Lingerie Glossary


Lingerie Glossary
 
Baffled by Basques and Babydolls? In disarray when confronted with a demi? Read our helpful lingerie glossary to unveil those mysterious lingerie pieces and discover what they are supposed to do and, most importantly, what’s right for you...
 
 
A
Adjustable Shoulder Straps:  Straps that can 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.
 
Air Padding: a type of padding, usually removable, that is used in push-up or plunge bras. Air padding offers more lift than foam padding but with a lighter weight pad.
 
 
B
Babydolls: A woman's sleepwear piece and is typically characterized by a tighter fitting top and looser, flowing bottom to flatter a woman's waistline. Some Babydoll's however, can have more of a straight silhouette.
 
Backseam: 
A backseam is the seam that runs along the back of the leg on your hosiery.
 
Balconette Bras (also called Balcony bras): A Balconette Bra has a horizontal bust-line that promotes lift and cleavage from beneath the breast, typically without the use of padding. This makes it a favorite among average to full-busted women who prefer a lift but don't want the extra bulk of padding.
 
Ballet Back: Refers to the shape where the straps meet the back of the bra. The ballet back forms a "U" shape. This shape enables the bra to securely lift your bust line by hugging the band more closely to the body. This "U" shape also elongates the torso and improves your posture. It also helps to keep straps on your shoulders. Ballet back may also be called a leotard back.
 
Bamboo Fabric: Fabric made from bamboo fibers is extremely environmentally friendly because it doesn't require replanting or chemical fertilizers. The fibers of the bamboo plant are naturally porous, so they absorb moisture and wick it away from the skin. This fabric keeps you cooler and drier than synthetics or cotton.
 
Bandeau Bras: A bra style modeled after a tube top that offers minimal support. Usually once piece that you slip over your head to wear. Bandeau bras are commonly worn as a bra alternative when lounging and sleeping.
 
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 Australian size chart, if your band size is 12 and your cups size is a C then your bra size would be a 12C. The band should fit snug to the body. A band that's too tight can dig into the skin leaving unattractive marks or promote an unflattering silhouette, while a band thats too loose, will cause discomfort and lack of support. For maximum support, search for bras with higher bands where they meet the cup. 
 
Base: The base is the extension of fabric that starts from the edge of the underwire and extends to the back of the bra. A base on a bra offers additional support in hugging the bra to your body. A base is a benefit for all figure types.
 
Basques: 
A basque is a form-fitting piece of lingerie which extends down over your hips and usually ends in suspenders.
 
Bead Padding: Bead padding (beaded pad, bean bag pad) is a type of padding, usually removable, that is used in push-up or plunge bras. Bead padding offers more lift than foam padding. The beads conform to your body's curves for an effect that looks and feels natural.
 
 
Bikinis: A brief style panty with high cut leg openings. Bikinis typically fall at the hips, rather than the waist, and provide moderate rear coverage. Bikinis range from ultra lean cuts (string bikini) to fuller, more traditional silhouettes.
 
Bodysuit: A one-piece form-fitting garment that covers the torso. Shapewear commonly comes in bodysuit form, providing full-body slimming benefits, including torso, waist, tummy, hips, thighs and butt.
 
Boning: A rigid support structure sewn into the vertical seams of a garment or bra, designed to maintain a thin, shapely look. Early types of boning were made from whalebones, hence the name, but modern boning is mostly made from plastic or thin strips of metal. Boning is commonly found on the midriff section of long line bras (bustier) and corsets, and even on the wings of traditional bras.
 
Boy shorts: A full coverage panty version of a man's trunk style. Boy shorts traditionally have a low rise fit and leg length ranges from square cut to a 1-inch inseam. Their length and comfort lead them to be great everyday underwear, as well as a popular lounge option.
 
Boxers:  Boxers are a full coverage loose panty usually worn for lounging 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.
 
