There are a ton of different ways to classify bras based on their features and characteristics. Besides underwired vs. wire-free, probably the most significant division for categorizing bras is foam molded versus unlined construction. As expected, both bra types have advantages and disadvantages.
Foam molded cup bras, or “T-shirt” bras, have a preformed shape. Each cup is made from a single piece of material, so they tend to lay smooth even under tight clothing. The shaped foam is denser and usually thicker than fabric alone, providing maximum nipple coverage. (This bra category is also sometimes called “padded bras,” but that doesn’t always mean *extra* padding.) What’s the catch? Since their shape is so specific, the fit on your individual curves may be hit-or-miss. Foam cups just don’t stretch and flex to accommodate different body shapes very well. If you strongly prefer this type of bra, expect that you may have to try several different styles to find one that is a good match for your body shape. Due to structural and fabrication issues, foam molded cup bra sizes also don’t go as large as seamed styles.
The other major bra category has cups made from non-padded fabric rather than foam. The cups may be either pieced together from multiple parts or constructed from a single piece of stretchy material. Bras with seamed cups, also called multi-part or cut-and-sewn styles, provide better support in larger sizes and are more varied in terms of appearance and design. Their thinner material doesn’t provide the same level of nipple coverage for headlight-averse wearers, but they do a much better job of conforming to your shape for an easier, flattering fit. Though some amount of texture may be visible through certain articles of clothing, how much will depend on seam placement, bra material, your body shape, and what sort of top you’re wearing.
If you’ve only ever worn molded cup bras, consider trying an unlined style for comparison. You may find that their versatility of fit and wide array of aesthetic options wins you over.