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A full list of lingerie terms and definitions.

Bra Terms

Balconette Bras (also called Balcony bras): Balconette Bras are for low cut, sexy looks featuring minimal cups that create a straight line across the bust. Wear balconettes with a square neckline or low round-neckline shirt.

Demi Bras: Demi bras are bras with smaller-coverage cups, exposing a larger portion of the top of the bust. Demi bras or “Demi cup bras” are ideal for a sexier look because they make breasts look fuller and larger. This is achieved by providing lift from below the bust (ideal for lost breast tissue). Demi Bras offer sexiness without sacrificing comfort; therefore, they can be worn as an everyday bra. Wear a demi cup with your sexy tops or under shirts with low necklines.

Bandeau Bras: Bandeau (or “bandeaus”) are simple bras made from bands of material around your chest, without wires or cups. Bandeau bras do not have back closures, making them ideal for back-revealing tops. Wear a bandeau bra under sheer tops, backless tops, low cut tops and low side tanks, as colorful accessories or for support under strapless styles. Our Flirtie Bandeau bra has side boning and silicone grips at the edges for extra support and staying power. Bandeau bras with a longer band below the bust are sometimes worn as crop tops, or "Bandeau Tops". Padded bandeau bras, like our Trenta padded bandeau, give more shape and support for fuller busts.

Strapless Bras: Strapless bras are underwire bras without straps or with straps that can be removed. Wear a strapless bra underneath a strapless dress or strapless top, or a top that you do not want bra straps to be seen. For maximum support, use a strapless bra with a thicker band below the bust. These are frequently used under sleeveless bridal, prom and evening gowns. Our Marni strapless plunge back bra and Papillon strapless bra are perfect choices for your strapless needs.

Padded Bras: Padded bras are any bras that have a concealing lining or "padding". The thickness of the padding varies from lightly padded such as the Never Say Never Soiré Softie Soft Padded Bra, breathable pads such as our Talco wireless bra, and more shaping bras such as our Elise Push Up. Wear a padded bra to conceal erect nipples, or for a comfortable, covered feel under shirts.

Push Up Bras: Push up bras are underwire bras with push up padding, either in removable pads (cookies) or built in padding, to give a sexy boost to small busts and even larger busts. Some push up bras come with removable cookies for adjustable padding while others have a built-in shelf of support, thicker at the base and thinner toward the tops of the bust line. Wear a push up bra if your breasts need more lift, or if you want to raise your breasts up and produce a prominent “mounding” effect, or to perk up your bust or to add a cup size.

Super Push Up Bras: Super push up bras are push up bras that add two cup sizes and center the cleavage for an ultra-voluptuous look.

Plunge Bras: Plunge bras are bras with a plunging "V" neckline for a dramatic sexy look. Most Plunge bras are lightly padded yet very revealing. Wear a plunge bra with your low v neck tops and dresses, including maxi dresses, jumpsuits and deep plunge neckline gowns.

Soft Bras: Soft Bras, are bras with no underwire. The entire piece is a soft fabric, making them the most comfortable and fastest growing category of bras today. Soft bras typically do not have a back closure and slip on over the head which allow them to be worn as accessories with backless tops and dresses. Wear a soft bra for lounging, sleeping, yoga, or after reconstructive surgeries. For everyday use, soft bras can be worn by women with small busts for pops of color and ultimate comfort. For women with larger busts who still like our soft bra designs and want to show off their detailed laces and colors, try layering over your underwire bra. Because of their comfort and no wires, soft bras are also a great option for post-operation and recovery.

Bralette: A bralette is a type of soft bra which does not have adjustable straps and typically slips on over your head. Wear a bralette as a fun and colorful accessory under your tank tops, racer back tops, low back tops and low front tops.

Pullover Bra: A pullover bra is a soft bra or bralette which is put on by pulling over the head. There are no hook and eye closures.

Wireless bras: Wireless bras are bras shaped like underwire bras, but with no wire. Wear a wireless bra when you want some of the support and shape of a bra without the wire such as yoga or light exercise activities. An example of a wireless bra is an athletic sports bra, though not all are meant solely for exercise. Besides athletics, wireless bras are also a great option for post operation use including post augmentation, reduction or reconstruction.

Underwire Bras: Underwire bras are bras with wire under the bust of each cup for extra support and shaping. Underwire bras can have soft or padded cups and come in various styles making them a versatile segment suitable for everyday wear. Wear an underwire bra for everyday support.

Racerback Bra: Racerback bras, also known as T-Back Bras, are bras with the back straps in an "X" or T shaped silhouette. Wear a racerback bra under racerback tops, tank tops, racerback dresses, wide neck tops, and halter tops. Racerbacks are frequently used for sports bra and yoga bra silhouettes. They are also used for reconstruction post recovery use.

