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Well girls.... there are a multitude of different types of bra, and every manufacturer has there little "quirks". Below I have tried to provide details of the main types of bra and breastform, how they are different, so that you can try and choose one that best meets your needs (please also refer to the section on fitting, and the "Easy as 1-2-3" Bra and Breastform Size Calculator). In many ways the most difficult part of finding the right bra, is finding one that fits you well, and looks great, particularly for those with large back sizes.
I will try and cover (just click on the title to jump to that section, or just scroll down the page):
- underwired versus non-wired bras
- unpocketed bras versus pocketed bras
- specific transgender bras
- cup styles
The vast majority of bras on the market are "Underwired", and most women would not even consider a non-wired bra (but there is a place for them - see below). These bras have a curved wire that follows the shape under the breast and gives lift and support. The actual shape and stiffness of the wire varies considerably between manufacturers and bra styles. So a "push-up" bra will have a different wire and construction to a regular bra.
Underwired bras are great for giving a feminine shape and keeping a breastform in the right position on the chest wall. However, care must be taken to get the right size, as if the wire "digs in" to your chest they can become very uncomfortable . This is particularly important in looking at bras for men's torsos.
Care also needs to be taken in choosing a breastform to wear with an underwired bra. Asymmetrical breastforms have a part of the breastform which comes around the side of the chest (under the arm). This is exactly where an underwired bra's wire is positioned to shape and support the breast. The great danger is that the wire can end up damaging the breastform, or you may end up wearing your breastform slightly more centrally than you should (so the breastform is not pinched by the wire).
Obviously, this will not be the case for every bra, and some do fit nicely. However to keep the maximum flexibilty, if you wish to wear an underwired bra, we recommend that you match it with triangular breastforms.
Otherwise known as a "soft cup" or "comfort bra" (watch out for those terms as many sites do not specifically indicate that a bra is "non-wired"). These bras do not have a wire, and all of the shape and support is provided by the construction and material used in the bra. They tend to be slightly deeper at the centre of the bra, and have a fuller cup to ensure the breast / breastform is supported and secure.
Often these bras (as their name suggests) can be more comfortable to wear for a prolonged period of time. They are also often recommended where there is a degree of sensitivity in the chest (possibly through surgery). They are suitable for use with most shapes of breastform.
As all of the support is provided through the material of the bra, they do tend to be fuller in the cup, and therefore it is difficult for them to be "sexy". Don't be at all put off by this, as in my collection I have included a couple of very pretty, very comfortable non-wired bras.
"Unpocketed" is not really a common term in the lingerie world, but I have used it here to describe regular bras and draw the distinction between regular and pocketed bras. I prefer the term "fashion" bra. Unpocketed bras represent the vast majority of the bra market, and can be bought from any high street lingerie store. They can be underwired or non-wired (see above).
The main problem you have with unpocketed bras is finding the syles and shapes that will fully conceal the edge of your breastform, so you can have that perfect look. The other problem, can be finding the correct back / cup size, particularly if you have a larger back.
I firmly believe that the perfect look is achieved when a bra just conceals the edge of a breastform, it provides such a more believable image for the wearer than where the edge of the breastform can be seen.
I have deliberately only selected bras to be on this website that will fully conceal the edge of your breastforms. You will be amazed at the range of pretty and sexy bras that are available that will do this without being at all "frumpy".
Pocketed bras have been developed to cater to ladies who have had mastectomies or breast surgery. The availability and styling have come a long way in recent years. They are available as either underwired or non-wired (see above).
These bras are specifically designed to accomodate breastforms. They have a have a fabric pocket sewn into each cup, so that you can slide in your breastform. They are designed and constructed in a way which holds the breastform to the chest (so they don't noticably fall away when you bend over).
There are a number of ways in which the pockets are constructed. All of the pocketed bras in my collection have the pockets as a "sleeve" within the cup itself. This means that they can be worn with your breastforms in the pockets or they can be worn as a regular bra, not using the pockets. This makes them very flexible in their use.
As pocketed bras have to hold, and fully conceal a breastform, they tend to be slightly fuller in the cup, particularly the non-wired pocketed bras. I have included some very pretty pocketed bras in the collection.
The vast majority of pocketed bras are underwired, but I have included both underwired and non-wired.
As for breastforms, I do not recommend using a "Teardrop" shaped breastform with these pocketed bras, as the size of the sleeve can often struggle to fit the top of the teardrop. Asymmetrical breastforms will be fine with the non-wired bras, but may not fit the underwired bras properly (see above). Once again I recommend a symmetrical triangle shaped breastform, as they will fit all of these bras perfectly.
These are bras that would not normally be sold to ladies, and have been specifically designed for the transgender market. We only sell one such item, which is pocketed as well. The main difference to our other bras is that the material that each cup is made from is extremely "sheer" (fine / thin), so that the breastform / nipple is both visible through the bra and the nipple shape may be visible through tight fitting clothing.
Full cup bras - as the name suggests - have a larger cup, which covers more of your breast. This can provide great shape and support, and gives improved confidence if you have any concerns about your breastform showing. Given the the size of the cup (and the coverage), full cup bras tend to be pretty, rather than "sexy". They can still be extremely glamorous, using beautiful lace and fabrics.
All of the pocketed bras in my collection can be considered as full cup, as by their very nature they have to be full enough to hold a breastform in a pocket.
