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Tomima Talks: Balcony, Demi & Plunge Bras

Are you a one bra style girl? You found one bra type that you like and that’s all you wear? If you are, you are not alone. But you really are missing out because every woman, regardless of her breast type or size, can successfully wear multiple bra styles. Because breast tissue is malleable, different bra styles will give your breasts different looks and shapes to optimize your silhouette.

In this Talk, I’d like to explain the unique attributes of balcony, demi, and plunge bras. I’m lumping these 3 bra styles together because they all have one thing in common – they are designed to display your upper breast tissue to its best advantage. But nowadays, they are also designed to be comfortable, wearable as an everyday bra if you’d like, and are offered in a wider size range.

Disclaimer: We have a large number of bras where the manufacturer has included balcony, balconette, or demi in their name – but they are not. So, please don’t become frustrated when you see bras in your search results that don’t look like these specific styles. We may disagree with their classification, but we acquiesce to the manufacturer’s decision when naming them.

Balcony or Balconette Bras


If you’ve ever wished to achieve voluptuous upper breast tissue, the balcony/balconette bra style is your answer. Are balcony and balconette bras the same or different? Most say they are synonymous. However, I did find one obscure reference stating that a balcony bra will have higher sides and a lower center creating a shallow “V” neckline, whereas a balconette bra will have a more horizontal neckline. At HerRoom, we lump both together.

This bra style dates back to roughly 1938, but gained massive popularity in the 50’s when bombshell Marilyn Monroe caused a stir modeling one. The origin of its name is not quite clear, but some sources claim its uplifting nature creates a balcony effect when viewed in profile. Others suggest its name is due to the fact it’s invisible on a woman when looking down at her from a balcony. Finally, its horizontal neckline conjures up the illusion that a woman’s breasts are resting on a balcony.

Design & Construction

Breast uplift is achieved with seams and without padding. This bra style does not increase breast volume. Instead, it takes the breast tissue you have and lifts it upward to present as full and youthful. Combined with wide-set straps, this bra style visually lengthens the waist, enhances your breast shape, and makes your upper body look thinner.

Yes, but…

Yes, the straps are set wider apart. But if you are in the correct band size, this bra is designed so your straps do not slip off your shoulders, unless you truly have sloping shoulders. Do you frequently wear shoulder pads? If not, it’s likely you don’t have sloping shoulders. Instead, you’re probably wearing a band size that’s too big. And I have the perfect bra strap video for you to watch.

Yes, breast coverage is less. But this does not mean you will fall out or feel over-exposed. The top of the balconette cups can have stretch lace for a more custom fit and help with containment. The cup shape is such that the top edge is somewhat taut to keep your breast tissue contained. And, if more coverage is desired, the balcony bra style lets you move up a cup size to increase coverage while still giving you a great fit.

Advantages of a Balcony Bra

  1. Women who are petite and petite in height (5’3” and less) many times find bras to be too big for their frame. A balcony style bra has a very attractive proportion along with having fully adjustable straps.

  2. Settled or bottom-heavy breasts really get a pick-me-up in this style – especially if you select styles with vertical seams in the cups to give you more support.

  3. Splayed breasts will appreciate that this style has shorter underwires and seams in the cups to give you greater comfort along with a more rounded and forward shape.

  4. Touching breasts will also appreciate the shorter underwires while providing a little breast separation for comfort.

Here are 8 of our best-selling balcony bras. I’ve lined them up with our “measured shot” so you can quickly see neckline height and shape.

Cleo by Panache Asher Underwire Balconnet Bra 9971

Passionata by Chantelle Manhattan Underwire Demi Bra 48D1

Marie Jo Tom Balconette Bra 012-0829

Curvy Couture Tulip Lace Push Up Balconette Bra 1017

Demi Bras


The name demi bra was crafted from the French word “demi”, which officially means half. But a demi bra is not half-sized. Rather the name demi bra was created to signal that its breast coverage is less than a traditional, full-coverage bra. The classic demi bra style is considered to have a little more breast coverage than a balcony bra style, as well as a few additional design elements.

Design & Construction

Demi bra cups are designed with a slight inward tilt so your breasts will fall towards each other. So, a balcony bra simply lifts your breasts, a demi bra lifts and tilts. The cup shape is more triangular. The cup coverage is more than a balcony but less than a full-coverage bra. The straps, like the balcony, are wide-set, but they work in concert with the triangular cup shape to lift the breasts and have them fall more to the center. The neckline will be more rounded, rather than squared. And, a demi bra may also be wire-free, whereas all balcony bras have underwires. And, due to a demi’s revealing neckline, they are associated with being a sensuous bra style because they usually include lace details.