Shelf Bra: Shelf bras are underwire bras which are meant solely for supporting the breasts, not necessarily for covering. Shelf bras can have very minimal, or no cups, even leaving the nipple exposed. Shelf bras can be worn with or without another bra depending on the intended use of the support. Wear a shelf bra under a sexy top or on date night.

Bustier: A bustier is a corset style garment typically spanning from the bust to the navel. Bustiers are most often worn for aesthetic, sensual evenings or occasions with a special someone, however, certain bustiers can also be worn as undergarments during formal occasions. Wear a bustier under a cardigan or jacket, under a sheer shirt or under a special occasion strapless dress or top. For a more casual look, a bustier can be worn as strapless top with pants or jeans.

Molded Padded Cups: Molded padded cups are shaped from either a single piece of fabric or layers of fabric, to accentuate the natural shape of the breast. Molded bras are seamless, non-padded and ideal for a smooth silhouette. Molded bras which have lining and can retain their shape on their own are often referred to as contour bras. Wear a molded bra for everyday support.

Molded Non-Padded Cups: Molded non-padded cups are shaped by pressing a heated bust form into the fabric to create a concave cup. This method provides a better fit and more support with no dart seam necessary. The Soiré Molded Bra is an example of the aesthetically beautiful underwire. Wear a molded non padded bra for everyday lightweight support.

Adjustable Shoulder Straps: Adjustable shoulder straps are straps that be extended or tightened. However, not all adjustable bras are considered fully adjustable. Fully adjustable straps can be completely loosened or tightened along the entire bra strap to fit various body types.

Convertible Straps: Convertible straps are straps which can be worn in different ways either by detaching and re-attaching the strap or a supplemental attachment. Some convertible bras allow for straps to be removed creating a fully strapless bra, criss-cross or halter.

Bands: Bands, or wings, are the part of the bra which provides most of the support. The bands attach to the cups and are typically connected in the back. It is important to know your band size when searching for the perfect fit. Your band size plus your cup size will give you your true bra size. For example, using an American size chart, if your band size is 36 and your cups size is a C then your bra size would be a 36C. The band should fit snug to the body. Too tight of a band can dig into the skin leaving unattractive marks or promote an unflattering silhouette while too loose of a band will cause discomfort and lack of support. For maximum support, search for bras with higher bands where they meet the cup.

1 to 2 Rule: 1 to 2 rule is a lingerie rule suggesting that for every one bra you own, you should buy two matching panties. Since panties should be changed out more than bras, this rule ensures that you will always have a matching bottom to your favorite bra.

6 Month Rule: The 6 Month Rule is a generic suggestion that bras should be switched out semi-annually. This rule doesn’t apply to all bra wardrobes; however, it is a good rule to keep in mind.

Panty Terms

VPL: VPL is a lingerie term meaning "Visible Panty Line". Some panties are considered no VPL such as our Soiré Italian Lowrider thong, while others, such as our Ceylon Hotpants are not meant to be concealed under thin fabrics. Wear No VPL panties under thin, tight or smooth pants, dresses and skirts.

DC: Double cheek. This occurs when wearing the wrong bottom (a thong) under certain fabrics, like maxi dresses, where the fabric gets caught in wedgie style and each bottom cheek is clearly outlined (very unattractive!) to avoid this wear our Talco boybrief or any of our boybrief, boy short or hot pant designs, for a smoothing fit over the cheeks making the fabric fall nicely without separation.

G-Strings: G-strings are a minimal variation of the thong and often offer a no VPL fit which make them ideal for tight clothing. Like a thong, a g-string has minimal coverage on the front, but unlike a thong, in the back, a g-string has a thin string completely exposing the bottom. Wear g-strings under tight pants, leggings, or when you want the entire bottom to be exposed.

Thongs: Thongs are a minimal coverage panty offering no VPL which is ideal for tight or clingy styles. Thongs offer more “coverage”, though still skimpy, than a g-string but less coverage than a Minikini® . Thongs are typically low rise with a back design similar to a "T" leaving the bottom uncovered for an ultra-sexy look. Wear a thong when you do not want panty lines to show under your tight or thin fabric pants, skirts and dresses. Thongs come in a variety of rises including low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise.

Low rise Panties: Low rise panties are bottoms which site low on the hips versus a higher wasted panty. They are frequently used for an invisible look under low pants, jeans and skirts.

Italian Thong: An Italian thong is a thong in which the sides consist of "no show" side strings providing an ultimate no VPL look. This thong could be considered the cross between a conventional thong and a g-string.

Minikini®: A Minikini® is a variation of the thong, but with more comfort and coverage. This is a more typical Brazilian fit, shaping the rear into a heart shape, also known as the “Braziliano” or “Tanga”. It has more coverage than a thong, but less coverage than a hotpant or bikini. Wear a Minikini® under pants and skirts even dresses.

