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How to Differentiate Between Demi and Push-Up Bras

With all the different bra styles available, telling the difference between one and another can be confusing. This is made even more confusing when some of the styles are similar to each other. This is the case with demi bras and push-up bras. Each of these styles can make your breasts look full and perky which may make them seem interchangeable, but they’re actually different styles that offer unique benefits.

pile of bras

The Art of Cleavage Enhancement

Women tend to turn to demi and push-up bras for their lifting effect and how they help create the look of deep cleavage. Cleavage enhancement has always been something that a lot of women turn to make themselves look more feminine and sexy. This technique is the temporary improvement of cleavage and ranges from wearing certain bras to wearing artificial breasts. Used by women and female impersonators, cleavage enhancement can make your chest look more sumptuous and prominent. This can help you feel more confident while also making special occasion outfits look that much better. Cleavage enhancement may seem superficial but these techniques have a legitimate benefit for women who’ve had mastectomies and may need help feeling feminine again.    

The most common form of cleavage enhancement is different bras. The push-up bra and the demi bra are two styles designed specifically for pushing your breasts together and lifting them up so they appear voluptuous and round. Some have inserts that can add to the bra’s enhancement abilities while others can use pull strings or boning to squeeze the breasts together to create deeper cleavage. Finally, there are some bras that have padding sewn into them to enhance cleavage and breast size. This padding can be made of different materials and contain things like liquid or gel in them to add to the illusion.

While demi bras and push-up bras utilize one or more of these techniques to help create cleavage but their overall benefits and designs are quite different.


Demi Bras

In order to be considered a demi cup bra, the bra can only cover half or, at the most, three-quarters of your chest. The drawing point of these bras is their shorter cup size. This is what gives your breasts look rounder and sumptuous.

Demi cup bras come in different styles. Some have padding or lined cups to further enhance your bust while some are unlined. They are also made to tilt slighting which helps pull your breasts together to create more prominent cleavage. The straps are also distinct as they’re attached to the outer edge of the cup, slightly wider than the average bra design. Finally, the underwire tends to be shorter so it forms a shallower curve. While they're made specifically to be worn with lower necklines, their versatile designs (different fabrics, colors, and patterns) make it possible to wear these bras every day under any type of top or dress.  

woman in push-up bra

Push Up Bras

While made to enhance the appearance of your chest, the push-up bra has its own standards and qualities that not only separate it from the demi bra but make it a unique style. The average push-up bra has extra padding built into the bottoms and the sides of the cups in order to push your breasts closer together and lift them up simultaneously. In some cases, the right push-up bra can make you appear up to two full cup sizes larger than you are.

These also come in different styles to suit your personal style. You can find a multitude of different colors and patterns and also find push-up bras with different embellishments like lace, embroidery, or even beading.

The nu bra is defined by its ability to enhance your breasts, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the cups are as short as those of a demi bra. Remember, demi bras have cups that only cover up to three-quarters of your bust. A push-up bra doesn’t have to follow those standards and can cover more of the breast in some cases.


The Wonderbra

Before the introduction of the Wonderbra, women’s lingerie was more structured and, frankly, unattractive. Girdles were still in fashion making up nearly 40 percent of industry sales. They were considered the best form of bust enhancement since they minimized the appearance of your midsection and helped your bust stand out more in comparison. With a rise in feminism in the 1960s, women were embracing their sexuality and wearing clothes to match their feelings. This brought about garments like the miniskirt and crop tops. These new fashions made things like the girdle useless and rather unattractive.

This shift in fashion made way for the Wonderbra—the first push-up bra introduced to the public. Originally developed in the 1950s, this is an underwire bra that soared to popularity in the US market in the 1990s after decades of success in the European market. It has since become a symbol of femininity, fashion, and sensuality.

Made by the Canadian Lady Corset Company, founder Moe Nadler traveled from his native Canada to Europe to come up with new designs for his company. In 1961, after developing the Wonderbra, Nadler used the fashion inspiration from Europe to further push his designs and create a plunging, lacy push-up bra known as the Model 1300. This became the standard Wonderbra design that would be sold throughout the world. In fact, the design hasn’t changed much over the years and is almost identical to the modern Wonderbra. Over the years, Wonderbra went from a single push-up bra style to a full designer lingerie line selling not only bras but different styles of pantie as well as bridal lingerie.

The Wonderbra might be the most iconic push-up bra, but its introduction made way for other lingerie designers to create their own designs with their own ways to push breasts together and lift them up.


Telling Them Apart

So the demi cup bra and the push-up bra are both made to help you enhance the appearance of your breasts but the difference really comes down to how they fit your bust. The way each bra fits is actually what allows them to accentuate your breasts in unique manners.

A push-up bra offers more cleavage than a demi cup bra. This is because the bra has the extra padding on the outside of the cups to help squeeze your breasts together. Demi cup bras, on the hand, don’t have side padding like this. Usually, they lack padding or only have a single padded insert in each cup. So, if you’re looking to have deep cleavage, you’re better off choosing a push-up bra over a demi cup bra.

The demi bra is the only one of the two with strict standards regarding cup height. The cups here won’t come higher than one inch past the nipple whereas push-up bras have no real standard and can cover more of your breasts. If you’re looking for a good bra that won’t show when you wear lower necklines, a demi cup bra is the better option.


As you can see, there aren’t many differences between the demi cup bra and the push-up bra, but there are important differences. Choose the style that fits your needs the best and then find one (or a bunch!) that fit your personal style by looking at the various patterns, colors, and flirty embellishments.