What Is a Balconette Bra?

Written by jen marx
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What Is a Balconette Bra?
What is a balconette bra? (hand and bra image by Vasiliy Koval from Fotolia.com)

Finding the correct bra to wear under clothing can be a difficult process for any woman. However, nowadays there are many options from sports bras to strapless bras. Balconette bras are another type of undergarment that are suitable for different types of apparel. They are also known as demi bras.


The first known example of a modern balconette, or demi bra, was in a 1866 painting by Gerome, which depicts an Egyptian harem girl dancing for Caesar. However, in ancient Egypt, this type of bra existed but it really only covered the underside of the breast. In 1949 the bra was modelled by Marilyn Monroe. Traditionally, the demi bra leaves part of the areola region uncovered; however, many manufactures create them to be less revealing.


The exact cut of a balconette bra is often determined by the individual designer. Since they are often very low-cut, they generally have underwire in them in order to support the chest. Otherwise, the bra would be extremely non-supportive, and would clearly not fulfil the intended function of a bra. Sometimes, in place of underwire, the bra will have some other sort of boning in place to support the cup.

Practical Function

Since the balconette bra is low-cut, it can really be worn with any type of shirt. However, it is most generally worn with low-cut outfits. For example, a regular bra would not be appropriate with a very low-cut, V-neck or scoop-cut dress because it would show through. In this case, a balconette bra is helpful. Balconette bras are also appropriate for low-cut blouses and shirts.

Other Functions

Some women wear balconette bras in order to feel more attractive and self confident in themselves, particularly when they are around their objects of affection. The structure of the balconette bra provides support and lift, while also exposing a large amount of skin. The LifeTips section on bras states that wearing a balconette bra and a pair of matching underwear creates "a devastatingly sexy effect."

Measuring for a Balconette Bra

Measuring for a balconette bra is the same as measuring for any other type of bra, although some women do not know how to properly do that. It is best to measure for bra size while wearing a non-padded underwire bra or a seamless, tight T-shirt. Measure around the ribcage just below the bust, then measure around the fullest part of the bust. Consulting a size chart from the company that the bra is being purchased from in order to determine the correct size from that particular brand is crucial.

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