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What is a Male Bra?

Alex Tree
Updated May 21, 2024
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In general, male bras are loosely placed into one of two categories: compression bras and bras used for cross-dressing and sexual fetishes. A male bra used for compression is normally meant to flatten the breasts and is made from a stretchable fabric. These bras typically do not lift the breasts; their primary purpose is usually to minimize the appearance of overly large male breasts. Bras used for cross-dressing and similar purposes sometimes more closely resemble the female bra. Besides being called a male bra, compression bra, or compression vest, these types of bras are occasionally referred to as bros.

Depending on the type of male bra, the construction of the garment varies significantly, sometimes not resembling the female counterpart at all. A compression bra is typically made from a stretchable fabric like spandex and may cover the entire torso and part of the legs. Normally, its goal is to reduce the appearance of the breasts, but it might also take on the role of flattening the stomach and giving the thighs a tighter appearance. Cross-dressing bras, on the other hand, often lift the male breasts and increase cup size to give the man a more feminine figure. They may also have designs similar to some female bras, with colorful fabric, lace, and ruffles.

Some men use a male bra to reduce the size of breasts that have developed on their bodies due to either obesity or other medical complications. These men will typically use their male bra to support their breasts similarly to how women typically use their bras. The notable difference between how men often use a supportive bra compared to how women do is that this use of a male bra will typically seek to flatten and reduce possible attention to the breasts, while female bras often do the opposite. Another common use of the male bra is as an accessory for sexual fetishes, as when a man seeks to dress up as a woman. As breasts are generally considered an important and identifiable facet of the female form, men who dress up as women often consider a bra to be an indispensable part of their wardrobe.

Wearing a male compression bra is essentially a form of breast binding, which has been done for thousands of years by both men and women. Women bound their breasts to flatten them for a variety of reasons, such as making their breasts less distracting to better fulfill their lives as Catholic nuns and as a fashion statement when flat-chestedness and small breasts were popular.

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.
Alex Tree
By Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and BeautyAnswered contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.

Discussion Comments

By anon982089 — On Dec 17, 2014

I'm a married man 45 years old with gynecomastia. My breasts are 38C. I wear a bra to support my breasts just like a woman does. I'm not a cross dresser, I'm not transgender, nor do I wear a bra for sexual gratification. I need support or they hurt. I don't see this in your category. There are thousands of guys like me who hide the fact that they wear a bra because a bra is associated with the female form.

By anon972069 — On Oct 01, 2014

The narrow mindedness of this article amuses me. There are actually three categories of male bras. The third are the men who have gynecomastia and wear bras for the exact same reasons women do: comfort and support. Therefore, a bra is not female or male. It is a garment to support breasts; whether it be for a male or a female. They can compress. They can lift. They can enhance. They can support. There are thousands of men wearing bras for comfort and support. Get over it.

By donasmrs — On Jul 04, 2013

@fBoyle-- Try the athletic compression bras or shirts. Several athletic equipment companies make these and I think they work the best. Some male bras end up making the breasts more apparent, which is not what you want.

By fBoyle — On Jul 03, 2013

I have gynecomastia from steroid use. My doctor said that my breasts should go back to normal since I stopped taking steroids, but it might take some time. I'm considering getting a compression bra or a male sports bra meanwhile to make my breast enlargement less apparent.

Which type of compression bra is best? Where can I buy it? How do I know if it will fit?

By stoneMason — On Jul 03, 2013

My friend is a cross-dresser and I know from her experiences (she prefers being called "she") that men who dress as women have a very tough time finding the right padding and bras.

My friend bought all her bras online in the beginning but hated them because they never fit her properly. It was only after she shopped at a transgender store that sold male bras that she started buying from stores. She actually prefers bras made for women and goes for a bra fitting at the mall all the time now when it's time for a new bra.

Men who dress as women and who want to be accepted as women don't have to use male bras. They can also use women's bras as long as it's fitting them and comfortable. Most store representatives are very open-minded and helpful for men wearing bras.

Alex Tree

Alex Tree

Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and BeautyAnswered contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
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