A long line bra is a brassiere which includes a partial corset, typically extending to the bottom of the ribcage and sometimes almost to the hips. You may also hear a this type of bra referred to as a bustier, corset, or merry widow, although these terms actually describe slightly different styles of lingerie. Many lingerie stores stock these bras, and it is important to go in for a fitting to ensure that the garment fits appropriately, for the best support and comfort. For women who haven't been measured for a bra lately, a fitting is a good excuse to get an official measurement for fit.
The design of a long line bra is designed to perform several functions. Firstly, these bras act as smoothers, creating a smooth and even look for the torso and stomach. This can be useful when snug garments are being worn, as the bra will eliminate bumpy or rough spots, encouraging the garment to drape in a more flattering way.
These bras also promote good posture, by providing a lot of back support, and because they are typically lightly boned, it is difficult to slouch comfortably in a long line bra. In addition, of course, these bras support the breasts, with the design tending to push them upwards, creating deeper cleavage and a fuller look.
Many long line bras are strapless, so that they can be worn with strapless gowns or garments with small sleeves, thin straps, or plunging back or necklines. Full-figured women who need strapless bras sometimes turn to this type of bra because it provides more support than a regular strapless bra, ensuring that their breasts will not be inadvertently exposed if they lean over. These bras can also, of course, be worn by smaller women, and in fact the push-up effect is sometimes appreciated by women with smaller breasts, since many plunging gowns and tops are designed for serious cleavage.
As with a regular bra, a long line bra can come in a range of styles and sizes, which is why a fitting is important. In a fitting, it can help to have a store assistant check the fit to ensure that the bra is smooth and even, with no rumpled or strained areas. If the bra feels uncomfortable in the store, it will probably feel uncomfortable later, so pay attention to protruding threads, uncomfortable boning, and other issues which might make the bra less enjoyable to wear.