Bralette: An unlined, soft cup bra that offers light support. Commonly used as a teen bra, training bra, or as a lounging around/sleeping bra.
 
Brazilian Panty: Brazilian panties have more back coverage than a thong but less coverage than a bikini. The style's coverage creates a "V" shape effect on the front and back of the body.
 
Brief: A brief is a traditional panty with a high-rise and full back and side coverage. The waistband rests at or just below the belly button. Ideal for those seeking maximum coverage and no panty lines.
Bustier: (or long-line Bra)
A bustier is a corset-style lingerie garment that extends through the torso to the hips. Bustiers are characteristically boned to create a contoured "hourglass" shape. Styles range from simple, no-nonsense shaping to ones that are lavishly decorated in lace and applique.
 
 
C
 
Camisole: A sleeveless top with thin, sometimes adjustable shoulder straps. Shapewear versions provide upper body compression to create a slimmer, smoother silhouette.
 
 
Convertible Bra: A bra with straps that unhook so that they can be rearranged into a variety of formations, including crisscross, halter, one shoulder and even strapless. Not all convertible bras are capable of all the options, so be sure to consult the item description to make sure that the strap configuration you want is an option.
 
Contour Bra: A contour bra has pre-molded, shaped cups made with a thin layer of foam to shape the breast and prevent nipples from showing through. In addition to providing coverage and support, contour bras are great everyday bras because they add definition and smoothness to the silhouette. Contour bras don't increase bust size, but create a rounder, symmetrical look.
 
Compression Shorts: Form-fitting athletic undergarments that have the look and feel of cycling shorts, but apply more compression to combat muscle fatigue.
 
 
Chantilly Lace: The original Chantilly Lace was a handmade floral bobbin lace from the city of Chantilly, France. Semi-sheer with large and small flowers, this lace has become popular in the construction of high end lingerie.
 
Charmeuse: A specific weave of fabric that is soft, supple and drapes beautifully with a shiny, satin finish on one side and a dull finish on the other (inside). It is commonly made of silk, but can also be found in polyester.
 
Chemises: The chemise was originally created for both men and women as a protective layer between the skin and outerwear garments. In the modern age however, a chemise is almost always a loose-fitting, sleeveless shirt-like lingerie item for women. The traditional style lacks definition in the waist area, but modern versions can be sexy and contoured.
 
Cleavage:
The vertical line created by a woman's breasts. Cleavage can be made more prominent by using a push-up bra, which contains padding that pushes your breasts up and out for a more defined silhouette.
 
Centre Gore: The center gore is the fabric in the center of your bra that connects your two cups together. The height of the center helps to determine a bra's support. A supportive bra will have a centre gore that comes up to the nipple line. A lower center gore works best for plunging necklines. The center gore should lay flat against your chest when determining if a bra fits correctly. If the center gore doesn't lie flat on the chest, and instead creates a gap between the gore and your skin, try going up a cup size.
 
Combed Cotton: This extra-soft cotton is called combed because the shortest, additional fibers are removed (as by combing) leaving only high-quality yarns with excellent strength and softness. Many intimate apparel companies use combed cotton because it feels so good against sensitive skin.
 
Control Panty: This shapewear piece has the shape of a brief and features a tummy-flattening front panel and/or total smoothing engineered into the design. It's the perfect minimal option for toning without wearing a major shapewear garment.
 
Control Slip: (aka shapewear slip) a streamlined shapewear garment that provides even, smoothing control of the bust, tummy, hips and thighs. Typically lightweight, control slips are comfortable and invisible under dresses.
 
Control Top: The stretchy, slimming waistband portion of certain hosiery and panties that smoothes the shape of the tummy, hips and butt.
 
Cookies: Padded inserts in the cup of a bra that change the shape of the breast. Cookies can be made from fiberfill (a type of foam), water, oil or gel. Commonly found in push-up bras, cookies are what give you that perked up effect. Cookies are also used to equalize breasts of uneven sizes.
 
