Friday, December 5, 2014

Lingerie Terminology

Intimate apparel...we all wear it, but do we always know the proper terminology for the vast array of items that this category covers?  Unless you work within in the lingerie industry, chances are you probably didn't know there were so many distinguishable differences among types of bras, panties, sleepwear, and hosiery.  Ladies, once you've read this wealth of information you'll be an expert and it will be easier for you to find exactly what you are looking for!

DIFFERENT AMOUNTS OF COVERAGE FOR DIFFERENT BREAST SIZES & SHAPES


Demi Cup: Translated as "half cup" from French, this cup style doesn't cover all of your breast tissue.  Great for low cut dresses and tops. 
Full Cup: This cup style covers almost the whole breast, which in turn provides excellent support and may make the wearer feel as if "everyone is in" with little or no jiggle. Contrary to popular belief, full cup styles are not only for large busted women, there are full cup options in almost every size.
Balconette or Balcony: This cup style typically covers 2/3 or 3/4 of the whole breast, leaving the top portion of the breast exposed.  This is a great style for those of us who are full busted, this is a great alternative to the demi style.
Plunge: the cups of a plunge bra are angled higher where the cup meets the strap and lower in the center where the two cups meet (the gore).  This is perfect for women who's breasts sit far apart.  
Petite: typically referring to C cup or smaller, petite bras can be available in the smallest cup size, AA.  In the bra world, petite does not refer to height, only cup volume.
Minimizer: bras that fall into this category are typically full coverage and are designed to flatten the protrusion of breast tissue so that from the side, you appear to have a bit less in the chest department.
Soft Cup: this style refers to the absence of underwire. 
Underwire: a bra that utilizes one "U" shaped wire in each cup to provide lift, shaping, and support of breast tissue. 

ALL KINDS OF CUPS

Contour: This type of cup will hold its shape even if you aren't in it!  They help to provide shape, support, and "headlight" coverage. Can come with or without padding or push-up.
Cut & Sewn: a.k.a. seamed cup; this type of cup is made with multiple sections of fabric sewn together to create a unique shape and to provide support.
Molded: Molded cups are made by sculpting the material (using heat so the material retains the shape) around a specially designed mold.  Typically, these types of cups are seamless.
Push Up: Gotta have cleavage?  This style creates lift by using extra padding in the bottom of the cup to push the breasts together. 
Spacer: These cups are made from light breathable materials.  This lighter foam also sits against your breast like a second skin, while providing moderate "headlight" coverage.


BRAS WITH A WARDROBE PURPOSE


Convertible: Wear it haltered, racerback, or in standard strap position, these styles are a versatile piece for your wardrobe.  All strapless bras are convertible, yet not all convertible bras are strapless. 
Strapless: Just like it sounds- a bra with no straps!  Don't forget, it's extra important to have a snug band fit and perfect cup fit since those straps are gone.
Bustier: A bra that has cups and extends to the waist or the hip-line to provide shaping of the waist, support, and lift.  Oftentimes used under formalwear for extra lift and a great foundation under a strapless gown. 
Corset: A heavily boned undergarment that works to constrict the waist while emphasizing the hips and bust.  Some corsets cover the bust, and some do not- the latter are called underbust corsets. Often corsets are worn under formal attire or for period costumes.
Racerback: This style has straps that are set in close at the back and typically have a front closure.  This strap setting allows your bra straps to remain hidden under certain garments and prevents them from falling off your shoulders.
Adhesive bras: These cups are lined with re-usable adhesive along the insides.  Most of the time they are backless, and strapless fixing what may seem to be at the time, an impossible outfit to pull off!
Cami-bra: A newer style of bra that has an additional band of fabric that sits across both cups and provides additional coverage and modesty for under a v-neck shirt or dress.


BRAS FOR WHEN YOUR BODY IS CHANGING


Post-surgical: A soft, breathable, comfortable bra to provide TLC while recovering.  
Mastectomy: After recovery, when it's time to say goodbye to your post-surgical styles, these styles have pockets to accommodate a prosthesis.  
Maternity: Designed for maximum comfort and support while your body undergoes the changes the justation period brings, maternity bras differ from nursing bras. 
Nursing Bra:  To help you get through the rigors of breast feeding, nursing bra styles have a clasp where each cup connects to the strap so that you can flip the cup down when it's time to feed your little one. 
Nursing Camisole: An ingenious invention, the nursing camisole helps to smooth out the midsection while providing support and the same ability nursing bras have for easy access for baby.
 

WARDROBE NECESSITIES


Full Slip: Covers from shoulders to hemline.
Half Slip: Starts at the waist, ends at the hemline.
Camisole: Typically sleeveless, a camisole is worn as a liner under a blouse, sweater, or dress.
Shapewear: a category of intimate apparel for shaping body contours to provide a smooth foundation for clothing to lay.
Bodysuit: a.k.a "all-in-one", this piece can have a built in bra or not and is designed to give a smooth torso under any outfit.

LEGWEAR


Pantyhose: worn for modesty and warmth as a leg covering, their sheerness is determined by the denier # (the higher the number, the closer to opaque).
Tights: Thicker than pantyhose and typically opaque, tights are another option worn for modesty and warmth.
Stockings: Garterbelt needed.  One for each leg, these have no panty attachment.
Thigh-highs or stay-ups: No garterbelt needed.  These stay up by the use of gripper bands at the tops of thigh.
Garters: Historically worn to hold up stockings, currently more for bridal traditions.
Garterbelt: Worn to hold up stockings (but can also be used with thigh-highs).


SLEEPWEAR & LOUNGE WEAR


Chemise: A knee length or shorter dress or slip style of nightwear.
Gown: A night gown longer than knee length, typically mid calf or ankle length.
Teddy: A garment that covers the torso and crotch in one piece.  Similar to a bodysuit but looser; in ready to wear, they call this a romper.
Babydoll:  A short, loose fitting nightgown or negligee; most of the time sheer.
Pajamas: A top and bottom set.  PJs come in a myriad of combinations- short sleeves with long pants, long sleeves with long pants, camisoles or tanks with shorts or capris...the list goes on.  Some pajama styles are interchangeable with loungewear or leisure sets and are designed with style and comfort in mind. You won't be afraid to answer the door unexpectedly if you're the appropriate loungewear!
Robe: Short, long, sexy, casual, lightweight, or warm and cozy, there's a robe out there for every woman!
Camisole and Tap Pants: Think tank top and shorts all dressed up!  The top can be a tank or have lingerie straps and the bottoms are a flirty version of boxer shorts. 
Peignoir: These days, this term usually refers to a robe and gown set that a bride would wear on her wedding night.  Historically, this term referred to a dressing gown style garment worn while readying oneself for the day or evening.

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