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What Is a Demi Bra?

Are you on the hunt for the perfect bra to wear underneath tricky necklines and low-cut tops? Tired of bras with far too much padding and fabric that seem to peek through all your tight-fitting clothing? 

Allow us to introduce you to the demi bra.

And what is a demi bra, you may ask? The word “demi” means “half” in French and, in bra terms, refers to cups designed to cover about 50-75% of the breasts. The demi bra is a popular and versatile bra type that can be dressed up or down depending on your needs.

Also referred to as shelf bras or half bras, demi bras lift and enhance cleavage without losing the natural silhouette of your breast shape (and who doesn’t want that?). 

While bra shopping isn’t always an easy task, we’ll guide you through how a demi bra should fit, what clothing to pair it with, and try-on tips as you begin your search for the perfect-fitting demi bra.

Demi Bra vs. Full-Coverage Bra: What’s the Difference?

A demi bra provides less cup coverage than a full-coverage bra. Support from a demi bra comes from its cups and underwire (if you choose a demi bra style with underwire, that is). With a full-coverage bra, you’ll get support from the full breast cups. 

Because demi bras feature about half the cup coverage compared to a full-coverage bra, demi bras won’t offer the same degree of support. However, demi bras are a great everyday option for those that feel comfortable with a bit less coverage.

Side by side comparison illustrations showing the differences of demi and full coverage bras to explain what a demi bra is

Types of Demi Bras

As you shop around for the perfect demi bra to add to your bra rotation, there are a few different bra styles to consider. 

1. Demi Push-Up Bra

A demi push-up bra features extra padding in the cups to lift the breasts and enhance cleavage. This bra type is perfect for a date night or for an occasion when you’d like to show a little more skin. 

2. Unlined Demi Bra 

Unlined demi bras are created without padding in the cups. They can be made with or without underwires and help to create a natural-looking, softly rounded silhouette. Unlined demi bras are great underneath thicker materials since nipple coverage will be at a minimum. 

3. Demi Balconette Bra

One of the most popular demi bra styles, the demi balconette bra is a versatile option that lifts the breast from the bottom and prevents gaping at the top. Options include everything from lined to unlined and wired to wire-free. Demi balconette bras are great for low-cut tops and dresses when you want to show off sexy but natural cleavage.

4. Demi Bralette

If minimal coverage is what you’re after, a demi bralette is the perfect choice. This style is a comfortable, less structured option that conforms to your natural breast shape. Demi bralettes are great for everyday wear under anything from your work-from-home attire to casual dresses. 

Four torso illustrations showing the different types of demi bras including bralettes, push up, balconette and unlined

Who Should Wear a Demi Bra?

Demi bras are a flattering style for all breast shapes, but it really comes down to personal preference. Demi bras elevate and enhance cleavage, which may not be something you want for everyday wear or underneath high-neck clothing. 

While demi bras create a lovely effect for those with any size bust, if you prefer feeling fully covered you may not like the half-cup nature of the demi bra. For those with breasts that are fuller at the bottom compared to the top, a demi bra is the perfect choice to hug and lift your chest upward. 

How Should a Demi Bra Fit?

A demi cup will give you more cleavage and less coverage than a traditional full-coverage bra. A good rule of thumb is to have your demi cup cover about one inch above the nipple point. With this fit, the bra will slightly push your breasts inward to create more cleavage. 

What To Wear With a Demi Bra

A demi bra can be worn with a variety of tops and dresses and is a great option when wearing tricky necklines. If you’re after a sexier look, pair your demi bra with a low-neckline top. Where a full-coverage bra can often be hard to hide the cup shape, a demi bra can slip undetected underneath many types of clothing. 

Tips for Finding the Perfect-Fitting Demi Bra

Choosing a demi bra that fits you just right can be a bit of an undertaking. With so many styles to choose from, you may feel a little overwhelmed. To help you find the perfect demi bra, we’ve compiled a few tips to keep in mind.

Consider Your Breast Shape

The misconception that a demi bra works best on a smaller bust is just that — a misconception. Demi bras work great for breast sizes across the spectrum, not just for those with A or B cups. 

One thing to keep in mind with demi bras is that the bra cups lift from the bottom of your breast up to achieve that enhanced cleavage look. So if you have breasts that tend to be fuller at the bottom, a demi bra will offer you the perfect balance of lift without creating a spillover effect at the top of the bra. 

Pay Attention To the Straps

Another thing to note when choosing a demi bra is that the bra straps are often set a bit farther apart than a traditional full-coverage bra. If you have narrow or sloping shoulders, this may cause an issue with the bra straps slipping off your shoulder. 

Be sure to try on as many different demi bra styles as you need to find one with straps that stay on your shoulders. This is important because the straps of a demi bra offer much of the support since the cups cover less breast tissue. 

Avoid Spillage

To find the perfect-fitting demi bra, you may have to try on a few styles outside your typical bra size. One of the biggest fit issues with demi bras is spillover at the top of the breasts. 

Oftentimes, going up a cup size while sticking with your normal band size will solve this problem. You could also try on your bra sister size, which are alternate bra sizes where the bra volume stays the same even though the band size or cup letter may change. 

Be careful not to size up too much. Your demi bra cups should sit flat against your breast shape. If you see a gap between the cups and your breasts, you know you’ve sized up too much. 

Pair It With the Right Clothing

When trying on demi bras, be sure to grab a couple of your favorite low-neck and deep-V tops that you’d typically wear over a demi bra. This is also a chance to try on your clothing with tricky necklines to ensure the demi bra cups stay hidden.  

It’s always a good idea to bring a few clothing pieces to try as you’re bra shopping, but it’s especially important with demi bras because it will help determine if your bra is too gaping (too big) or digging into your chest (too small). 

Four illustrations of a measuring tape, correct clothing pairing and well fitting straps representing tips for finding the perfect demi bra

Now that you know what a demi bra is, you know what a stylish and adaptable addition one can make to your bra rotation. Perfect for pairing with tricky necklines or adding a sexy bit of cleavage to your favorite low-neck tops, demi bras are adaptable bras you’ll reach for again and again. Explore our best-selling Second Skin Lightly Lined Demi Bra to level up your lingerie drawer today.