Corselette: A corselette is a type of shapewear worn on the torso, below the breasts and above the hips. The corselette gives a tummy flattening and back smoothing effect. The corselette has a "U" shape at the front so you can wear your favorite bra along with it. Corselettes have hook and eye (bra hook closures) or snap front closures.
 
Corset: A tight fitting, body enhancing garment worn on the midriff to create an hourglass-shaped figure. Corsets are traditionally boned throughout the design and feature a lace-up closure in the back for optimum compression. Modern corsets often feature a hook-and-eye closure.
 
Cotton: Cotton is a natural fabric made from the fibers of the cotton plant, cherished for its durability and comfortable softness. Though 100% cotton fabric is the time-tested classic, much of the cotton used in underwear has been blended with a small amount of spandex (elastane) as this helps to retain the shape of the garment.
 
Crinoline: 
A crinoline is a stiffened or structured petticoat designed to hold out a woman's skirt, popular at various times since the mid-19th century. They are still used today, usually in Haute Couture or for dress ups.
 
Cuban heel: 
 A type of heel on a fully-fashioned stocking whereby the reinforced part is squared off above the back of the ankle, rather than tapering to a point (which is a Point Heel).
 
Culottes: The culotte often sits low on the waist, providing full coverage through the hips while cutting straight across the back for a flirty, cheeky look.
 
Culotte Thong: The Culotte thong achieves seamless coverage through a wide waistband and a narrow cut back.
 
Cup: The cup of a bra is the fabric covering the breast. All bras have cups and are usually supported by an underwire (those with no wires at the cup are wireless bras). Cups are made one of two ways: either seamless/smooth or cut and sewn. They come in a variety of coverage levels: full coverage, 3/4 coverage (medium coverage), demi or balconette. The cup is the letter portion of bra sizing. Example: Size 34C (C refers to the cup size).
 
D
 
Décolletage: The area on a woman's chest just above her bust line. This term is also used to describe the low-cut neck on a garment that acts to expose this area.
 
Demi Cup: A demi cup bra offers minimal coverage for petite and average women. The underwire of a demi cup bra is much shorter which makes this type of bra great for more petite women who have issues with underwire poking out.
 
Denier Level: The measurement standard used by hosiery companies to describe the weight and thickness of nylon yarn. The lower the denier number, the thinner the yarn and the more sheer the fabric.
 
E
 
Elastane: Also known as spandex, this synthetic fibre is known for its exceptional elasticity. It is stronger and more durable than rubber, making it an ideal addition to lingerie fabric blends to yield a perfect fit. Elastane is frequently added to cotton to help the garment retain its shape.
 
Elastic: Stretchable fibre, yarn or tape made from natural or synthetic rubber. It is used to create most waistbands and leg trims in intimate apparel because of its high level of resilience.
 
Embroidery: Embroidery looks similar to lace, but is an additional needlework pattern sewn onto the existing base of knit tulle or cotton. Embroidery provides a couture look that is delicate to the touch. All of the embroideries that Chantelle uses, for example, are exclusive to their designs.
 
Empire Waist: A high waistline that cuts horizontally across the body, just below the bust.  This waistline gives a long, slender look and excellent fabric drape in the skirt.
 
F
 
Foam (bra cup): The foam used in bra cups serves many purposes. The light padding offers shaping, contouring, cushioning and prevents nipple show through. The foam also keeps its sturdy shape through wash and wear.
 
Fencenet: Similar to fishnet stockings, the difference is fencenet is a type of hosiery with much a much larger diamond shape knit, similar to the shape of wire fencing.
 
Fishnet Stockings: 
Fishnet stockings is a type of hosiery, which is made up of a small diamond shape knit resembling fishing nets.
 
Frame (bra): The structure of a bra, generally the band that runs around the ribcage and holds the cups and straps.
 
