Lingerie Glossary

Glossary

Adhesive Bra: A bra with medical grade adhesive on the inside to stick to your body. These bras give some breast enhancement and are a backless alternative.

Babydoll: A babydoll is a woman's short nightgown sometimes with lace, ruffles, bows and ribbons, optionally with spaghetti straps. Sometimes they are made of sheer cloth like chiffon. It is said the name comes from the 1956 movie "Baby Doll" starring Carroll Baker in the title role.

Back Closure:This term is used when describing how a bra closes. Traditionally, a back closure bra has two rows of hook and eye closures and three adjustments. Full figure and strapless bras usually have three rows of hook and eye closures as well as three adjustments.

Back Fat: A term giving to the look of flesh bulging out around the band and straps when wearing a bra. This symptom can be caused by your bra's band size being too small, but it is also an unfortunate reality for women with soft tissue on their back. This lumpiness can sometimes be eliminated with the right size and style of bra. For example, several manufacturers claim a leotard back styled bra reduces back fat. A wider bra back along with wide straps can also help reduce the severity of the lumpiness. Shapewear camisoles worn over a bra are also a solution.

Back Wings: The fabric strips that start at the outer edge of the bra cups, go under the arms and then attach in the back.

Backless: A bra designed with a low cut adjustable back band.

Balconette: This is another name for a demi cup bra. A balconette bra has more of a horizontal line going across the top of the bustline. Most of the time, the cups are seamed for an upward boost to give the breasts the look as if corseted. A balconette bra can also have push-up pads as well. The name balconette comes from men in the balcony of a theater looking down upon women. A balconette bra could not be seen from above.

Balcony: This style of bra has a sweetheart neckline with a lower center front. It shows more chest skin than a full coverage bra style.

Bamboo: Bamboo fabric is made from the pulp of the bamboo grass. It is light and strong, has excellent wicking properties, and is to some extent antibacterial. The use of bamboo fiber for clothing was a 20th century development, pioneered by several Chinese corporations.

Bamboo is highly water absorbent, able to take up three times its weight in water. In bamboo fabric, this translates to an excellent wicking ability that will pull moisture away from the skin so that it can evaporate.

Bamboo also has many antibacterial qualities which are retained through multiple washings. This helps to reduce bacteria that thrives on clothing and causes unpleasant odors. It can also kill odor causing bacteria that live on human skin, making the wearer and his or her clothing smell much less. In addition, bamboo fabric has insulating properties and will keep the wearer cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Bandeau Bra: A strapless knit, wide band worn around the bust line. This type of bra is best for the young and self-supporting.

Basque: A long-line cupped bra extending to the hips with garter hooks attached along the lower edge. A Merry Widow is a form of basque. Basques are frequently incorrectly called a bustier or corset.

Bikini: A panty style whose waistband rests below the navel, and on the hips. Usually has a high-cut leg line. The sides can be anything from a string to a thicker side panel. Back coverage depends on the style of the bikini. Bikini panties are a super comfortable, medium coverage silhouette that won’t show thru under heavier fabrics like denim or wool. Surprisingly, a bikini panty can be more flattering on a woman with a tummy.

Boy Leg Brief: Reminiscent of hot pants, this style brief has legs that come to the top of the thigh. The waist sits low on the hips, and the back has full coverage. It is usually seamed in the center front and back for definition. Worn under hip-hugger style bottoms or short skirts to give a smooth line from waist to hip.

Boyshort: Resembling a short, this panty is sometimes also called a culotte, shorty or hot pant. Offering full coverage in a modern silhouette, boyshorts are a perfect everyday alternative and offer comfortable coverage under skirts. They are also popular teamed up with a camisole and worn around as loungewear. A boyshort has a lower leg cut and thus an inseam that is usually around 1/2" to 1" long. Many women claim this panty style eliminates panty lines under tight-fitting clothing.

Breathability: The term breathability is associated with fabric and its ability to allow airflow. Generally, if a fabric has breathability, the garment will not hold in moisture. A simple test to see if a fabric has breathability is to hold it up to your mouth and see if air can pass through it. If it can, the fabric has breathability.

Brief: A panty whose waistband rests at or just below the navel, provides full back and side coverage. A variation to a brief is a hi-cut brief which has a hi-cut leg.

