The Difference Between Underwire, Shelf Bras & Moulded Cups

Swimsuits with bust support are among our most sought after swimwear styles. For those needing lift or simply room for a fuller bust, it's important to know the different styles and how they suit your needs for a successful shopping experience. Supportive swimwear comes in several support levels, including sports style shelf-bras with soft moulded cups, and built-in underwire bras with specific cup sizes. At Curvy Swimwear, we provide bust support in all our bikinis, tankinis, one-pieces, and swim dresses. Learn more about our bust support options or jump directly to the one you're interested in. Options include:


The Difference Between Underwire, Shelf Bras & Moulded Cups

What is an Underwire Bra?

An underwire bra has a thin rigid piece of metal, plastic or resin sewn into the underside of the cup of the bra. Underwire provides shaping and support, pushing the volume of the breast in an upwards and out direction. Underwire helps to lift your breasts so they sit where you want them to, with limited movement. It helps to create a more defined silhouette by lifting the breasts upwards so you can see your waistline. Separating the bust from the mid section defines the waist to show off your curves in the most flattering way. Underwire swimsuits offer the most support for your bust. If you are looking for underwire bathers, head to our underwire swimwear section for bikinis, tankinis, one piece swimsuits and swim dresses.

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Underwire Swimwear Styles

Each season we release new colours and prints in underwire tankini tops, one pieces, and bikini tops. The Capriosca Swimwear underwire swimsuits offer exceptional support with the addition of adjustable straps. Simply follow your bra size to find your desired fit - if you wear a 20F bra, find a style in a size 20 with an F/G cup fitting to get the perfect fit through your back with room for your bust.

The Difference Between Underwire, Shelf Bras & Moulded Cups
The Difference Between Underwire, Shelf Bras & Moulded Cups

Swim Bras

If you love one of our one piece or tankini styles without underwire but need that lift and support - get creative - try wearing one of our swim bras underneath your swimwear! These fabulous bikini tops come in cup sizing similar to a regular bra. The black underwire bikini top from Capriosca Swimwear is a classic swim bra that you can wear under any swimsuit for extra support. Choose your size from 10D/DD to 22G with adjustable straps.

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What is a Soft Cup Bra?

Many of our popular underwire styles, such as the Honey Comb collection, are not padded, but rather a soft cup bra style. So, what is a soft cup bra in a swimsuit? A soft cup is an unstructured cup free from padding, often with underwire for support. Apart from our underwire bikini tops, all of our underwire styles are either soft cup or come with removeable breast pads, giving you the option for light padding or a completely soft cup bra. These swimsuits are ideal for women who prefer not to have padding in their bra. They offer a more natural look while still supporting the bust. If you're concerned about nipple exposure, choose a soft cup in a pretty print. The combination of a pattern and ruching across the cups will ensure your nipples stay out of sight.

The Difference Between Underwire, Shelf Bras & Moulded Cups


The Difference Between Underwire, Shelf Bras & Moulded Cups

What is a Shelf Bra?

A shelf bra is a type of bra that supports the lower part of the breasts - it has a fabric layer extending over the bust and an elastic band at the base to lift breasts up. Shelf bras are also known as ‘built-in bras’ and can be commonly found in camisoles, tank tops, and swimwear. We feature this support style in many of our swimsuits including our best selling 3 tier ruffle tankini and one piece swimsuits. While this style is perfect for smaller busts, it is also great for larger cup sizes. Shelf bras are a multifit option. Because the fit is not restricted to a specific cup size with underwire, the swimsuits are able to accommodate a fuller bust with comfort and support. The inclusion of adjustable straps helps to increase your desired support and lift. Shelf bras are comfy - ideal for those who prefer a more relaxed, less structured form of bust support.


What is a Moulded Cup?

We include moulded cups in many of our swimsuits to create a natural, rounded shape with a smooth, seamless finish. The lightly padded cups also provide coverage for the nipples. Moulded cup bras are commonly found in sport bra styles, nursing bras and t-shirt bras where push up and substantial padding aren't required. Moulded cups can either be removable or sewn in depending on the style. Our 3 tier, zip up and bandeau styles all feature sewn in moulded cups to give shape to these unique styles. Styles that include removable cups are appropriate for post mastectomy women who can insert their own prosthetics and padding. Many of our underwire styles include this design feature.

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The Difference Between Underwire, Shelf Bras & Moulded Cups

Please read through our website product descriptions to find out more details as to what is the best choice for you. Each of our swimsuits offer a lengthy description to assist you in making a good choice. For more advice on swimwear for curves, read our blog on:

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