Bikinis: The bikini style panty offers moderate coverage, more than a thong but less than a boybrief. Bikinis typically sit low on the hips and have a high cut leg and cover the entire bottom. Wear a bikini for everyday comfort under thicker fabrics when you don’t need to worry about VPL.

Boy shorts: Boy shorts, also known as hotpants or boybriefs, are full coverage panties that are great for pairing with a camisole for comfortable sleepwear. Boy shorts can also be worn under loose fitting clothing and/or dresses. Some women claim this style can reduce panty lines on their body type under certain styles. While this style offers some coverage, Boy shortsare more revealing than standard boxers. Some styles can be quite “cheekie”. Wear a Boy shortsunder your maxi dress to eliminate DC or “Double cheek” that commonly occurs underneath these dresses when the fabric gets caught in between the cheeks when wearing a thong.

Boxers: Boxers are a full coverage bottom meant to be worn for lounging around the home or as sleepwear. Boxers would not typically be worn as a panty but, tight, athletic boxers could be worn under shorts for layering during exercise.

Shapewear: Shapewear refers to a type of garment that is tight fitting and "shapes" the body, either to achieve a certain silhouette or smooth the body. Wear Shapewear to shape the tummy, legs or bust.

Sleepwear Terms

Babydolls: A babydoll is a woman's sleepwear piece that can be worn as a short nightgown or paired with a sexy bottom, such as a thong or g-string for a more seductive look. Babydolls are typically characterized by a tighter fitting top and looser, flowing bottom to flatter a woman's waistline. Some babydolls, however, can have more of a straight silhouette. Babydolls come in all types of fabrics from sheer mesh, to cotton. Wear a babydoll to sleep or as a swim coverup.

Chemises: A chemise refers to a dress which fits more tightly at the tops and hangs loosely towards the waist. A chemise, depending on its material and length, can be appropriately worn as sleepwear, comfortable loungewear or as a sexy nightie.

Chemise Dress: A chemise dress is a style of chemise that is not transparent and is appropriate to wear inside or outside of the home. Wear a chemise to sleep or as a swim coverup.

Slips: Slips are typically worn under dresses or skirts to prevent clinging and create more, smoothed, polished look. However, slips can also be used in layering for pops of color or texture, lounging and as sleepwear depending on the fabric and transparency.

Slip Dress: Slips dresses are a style of slip that is not transparent and is appropriate to be worn for sleeping, lounging and layering.

Cookies: cookies are removable pads within the cup of a bra that can be taken out or left in based on the desired look and fit. Cookies are a great option for getting more usage out of your bra, and also for women with a problem with one breast being a full cup size larger than another. In that case, you can use the cookie in the smaller cup and leave the other cup without a cookie pad.

Hook-and-eye back closure: Hook and eye back closures are the hooks that fasten the band of the bra in the back. These can typically be adjusted to different levels of tightness for maximum support and comfort.

Lace Galloons: Lace Galloons refer to intricate lace bands with scalloped edges on both sides. Galloon lace is typically used as a finishing touch on the tops, bras, corsets and other delicately designed apparel for an ultra-luxurious, polished look.

Scalloped Edge: A scalloped edge is an edge with a curved, wavelike shape. This design is heavily implemented in many of our lace products, particularly our Never Say Never and Trenta collections.

Chevron Lace: Chevron lace is patterned in intricate, inverted "V" shapes. Beyond lace, chevron prints can be found throughout the world in both luxury apparel and home décor. It is typically a pattern of the Art Deco period.

Lined Gusset: A lined gusset is a cotton fabric added to panties in order to ensure breathability and comfort throughout the day. Lined gussets also protect clothing worn over the panty. Cosabella always makes their gussets out of cotton, for maximum comfort.

Boning: Boning is used by designers who wish to create shape, fit support, reinforcement and reduce wrinkling. Different types of materials are used as boning from steel to plastic depending on the strain that the garment will pose.

Bodysuit: Bodysuits, very similar to Teddies, are form fitting undergarments which provide support to the breasts, form the torso and have snap button closures between the legs. Bodysuits are typically used for smoothing or shaping a women's silhouette. Some women also use bodysuits for layering under jackets and tops. Wear a bodysuit for a fun, streamlined look and also when you do not want to worry about your top layer riding up or staying tucked in.

Teddy: Teddies, which can be very similar to bodysuits, are a one piece garment that can be either loose or tight. A teddy can be worn for layering as a top or as sleepwear depending on the fabric and fit. Some teddies have snap crotch closures while others are a full-on one piece. Teddies are ideal for smooth looks, worn instead of camisoles for a no nonsense tuck-in effect with pants and skirts.