French knickers: (also called tap pants/tap short) Are a style of panty that is similar in look to a pair of shorts. French knickers are worn from the hip, concealing some of the upper thigh and the entire bottom. The garment features an "open leg" style (a loose fitting leg opening without elastic cuffs) that allows for a more comfortable fit and the straight-cut leg cuffs can be designed with or without trimming. The fabric is often bias cut.
 
Front Close (bra): A bra that features a front closure mechanism rather than rear. Bras with unique one-piece backs, such as racer-back and shapewear bras feature front close clasps, as they offer a totally smooth back and they are also extremely convenient to put on.
 
Full Busted: A term that describes the category of women of any body shape with an above-average bust measurement. Full Busted refers to bust size only, and is not the same as Full Figured.
 
Full Coverage (bra): A full coverage bra features cups that completely cover most of the breast, offering more coverage and more support than a demi cup bra. A true full coverage cup will not cause an indentation along the top of the breast.
 
Full Coverage (underwear):
A term used to describe styles that rest at the waist and offer full rear coverage with a low leg line.
 
Fully Adjustable: The term fully adjustable refers to when the bra straps can be tightened or loosened to the fullest extent. There are no strap design details that prevent the plastic or metal slider from stopping halfway down the strap. Fully adjustable bras are ideal for petite women and women with sloped shoulders.
 
Fully Fashioned Stockings: Stockings that are knitted flat on vintage machinery and then sewn up the back with a genuine seam and finishing loop. The fully-fashioned stocking often comes with a Cuban or Point Heel and is seamed at the back. Typically, they are 10-15 denier, with non-stretch 100% nylon yarns.
 
G
 
G-String: A panty offering the least amount of coverage, a G-String features a narrow panel of fabric in the front that tapers to a thin band, passes between the buttocks and is attached to a thin waistband in the back. G-Strings leave your buttocks completely exposed and are worn for their ability to completely minimize visible panty lines.
 
Garter, Garter Belt: A garter belt is a lingerie strap worn around the waist underneath the clothing with four clips (two at front and two at back) made to hold stockings up. The garters are the straps that hang from the garter belt, attaching to the stockings.
 
Georgette: Sheer crepe woven from hard twisted yarns/threads to produce a dull yet delicate pebbly surface. The pebbly weave of georgette gives transparency but has slightly more coverage than chiffon.
 
 
Girdle: The original shapewear, these undergarments are close fitting and extend from the waist to below the hips, often made with stretchy fabrics and support boning.
 
Gossamer: A lightweight, sheer gauze-like fabric.
 
Gown: An article of clothing used for night or loungewear. Often made of silk, cotton or polyester, and sometimes includes adjustable shoulder straps and a matching outer robe. Types of gowns include: babydolls, negligees, nightdresses and peignoirs.
 
Guipure: Guipure is similar to embroidery, but rich and more lavish. It is created using a special technical process which is what gives it its raised appearance.
 
Gusset: In terms of lingerie, a gusset generally refers to the triangular or rectangular section of fabric in the crotch area or often a snap or hook-and-eye closure on an item of shapewear. Items with sewn-in cotton gussets offer an extra layer of protection and comfort.
 
 
H
 
Halter (bra style): A bra style that features straps that fasten behind the neck. Many halter style bras are convertible to strapless, regular and crisscross.
 
High Cut (panty): A panty that features high cut leg openings and full rear coverage. Also known as a French Cut panty, they can give the illusion of longer legs.
 
High Rise: A term used to describe styles of underwear with waistbands that rise well above your natural waistline covering much of the lower abdomen and, in some cases, reaching up to your navel.
 
High Waist: Panties and shapewear panties designed with a waistband that rises high above your natural waistline to provide support and can have a slimming effect on your tummy and hips.
 
Hipster (panty): A panty that sits low on the hips, both at the front and the back. Hipster style panties are ideal for wearing under low-rise pants and jeans.
 
Hook and Eye: A hook and eye is a type of lingerie closure located on the back of the bra that is comprised of metal hooks and loops which connect to each other and in turn fasten the two parts of a bra together.
 
