Everything you wanted to know about lingerie terminology - for men and the otherwise uninitiated or curious!
Full cup bra: fully covers the breast tissue. Often an underwire style but also available in wireless.
Demi cup bra: partially covers the breast. Usually allows a subtle push up effect, and generally includes an underwire for perfect round shape.
Balcony bra: partially covers the breast (slightly less than a demi cup and more straight across on the bust line) and provides a moderate push up effect thanks to seaming and underwire.
Longline bra: has an extended bodice and is available widely as underwire or wireless. Provides additional support and torso coverage.
Bralette: refers generally to a wire free bra. These can provide a huge range of support — from extremely minimal to fully supportive. Support mostly depends upon the band, not the wire! Underwire provides shape rather than support.
Plunge bra: is low cut in the front and is meant for low cut garments.
Strapless bra: either has no or convertible straps to be worn with evening wear or tops that require no visible straps. If the bra comes with detachable straps then you can wear the straps with halter neck or criss-cross back tops and have minimally visible bra straps and still feel secure.
Bikini Bottoms: a brief that sits low on the hips and provides moderate to full coverage in front and back. Generally narrow cut on sides.
French cut bottoms: a brief that is either low or high cut on the hips and high cut in the legs. Narrow cut across the cheeks for a sexy, minimal look.
High waist brief: a brief that is moderate to full coverage in back that sits at or above the belly button.
High waist thong: a thong that has no coverage of the cheeks and sits around the waist at or above the belly button.
Low rise brief: a brief with moderate to full coverage in back and sits low on the hips.
Thong: underwear that sits between the cheeks in back so as to avoid panty lines in fitted clothing.
Boy short: a brief with full coverage in front and back. Usually sits low on hips and is cut low on the legs, almost like a women’s version of a boxer brief, but does not come down onto the thighs.
Suspender belt: also called a garter belt, this is a garment worn at the waist that attaches to thigh-high stockings to hold them up. Best worn with straps underneath panties so that the wearer can easily use the bathroom or otherwise remove panties gracefully and easily.
Ouvert bra: refers to an open cup, quarter cup or frame bra. This is a bra that is best worn for aesthetics or layering. The cups are totally open, nipples exposed, and support is extremely limited.
Ouvert brief: this refers to both a crotchless panty and a panty with a peekaboo or open backside.
Bodysuit: a one piece garment, sometimes called a leotard, that sometimes includes a snap closure crotch. Some designers consider a snap crotch unnecessary and uncomfortable so check the product descriptions if this is an important detail for you!
Chemise: a short slip that can be worn either as a layer with a dress or as a nightgown.