The Fashion eZine - Women's Lingerie
Also known as a cupless bra the open-cup bra is a brassiere design composed of a frame with no support cups, or a bra which exposes the nipples with notched or contoured support cups. Usually worn as erotic lingerie, a cupless bra can cause the shape of the nipples to be prominently visible on an outer garment.
The most common variant is a shelf bra, which is essentially a rigid band (underwired) along the inframammary line, that pushes up without actually covering any, or only a thin strip of the breast. Another variant is partial cups that don't cover the nipples, but cover just the base of the breast.
An open-cup bra seems like it would defeat the purpose, doesn’t it? Well, that all depends on what you think that purpose is. If you only buy bras for their ability to provide coverage then you're missing out. Lingerie's the antithesis of what it's supposed to be, and it's incredibly sexy being rebellious.
Open-cup bras can be great for wearing behind closed doors and even underneath outfits you plan to be taking off soon. They're not recommended for running errands, going to work, etc. You'll still get similar support as with a traditional bra, but your nipples will be much more visible.
Your best bet for finding the style you want is to search online rather than in stores, as most stores don't sell open-cup bras. Also there are many different styles of open-cups.
Underwire open-cup: This one is like a typical underwire bra, just with the cups above removed. You can still have the lace or satin accents on the sides of the band. Your breasts are still relatively supported by the wire underneath. Granted, you probably won't want to wear this under regular clothes out in public. Your lover will enjoy your "naked, but not really" look in the bedroom with this style.
Sling bra: Here, you get something similar to the underwire style, but you there's a little more material. The bra almost appears to have the lower half of the cups still present. The top edges are outlined with material in a triangle shape. This type is a bit more modest than the underwire bra, but not much!
Nippleless: This is probably the most modest of all the open-cup styles. Cups still intact for the most part, they're open by a slit right at nipple level. It gives your lover a sneak peek at what could happen.
Demi cup: Half the cup, double the excitement, the demi cup bra lifts and supports without leaving you completely bare. The bottom portion of your breasts will still be covered, leaving the upper half—and nipples—uncovered and ready to excite your lover.
Sets: Sometimes you can find a bra and panty set in an open-cup style. If you get the opportunity, snatch one up! There's very little in the world more erotic than such a pairing.
Silhouette bra: Similar to the sling style, this one outlines the breast and leaves the cup out. This style really highlights your assets; think of it as eyeliner for your chest.
Drop cup: This one can double as a sexy nursing bra for those moms who still breastfeed but want to feel alluring. You'd never know it has the option for open-cups until you utilize the click-and-drop method.
Micro bikini: These bras look like teeny tiny bikinis with slits cut in the center of each cup for nipple exposure.
Bullet bras: These babies allow for an old-fashioned style with a new, naughty twist.
Open Tip Bras
An open tip bra is a another titillating option in brassiere wear that will provide the support you need while adding a little risqué to your lingerie. Similar to open-cup or shelf bras, the open tip style, leaves just your nipples uncovered.
Open tip styles are a good option for spicing up your lingerie. They provide support for a flattering lift, provide the wearer with a bit of a thrill each time they’re worn, but also offer a surprise element for your normally inobservant partner in the bedroom. As an added bonus your partner may decide they like the bra and skip the whole trying to remove it process.
Open tip bras also come in underwire and lacy versions, bullet retro styles (like Madonna's famous bullet bra) and work well under just about any shirt or sweater. Clingy shirts will show off your nipples more, especially in cold weather, and that all depends on whether you want to make heads turn to stare at your nipples.
Although some bras provide very little support and are made more for show, even women with large breasts can find a style that will give them a lift, which is important if you want to wear this bra during the day when you’re out and about. For private encounters support is usually not the first thing on your mind!
Like the open-cup bra there are quite a few online retailers who specialize in bras that aren’t your ordinary fare.
Some open tip styles with small openings that will just show the tip of a breast, to bras with larger openings that show a bigger area. The choice is yours in how much you want your nipples exposed. Some open tip bras have slits that expand, allowing you to adjust the size of the area exposed.
An Open Micro Bikini Bra is good for women who don’t require a lot of support because it is micro, and it goes well with matching crotchless panties.
A sling bra has slender straps that are best for women with smaller busts as this bra typically doesn’t go bigger than a C cup.
For women who want to try out the open tip style and require bigger bras the "Oh My Open Tip" comes in sizes up to DD.
If you decide to breastfeed you may want to invest in a nursing bra. A breastfeeding bra can help support you and make breastfeeding a little easier. These bras are designed to open from the top or sides so you do not have to worry about unhooking or flipping down your bra when breastfeeding.
You should be able to easily open your bra with one hand, and without looking at it, for discreet nursing. Always remember you will likely be trying to hold your baby with one hand while undoing your bra with the other.
The bra should support your breast while open. This will help with breastfeeding and in closing your bra.
Try to avoid bras that open completely at the front. It will be difficult to close after feedings.
Nursing bras should be comfortable and never painful.
Try to avoid bras with an underwire, which have been associated with mastitis, a painful infection of the milk ducts.
Always choose a bra made from cotton to prevent thrush.
Do not choose a bra with a plastic lining. Plastic linings can trap moisture against your nipple and increasing the chance of getting thrush.
Try to have at least three nursing bras--one for the laundry, one to wear and one for the drawer.
If you are large chested, you will need a nursing bra with extra support.
If you are small chested, you may want to consider going braless.
If you don’t like the idea of a breastfeeding bra, you may consider buying a stretchy bra that can be lifted above the breast during feedings.
Many women buy their nursing bras before they deliver. This is not recommended since most women’s breasts get larger when their milk comes in, sometimes as much as two cup sizes. During your postpartum time you will need a bra, but you may want to purchase a cheap stretchy one that expands or shrinks. Once the milk supply is established, most women’s breast sizes decrease. This is the time to find a good bra that fits well. The key is to be patient, and understand that you may need to purchase different sizes of bras through your breastfeeding time.
Nursing bras are designed for comfort of breastfeeding women, not to prevent sagging and stretching of your breasts over time. Wearing a breastfeeding bra will probably not prevent a little bit of sagging and stretching of your breasts. You can expect a little loss in firmness just due to the changes of your breasts swelling with milk reserves and after you wean your baby, you may find your breasts are a little smaller and droopier regardless of whether or not you wore a supportive bra. With a healthy diet and exercise many women find their breasts become more firm over time.
Try not to spend a great deal of money on a lactation bra, especially the first few months, and remember that breastfeeding bras are never returnable.