How to wear open cup bras

The semi-cupped bra is experiencing a bit of a rise in popularity at the moment in the mainstream, everything from the “underboob” bra to the dresses that show off a bit of sideboob. Shelf bras and open cup bras have gone from the ones that were hidden on the back shelves of seedy lingerie stores to now hitting the high street stores.

If you’re looking to delve into the open cup bra trend, it can be a tricky one, whether you’re a Big or a Little Cup. An open cup, shelf or otherwise cut-out bra doesn’t necessarily provide the support that many look for in a bra. There is less (or no!) fabric to give any uplift and, as such, they can be tricky to get right.

Let’s look a little more in depth into what an open cup bra is and how you can wear them:

What is an open cup bra?

The definition of an open cup bra can vary hugely – it may be one that’s completely cupless, so that you only have the frame outlining the breast, or it may simply be one with peep-holes or cut outs strategically placed down the centre of the cup, at the top or underneath. This bra might be underwired; it might have a quarter or half cup design style which allows the top half of the breast to peek out over the fabric; it might not have any proper structure and is simply a bralette with a slit cut out between the middle of the seams, sometimes known as a “peekaboo” bra. You can read more about the different styles of open cup and shelf bras here.

It’s not to be confused with a balcony or balconette bra which is simply a standard bra with a lower cut neckline and usually a higher gore. See below for a comparison:

Open cup bra vs balcony bra
Open cup bra vs balcony bra

How to wear an open cup bra

The open cup bra is a pretty versatile piece of lingerie kit to have in your drawer. Even if you feel like it’s reserved for boudoir only, we’re here to tell you that doesn’t have to be the case!

1. Layer it underneath

The strappy and bondage inspired lingerie trend is still to be seen everywhere, and an open cup bra appeals to this trend perfectly. In this way, grab yourself a strappy harness or two in the same colour or similar colour scheme, and get layering! This can provide more coverage if you’re a little shy for your first time trying out an open cup bra, but it also complements the style excellently.

2. Layer it on top

If your open cup bra is more of a harness frame, layering it over the top of your outfit is a great way to work the underwear as outerwear trend while showing off your eye for style. We’d recommend this with a lacey top underneath, maybe pick an open cup bra in black with a black lace top and leather-look full skirt to appeal to a gothic nature, or vamp it up with velvet and sequins.

3. By itself

Let’s face it, the goal of an open cup bra is to show off the goods in one way or another, so why not go all out and wear it in the way it’s intended? An open cup or shelf bra worn alone is the epitome of seduction, putting everything on display and feeling confident about it.

Here are a few more examples of open cup and shelf bras you can shop at Haute Flaire – click on the image to shop them!

How to wear an open cup bra How to wear an open cup bra How to wear an open cup bra How to wear an open cup bra

This is a collaborative post with Haute Flair.


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