A balconette bra has a cup which is cut a little lower on the breast. All of the balconette bras in my collection are "3/4 balconettes". Although these have a smaller cup, all of the balconette bras in my collection have sufficient coverage to conceal the edge of a breastform. These can be very "sexy" as well as pretty.
I have not included any bras with a lower cut cup than a 3/4 balconette, as I would not be confident that they would conceal and firmly hold a breastform. Be careful when buying a balconette bra, you need to be really sure of how the cup will match your breastform.
Smooth / Padded Cup
As the name suggests these bras have a smooth finish, and will not use lace on the cup. They will generally have a moulded cup with a layer of padding. This gives a smooth, round, shape under clothing, without nipple-show.
Here at Hour Glass Figure we only sell high quality breastform, ones which we believe you will look and feel great in. We do not stock cheap "adult novelty" breasts. Although these are low in price we do not believe that they are suitable for anything other than what their name suggests.
Firstly lets look at "types" of Breastform, then we can look at shapes.
Types of Breastform
These are breast forms that have a "permanently" adhesive underside to stick the breast form onto your chest wall. There is no need to use additional adhesives or tapes, and with proper care the permanent adhesive will last for many years.
I think they are brilliant, and it you really want to improve your femme experience you really have to seriously consider a pair. The only downsides are the price, and they fact that the adhesive is NOT strong enough for them to be worn bra-less.
Amoena are the real experts in this area, and first developed the technology for ladies who have had a radical mastectomy. Amolux have also recently introduced a contact breast form designed specifically for the cross dressing / trans gender market.
There are some important differences between the two...
The Amoena contact breast forms come in a huge range of styles, shapes and weights. They also come with their Comfort+ filling. This is a special filling which takes heat away from the chest wall, and helps keep you a bit cooler when wearing the forms. Most importantly this will reduce (but not remove) perspiration.
The Amoena full weight silicone is, in my opinion, the most realistic feeling silicone you can buy - it really is uncanny how it feels to the touch. However, large breast forms are very heavy (as are large breasts) and so they also have a lightweight silicone (35% lighter) - which is great for additional comfort - but the silicone feels less like breast tissue.
The forms come is a full range of sizes - they have to as they were developed to match a ladies natural breast size. This means that they will exactly fit any bra size you want. They also have three different profiles (full, average, and shallow). This describes how much silicone is in the upper part of the form - and dictates how full the top of your bust will look. Full will be "obvious", shallow more subtle.
The Amolux contact breast forms, are made of a very similar feeling silicone to Amoena's full weight silicone - which feels really good. The main difference with the Amolux are:
- They are more hollowed out on the underside. This means they can accomodate more natural breast tissue under the form - which can be useful with some male physiques
- They are an asymmetrical shape only. Not really my favourite shape, as they can get in the way of underwired bras
- They only come in even sizes. This should notbe uch of an issue as you are free to choose your size ! (unless you are trying to match with bras you already have).
Personally, I think contact breastforms are the best products on the market. If it is "feel" you are interested in, both in terms of how they feel to touch and the realistic feel of having breasts then these should be your choice.
The Amoena 3S (full weight full profile) - model 382 are my best selling forms.
These are what most of us would think of when thinking about breast forms. They have come on leaps and bounds over recent years, and now provide a very good alternative for having the look and feel of breasts.
The better quality breastforms in this category are made of high quality silicone, but tend not to have been through the rigorous medical testing that mastectomy breastforms have had to go through. As a result they do tend to be a bit cheaper.
The breastforms in this category tend to be made of a slightly "firmer" silicone. While this provides a less realistic touch and feel, it does provide the breastforms with a little more "bounce", which many customers seem to like. They also have the advantage of looking more like breasts, particularly under see through or extremely sheer material, with full distinct nipples (except the Amolux).
You really need to think about whether you want to wear your forms stuck to your chest or not (if you do I recommend using adhesive tapes rather than adhesives).
If you do want to wear them stuck to your chest often, then you should really choose a form with a tougher underside - that will not rip with repeated use.
Amolux have a lovely form in this market - made of the same silicone as their contact breast form (and its a triangular shape). It really is lovely to the touch, and fantastic in a bra. However, in my opinion, the silicone is just too delicate to use with tapes / adhesives, and will probably rip after being used a few times.
There is pleanty of choice in this area, and hopefully a form to fit most budgets
Broadly speaking if you intend your breastforms to be seen, and want the "look" or you want a slightly "bouncier" feel (and you are less interested in a realistic feel) - then these should be your choice.
If you intend to swim in either salt water, or chlorinated water, you really should not do this with your breastform. Salt and chlorine are quite destructive, and over time may damage your forms. Specially designed swimforms have been developed which are quick drying, light, and highly chemically resistant. They are relatively cheap, and should always be used if you intend to go in the water.
Swimforms also make a decent, and cheap, entry level breastform if you are just trying things out. The tend to be made of transparent silicone (so they do not "look" like a breast) and the tend to be hollowed out (to keep them light) so they cannot be fixed to the chest. But in a pocketed swimsuit they look great.
If you intend to go into water - you really should be using these and not your expensive breastforms.
Well thats about it for a start - hope it helps. If you have any questions about bras, I have years of experience and would be delighted to try and help out. Either send an e-mail, use the contact form (in "About Us") or give me a call on the helpline number.