Bustier: A bosom-to-hip corset-style garment, usually trimmed in lavish lace. Additional features may include detachable garters, flexible boning, optional shoulder straps, and a lace-up closing. This garment is usually worn by a woman for the visual enjoyment of the man in her life. The bustier has also become the garment to be worn with formal clothes. Bustiers are sometimes incorrectly called corsets.

Camisole: A bosom-to-hip corset-style garment, usually trimmed in lavish lace. Additional features may include detachable garters, flexible boning, optional shoulder straps, and a lace-up closing. This garment is usually worn by a woman for the visual enjoyment of the man in her life. The bustier has also become the garment to be worn with formal clothes. Bustiers are sometimes incorrectly called corsets.

Chemise: The name given to the first undergarments ever worn by women. Designed originally to protect the skin from outer garments, it later was used as night wear. It is a one-piece, loose straight-hanging to the floor undergarment that comes in one size. Today a chemise may be defined as a short, flowing gown usually with thin straps and an A-line silhouette.

Cleavage: Cleavage is the vertical line created between a woman's breasts - not the bulging breast tissue caused by a push-up bra. Cleavage comes from the word "cleave" to separate or divide in two.

Control Brief: A panty shaped like a brief but designed to flatten the tummy and give support while providing a smooth silhouette.

Control Top: Pantyhose or tights produced with the body section composed of a heavier lycra content and weight to act as a light control garment.

Convertible: A convertible bra has straps, which can be worn in up to six different configurations: conventional, halter, one-shoulder, off-the-shoulder, criss-crossed, and strapless. Some convertible bras have straps that are attached to the cups. These convertible bras can not be worn in all six configurations. Be sure to look at our images to see if the front of the strap is removable. Realistically, a convertible bra over a cup size D may not work as effectively as smaller cup sizes.

Corset: A woman's support undergarment that is boned and close fitting. It is almost always hooked and laced. It begins either above or just below the bust and extends down to the waist or below the hips. Usually garters are attached at its base. A corset supports the breasts from underneath and usually pushes them up and over the neckline edge. A corset is similar to a waist cincher that stops below the breasts.

Crop Top/Cami: A lightly-constructed no-wire bra that is a cross between a camisole and a bra.

Crossover: A wire-free bra that creates an "X" in the center front for support and comfort.

Demi Cup: A demi cup (or demi or half cup) style bra means a contoured underwire design with a large portion of the upper half of the cup being cut away to expose the upper part of the breasts. The shoulder straps are also set farther apart (wide-set). Such bras are often referred to as being decollete‚ and are worn when the top of a garment is cut low, wide or square. Men find this style bra very attractive on women. This style has many names and can be miscalled a balconette or a shelf bra.

Elastane: Elastane is just another name for an old fiber: Spandex. The word "elastane" is used in Europe while "spandex" is used in the United States. Elastane/spandex trade names are Lycra and Dorlastan.

Enhancer: Enhancers create the illusion of a fuller bust line. Enhancers are often built into the bras themselves rather than as the traditional inserts. The Wonderbra was the original bust enhancer.

Fashion Tights: Sometimes called Fancy Tights or Fashion Pantyhose. Usually consisting of a heavier denier and unusual design or knit pattern. They come in a vast array of designs, texture, and colors. Much more costly than regular tights or panty hose they are more durable and unique in nature.

Fence net: A very large net design similar to that of a chain link fence and used for stockings, hold-ups, and pantyhose.

Fishnet: A smaller net design, which is taken from the construction of a fisherman’s net, usually made of nylon or nylon-lycra blends. These come in seamless or seamed styles, with various designs of lace or silicone tops on the stockings and hold-ups. Also in tights or pantyhose which are very popular with dancers and for costumes.

Foam Cup: Padding and shaping in the cup of the bra is created with foam. Such padding does not bunch up during washing and gives a smooth look to the cup.

Foam Lined Cup: A foam lined bra cup gives the wearer modesty by preventing nipple show through. Foam lining is always thinner than a padded bra and usually does not add much size. Rather, foam lining creates a natural and youthful silhouette.

French Cut: Another name for high-cut brief.

Full Busted: Women who has larger breasts but smaller band sizes, such as a 34DD.

Full Cup: A full cup bra completely covers most of the breast, offering both more coverage and more support than a demi cup or half cup bra. A full cup bra will not cause a crease or indentation along the top of the breast. Having said this, many lingerie manufacturers will use this description and the bra will not actually be full coverage.

