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different types of bra

Do you know the difference between banded bras and bandless bras? While these styles seem similar, they have one distinct difference. When we’re talking about a banded or bandless style, we’re referring to the fabric (or lack thereof) beneath the cups of the bra. Banded bras have a bra band that runs under the center gore and cups, includes the wings, and continues to the hook and eye closure. Bandless bras do not have any additional fabric under the cups or center front (the band includes the wings only) – and this is why they’re sometimes called ‘partial band bras.’

Looking at the bras that you wear every day, your racerback bras are a classic example of a bandless bra. Strapless bras are typically banded because they need the extra stability in their construction. You can find t-shirt bras in both banded and bandless styles.

So which style should you choose? Read on for everything you need to know about banded and bandless bras.

Factor in your breast shape and body type

The choice to wear a banded bra or bandless bra truly comes down to your breast shape, body type, and personal comfort preferences. Banded bras offer stability and support for all cup sizes. If you’re full-busted, you might prefer the extra support that a banded style provides. The full band serves as anchor for the bra and helps to keep your bust lifted and in place. In terms of body types, if your body is apple-shaped (meaning you carry most of your weight in your abdominal area), you’ll probably prefer a bandless style because it won’t squish your ribs when you sit down.

Consider the occasion

Looking for a comfortable bra to wear to work? Try a bandless bra. Bandless bras are often seen as more comfortable because they don’t have any additional fabric under the cups that could dig into the waist or stomach. Most bandless bras can be worn comfortably for hours at a time.

Tired of your straps falling off your shoulders or your bra band riding up your back. A racerback might just be the solution to your bra fitting problems. The front closure of a racerback bra makes it a bandless style.

Related: Bra Shopping Guide: Tips For Buying New Bras

what is a bandless bra

The Tess T-Shirt Bra is a bandless style.
Shown with the matching Tess Hipster in Bare.

Weigh the pros and cons

For banded styles, think support and stability. Banded styles have the added benefit of a full band. The full band adds extra support. When you’re wearing the right band size, a full band helps to keep the bra from moving throughout the day. The Charlotte Padded Bra, an example of a banded style, uses a power-mesh lined band and side boning to prevent the bra from rolling up. The minimal stretch power mesh further stabilizes the band.

If you’re shopping for a strapless bra, the majority of your options will be banded styles. Strapless bras need all of the extra boning and support they can get. A strapless bra with a thick, full band is much more likely to stay in place than a strapless style with a partial band.

Try both styles on

Banded and bandless styles have their own unique pros and cons. No matter which style you choose, you’re sure to find your perfect fit. We recommend trying on both styles at your local lingerie boutique and noting which ones work best for you. While you’re there a bra fitter can help determine your bra size and hand pick bras for you to try. Perfect!

Related: What To Do If Your Bra Band Rolls Up

different bra styles

The Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra is a banded style.
Shown with the matching Sandrine Hipster in Wild Pink.

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

Featured image lingerie:
Tess Unlined Wire Bra in Charcoal
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Published by

Katie Donnelly

Katie Donnelly is a full-time freelance writer, content manager, and founder of Katie Rose Creative. An experienced bra fitter, Katie has helped hundreds of people shop for lingerie. Her favorite bra is the Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra.

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