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Balconette and Demi-Cup Bra Styles: What's the Difference?

  |   By Elisabeth Dale

What's the difference between a balconette and demi-cup bra styles? That can be tough to figure out since both lingerie brands and retailers seem to supply contradictory information about their features. Some of their websites claim that the demi-cup exposes more of the breast than the balconette, and vice-versa. So it's no wonder that the average consumer might find it confusing.

Both the balconette and demi-cup styles offer less coverage than full cup bras. The demi-cup—meaning"half-cup" in French–gives less coverage. The balconette does the same while pushing boobs up to the "balcony." In practical terms, the demi-cup has more of a square neckline, while balconettes create a sweetheart shape. But even these design differences go back and forth between the two names.

The most significant fashion advantage of wearing demi-cups, especially for a woman my age, is the way they lift from the bottom. This design gives the appearance of fullness on top for those of us with more bottom-heavy or shallower breasts. Plus, the more revealing cup makes this style super sexy, too. But you might feel like you're spilling out the top. For example, after finishing breastfeeding, my breasts had zero volume left. So I went down one cup size to get the best fit in this style. There seems to be less risk of overflowing bra cups in the balconette or balcony bra (see Natori and Panache examples below).

Perhaps the biggest drawback to wearing demi-cups is their strap placement, which is further apart. So if you have narrow or sloping shoulders, that might create a bra-wearing problem for you. The balconette style (or at least the name) provides me more security. Likewise, if you have a fuller bust, the latter may be more comfortable for everyday wear. Plus, the straps can be set closer together, as well.

Here are 15 balconette and demi-cup bras in a variety of sizes and styles. Let me know if you can tell the difference between them, just based on their names. Then again, maybe only the French can figure it out.

15 Balconette and Demi-Cup Bras

balconette and demi-cup

Aubade Belle d'Ispahan Half Cup Bra
Available in Bands 32-36, Cups B-E
via Figleaves
 
demi-cups
 
Dita Von Teese Savior Faire Sheers (Balconette) Underwire Lace Bra
Available in Bands 32-36, Cups B-DD
via Nordstrom
 
balconette and demi-cup
 
Scantilly Brazen Half Cup Bra
Available in Bands 30-38, Cups DD-HH
via Figleaves
 
 
b.tempt'd by Wacoal Ciao Bella Balconette Bra
Available in Bands 30-38, Cups B-DDD
via Bare Necessities
 
balconette and demi-cup
 
Natori Irresistible Full Fit Underwire Demi Bra
Available in Bands 32-36, Cups B-DDD
via Nordstrom
 
 
Simone Perele Andora Demi T-Shirt Bra
Available in Bands 30-40, Cups B-G
via Bare Necessities
 
 
Dora Larsen Sophie Half Pad Balconette Bra
Available in Bands 32-36, Cups B-DD
via Nordstrom
 
 
Triumph Beauty-Full Darling Underwire (Demi) Bra
Available in Bands 32-38, Cups C-G
via Journelle
 
balconette and demi-cup
 
Panache Jasmine Balconnet Bra
Available in Bands 30-38, Cups DD-K
via Figleaves
 
 
Journelle Allegra Balconette Bra
Available in Bands 30-36, Cups A-G
via Journelle
 
balconette and demi-cup
 
Simone Perele Saga Underwire Demi Bra
Available in Bands 32-36, Cups C-E
via Nordstrom
 
 
Marie Jo Jane Padded Balconette Bra
Available in Bands 30-38, Cups A-F
via Rigby & Peller
 
 
Chantelle Lingerie Pyramide Unlined Underwire Demi Bra
Available in Bands 30-38, Cups B-G
via Nordstrom
 
 
Empreinte Diane Balconette Bra
Available in 30-42, Cups D-G
via Bare Necessities
 
 
Lise Charmel Floral Demi-Cup Bra
Available in Bands 32-38, Cups B-DD
via Nancy Meyer
 

Are you confused over the terms used for balconette and demi-cup bra styles? Can you see the differences between these two styles?

 
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Breast and bra expert, author, and founder of TheBreastLife.com. My latest book, The Bra Zone: How to Find Your Ideal Style, Size, and Support, busts common bra fitting myths and helps consumers navigate the confusing world of bra styles and sizes.
Figleaves US
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