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What is a Long Line Bra?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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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.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a BeautyAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon992037 — On Aug 08, 2015

I have always worn girdles since a young age, the ones with suspenders holding up nylons. In later years, I took to the longline bra and together with a girdle it slims, holds me up with great support all day every day. I prefer this to the all-in-one.

But I appreciate that you have to get used to being in it all. It takes weeks wearing the longline bra, girdle and suspendered nylons all day long every day, it could even take a few months. Then after a while, you don't feel "right" without it and when you get up in the morning it's a relief to get it all up around you again. Though it's a great relief to get it all off at bedtime.

But it gets to look and feel really fabulous, so it's worth it to try it all -- six months and you'll never look back. And by heavens, it's really sexy!

By anon219191 — On Oct 02, 2011

My name is LLil and I have been wearing longline brassieres since my mum put me in one when I was 12 years old. I was very well developed at that age and the school nurse said it would be better for my back.

I have worn nothing else ever since and never would dream of another style. They really are comfortable to wear and paired with a good sturdy high waisted girdle I get a super smooth outline.

By anon167930 — On Apr 14, 2011

I am 52 years old and just now have discovered the joy of a longline bra. So much more comfortable and it makes me feel, well, kind of sexy even at my age, especially if you get a pretty one. I don't want to take it off, even at night. I've had a mastectomy and reconstruction and many abdominal surgeries and I think psychologically having this all covered and confined makes me feel better.

By anon128130 — On Nov 18, 2010

That's pretty interesting. I never heard of a long line bra.

By anon119623 — On Oct 18, 2010

I have never worn a comfortable bra. They always pull on my right side so all day I am pulling and tugging at my bra. I am miserable. I once found a nice bra with a wider band under the bra, but can no longer find this type of bra now.

By anon116009 — On Oct 05, 2010

Absolutely, like the girdle you get used to the longline bra after a week or so all-the-time wearing, and I too have been wearing them since my schooldays so that now I would feel loose, even naked, without them. I always wear stockings and heels too, for the full sophisticated look -- all gussied up.

Eventually, for those thinking seriously of it all, you actually get to like being held in snug everywhere, and your breasts do look majestic too.

In particular, I have always liked the hug of the girdle under my bottom holding it up, but in and demure. And I always like the way I can let my belly just go and then above all to look in the mirror and see how it all moulds me into much prettier proportions.

And after a little while it becomes no bother at all. You can indeed forget you have it all on. I do!

By EarlyForest — On Aug 18, 2010

Long line bras can be an excellent option for women with fuller figures, since having that extra layer of fabric can be very flattering.

Many lingerie stores actually sell full figure, plus size long line bras since so many women use them as an alternative to tummy control underwear or hose.

By StreamFinder — On Aug 18, 2010

I had never heard of long line bras until my wedding when a friend suggested I wear a long line strapless bra.

I was trying to find some underwear that would give me a slimmer silhouette, but I wasn't prepared to go all the way to a corset or girdle.

So I got one of those seamless long line bras and I was very surprised and pleased with how well it looked.

I would definitely recommend a strapless long line bra to any bride looking for a little extra control on their wedding day.

By anon41027 — On Aug 12, 2009

I have been wearing long line bras since I was 11. I am now 41 years old and have never worn an ordinary short bra in my life, and I just love the long line bra.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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