoms I had to hand, so to speak. These notes apply:

34 inch underbust, 40 inch overbust, ish, depending on the time of the month, cake levels, and other such vagaries.
Affected by gravity (at 36, considerably longer than most professional models)
No photoshop
Bras chosen for diversity and amusement value, not perfection of fit!
Accessorised with Karolina Laskowksa kimono silk pasties, and the KMD disco party owl. Just because.

For Science, I bring you 14 pictures of what wildly different bras look like on the same person!

The photographer would like to note that the Karolina Laskowska cupless bra (left) made a visible difference in real life - she felt it doesn't show up so much in a 2 dimensional front on image (I thought about doing pictures from the sides as well, but this took a while and I really wanted my lunch).

The reason a cupless bra is worth bothering with is a) underwire and underbust bands actually form a considerable amount of the shape and support bras give (think about Greek breast bands or Roman Strophium)  and b) whilst technically you're pretty much as nekkid whether you're cupless or completely braless, the bands and/or frou-frou lacy bits do actually make an aesthetic statement which can be considered more interesting, alluring, or tantalising. It just depends on what you like.

 

The left hand bra is from Valisere, the more sophisticated brand from the company that makes Triumph. The sheer sections are deliberately asymmetric here to show that they are movable (in fact, they hook onto a fastening at the gore) and that all the shape and support is coming from a fairly skimpy cup. As a side note, what you can't see is the glittery peacock feather embroidery.

The right hand bra is from a newish indie brand, Loveday London, and they say it's a demi cup bra, but the cup part is quite small, with the rest being made of Guipere lace. Happily for them, as producing many sizes is harder for small brands, between the cut away cup and the adjustable straps, it comes in S,M and L.  The padded leather is impressively good for pushing up!

 

Left is the KMD Sirena. We do try and tell people that quite often your nipples will fall out of it, but we can't show that or our pictures get banned everywhere, so hopefully the clashing kimono pasties illustrate the design. Personally, I think nipples are much sexier than boosted cleavage, but it's horses for courses.

On the right is a full cup bra that has no padding; it's by Rosy (a long standing French brand) and it's mostly lace over none stretch mesh. I included it because many people assume that full cups equal more uplift or shaping. This isn't always true; a relatively unstructured full cup like this gives softer shaping (this can make it much more comfortable for all day wear).

The KMD Jacquotte bra (left) is based on the KMD Alouette and is a classic push up padded plunge, though apparently by US standards the padding is quite minimal. It's the most contemporary rounded cleavage shape we do.

Our Blue Tempest (right) is based on 50's shell bras and is an interesting fit, as although the centre gore is pushed out here (in theory for a good fit it should fit flat against your chest), there's very little room for falling out or jiggling about in this style.

Onto bralets! On the left is La Lilouche, which is a stretchy band with none stretch tulle cups, of a sort. The band itself makes a difference; the cups, not so much, though if they could be shortened or made into a halter neck then they might offer some shape or uplift.

On the right is the KMD Fifi, which we recommend for A-C and we say will have side-boob; here you can see why.

 

These are more structured bralets; on the left, the Playful Promises Opulence, which has no padding, and is satin over none stretch lining. It has more shape than the previous two bralets, and feels more secure. Meanwhile, we have at least one customer who goes jogging, rather unexpectedly, in the KMD bralet on the right. The Van Doren Bralet has a thick underbust band of elastic, and has dance/swimwear fabric over a foam lining, with deep powernet wings and wide straps.  You can see that on bigger busts you do tend to lose the retro cut-out detail at the base though.

What if you really love the look of a bralet but you really want more support? Give layering a whirl. We put the KMD Fifi and the KMD Peach Ida over the Van Doren, but if you want it to be less obvious, a plunge bra in your skin colour or in a shade that works with the bralet (this is one of many reasons we trim everything in black) will give support without interfering with the  aesthetics usually.

Which bra shape do you prefer? Which do you most often wear? Let us know in the comments :)

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