Full Figure: Women who wear bras sizes 32-36DD and 38-42C-DD and larger are classified as full figure women. Bras made in these sizes are usually designed to give additional support. Common features include padding, wider shoulder straps, and triple hook and eye closures.

Full Support: A bra with this characteristic will have banding under the cups, substantial side wings, and closures with two or more hooks.

G-String: Similar to a thong, a g-string leaves your bottom exposed. But a g-string is more skimpy. There is no small triangle of fabric at the waistband in the back. Rather, the back has a simple string coming off a thin waistband. Otherwise, you can't tell the difference from the front between a g-string and a thong. Worn to prevent panty lines under tight-fitting garments.

Garter: A strap hanging from a garter belt or bustier to support stockings (not pantyhose), It is also the term used for a band worn around the arm to hold up a shirt sleeve, or around the knee to hold up socks.

Garter Belt: A belt worn around the waist with four clips or garters to keep stockings (not pantyhose) up and in place. A garter belt can be purchased in a variety of colors. Lingerie fashion etiquette dictates that the color and design of the garter belt match the stockings and panties.

Garter Hose: This refers to a garment where a waist band, garter straps and stocking legs are permanently attached in one piece, simulating the use of a garterbelt and stockings, but in fact being a one piece garment.

Garter Panty: A panty usually made of stretch fabric which contains garter straps or garter clips to hold up stockings without need for a garterbelt, girdle or corset.

Girdle: The name given to any undergarment that is close fitting, often boned and usually elasticized, that extends from the waist to below the hips. With the new fabrics and construction techniques available, this word has become somewhat obsolete and has been replaced with the word shaper or shapewear.

Half Cup: Another name for a demi cup (or demi) style bra. A half cup means a contoured underwire design with a large portion of the upper half of the cup being cut away to expose the upper part of the breasts. The shoulder straps are also set farther apart (wide-set). Such bras are often referred to as being decollete‚ and are worn when the top of a garment is cut low, wide or square. Men find this style bra very attractive on women. This style has many names and can be miscalled a balconette or a shelf bra.

Halter: A bra style featuring straps that fasten behind the neck. This bra is perfect for backless dresses. This bra style can many times also convert to criss-cross or one-shoulder configurations.

Hi-Cut Brief: Also known as a "French cut" brief, this panty is high-cut on the leg and sides yet offers full coverage in back.

Hi-Waisted Brief: Shapewear with a brief panty and a high waist to give shaping and support to the waistline.

Hidden Underwire: Hidden underwires is a bra construction technique where the bra's bottom edge does not have underwire casing, so looks like there is no underwire. The underwires are wrapped, then sandwiched between two layers of fabric. This construction is also called "floating wire."

Women with large and/or heavy breasts can find this construction uncomfortable because this style can roll under, under their breasts.

Hipster: A mid coverage panty, which rests lower on the hip than a brief. the rise is shorter, so the waistline of the hipster is well below the navel. A hipster is a perfect solution for wearing under low cut jeans.

Hold ups: Stockings that stay up without the need for garters. True hold-ups usually consist of a decorative stretch lace top, with a silicone band inside of the lace to help grip the leg.

Leotard Back: The leotard back is a rather new design addition to bras. Rather than a rectangle shape in back like that of a camisole, the leotard back gives a round look on the back - similar to the look of a leotard. It has fast become the most commonly found strap attachment technique in today's ready-to-wear offerings. Besides looking visually different, the leotard back style almost always includes some elastic to achieve the rounded shape. Consequently, this elastic gives the wearer flexibility to raise her arms or bend over without having to adjust her bra afterwards. There are a few challenges to a leotard back though. The straps attach to the back at a bit of an angle to keep the arch styling. If the "U" shape is too wide , the straps can fall off the wearer's shoulders. The number of back fasteners is also limited with this back design.

Light Support: A bra frame style featuring cutaway wings with little or no banding under the cups.

Lined Cup: A bra with a lining in the cup. This lining gives additional support and added opaqueness to the cup. It also helps to reduce nipple show-through.

Low Rise: The rise is the measurement between the waistband and the first horizontal seam of a panty (usually where the crotch begins). The average brief or panty has a 6-inch rise. A low rise is when the rise measurement is less than 5 inches.

