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what are longline bras

When it comes to lingerie, there is a slew of styles to choose from, depending on your personal style, figure and fashion needs. One that’s been pretty impossible to avoid in recent years is the longline bra. Maybe you’ve seen the name in a fashion magazine, heard your best friend gushing about the one she’s been sporting, or seen one in a store window. Either way, one thing’s for sure — your curiosity has been piqued, and you’re dying to know: what are longline bras? Are they for everyone? And what advantages do they offer over other bras?

For the full lowdown on this sought-after style, read on.

The basics

What differentiates a longline bra from your standard bra is that there’s extra fabric under the cups/wire that extends farther down the torso, lending a retro look. Some longline bras contain underwire and/or lined cups, while others are free of these features, mimicking a bralette style. They may be designed with romantic accents or luxe fabrics for special occasions, such as bridal lingerie, or constructed with less elaborate detailing and meant for everyday wear. They also may have straps or be strapless. And the extent to which they fall on your torso can range from your upper waist to your hips.

In other words, longline bras come in a wide range of options. Regardless, it’s safe to say that longline bras make a bit more of a fashion statement, whether worn in the bedroom to impress or outside it under a sheer blouse with a blazer.

The history

Back in the mid-century, when dresses were super form-fitting around the rib cage, longline bras were all the rage for obvious practical reasons — they smooth out and shape the waist while also simultaneously offering breast support. Longline bras were also popular during the 1950s, as they stayed in place even under the strapless dresses of that decade.

While the longline bra may have waned in popularity during the ‘60s and ‘70s in favor of soft-cup triangle bras, they have reemerged with a vengeance in the past decade. What’s more, the longline bras of today boast far more variety in terms of material, length, function and detail.

Longline bras vs bustiers

Many confuse the longline bra with a bustier, and with good reason. Both feature that additional fabric that covers some portion of the torso, and thus both are known to provide some waist-shaping and smoothing perks. However, bustiers tend to include far more structure than longline bras due to heavier use of boning and wiring in the cups and waist. They also may be more heavily embellished, and thus meant to double as a ready-to-wear top (as opposed to longline bras, which typically are designed to solely be undergarments).

The benefits

There are many advantages that come with a longline bra. One of the most common reasons for choosing this style is that it can smooth out your torso, which is helpful under skin-tight dresses and tops.

Additionally, longline bras offer a little extra support, which women with larger busts are bound to appreciate. If you’ve ever felt any discomfort around your shoulders or back, rest assured that a longline bra you can help to distribute the weight of your breasts more evenly, thereby eliminating some of that strain and also enhancing your posture.

Ever felt your strapless bra sliding down your body? You’re less likely to have to keep pulling up a longline bra due to the extended structure, which lends additional support.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits to a longline bra is that it strikes a compromise between function and fashion. For example, the Mod by Parfait Tattoo Longline Bra lends ample support via a wide band, adjustable/convertible straps and boning under the cups and at the sides to ensure it stays in place, making it a practical choice. Meanwhile, it also features padded balconette cups, eye-catching floral embroidery, and contrasting color satin accents, which combined, provides an undeniably glamorous appeal.

Pro tips

Reach for a longline bra when you’re wearing a formal dress and are seeking a super smooth silhouette, when you desire a strapless bra with some added support, or when you want to reduce shoulder/back strain during long periods of either standing or sitting.

If shaping is your main concern, opt for a longline bra that extends farther down your waist.

Keep in mind that sizing for a longline bra comes with unique considerations because it not only has to fit your bust but also your waist. That’s why it’s crucial to get professionally fitted and ensure you have the correct band size — you may be surprised to find you wear a slightly different size in a longline bra than a regular bra.

Ready to embrace the longline bra? We don’t blame you. It’s a surprisingly versatile style that works for women of all bust sizes. Not to mention, it’s having a major fashion moment, meaning you’re sure to find one that matches your individual tastes and needs.

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:
Mod By Parfait Tattoo Padded Balconet Longline Bra A14315 | Mod By Parfait Tattoo Hipster A1435 in Clematis Blue/Champagne


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Published by

Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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