I
 
Inseam: The vertical inner leg seam on the legs of a pair of pants or underwear with long legs, such as a boxer brief.
 
Inner Sling: An inner sling is an additional fabric lining inside a bra that follows the bottom, outer curve of the cup, closest to your armpit. This sling helps to move your breast tissue forward, giving a more centered, lifted and supported look for the bust. A sling is usually used in unlined, underwire and full support bras. Slings are mostly used in bras for fuller busts.
 
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.
 
J
 
Jacquard: A decorative woven or knitted pattern sewn onto fabric, named after its inventor, Josie Marie Jacquard.
 
Jersey Knit: The same fabric from which most t-shirts are made, jersey is both comfortable and durable, making it an ideal choice for a variety of undergarments.
 
 
 
K
 
Kimono: A wide-sleeved robe with a belt that is inspired in style, by the traditional Japanese kimono. The kimono style is popular as loungewear and often features a floral or scenic print with a button, toggle or sash closure.
 
 
Knee Highs (hosiery): Short hosiery that comes up to just below the knee. They are styled with elastic tops and stay up without the help of garters.
 
Knee-high (sock height): Socks that rise up to the knee level.
 
Knit: A knit is a fabric often mixed with spandex fibers to enable the most comfort and stretch. Most bras, panties and shapewear are made of knit fabric.
 
 
L
 
 
Lace: Lace is an ornately woven fabric made by interlacing and winding threads. Lace is available in various qualities. Lace is commonly used in demi bras, full support bras and sometimes as trim on t-shirt bras.
 
Laser Cut Edges: A technique applied to synthetic fabrics, whereby the edges are trimmed using a laser, creating a flat, seamless edge that won't unravel. Garments with laser cut edges are especially ideal under tight, clingy pants and dresses.
 
Leg Shaper: A shapewear style, usually resembling a bicycle short or footless tight, made to offer control and shaping throughout the legs.
 
Leggings: Tight, form-fitting trousers made from opaque fabric.
 
Lined Cups, Lining (bra): Bra cups that are lined with seamed fabric foam or mesh as a way of providing shaping, comfort, uplift and support.
 
Long line Bra (Bustier): A corset-style lingerie garment that extends through the torso to the hips, also known as a bustier. Long line bras are characteristically boned to create a contoured "hourglass" shape. Styles range from simple, no-nonsense shaping to lavishly decorated in lace and applique.
 
Low Rise: A term used to describe styles of underwear that fall below your natural waistline and don't peep above low rise, hipster pants and jeans.
 
Lycra Elastane: A registered trademark of the DuPont Company for their spandex fiber. What that means for you... a high quality spandex fiber that is woven into fabrics such as cotton, to help them retain their shape.
 
 
M
 
Marabou: The down from the tail of the marabou that is soft, fluffy and feathery, used for trimming.
 
Maternity Bra: A bra designed with special modifications for the pregnant woman. Maternity bras offer stepped up side support, feature wider, non-elastic straps to decrease breast bounce and increased coverage and breathability to prevent breast irritation.
 
Matte: This term is normally used to describe a metallic surface with a smooth or sometimes brushed finish that lacks lustre and shine. It is also used to describe the same non-lustrous finish on a fabric (as in silk chiffon).
 
Memory Foam: Memory foam is a new generation of t-shirt bra cups that react to your natural body heat. This foam will shape to your body, then return to its original shape once taken off. It allows the bra to mould to the breast while staying smooth and seamless under your clothes. 
 
Mercerized Cotton: Cotton that has been treated with sodium hydroxide to give it a slick texture and lustrous appearance.
 
Merry Widow: a strapless corset or bustier usually having garters attached.
 
Microfiber: A smooth, stretchy fabric made from extremely fine filaments. Because microfiber is so lightweight and breathable it is used to make a variety of garments, from bras to boxer briefs.
 