Low-Rise Brief: With the new low cut pants on the market, this style has become very popular. Low-rise is defined as a rise below 5 inches tall. The waistband rests on the hip approximately 3" below the waist. It still has side fabric, and the legs are traditional brief legs (not high cut). Can also be called a hipster brief.

Maternity Bra: A bra designed for women who are pregnant. A maternity bra will offer more support with wider sides and an underbust band. Non-elastic straps to reduce bounce. Designed with more breast coverage and breathability to prevent breast tissue irritation.

Memory Foam: Memory foam is being used more an more in bras. The same foam you see in the mattress commercial where the girl is jumping but the water glass is not moving, when used in a bra cup this foam will shape more to your body, then return to its original shape once taken off. This advantage means that your bra cups will not develop creases that are hard or impossible to remove. Storage of memory foam bras is not as important because the shape will pop back if crushed.

Minimizer: A minimizer bra gives the appearance of reducing the projection of the wearer’s breasts. This allows the woman to more easily wear front-button shirts and blouses without gaping. A minimizer bra works by designing a cup that distributes the breast flesh more towards the underarm and the center front to reduce your breast protrusion. A minimizer only shifts the mass in areas other than directly in front. No bra can actually reduce breast size.

Molded: Molded bras have cups which are machine molded from a single piece of fabric into a shape the manufacturer feels mirrors the preferred natural breast shape without any seams. Molded bras are usually unlined and may be either soft cup or underwire. They are seamless to create a smooth silhouette, unless overlaid with lace.

A molded bra with thin foam or fiberfill lining which causes the cup shape to stand alone is known as a contour or t-shirt bra.

Multiway: See convertible bra.

Nightgown: A loose dress worn in bed by women. Also called a night-dress or nightie.

No-Wire (soft-cup) Bra: A bra without underwires. Especially comfortable for everyday wear. Can also be padded or lined.

Nursing Bra: A nursing bra is constructed very similar to a maternity bra but with the additional feature of cupopenings to allow for ease of breastfeeding.

Padded: A bra with padded fiberfill cups. The padding adds size and definition to give a well-proportioned look to smaller bustlines.

Padded Straps: Unlike traditional bra straps, padded straps mean the are of the strap that rests on the top of the shoulder has padding for additional comfort. A padded bra strap is also usually wider for added comfort.

Pantliner: A pantliner is any undergarment that begins at the waist and extends down past the mid-calf. A pantliner can be pantaloon-like and worn as a slip for unlined pants, or it can be form-fitting to slim and smooth the legs. Can also be called an underliner.

Pantyhose: A one piece hosiery garment consisting of two sheer legs connected to a panty and waistband. Pantyhose are usually of a 15 or 20 denier yarn and transparent, as opposed to tights, which are usually constructed of 30 denier yarn and are usually more opaque to solid in color than pantyhose.

Plunge: A plunge bra is designed to reveal more breast for a sexier look. Plunge bras create the appearance of increased cleavage because of their deep (plunging) front silhouette, angled cups and thin center gore. Plunge bras differ from push-up bras in that they are not heavily padded.

Polyamide: The basic fiber-forming substance for nylon fiber. It is also the European term for nylon.

Powernet: A two-way stretch nylon fabric that provides excellent support. Also used in high-end compression garments, powernet has high compression with low stretch qualities to give you outstanding support without stretching out and losing its strength. Bras with powernet will last longer and stretch out less than bras using other stretch fabrics.

Push-Up: A bra with additional padding at the bottom portion of the cup to lift the breasts in order to give the illusion of greater breast size. Recently, push up bras now are designed to both push up and in to create more cleavage for lower necklines. The padding, if removable, is known as a "cookie."

Racer Back: Design feature that anchors the back straps towards the center of the back and allows for a wide range of arm movement by not restricting the shoulder blades. This design is also used when traditional bra straps would show under a sleeveless garment.

Racerback: This bra is named after racing swimsuits that also have straps meeting in a "V" shape on the back between the shoulder blades. This bra style is an excellent solution for sleeveless tops. It also prevents straps from slipping off the shoulders.

Rigid Straps: Bra straps not made with elastic are called rigid straps. Full figure bra sizes many times have rigid straps because they give more support than elastic straps. A rigid strap is adjustable. Sometimes a manufacturer will have a rigid front on a bra strap and then have a piece of adjusting elastic down the back.

