A bra, short for brassiere or brassière is a form-fitting undergarment typically designed to support or cover a woman’s breasts. Bras are designed for a variety of purposes, including general breast support, enhancing or diminishing the appearance of breast size and/or shape, creating cleavage, or other aesthetic or practical purposes. Swimsuits, camisoles, and backless dresses may have built-in breast support with supportive bra cups. Nursing bras are designed to facilitate breastfeeding. Some people have a medical and surgical need for brassieres, but most wear them for fashion or cultural reasons.
Bra have gained importance beyond their mere functionality. Women’s choices about what kind of bra to wear are consciously and unconsciously affected by social perceptions of the ideal female body shape, which changes over time. Bras have become fashion items and cultural statements that are sometimes purposely revealed by the wearer or even worn as outerwear.