Minimizer: A minimizer is a type of bra that gives the effect of a smaller bust line. Minimizers are best for full busts. They have special design elements to make you look more slender by lifting and supporting your bust in all the right places. The term minimizer may be used when describing underwire, full support, and cut and sewn bras.
 
Modal: A natural fabric made from the cellulose fibres of beech trees. Modal is soft and silky to the touch, and more absorbent than cotton, making it a favorite underwear material for both men and women.
 
Molded Cups: This refers to heat-shaping a piece of fabric over a breast-shaped mould in order to take a certain shape. Molded cups can be both seamless and seamed, and when foam padding is added, it becomes a contour bra.
 
Muffin Top: A slang term that refers to the bulge that falls over the top of pants or shapewear that are too tight. Wearing the proper size can eliminate much of the muffin top, and going for a high-waisted shapewear piece can smooth it over altogether.
 
N
 
Negligee: A flowing lingerie robe made from a delicate fabric like silk or rayon with lace or ruffled adornment. A vestige of classic French lingerie, women nowadays cover themselves up with a negligee before getting dressed.
 
Nylon: A family of synthetic fabrics made from strong, resilient fibers. Also known as polyamide.
 
O
 
Oil Padding: Oil padding is a type of padding, sometimes removable, that is used in push-up or plunge bras. Oil padding offers more lift than foam padding, but is slightly heavier in weight.
 
Organic Cotton: Organic cotton is cultivated using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems restore and maintain soil fertility, minimize the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers and build biologically diverse agriculture.
 
Ouvert: (or crotch-less panties) underwear with no crotch, worn so that the genitals are exposed.
 
P
 
 
Padded Bra: A padded bra refers to any bra style that has a formed shape when it is not on the body. Padding thickness varies from the very thin padding often used t-shirt bras, to the thicker style of padding found in a push-up bra. Even though the padding thickness may vary, these styles of bras are all considered padded bras. Padded bras are good for all bust types. The term padded may be used when describing: t-shirt, plunge and push-up bras.
 
Pantyhose: A garment that combines both panty and stockings into a one-piece waist-high garment. This smooth look eliminates panty lines.
Peignoir: A woman's light dressing gown or negligee.
 
Piping: A decorative touch added to garments where a narrow fold of fabric in a contrasting color is sewn into the seam.
 
Pima Cotton: One of the finest grades of cotton in the world, ranked just after Egyptian and Supima cottons. It features long, luxurious white vegetable fibers from the cotton plant grown in the southwest United States by the Pima Indians.
 
Plunge (bra): Plunge bras feature deep cut necklines that reveal more décolletage for a sexier look. With a deep front (plunge front), angled cups and a thin center gore, these bras create the appearance of increased cleavage.
 
Princess line: A style of a clothing article that is made of several pieces contoured to fit the body.
 
Push Up Bra: Bras that create the appearance of enhanced cleavage by using angled cups and padding. Most push up bras feature fiberfill graduated padding along the bottom, but other types include oil, water and gel-filled pads. The pads are also known as cookies.
 
Point Heel: Type of heel on a fully-fashioned stocking whereby the reinforced part tapers off to a point (as opposed to a Cuban heel, which is squared off).  Often called a French heel.
 
Polyamide: A family of synthetic fabrics made from strong, resilient fibers. Also known as nylon.
 
Polyester: A synthetic knit fabric noted for its soft feel, durability and versatility of use.
 
Powermesh: A lightweight, gauze-like fabric that maintains its rigidity as it stretches. Because of its durability and lightweight feel, powermesh is often used to line bra wings.
 
 
Q
-
 
R
Racer Back: Racer back bras have straps that form the shape of a "V" on the center of the back. This strap placement allows a wider range of arm movement because the straps are not lying against the shoulder blades. Racer back bras are best for shallow, average and some full busts. Also called a T-back bra.
 
