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what are padded bras

In the world of bras, there are many different categories: molded versus non-molded, underwire versus wire-free, full-cup versus demi-cup, and of course — padded bras versus non-padded bras. Some women wear only padded bras, while others, particularly those with a larger bust, are concerned that it could add bulk and are unsure if it’s a good fit for them.

Ever found yourself wondering: what are padded bras? What function do they perform? What benefits do they boast? And are they right for me?

Well, don’t stress — in this guide, we delve into all the details you need to know about padded bras.

What are padded bras?

A padded bra refers to any bra that contains lined cups. Typically, this lining is a thin layer of foam. Some bras feature graduated padding, which is thicker at the bottom of the cups and gradually thins out toward the top, while others feature uniform padding throughout the cups.

Why wear a padded bra?

This style tends to offer supreme shaping, giving your bust a rounded shape (as opposed to the more natural shape offered by an unlined bra). It can also help to make disproportional breasts look more even in size.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about your nipples showing through a sheer top (or when you’re really cold), padded bras offer a thicker layer, preventing those embarrassing mishaps. To boot, this style is a stellar option for those who have sensitive breasts because the padding acts as an extra layer of protection.

Related: 4 Of The Best Bras For Lifting Sagging Breasts

What are the different kinds of padded bras?

With some padded bras, the padding is sewn into the cup — but others contain pockets with removable padding. These removable inserts can be ideal for women who want the capability of customizing the level of padding and prefer the look that push-up bras achieve.

Padded bras also come in a variety of different styles to accommodate different body types and preferences. Many underwire bras contain padding, offering a blend of support and shaping. Some padded bras are full-coverage, while others, like a demi-cup padded bra, only less coverage and work well until low-cut tops.

Whichever style of padded bra you choose, just remember that a padded bra should never squash down your breasts or create unsightly lumps and bumps, or gape under your clothes. For more on how a bra should fit, check this article.

Push-up bras vs. padded bras

Wondering what differentiates a push-up bra from a padded bra?

Essentially all push-up bras are padded bras and contain some kind of graduated padding, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same exact thing. Padded bras simply have lined cups, whereas push-up bras have some additional padding (typically at the bottom of the cups) to add extra oomph. The primary purpose of push-up bras is to boost the bustline (by a half cup size or more), whereas a padded bra in the correct size won’t add any bulk or make your breasts appear larger than they already are. That makes them an ideal option for a wide range of women’s body types, even those with a larger cup size (D-K).

Now you know: A padded bra isn’t the same thing as a push-up bra, but they are part of the same family. In fact, padded bras offer a slew of distinct perks including shaping, protection, and a proportionate look — so ultimately, it’s all about finding the right style for your specific needs.

Related: 8 Reasons To Try A Push-Up Bra

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!

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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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