Differences Between a Contour Bra and a T-Shirt Bra

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Molded Cups Are One Shared Feature

Model posing in white bra.
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These two styles can be exactly the same. Or, they can have several key differences—it just depends on the brand.

If you search on any e-tailer's site for T-shirt bra, for example, it can get confusing. You will find some bra styles described as T-shirt but, you are also likely to find contour, molded, and padded styles in the same category.

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All Contour bras and T-shirt bras fall into the molded bra category, for the most part, because the cups are made with a molding technique. This means the bra cups hold their shape.

But there are no black-and-white rules in fashion or in lingerie. There are general guidelines that the majority of bra manufacturers follow, but some brands define T-shirt bras differently. I have seen at least one T-shirt style that didn't have molded cups, so it always just depends on the brand.

It is also rare to find a bra with molded bra cups that aren't called contour cups. This is because many brands will usually use a very thin layer of foam padding as lining in molded cups, which technically turns them into contour cups. ​

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A T-shirt bra can have contour cups which are lightly padded or lined but a Contour bra always has contour cups.

A T-shirt bra always has seamless cups, while contour style cups can either be seamless or seamed.

Another difference: The padding or lining is sometimes less prominent and thinner in a bra called a T-shirt style than it is in a bra that is called a contour style. This is so a T-shirt bra can feel like a second skin which some styles strive to do and look as invisible as possible under form-fitting tops.

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Which Style Is Best for You?

If you are full-chested and looking for a bra with cups that offer shaping benefits, you should probably try to avoid any bras that might add any hint of bulk. A T-shirt style bra, even if it says it has contour cups, may work better for you than a bra that is just described as a Contour style.

The exception is a Contour bra with seamed cups; these are perfect for fuller figures because this cup style offers extra support.

But again, it just depends on the brand, and the words they choose—descriptions aren't always 100% accurate. So, don't ever completely depend on a bra style's name to tell you how it will fit, but it can give you clues.

If you want to add "fullness" to round out your figure, then a Contour bra is a great option for you and there is no need to look for one labeled "T-shirt."

If you are looking for modesty and want to make sure there isn't any sign of "nipple bulge" even when you are wearing the most form-fitting T-shirt, both Contour bras and T-shirt bras are designed for this purpose.

Are you just looking for a bra that won't show any seams or the outline of your bra cup underneath your clingiest, most lightweight top? Then a T-shirt bra is for you.