Demi Bra vs Balconette Bra: Key Differences

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There is a lot of confusion surrounding the demi and balconette bra types since both these bras can share several similar features. Moreover, the terms demi and balconette are often used interchangeably. However, some key factors make each bra unique and more appropriate for specific occasions.

Demi vs Balconette Bra General Overview

Before I dive into a detailed comparison between the two bra types, let me go through an overview of demi vs balconette bras.

And, lets be honest at the outset: both of these bras are VERY similar. I’ll tell you exactly when to wear each bra type below.

A light pink underwire demi bra and denim shorts are worn by a woman standing near a white wall

Overview of Demi Bra

The word “demi” means half or small in size. Hence, demi bras have cups that are smaller or narrower in shape. The shape of the cups allows the bra to enhance your cleavage. This is achieved by pushing the breasts together and creating a light lifting effect.

The demi bra provides partial coverage to your breasts, reaching up to half or three-quarters of your breast length. It can be made from different materials, including cotton, synthetic blends, lace, or mesh. These types of bras can also have varying levels of padding, so you can choose one that works well for you.

Unlike a full coverage bra, a demi bra provides far less coverage, which gives it a sexier appearance.

What Is a Demi Bra? (Hint - its a LOT more than Lingerie)

Overview of Balconette Bra

The balconette bra has shallow, horizontal cups that offer low coverage.  It also has wide-set straps attached to the top of the outer edges or apex of the cups. While the straps’ placement on the edge of the shoulder can be intimidating, good-fitting straps will not slip off your shoulders.

The bra is named after “a balcony,” an architectural feature. The name refers to an illusion created by the bra that the breasts are resting on a balcony or a shelf. Finally, the cups’ horizontal shape and the straps’ position create an upwards lift, naturally enhancing the look of your cleavage.

Comparing Demi vs Balconette Bras

The following similarities and differences will help you distinguish between the two bras so you can choose the correct one depending on your attire and the overall look you wish to achieve.


Demi and balconette bras share many similarities that can make it a challenge to differentiate between the two bras. These include:

  • Less coverage: Both these bras offer less coverage compared to the traditional full-coverage bras. This makes them great for dresses or tops with deeper necklines, so the cups remain hidden at all times
  • Straps: The second most important feature of these bras, after the cups, is the location of the straps, which are set wide apart. The straps allow the bra to create the iconic lifting effect while staying entirely out of sight under dresses or tops with a wide neckline
  • Material: Both bras are manufactured from various materials, including cotton, synthetic, and elastic mesh. Thus you can choose one with the fabric you feel most comfortable wearing
  • Band: The bands on both bras are pretty similar in width and are tasked with providing support and structure to your breasts for an attractive look 
  • Padding: Both bras are available with varying amounts of and without padding, so you can choose the level of padding you require according to the size of your bust
A red balconette underwire bra with a lace design holds by a woman wearing a blue t-shirt and denim jeans


As similar as they look, the slight differences in the construction of the two bras can lead to drastically different-looking bust shapes. 

Lifting Effect

While both bras lift your breasts, they differ in the way your breasts look with each bra on.

A demi cup is designed in a way that lifts your breasts and pushes them inwards towards each other. As a result, your bust appears to have a more pronounced cleavage. Your breasts also look fuller and bigger due to the combined lifting and tilting effect.

On the other hand, the balconette bra only imparts a perky look without pushing the breasts together. Consequently, the cleavage you achieve from this bra is more natural looking and subtle as compared to the one created by a demi one.

Level of Coverage

While both bras are low-coverage bras, there is a slight difference in the amount of coverage they provide.

The cup coverage of a demi bra is more than a balcony bra. This means that more of your breast tissues are contained in a demi bra, and the top of the cup often reaches about one inch above the nipples.

The balconette bra has cups that end just above the nipple, so it is imperative to wear a good-fitting bra to avoid a nip-slip.


The neckline of a demi cup is more rounded with a slight sweetheart shape. This means that the cups slope towards the center of the bra.

At the same time, the balconette bra has a straight square neckline responsible for giving it its name.


If the bra has an underwire in the cups, it can either be a demi or a balconette bra. However, if it does not have an underwire, it will be a demi bra since balconette bras always have wires in their construction. 

Major Distinguishing Factor

The major distinguishing factor between the demi and balconette bras is the appearance of your bust after putting them on.

  • If your breasts are close to each other with slightly more cleavage, you are wearing a demi bra.
  • If your breasts appear lifted and perched on a “balcony”, you are wearing a balconette bra.

Said simpler, demi bras push your breasts together, while balconette bras push your bras up .

When to Wear a Demi Bra 

Several reasons can make the demi bra a more appropriate choice for you. So, you should wear a demi bra if:

  • You have a petite frame, since the cups of a demi bra are smaller than average cups
  • You have an east-west breast shape to create a more rounded, forward-facing look
  • You have wide-set breasts, and it is a struggle to create a cleavage
  • You are wearing a V-neck or scoop-neck top and want to show off a deep cleavage

When to Wear a Balconette Bra

A balconette bra is an ideal and a better option compared to a demi bra if:  

Graphic image of a blue bra that explains that balconette bras are best worn to make breasts appear larger
  • You have a bottom-heavy breast shape, such as the teardrop shape; the vertical seams and lifting effect will create more fullness on top
  • You have fuller breasts since balconette bras look best on women with a heavier bust
  • You are wearing a top or dress with a wide neckline, such as a boatneck or square neckline
  • You have broad shoulders that will support the wide-set traps

Both demi and balconette bras have distinct attributes that make them a great addition to your wardrobe. 

Demi Bra vs Balconette Bra (What the Heck are the Differences?)

Final Verdict

If you want to achieve a flirty look with your low-cut neckline and have a slim breast shape where the breasts are positioned away from each other, opt for a demi bra. However, ensure that your breasts do not feel squished together uncomfortably or painfully.

On the other hand, if you have a deep square or a sweetheart neckline, and you do not want to overdo it on the cleavage front, go for a balconette bra.

Choosing the right bra depends on your outfit, the look you want to carry, and your personal preference. Both demi and balconette bras deliver splendid results that allow you to flaunt your bust. However, the bra you choose must be supportive, comfortable, and in the correct size.


Allena is the Founder and Editor of The Better Fit, a platform dedicated to empowering women with practical advice on bras and fitness, inspired by her own revelation of the widespread issue of incorrect bra sizing. Her expertise and tips have been recognized by major publications such as Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Insider, and NBC, making her a trusted voice in women's wellness and lifestyle.