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Tomima Talks: Lift or Push-Up?

My team and I frequently speak to local bra fitters. This is one of the many ways I verify my Tomima Tips before I post them on products – yes, only I post a Tomima Tip. HerRoom also has a fit-lab where every product is first tested for sizing before it is made available for purchase on our sites. Once I get wind of a possible size discrepancy, I like to check with others to verify they are seeing the same thing. The other day, I was sitting with one of my favorite local fitters, when we wound up speaking about women asking for a push-up bra. We agreed that, while many women initially ask for a push-up bra, upon further conversation, most really want a bra with breast lift. There is a difference.

A push-up bra has padding inside the cups. This additional padding not only helps to push your malleable breast tissue around but also adds volume to give the illusion that your breast size is also larger – the same way lifts in shoes makes someone look taller.

Push-up padding used to be located at the bottom of the cup, but now there are several padding configurations inside cups to not only “push-up” your breast tissue, but also “push-inward” your breast tissue for more of a cleavage line.  This is one of the reasons we always have an image of the inside of push-up bras we sell.  I want you to see exactly what is going on in the cups.  Here are examples to give you an idea of the many different push-up padding configurations:

A push-up bra also requires that you put it on correctly to get the right effect.  You need to lean forward, reach into each cup with your opposite hand and pull your breast tissue up and inward so it is resting on top of this padding. Otherwise, the bra will rest strangely on your chest and not give you the look you want. Push-up bras come with different levels of padding. So, you need to know how much you want because you can also get too much. This happened to me. I purchased a heavily padded push-up bra that I “thought” I needed for a new dress. I didn’t realize that heavy padding takes up considerably more room in the bustline.  My dress now felt rather tight. Then, I looked at myself in the mirror. I now know what I’d look like if I were to get augmented. The “look” this push-up bra created on me was simply too much. I, therefore, scaled back to a demi bra with lift and got the look I wanted. With that, allow me to segue into bras with lift.

Bras with lift do not add volume to your breasts. Instead, they take what you have, and move it around to give your breasts lift for a more flattering shape and position on your body. Traditional “cut & sew” bras do just this. This is a bra that takes rigid fabric (usually woven and/or lace) and creates the cup shape using pieces sewn together (e.g. 3-part cup, 4-part cup, etc).  So, yes, seams in the cups. The most beautiful (and expensive) bras on the market are made this way. Seaming enables manufacturers to use more beautiful fabrics and outstanding laces to create a bra. European women have long admired this lingerie craftsmanship and consider a beautifully made bra a status symbol. This is why they have no problem with bra seams showing through their clothing – it’s a sign they’re wearing a luxury bra. Now, cross the Atlantic and you’ll find most American women trying to avoid any bra seam from showing through their clothing. This semi-obsession with no-show seams is really only in the USA. Having shared this little aside, let’s get back to lift. The single most effective lift feature to look for in a bra is a vertical seam starting at the center bottom of the cup and coming up to its apex.  This seam is going to give your breasts great lift. Here are some examples of the best lifting bras on the market:

Seamless Bras with lift

Do you still want lift but are adamant about no seams showing? You have a few options. Let me call out two specifically.  Curvy Couture has a t-shirt bra with great push-up that goes up to a D5 cup size and 46 band size.  It does have a small crescent-shaped pad in the bottom of the cup, but it’s receiving rave reviews from many wearers for giving a natural lift to large bustlines while also providing modesty. There is also a very interesting new lift bra by Wacoal – Elevated Allure. Wacoal gave me access to their VP of Raw Material Quality, Development and Sourcing who graciously explained it’s fine points to me. The cups may look multi-layered and textured but are actually a single complex knit that is completely smooth. The web-like design is engineered inside the layer and has its own tension and unique pattern. This is what gives the great breast lift. My network of local fitters along with our sales are indicating it’s a real winner.

A Final Thought

Before signing off, I just wanted to express my appreciation for your support of HerRoom – especially during this challenging time.  We are a unique website specializing in women’s undergarments. You’ve probably noticed that small local lingerie shops are scarce. They were the frontline of our industry giving women a hands-on experience for finding the best bra fit and styles.  Without them, where can women go? This is what drives me to innovate and try to come up with ways to help women who no longer have a local option. HerRoom is up against a few behemoth websites that are positioning themselves to completely take over retail using practices that undermine small female-owned businesses. They know nothing about selling lingerie; it’s simply another category for them.  We, on the other hand, are passionate about everything we sell. Being woman-owned we understand the category better than anyone and know which products really work. Our product details and fit recommendations are the best on the internet – no one else comes close. So, thank you for your support. We know you have a choice where you shop. We are delighted you are supporting us.


Tomima Founder, Owner, & CEO


The right bra can change the way you feel about everything. Find the right style and fit in just a few minutes with our exclusive Bra Fit Quiz.

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