What´s the difference between these styles, and what fits your breasts best ? If your cups don´t feel comfortable or sit right, and you are sure you are wearing the correct size, try another style of cup.
Here are the basic types of bra cuts:
The manufacturers often seem confused here, since I´ve seen a lot half-cups labelled as full cups and so on. Also, a lot of bras fall somewhere in between. Anyway, here is a guide to bra cup styles:
The edges of the cup end very high up, so all of the breast is covered. Usually there is a horizontal seam in the center. Dead giveway: The straps are attached to the center of the cups.
Rounder busts (these will find the top edges cut into them in balconettes and half-cups)
Narrow shoulders: the straps are placed closer apart, hence they don´t slip off.
Bigger busts (usually offer more support)
Busts not full on top (tear shaped)
Not firm busts: they give a duck´s beak shape.
Ladies with armpit rolls
The edges of the cups are diagonal: high at the armpits, low at the bridge (center). Reveals the top part of the breasts. Straps are attached at the sides of the cup, close to the armpit. Supports breasts from the bottom-side.
Tear-drop shaped busts (not full on top)
Armpit roll control: since these are usually built-up in the armpit area, they help to reverse the migration of breast tissue better than full-cups or balconettes
Narrow-shouldered ladies, because the straps may slip off (though some half-cups have straps slightly nearer the center)
The top of the cup is a horizontal line. Sewn to support the breast from the bottom. The straps may be attached in the center, or towards the sides. The top edge of the balconette may be high or low: ie the cups may give more or less coverage; but you can tell that it´s a balconette because top edge is horizontal, not diagonal.
Smaller & medium busts, since they don´t offer much support
Tear-drop shaped busts (not full on top) look better in low cut balconettes.
Round busts look better in balconettes cut high.
Very large busts (they don´t offer enough support)
The plunge is like a half-cup gone to the extreme. Extremely low at the bridge (center). To compensate for this, it is usually very high at the armpits. Reveals the center part of the breasts in a V shape
Same like half-cups
Decollates that are very low cut
Daily wear, since they are usually not very comfortable.
Left to right: full cup, half cup, plunge and balconette style. Same below.
What about demi bras, 3/4 cups and all that ?
Apparently some call balconettes demi bras, while some use that name for half cups. Some might argues that a half cup is actually 3/4... For simplicity´s sake, I won´t use those terms on this blog.
What about T-shirt bras, sports bras, strapless, and... ?
Full cups, half cups and plunges are called T-shirt bras when they are seamless. Sport bras are always full-cups, since this cut offers the most support. Logically, strapless bras are usually balconettes.
Any of these bras may be soft, padded, moulded or push-up.