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A balconette bra is a bra worn to enhance the appearance of the bust by providing less coverage and more cleavage than other types of bra. This makes it more desirable under certain kinds of clothing and for special occasions, but possibly less supportive than other bra types. A balconette bra can be found in nearly every size and color, but it is worn most often by women with small to medium breasts who wish to enhance the look of their cleavage.
There is a wide range of coverage and cleavage enhancement that different bra types provide. A full cup bra, for example, combines the least amount of cleavage enhancement with the most coverage and support. The demi cup bra is a compromise between support and appearance, and falls in the middle ground, with less coverage and support than a full cup bra but more cleavage enhancement. A balconette bra is nearer to the other end of the spectrum from the full cup bra, with little coverage and support and plenty of cleavage enhancement.
Many dresses and tops worn for special occasions are shaped very differently than normal dresses and tops, and may reveal bra straps or back and side panels of the bra. Frequently, women who wear clothing like this choose to buy a strapless or even backless balconette bra for these occasions. Since the straps and back are responsible for a large portion of the bra's support, these versions are not usually comfortable or easy to wear for women with large breasts that need plenty of support, but smaller-busted women may be able to get away with it for a night.
Due to the lack of support when compared to other types of bra, a balconette bra may not be practical for some women to wear every day. Many women keep one or two balconette bras around to wear for special occasions, and wear a full or demi cup bra on most normal days. However, some women find that they like the appearance benefits of wearing a balconette bra under normal, everyday clothing as well as clothing for special occasions, and wear them on a regular basis. Aside from purely a bust enhancement aspect, balconette bras are also a good choice for low cut tops and dresses that might otherwise reveal the tops of the cups in regular bras. Some women may even find them more comfortable than regular bras because they do not cover as much area and provide the restricted feeling that other bras sometimes do.