A Contour Bra or a T-Shirt Bra - What's the Difference?

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Molded cups are the one feature both bra styles share.

A Contour bra and a T-shirt bra are similar, but can also have different features.

The Contour bra, and the T-Shirt Bra...

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.

A Similarity

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.

The Differences

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.

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.

The Bottom Line

To sum it up -

  • All contour bra - and some T-shirt bras - have cups that are lightly padded with a thin layer of foam.
  • All T-shirt bras - and some contour bras - have seamless cups.
Here's more about contour bras and t-shirt bras.

In the Photo Above: The purple bra on the left above is a contour bra. It's called the Danielle bra, by Parfait by Affinitas.

The pink polka dot bra on the right above is the Jayme T-shirt Bra. (It's a junior style, so it runs a little small.)