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There are two definitions for the term shelf bra. The first
refers to a thick elastic band that supports under the breasts but does not
cover the nipple. This type of bra may be used in lingerie sets. More commonly
we see the term shelf bra used to describe a variety of built in bras in
garments where wearing a bra would be difficult because of thin straps.
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The shelf bra of the first type is connected to eroticism
and is not popular wear for all women. Since only minimal support is given,
they may be particularly unflattering to women with larger busts, since only a
tiny amount of cup or sometimes no cup actually supports the breasts. They may
thus be inadequate to providing the support needed for daily wear. Women who
would still like to reveal some cleavage might look to the demi-bra, which
provides a greater amount of cup support, with cups stopping just above the
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In the second definition of the shelf bra, you will see this
type featured in a variety of garments. Most common today are tank tops. The
shelf bra has long been a feature of swimsuits, for women who either want extra
support or who would like to add a bit more feminine curve to their suits.
The simplest type of shelf bra simply has elasticized cups
made of soft fabrics like cotton or nylon. Some may feature a small amount of
padding for additional support. Another type of shelf bra, quite common in tank
tops and swimsuits is the molded cup style.
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The molded cup shelf bra has a semi-hardened shape, which it
retains even when you are not wearing the garment. The trouble is, women who
wear similar sizes may not all have the same breast size. A large, medium or
small tank top with a molded cup shelf bra will not fit everyone the same way.
While usually women with breasts slightly larger than the molded cup can fit
into this form of shelf bra, women with smaller breasts may run into some
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Occasionally, especially with the popularity of tight
fitting spaghetti strap tank tops and camisoles, you may find these with a
shelf bra in lingerie departments. These are sized according to cup size rather
than by women’s clothing sizes. Again, most still depend upon women of certain
cup sizes fitting into certain clothing sizes. Yet you are more likely to find
a well-fitting tank top with a shelf bra in the lingerie department, than it is
to find one in a standard ladies’ clothing department or store.
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Labels: Women Fashions