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The Science of the Bra Band

This week, we’re looking at the way the bra is constructed, and how various elements of the bra work together to provide support and shaping. Today, we’re going to take a look at the bra band. We’ve often pointed out that it’s not the bra straps that should be supporting the weight of the bust; it’s the body of the bra itself. The bulk of that support should come from your bra band. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that the band fits properly, and that you’re wearing the correct bra size. If the bra size is wrong, the band can’t provide the support you need. How does the band work?

The Bra Band
In a well-designed bra, the band is what provides the bulk of the support. The band lifts your breasts and gives them a foundation upon which to rest. The band itself is the part of the bra that wraps around the ribcage and across the back. The cups sort of rest on top of the band, and the straps combine to help hold your breasts immobile – but the bulk of the support itself comes from the band. Different cup styles coupled with the band can give you different shapes and levels of support.

Ideally, a band shouldn’t have too much stretch, or it can degrade over time and fail to provide you with the support you need. Beware of stiff, scratchy or uncomfortable bands, as these can result in you declining to wear your bra, or thinking the fit is wrong, when it’s actually the band style, fabric or finish that’s the problem.

The band is the number part of your bra size. For example, if you wear a 38DD, the band is the 38 and the DD is the cup size. 38 may not actually mean 38 inches, though; consult our bra fit guide for information on finding your correct band size.

Size Matters!
The band can only provide the support you need if it’s the right size. The vast majority of women who are wearing the wrong bra size are wearing a band size that is too big. When a band is properly fitted, it should lie flat across the back and should not curve upward.

If the band pulls up in the back, your breasts will sag or droop in the front. If the band pulls up, the band is too loose. Most women who wear the band size too large wear a cup size too small. Try getting a smaller band and a larger cup to address common bra sizing issues.

Bra Band Riding Up

If the band pinches in back, it might be too tight. You should ideally be able to fit one or two fingers underneath the band. If you’re full-figured and find that a band digs into your skin, the problem may be with the bra size or the band style. A wider band is better for fuller-figured women, as it helps distribute the weight more evenly and can help prevent digging into the skin. Try experimenting with different sizes and styles to find the one that lies properly across the back but doesn’t cause discomfort or dig into the skin.

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