The Cutout Explained
A cutout-bra is a soutien-gorge in which the center of the cup has been removed, so that the breast, areola and nipples are uncovered. It is also referred to as peek-a-boo style. A cutout which completely excises the breast is called boobless cutout-bra (AB199316, JE9358), whereas one which only excises the nipple is called a nippleless cutout-bra (DT199307, JE9362). Note that boobless and nippleless styles can also apply to the halter (EC0732J), as well as maillot species (EC0732K, JE9354).
Cutout-bras are made in both underwear and bikini fashions. Although the former are generally safe to wear in the bedroom, it is dubious if the latter is safe to wear on the beach, even the topless beach where breasts and nipples are in full view. Ironically, some fashion models who won't model topless will model nippleless crochet halters (JE8911).
The Demi-bra Species
The demi-bra is a cut-away brassière that incorporates a cup which covers the lower part of the breasts but reveals the top of the breasts and often part of the areola and nipple (MM4940). It frequently uses underwire to provide lift.
The demi-bra provides a way to elevate and display the breast while keeping it nude or semi-nude. As underwear it is often worn under a low-cut dress (BB7310).
One may think of the demi-bra as a special case of the push-up bra. The difference between the demi-bra and the push-up bra is that the demi-bra exposes the nipples, where as the push-up does not.
Bikini tops which are naively bras can, in practice, become demi-bras when they are worn by women who wish to test the limits of exposure, both at Bikini Beach as well as Topless Beach (SE9188). There is also a class of celebrity who elects to wear tailor-made bras which tease out the areola or provide views of the nipple from certain angles.
The demi-bra is closely related to the quarter-bra, which contains only foundation under the breast and leaves the breast completely bare (MP9650).
It is also sometimes argued that the tri-string demi-halter (e.g., JE9010), currently classified as a spider, should be included among the demi-bra species. The supporting arguments include the demi- nature of the garment--like the demi-bra it supports the lower half of the breast, leaves the upper half exposed, and teases areolage and nippage. The detractors of this position argue the demi-halter lacks the uplift spirit of the demi-bra, that a halter is not a bra, and that the spider is a correct classification.
The fundamental purpose of the cutout and demi-bra is to provide support to an otherwise barebreasted subject, as well as to frame and highlight this part of the anatomy. Wearers include dancers and performers as well as women who wish to challenge the limits of cleavage.
The species is not new. Gerome depicts an Egyptian harem girl dancing for Caesar in a painting made in 1866 (JG186610). Marilyn Monroe models a demi-bra in 1949 (MM4940). And ever since foundation was invented the demi-bra has played a role in underwear.
Cutouts are also a costume of the ecdysiast (SY6910), and are worth noting in this respect since the ecdysiast has often been a leading indicator for beachwear (see for example the discussion in the early 2000s). The cutout is manifest in fetishwear, and it is not unusual to see costumes such as this leather collared barebreasted halter (LK9330) if one goes to the right nightclubs.
Related Species & Silhouettes
A culotte companion to the cutout and demi-bra is the crotchless. When one breast is completely covered and the other is bare the soutien-gorge species is a halfbra. The boobless maillot is the antithesis of Gernreich's topless T-front maillot in that makes the breasts explicit, rather than romancing them. The student of these kind of breastage may also want to review the wild tops species.