Rise: The rise is the measurement between the waistband and the first horizontal crotch seam of a brief or panty . The average brief or panty has a 6" rise. A low rise is when the rise measurement is 5" or less.

Seamed: Any bra that has seams running though the cup. A seamed bra tends to give more support than a seamless bra because seams determine the cup's exact shape and size. The best supporting bra has seamed cups and made in 3 pieces.

Seamless: A bra with cups that have been molded into a permanent shape and fit. This bra gives a smooth and almost transparent look under clothing. They are particularly suitable under revealing and tight-fitting tops.

Shelf Bra: An underwire bra with little or no cups. This bra will support your breasts while displaying most of your breast including your nipples.

Silicone: A rubber like polymer, which maintains its elasticity over a wide range of temperatures. Used inside the lace top of hold-up stockings to cling to the skin and keep the stocking up without garters.

Soft Cup: A bra without an underwire is called a soft cup or wire-free bra. Maternity, sports and teenage bras traditionally were always soft cup bras. But not any more - there are underwires available in all these styles. Soft cup bras now have great support as well. A soft cup bra is a great solution for a woman who never can find a comfortable underwire bra. Soft cups come in all size ranges. When fitting yourself in a soft cup bra, the center front may not completely sit flat on your sternum, but it should still separate your breasts.

Spacer Foam: Spacer foam, also called spacer fabric, is a very expensive knit used as the cup fabric in molded bras. It is a knit that has both a top and bottom layer, with filaments between - similar to a corrugated box. This creates air pockets between the layers. All of this is knit as one piece of fabric. The advantage of spacer foam is that it is very light weight , breathes, can be thinner than traditional foam used in contour bra cups, won't yellow, yet provides modesty like a contour cup bra.

Spandex: A synthetic fiber made from polyurethane. It is lightweight, highly elastic, strong, durable and non-absorbent to water and oils. A great alternative to people allergic to latex. In Europe, they call this elastane.

Sports Bra: A support bra worn during exercise that minimizes breast bounce. It is comfortable, and gives good support. Its design includes wider straps, and broader cup coverage. All our sports bras have a sports level rating from High Impact to Low Impact. Women really should have a variety of sports bras if they do more than one sports activity.

Stockings: Although the popular use of this word has come to be anything worn on the legs (i.e. pantyhose, hold-ups or tights) we will stick with the more traditional definition. Stockings, as referred to on this web site, are the traditional style that are put on individually and attached to a garter at the top for support. These can come in plain top, satin top, or lace top, but should not be confused with hold-ups, which stay up by themselves.

Strapless: An underwire bra with wide sides, no straps or removable straps, and a hook back. Many times silicone is stitched to the upper and lower edges of the bra to keep it secure on the body. Mostly worn with strapless tops, evening gowns or with tops where a normal bra would show. A strapless bra must be the right size - too loose, and you have no support, too tight and it will work it's way down your torso. In fact a well fitting strapless bra could reveal your true bra size because there is no fudging on size with a strapless.

String Bikini: A bikini panty with high cut leg line, thin string sides and full back coverage.

T-Shirt Bra: This is the other name for a contour bra. Like a molded bra, the cups are seamless with a thin layer of foam included for shape and modesty against nipple show-through when wearing form-fitting tops. T-shirt bras are always seamless, have contour cups, and have no lace or ornamentation.

Tanga: A tanga is between a bikini and a thong. A tanga has narrower back coverage than a traditional panty, but is not as narrow as a thong. Tangas are a more common silhouette in Europe. They are also a comfortable transition from a bikini before attempting a thong.

Teddy: A camisole and panty combined into one piece. It can be fitted to the body or loose. Is worn either under clothing or as sleepwear.

Thong: A panty with a narrow strip of fabric in the back that begins as a "v" shape at the waistband and then tapers to a thin strip by the time it reaches the crotch. The cheeks of your bottom are thus exposed. This style panty is great if you want no visible panty lines and a smooth appearance.

Tummy Shaper: Another name for a control brief.

Underwire: Bras with sewn-in molded wiring that runs underneath the breast in each bra cup. This support feature helps to lift, separate and shore up the bustline for better shape and extra support- especially for full-figured women. There are many different types of materials used in underwire bras today. The underwire can now be a flexible wire, a plastic coated piece of metal, or a molded plastic shape.

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