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What is a Bra?

A bra is a undergarment designed to provide support and shaping for the breasts. The word 'bra' is short for 'brassiere,' which was popularized in 1904 when a French ad used the word to describe the latest bust supporter. Vogue first used the word in 1907, and by 1911 it had made it to the Oxford dictionary. Brassiere was shortened to bra in the 1930s.

A bra generally has two cups that encapsulate and shape the breasts, and a band that goes around the body that supports the weight of the bust. Most bras have straps that stretch from the cups in the front of the bra to the band in the back of the bra, and these straps provide a little extra structure to the bra, but the band itself should hold most of the weight.

Bras come in a huge variety of styles and designs to accommodate every aspect of daily life. Some of these bras are customized based on the purpose of the bra, such as a sports bra or nursing bra, while other bras are characterized by the cut of the cups, like a demi cup bra. Still others are categorized by their construction, like molded cup or strapless bra. The key to finding the right bra for you is to understand what you want from a bra, and then find the right style for your needs and body type.

Next: Who Should Wear a Bra?


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