Reinforced Heel (sock): A heel that has been strengthened with extra knitting to lend more durability.
 
Rise: The measurement between the waistband and the first horizontal seam of a panty (at the crotch). Average rises are around 9" and low-rise starts at about 7". Rise is also a term used to describe where an underwear waistband falls in relation to the waistband of your pants.
 
Rayon: A man made fabric made from the natural fibers of cotton, wood chips, bamboo, modal and a variety of other vegetable matters. Rayon is soft, absorbs moisture well, and has an attractive lustre making it an ideal fabric for a variety of uses.
 
S
 
Satin: This traditional fabric has a silky, lustrous finish. The long, interlaced yarns of the fabric have no visible pattern, creating a smooth shiny surface.
 
Seamed Cup (bras): Seamed cup bras offer more support and shaping than seamless cups because the seams determine the cup's exact shape and size, and offer semi-rigid support.
 
Seamless Cup Bra: Seamless cup bras have cups that are made of one single piece of fabric. The cups have no seams and offer shaping to provide a smooth look under most clothing types. Seamless bras are great for all bust types. Seamless cup bras may be used when referring to t-shirt bras, underwire bras, minimizer bras and plunge bras.
 
Seamless: A term applied to underwear that does not feature side seams that could potentially cause visible panty line along the hips.
 
Shapewear: Garments worn under clothing that smooth over skin, resulting in a slimmer, more toned appearance. Shapewear pieces range from control panties to full-coverage bodysuits. The goal of shapewear is to provide a smoother foundation shape while remaining undetectable under clothes. Shapewear garments include tummy shapers, leg shapers, waist shapers, shaping bodysuits and thigh shapers.
 
Shelf Bra: Technically, a bra that features a shelf-like support under the breasts but almost no coverage. However, shelf bra is also used to describe the built-in bras inside some tank tops.
 
Side Sling: A side sling is a vertical panel of fabric adding support to the bra cups closest to the armpit. A side sling helps to contain and move your breasts forward which instantly slims your silhouette. Side slings may be used in full support, 3-part cups and minimizer bras.
 
Silk: This is one of the finest textiles in the world because of its natural softness and radiant sheen. Silk is created when a silkworm constructs its cocoon. Silk has the natural ability to regulate temperature, keeping you cool in hot weather and warm in cool weather.
 
Soft Cup Bra: Bras that have no underwire in the construction. Most maternity and sports bras are soft cup bras. The lack of underwire doesn't equal a lack of support; in fact there are many unique construction soft cup bras that offer comparable support to underwire bras. Some women with larger back sizes may prefer soft cup bras because they may have difficulty finding an underwire that fits comfortably.
 
Soy (fabric): Soy fabric is an environmentally friendly fiber made from tofu manufacturing waste. Soy protein is liquefied and extruded into long, unbroken fibers that are then cut and processed like other spinning fibers. It's incredibly soft and feels similar to cashmere.
 
Spandex: A synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity. Also known as elastane and Lycra Elastane. It is stronger and more durable than rubber, making it an ideal addition to lingerie fabric blends to yield a perfect fit. Spandex is frequently added to cotton to help the garment retain its shape.
 
Sports Bra (aka Compression Bra): It has been proven that exercise, especially high-impact exercise, damages breast tissue and ligaments, causing them to sag. A good sports bra can reduce breast movement during exercise up to 50%. Sport bras tend to be made from a stretch microfiber that wicks moisture away from the skin, with seamless cups, non-stretch straps, and can often have a racer back design. For smaller cup sizes, pullover compression style bras are enough, but for larger cup sizes, more sophisticated engineering is usually recommended.
 
Stockings: A knitted, close fitting tight covering for the foot and leg.
 
Straight Back: A straight back means that the band of the bra is designed to be completely horizontal on the body. There is no curvature where the straps meet the back band, as there is in a leotard back. Straight back bras are found in all styles of bras.
 
