What Is a Balconette Bra and When Should I Wear One?

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Shopping for a new bra can be stressful enough, without having to figure out what type of bra you need. A balconette bra isn’t an everday bra, meaning you won’t be wearing it very frequently. But I would argue that is an essential bra for a couple of situations. Lets dive in!

What Is a Balconette Bra?

I have tested and tried out over a dozen balconette bras, and I’ll be the first to say that its hard to find a good one… a lot harder than finding a comfortable push up bra.

A balconette bra (or balcony bra) is a sexier version of the full coverage bra. The balconette bra is a half to three-quarter cup bra that boosts your breasts from below, giving a balcony look to your cleavage. ​

Sometimes also referred to as a shelf bra, the balconette bra differs slightly as it has more appeal. It is a must have in your arsenal due to its ability to really show off your cleavage, but in a tasteful way.

The best balconette bra will boost your cleavage and make you feel considerably sexier.

Balconette bras are designed with straps that are wider than standard straps and they have half to three-quarter cups that are made to look like a balcony

What Is a Balconette Style Bra?

This bra features a cup silhouette that looks like a balcony. You’ll notice this from the top-revealing, shorter-seamed cups. Wear those with your square crop tops.

It also has wider straps than standard straps, adding support and lift to your breasts. If you’re bigger up top, this bra style provides ample support.

Some balconette bras are cut very low and suit a plunging top, while others have their cups higher for a shelf like appearance.

This bra has been named for its balcony like shape since it works to support the bottom and sides of your breasts while leaving the top more open. This is often preferred for lower cut blouses and dresses

This bra does leave the top portion of your breasts exposed. However, it covers more than half to give you all day support and comfort that is professional enough for work while also being sexy enough for later.

Height of the Cups

The cups are not as large as the full coverage bra but they still cover a good amount in comparison to other lower cut bras on the market. The typical balconette bra covers ​1/2 to ​2/3rds of the breast.

There are also more lingerie based balconette bras that have little to no cups, but these are not for general daily use. 

Strap Width

Balconette bras tend to have straps that are a little wider set. This means that the bra straps are meant to be closer to your armpits instead of going straight up the middle part of your shoulder.

This design feature is to enhance the ability to show your cleavage in square cut blouses without worrying that the straps will show. These straps that can offer some additional width or padding are ideal for ladies who have broader shoulders.

Not all balconette bras will offer wider straps, but most do. Most have them built-in with extra padding much like a really good push up bra to help create a more comfortable bra that still gives off those alluring vibes. 

Cup Support

Since the cups are not fully covered, you may be wondering how this bra can offer a good amount of support, especially to more curvy women.

This bra exceeds in support thanks to higher sides that cover around the bottom half of the breasts to help lift and hold them all day long. 

There can also be included padding that works to lift and shape the inside of the cups. You may opt for a more natural unlined version as well. 

What Is a Balcony Bra?

A balcony bra is just another term for a balconette bra, which gets its style from a balcony-like silhouette. It has horizontal, low-cut cups that produce an upward lift, much like a balcony.

What Is a Balconette Bra Good For?

A balconette bra is good for outfits where you need to create visible cleavage, without the constricting push-up effect of a push-up bra. With half-coverage cups, a balconette bra can make your breasts appear rounder and fuller.

Here is a picture of me wearing a lower cut top with a balconette bra. Now, I’m not a very large chested women, but you can see how the bra gives me good cleavage and works well for the squarish nature of my top.

This bra style is versatile, improving your bust silhouette whether you wear wide or low-cut necklines. In effect, you can wear it under wedding gowns, formal dresses, tops with sweetheart necklines, or dresses with square necklines.

Comparing Balconette Bras to Other Bras

Bra Purpose Wear
Balconette Push breast tissue up and create a more rounded bustWork, casual, party clothes
T-shirt Give a smooth finish under clothesWork, casual, everyday activities
Full coverage Cover the entire breasts to avoid spillsWork, casual, formal, everyday activities

When Should It Be Worn?

