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Understanding Swimsuit Bra Tops - Molded Push Up Underwire

Posted by Rachel on 4/2/2015 to Tips and Advice

Understanding Swimsuit Bra Tops

Long ago the swimsuit top was a simple triangle or halter top without padding or removable pads. Times have changed, but you are still able to find swimsuit tops with those characteristics, but their popularity has decreased tremendously. Women are now expecting padding or removable pads even in the most basic swim top, and their wishes have been heard. Not only are women swimsuit tops evolving, but there are many more options in terms of swimsuit top styles. Bra top swimsuits combine the support and comfort of a bra with the functionality of a swimsuit. Lingerie inspired bras are ideal for women looking for bust support, large breasted women, and women who have undergone mastectomy. Women can now enjoy the same support and shape in a swimsuit bra top as they can in their lingerie bras. From underwire tops, to padding and cups, push up tops, this guide will cover everything you need to know before choosing a swimsuit bra top that best suits your needs.

Bra TOP Style

Bra tops can be found in many swimsuit styles including tankini tops, monokinis, one piece swimsuits, but they are more prevalent in bikini tops (bikini here referring to two piece swimsuits).

Underwire Bra Tops

Most bra tops include an underwire and padding combination, but there are underwire bra tops that do not have the padding.

Underwire bras are built with sewn in wiring that is placed in a U-shape underneath the breast. The wiring can be made of metal, wire, or molded plastic. The underwire is designed to shape and contour the bust, offer support, lift the bust, and separate the breasts. The most supportive bras have adjustable, over the shoulders straps to allow the shoulders to carry the weight. To further the distinction between a lingerie bra and a bra swimsuit top, many underwire bras tie around the neck.

Hidden underwire is most commonly found in tankinis and one pieces, but they can also be found in bikinis. Hidden underwire does not use a seam to connect the cups to the underwire and is virtually invisible. In one piece swimsuits, the hidden underwire functions as a shelf bra by shaping and contouring the bust while offering support without the seams of underwire. Underwire swimsuits oftentimes feature the hidden underwire for a more pleasant visual effect.

swimsuit bra with hidden underwire

Bra Top Cups

Bra top cups can combine underwire with padding, or they can be without underwire. Bra top cups without underwire are commonly referred to as molded cups or soft cups tops. These tops do not rely on the underwire for support, but they instead have a think band underneath the bust that is sewn to the cups. The cups are preformed and they smooth, support, and cover the breasts. They are also referred to as molded cup tops, shaper bra tops, and foam cups.

Bra top cups with underwire, whether hidden or not rely on underwire for shape, contour, and support. The cups themselves are preformed (molded) and they can be made of soft or more rigid material. The soft cups feel like second skin, conforming to the bust. The more rigid cups are made of a sturdier material that retains its shape and form better.

Padded vs Lined Cups

Do not confuse padding with lining. Padding refers to the silicone or foam cups, while the lining refers to the layer of fabric in the interior. A lined top simply has a layer of fabric on the interior. A padded cup has a molded cup (preformed) made of silicone or foam. A padded top shapes and contours the bust, while a lined top only has fabric that does not contour and shape the bust.


swimsuit with padded cups

Push Up Bra Tops vs Padding

Padded bra tops refer to tops that use silicone or foam padding to add shape and possibly even visually size up the breasts.
Padded bra tops can came with or without underwire. The cups are made of foam or silicone and they are preformed or molded. Padded bra tops can have built-in push up or push up pads, but this is not a rule. Do not confuse padding with push up. The push up is an add on to the padded tops, and it can be built-in or via removable pads.

swimsuit with padded cups with and without underwire

swimsuit with padded cups with underwire

Push Up Bra Tops

Push up bra tops come with built in "extra padding" placed on the bottom/outside of the bust and are designed to push the bust up and inward to create cleavage. The built in padding is usually made of foam, but it can also be made of gel or silicone. Gel push up bra tops are very popular. This style is referred to as bra top with built in push up.

Push-up bra tops also come with preformed cups (molded cups) that have "push up pads" normally placed in sewn in inside pockets. The more push up pads, the greater the lift and the more cleavage it creates. Women can control the push up effect in tops with "removable push up pads". The bra tops with push up pads work best for smaller chested women who want to emphasize their breasts. They are also very versatile. Women can add more push up pads to create a more dramatic cleavage and list, or removable the pads for more room inside the cups.

swimsuit with push up

Bra Top Sizing

Bra top sizing depends mainly on the brand and style. Some bra tops are sized based on the bra size, cup size, or standard swimsuit size. For best fit and support, make sure you find a bra top that fits you both in style and size. Always refer to the size guide provided by the brand. Whether your looking for an underwire bra top, padded bra top, one piece or monokini with push up or underwire, at Elite Fashion Swimwear we have a large selection of bra top swimsuits to choose from.
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