Demi Bra vs Balconette Bra: Key Differences

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Stepping into the world of demi and balconette bras, I find myself navigating through a sea of similarities and nuanced differences. Let’s be real from the get-go: these bras are strikingly similar, yet each holds its unique charm and purpose.

I’m here to guide you through when and why to choose one over the other. This is the guide I wanted!

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

Demi vs Balconette Bra 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.

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. Their cups are smaller or narrower, beautifully designed to enhance my cleavage by pushing my breasts together and giving them a gentle lift.

I appreciate that a demi bra offers partial coverage, covering half to three-quarters of my breast. I love the variety it comes in—cotton, synthetic blends, lace, or mesh, each with different padding levels to suit my needs.

Compared to full-coverage bras, my demi bras provide much less coverage, which I find incredibly appealing for its sexier look.

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 don’t slide off my 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 my 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 of these bras give me less coverage than traditional full-coverage bras, which is perfect for my dresses or tops with deeper necklines. This way, the cups stay hidden, no matter what I wear.
  • Straps: The placement of the straps is crucial for me, second only to the cups. They’re set wide apart, enabling these bras to give me that iconic lift while remaining invisible under my outfits with wide necklines.
  • Material: I also value the variety of materials these bras come in—cotton, synthetic blends, and elastic mesh. This variety allows me to pick the fabric that feels most comfortable against my skin.
  • Band: The bands on both types of bras are quite similar in width, providing the support and structure I need for an attractive look.
  • Padding: Lastly, the availability of different padding levels is a huge plus. I can choose just the right amount of padding needed for my bust size, ensuring the perfect fit and comfort.
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. 

Final Verdict

When I’m aiming for a flirty look with my low-cut necklines (especially with my slim breast shape where my breasts are more spaced apart), I find myself reaching for a demi bra. I’m careful, though, to make sure it doesn’t uncomfortably squish my breasts together.

But, when my outfit features a deep square or sweetheart neckline and I want to keep my cleavage understated, a balconette bra is my go-to choice.

Ultimately, picking the right bra boils down to the outfit I’m wearing, the look I’m aiming for, and what feels best on my body. Both demi and balconette bras have their moments to shine in my wardrobe, enhancing my bust in just the right way. However, comfort, support, and the correct size are always my non-negotiables when deciding.


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.