Advantages of a Demi Bra

  1. Again, petite women will enjoy a demi bra because it has a very attractive and pared down proportion.

  2. A great travel bra style. Its lesser coverage will hide under a variety of necklines.

  3. East/west breasts find this style comfortable while providing a more rounded and forward shape – when seams in the cups are present.

  4. Touching breasts will enjoy the comfort of shorter front underwire tips that do not fully come up between their breasts.

  5. Wide-set breasts, which struggle to achieve a cleavage line, will find some success with this bra style due to the inward tilt of the cups. But, many wide-set breast simply cannot create a true cleavage line – no matter how much squeezing together is built into a bra.

Demi bras are a great default style to have in your bra wardrobe. What they may lack in coverage, they more than make up for in adaptability to hide underneath a variety of tops.

I picked a variety of demi bras to show you that they can be seamless, wire-free, modesty padded, and decorative – something for everyone!

Timpa Duet Lace Underwire Demi Bra 16449

Calvin Klein Form Wireless Lightly Lined Demi Bra QF4081
Freya Expression Underwire Demi Plunge Moulded Bra AA5490

Wacoal Scene Stealer Underwire Bra 855312

Plunge Bras


Its name says it all. A plunge bra is designed to be invisible under plunging necklines while supporting breast tissue to create cleavage. A rather new bra style, its design evolved from the demi bra, so it too has cups designed to lift, support and tilt breasts more towards the center. Prior to the plunge bra, various tapes and nipple petals were all a woman had at her disposal unless she was willing to just go braless. This bra style is best suited for dresses or outfits with a deep décolleté. And it makes that “last button” decision easy on a button-down blouse.

Design & Construction

Any underwire bra where the center panel is lower than the horizontal apex line is considered a plunge bra. HerRoom shows you just how much plunge a bra has in our exclusive measured image we create for every bra on our site. We overlay the apex line and provide half-inch hash marks so you can compare coverage. Here are 3 measured image examples. You now can see that their plunge depths are  ½”, 1” &1-1/2” respectively.

The cup construction of a plunge bra really varies. Most are designed to tumble your breast tissue to the center like a demi bra. But, they too can be padded – preferably crescent-shaped padding – to further lift the bustline, add volume and push your breast tissue front and center to create cleavage. If your breast tissue is less than firm, you are best served in a plunge bra with seamed cups – especially a vertical center seam. Seams provide structure and support to jockey your soft tissue into a more beautiful cleavage neckline. The cups may also have modesty padding like a t-shirt bra.

The straps can be either center-pull or wide-set. If center-pull positioned, this bra can easily hide under sleeveless tops. If wide-set, they many times have a j-hook feature in the back. Attaching the j-hook turns your plunge bra almost into a halter bra, provides further lift to the sides of your breasts, and helps them further to tumble to the center.

Advantages of a Plunge Bra

  1. Women with a hollow breast bone will find this style fits them very well.

  2. Breasts so close together that they touch will love a plunge bra. It gives your breasts support, but with low-center wires that easily fit between your breasts. If you find the center underwires irritating between your breasts, a plunge bra is your solution.

  3. Is your bra the right size, but you find the tops of your underwires pushing away from you? A plunge resolves this issue very nicely.

  4. Splayed breasts will also enjoy the fit of a plunge bra. This style tends to give you a little more room in the center. The same is true about a front closure bra. It gives you a wider center front.

  5. If you have wide-set breasts a plunge will be good for you because a triangle cup shape tends to fit-adjust to wider-set breasts.

  6. Large cup-sized women find that the short and low underwires in the center of a plunge bra are super comfy and work really well under low-cut outfits, as there are no pesky lines peeking out over the top of your clothes.

  7. Women with dexterity issues and who have trouble fastening the back of their bra will be delighted to know that most front-closure bras are also plunge bras.

Here are our best selling plunge bras.

Chantelle Parisian Allure Unlined Plunge Bra 2231

There is a thin line between sexy and an exaggerated look. Your neckline significantly influences your physical appearance, and it can make a little black dress look outstanding, as long as the correct bra style is hiding underneath and providing you with the specific support you need. These 3 bra styles all have the ability to give you outstanding cleavage if you pick the correct style and make sure you are in your proper size.


Tomima Founder & CEO

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