Americans call it a 'balcony bra'; the British prefer the term 'balconette'. Whatever you name it, though, there's no denying that this is one seriously sexy piece of lingerie that every woman should have in her collection.
What, then, makes a balcony bra? It's a demi cup style rather than a full cup bra, but there is more to its makeup than that. The half cups on a balcony bra are distinguished by their cut – they finish in a straight line across the top. Then there are the straps, which tend to be set wider apart than usual. Finally, there's an element of uplift: a balcony bra will lift your bust with a subtle shelf-like effect as opposed to the more va-va-voom lift-and-squeeze of a plunge push-up bra.
Put it all together and you end up with a very flattering bra indeed. Think of a balcony bra as a picture frame for your bust and you've nailed the essence of its appeal. Ideal for wearing under low, square cut necklines, it's a popular choice for evening.
If it's the shape for you, the good news is that the balcony bra comes in plenty of variations. There are molded balcony bras, smooth styles designed to be worn under fitted clothing. You'll also find sheer versions fashioned from all-over lace or tulle – these styles tend to have vertical seaming on the cups for support, and it doesn't hurt that this gives them a gorgeous vintage feel too.
One of our favorite balcony bras this season is the Reve de Coquelicot bra from Antigel by Lise Charmel. Part of the new collection from this European luxury lingerie label, the underwired bra comes in sheer white tulle with a vertical seam on the cups. A lattice design on the central gore and side wings adds a feminine flourish, but it's the vibrant poppy embroidery on the cups that really sets this bra apart. If you're looking for lingerie to put you in the mood for summer, this fresh, bright balcony bra is hard to beat.