Strapless Bra: Strapless bras are designed to stay in place without the use of shoulder straps. They commonly have silicone strips on the inside of the band to keep the bra from sliding down. Strapless bras are worn under your favorite tops and dresses that bare your shoulders. Strapless bras are good for all bust types.
 
Stretch Cotton: Cotton fabric that has been blended with a small amount of spandex (elastane) that helps to retain the shape of the garment without sacrificing softness.
 
Slips: Slips are typically worn under dresses or skirts to prevent clinging and to create a more smooth, polished look. However, slips can also be used in layering for pops of color or texture, for lounging and as sleepwear depending on the fabric and transparency.
 
Suspender: (Or Garter belt) is a lingerie strap worn around the waist underneath the clothing with four clips (two at front and two at back) made to hold stockings up. Suspenders are the straps that hang from the garter belt, attaching to the stockings.
 
T
 
T-Shirt Bra: A T-shirt bra has seamless cups with light padding so that your nipples won't show through. T-shirt bras are the perfect bra to give you a smooth look under clingy tops and lightweight fabrics.
 
Tanga: A panty that fits somewhere between a bikini and a thong. A Tanga has narrower back coverage than a traditional panty but is not as narrow as a thong of G-string.
 
Tactel: A type of nylon trademarked by DuPont that's amazingly soft and durable. It is lightweight, versatile, breathable, shape-retentive and easy-to-wash.
 
Teddy: Teddies, which can be very similar to bodysuits, are a one-piece garment that can be either loose fitting 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.
 
Tencel: A man made fabric made from the natural cellulose found in wood pulp, which is processed into a silk-like, delicate fabric. Tencel is smooth and stretchy with a nice luster, making it an ideal fabric for a variety of uses.
 
Thigh Highs: Stockings that just reach the thigh and are held up by elastic bands.
 
Thong: A thong has a waistband with a piece of fabric (as opposed to a string) that goes between the buttocks and is attached to the back, offering slightly more coverage than a G-string.
 
Tights: A heavy, opaque one-piece garment from hip to toe worn with leotards for dance, exercise, etc. It is usually made with 40-denier or higher yarn, and is sometimes made of fabrics other than nylon.
 
Triangle Bra: A bra with triangular-shaped cups that are attached to a thin bra base. Triangle bras offer the perfect amount of coverage and support for petite to average figures. They may be padded or lined but are generally wire-free.
 
Tulle: Tulle is a mesh fabric that can stretch or be stiff. It is often used as a background for embroidery. Depending on the thickness and form, it can be sheer or opaque.
 
 
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Underwire: A sewn-in moulded wiring that runs beneath the breast in the bra cups. The underwire help to lift and separate the bust line for enhanced shape and support. While the original underwire was made from wire, they are now made from both metal and plastic.
 
V
 
Viscose: A man-made knit fabric made from natural cellulose fiber that can be obtained from wood, modal and bamboo, to name a few. A form of rayon, viscose is soft, absorbs moisture well, and has an attractive luster, making it an ideal fabric for a variety of uses.
 
VPL: VPL is a lingerie term meaning "Visible Panty Line".
 
W
 
Waist Cincher: A garter belt that is worn high at the natural waist, fastened with a hook and eye closure. The waist cincher slims the waist and gives an hourglass figure. Clips attach from the belt to your stockings to keep them up.
 
Waspie: Also known as a waist cincher, is very similar to a corset in that it brings in the waist. However, now some people wear waspies as belts over a dress or with a skirt as a fashion statement.
 
Welt: Specifically relating to stockings, this is the double thickness at the top of the stocking that attaches to the suspender clip.
 
Wings (aka Back Wings): The side panels on a bra that attach the cups to the rear closure and wrap underneath the arms and across the back ribs.
 
Wireless (bra): A term used to describe a bra with cups that do not contain an underwire. Most wire-free bras feature an elastic platform on which the bra is made that provides similar support and separation but with a more flexible fit.
 
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