Balconette bras are a cut above the standard T-shirt bra or Full Coverage Bra. They offer support, comfort, and can come in really cute or more seriously sexy lace covered designs. So when is the best time to wear them?

Know when to wear a balconette bra

Everyday Work Wear

An unlined or smooth balconette bra is perfect to wear under your work attire. It offers all day comfort and support with the higher side bands and padded shoulder straps.

They also offer some great cleavage push on your breasts, so you’ll look your best in your professional outfits.

Due to being in a professional environment, you may want to save any textured or embellished balconette bras for after 5 pm. 

Running Errands

The point of this bra is to be supportive and comfortable while still being fun and sexy. So grabbing this one when you have places to go is always a great choice.

You can wear it under a sweater, t-shirt, tank top, or a simple dress. It’s versatile and ensures that you have the coverage you need while you don’t need to worry about it. 

A woman wearing a black lace balconette bra and black leggings holds a cup of coffee on a wooden table

Special Events

These bras really shine for dressing up. Since they leave almost the top quarter of the breast exposed this makes a balconette bra the perfect go-to for that little black dress as well as for posh events where you may have a little extra cleavage showing.

There are also strapless balconette bras available, so you can opt to leave the straps off of a halter or more shoulder exposing outfit. 

In Your Lingerie Drawer

Even though it is lingerie, balconette bras are a staple in this attire too. Most bustiers are offered in a balconette bra fit as well as some cupless models.

These bras still offer that same high side support and lift to make sure that you are looking your best.  

​Not to the Gym

This is one outing where I would caution you. A balconette bra, while comfortable and sexy, is not the best choice for working out.

Instead, you would want to invest in a quality sports bra that will work to hold down your chest while you are busy working out. 

Push-up, full coverage, demi, and plunge bras are examples of the different types of balconette bras

Are Balconette Bras good for Large Chests?

In essence, I think balconette bras are perfectly suited for women with a large chest. The wide straps provide ample support, and the square nature of the cups give your cleavage a lot of shape and volume.

These bras are great for any occasion. Are they a great option for you? Depending on your body type, balconette bras could not offer you the best support or comfortable fit they are well known for. 

Fit Features

Some of the key features of a balconette bra are:

  • ​Wide set straps
  • ​Partial cup coverage
  • ​Open cleavage top
  • High side straps

With these features and the general cleavage friendly fit, this bra is a popular choice among curvy women as well as ​​women with large busts who wear push up bras for d cups and higher.

The bra was built with support and comfort in mind. The breasts are evenly held and distributed while also g​iving full support and lift throughout the day

This bra is great for fuller breasts due to the rounded pin-up style body. However, if you have a lot of loose breast tissue, it may not give you the best fit and support. This bra needs a full cup to evenly lift and fit. 

You may experience some discomfort with this bra if you have more narrow shoulders. This is due to the wide set straps potentially being too far apart and not fitting correctly.

It may not always be the case. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to try one on for fit before you buy it. 

Related Questions

Who Should Wear a Balconette Bra?

Ladies with various breast shapes should wear a balconette bra. You can wear balconettes if you want to create fullness on the top of the breasts.

Are Balconette Bras Good for Small Breasts?

Balconette bras are good for small breasts because they are cut lower on the chest to provide more lift. Even if you have minimal breast tissue, the lower height of the cups can visually increase breast volume.

Can I Wear a Balconette Bra Daily?

Yes, you can wear a balconette bra on a daily basis as long as you’re using the right size. Make sure to readjust the fit of the band and straps for maximum comfort.

What Is a Balconette Bra (Or Is It a Shelf Bra? Balcony Bra?)


The balconette bra has proven to be a must have in your wardrobe, whether you opt for it daily or keep it on hand for more cleavage friendly days.

It offers a high amount of support and general all day comfort while still managing to be sexy after the day is over. 


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.