Apex : The fullest point of the cup. Your apex should point forward to achieve an inward and upward fit and lift. For a proper fit and lift, the apex should be halfway between your shoulder and elbow when you look at your side profile.
Band : The part of the bra that goes around the circumference of the rib cage. The band provides 70% of the support in a bra. If your band is riding up, you’re not getting enough support. Try going down a size. Leotard Back – A curved rather than a straight back.
Bone / Boning : A component added to specific vertical seams for shaping and support.
Center Gore : The fabric at the front that connects the cups together. For a proper fit the center gore should lie flat against the body. If it doesn’t, try going up a cup size.
Cup: Contains and shapes the breast tissue. Different types of cups have different benefits:
Contour Cups – There are different types of cups used in contour or t-shirt bras to create a smooth barrier between your breasts and clothes, giving you a seamless look.
Foam Cup – The classic material used in t-shirt bra cups. Foam cups are a great choice when looking for shaping, lift and opacity.
Spacer Cup – Provides more breathability and airflow while still offering shaping and opacity.
Memory Foam Cup – Contours to your unique shape for an ultra-comfortable and natural fit. Provides a level of modesty due to the memory foam.
Graduated Foam Cup – A cup where the foam varies in thickness. Depending on the placement of the graduation, this type of cup will contour your breast tissue. For example, a push up bra uses this type of cup.
Removable Pads – A foam pad that is inserted into a wire free bra or bralette. These pads are not sewn in so they can be easily removed or inserted.
Cookies – These are small foam inserts that are typically used for modesty purposes. They can usually be removed.
Molded Cup – This is also known as an unlined cup since there is no pad. Molded cups offer the most natural shape of all the cup types.
Seamed or Cut-and-Sew Cup – These are made of several sections of fabric sewn together to offer maximum shaping and lift.
Hook-and-Eye The most common type of closure used on bras. It allows the length of the band to be adjusted. Recommend securing the band on the middle hook and adjusting it to be tighter or looser as weight and hormones fluctuate.
Barrel Closure – A type of closure used on front close bras. Closes when barrel is inserted into tunnel and snaps into place for added security.
Frame The structured band beneath the cup that fully covers the rib cage. Not all bras are designed with a frame but bras with a frame tend to have a bit more support.
Sling (not shown in this style): A sling is an extra layer in the cup shaped like a hammock. Whether the sling is visible or hidden, it is generally made of a stronger fabric to help support and shift the breast upward and inward. If you’re busty opt for styles with a sling.
Fully Adjustable – The strap elastic is continuous from the cup to the back and can be adjusted as longer or shorter as needed.
Back Adjustable – The adjustable part of the strap is only on the back.
Built-Up or Camisole – These are generally wider in the front than average straps. Built-up straps continue directly from the cups and are typically adjustable in the back to provide a custom fit and additional support.
Close-Set – These straps are positioned closer to the center of the bra in the front and the back, which prevents straps from slipping. Close-set straps provide added support.
Comfort – They have a cushioned feature applied to the strap to alleviate pressure on the shoulder.
Low-Stretch – They feature minimal stretch that reduces bounce while allowing ease of movement.
Rigid – They have no stretch which provides more support.
Strap Adjuster: Also called a slide, allows you to adjust the strap length. Did you know that you should always adjust your strap length for your height? This ensures that your straps don’t dig in or slide off.
J-hook - Hardware attached to the back of the straps, so they can be converted from traditional to racerback style.
Underwire: Helps support, separate, and lift the breasts. The underwire should sit directly under the breast tissue—not on top.
Containment – Refers to the cup capacity or the amount of breast volume the cup can hold.
Coverage – The amount of breast tissue that is exposed determines the coverage level of a bra. Can be minimal, moderate, or full.
Tacking – When the center of the bra lies flat against your chest and the cups contain the breast tissue. See 5 Points of Fit™ for more fit tips.
Underbust – The measurement around the circumference of your body directly under your bust. To take this measurement the tape measure should align with the bottom of your bra and be parallel to the floor. This measurement is used to determine your band size.
Overbust – The measurement that takes the circumference of your body over your bust, taken at the fullest point of your breast tissue—or apex—and the tape measure is parallel to the floor. This measurement is used to determine your cup size.
Brushed – A finishing method applied to the surface of the fabric that gives it extra softness.
Jacquard – A fabric that has a pattern knitted into it.
Mesh – A fabric that is knit together with spaces to create an overall sheer appearance.
Moisture-Wicking – A fabric with a finish or fiber that can draw moisture away from the body, so it dries faster.
Scalloped – A decorative edge with high and low points for visual interest.
Bonding – A construction alternative to using traditional elastics. Bonding is used to create a smooth, flat surface that lies against the body with minimal to no stitching.
Clean-Finish – A sewing method that hides the stitching internally for a more comfortable wearing experience and cleaner outward appearance.
Ruching – A design element that is made from gathering fabric to create pleats or frills for visual interest.
Single-Ply – When a garment or a portion of a garment uses one layer of fabric which can give an overall lightweight feel.
Two-Ply – When a garment or a portion of a garment uses two layers of fabric which can help give additional support.
Introducing Wacoal's Lingerie Glossary, your ultimate guide to understanding intimate apparel terminology. This glossary focuses on a wide array of key terms, including bra parts, fabrics, and construction. It is your go-to resource for understanding lingerie. Discover the role different bra parts, such as underwire, straps, and closures play in how a bra fits and functions. When you know more about bra parts, you’ll feel empowered to choose the styles with the features that will work best for you.
Learn more about the different materials used in lingerie construction, from brushed fabrics for extra softness to moisture-wicking materials that help to keep you dry and comfortable throughout the day. Enhance your knowledge of lingerie construction techniques, such as bonding and clean finish.
Whether you're a lingerie enthusiast or simply looking to expand your knowledge, Wacoal's Lingerie Glossary provides clear definitions for important terms. Empower yourself to make informed decisions and find the perfect lingerie pieces that fit like a dream and make you feel confident all day long.