Cheap Seats

by John Festa

A Musing on the Balconette Bra


I love balconette bras. There is no other bra style that can compare with its classic sexiness and shape enhancement. The literal translation of the word balconette is little balcony. Performers regularly joke about the theater’s balcony being the cheap seats, though there is nothing cheap about this extraordinary bra style.

Occasionally referred to as a shelf bra, the balconette is not for the meek. It is nearly a display case for the goods in a beautiful, tasteful way that exalts the female form.

Many bras are called balconette, though not all are. The essence of this style is the shelf construction and low décolleté. In either the seamless cup style, or seamed (I prefer a vertical seam), it is the nearly-horizontal décolleté that differentiates this style bra from a plunge or demi-bra.


Now, this style of bra is not for every woman. How well this look works on a body is a combination of physical and personality traits. This bra best serves a bust of average to ample, but not ideal for the very full-busted, as this can lead to looking like Jessica Rabbit. And one must be comfortable with attention.

It is this gorgeous low neckline that makes this bra a great foundation for a low-cut dress or blouse. An even bolder, sexier look is this style bra with a tailored shirt or blouse, leaving perhaps one too many of the top buttons undone. This is not the best bra for knits or t-shirts.


It is up to you to decide if this bra style is for you. If you have never done so, consider trying on a few. You may be pleasantly surprised. It is a look that rarely disappoints.