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The Science of Bras: The Hidden Elements

Ok, so bra straps, the band and the cups seem like pretty obvious elements in bra design. Even so, it helps to understand exactly why they’re there and what their role is in the overall bra design. But there are also some elements of your bra design hidden in plain sight, and it might not be so obvious why they’re there or what they’re meant to do. For the most part, you can ignore these elements – when they do their job properly. When they don’t fit right, however, you can have serious bra issues and your bra may no provide the best support and fit possible.

Wings. No, seriously.
I’ll bet you didn’t know your bra has wings, right? No joke; the part of the bra that stretches from the side of the cup around to the back to where the band fastens are called wings. The wings provide most of the bra’s support by counter-balancing the weight of the cups in front. Yes, the wings are a part of the bra band, but this refers to a very specific part and the design is crucial.

The wings run from the side of the cup around the back of the bra to where the band fastens

When the wings don’t fit properly, you can run into serious discomfort. If the bra band is too tight, you may find the wings digging into your skin under your arms or around your back. If you have a short torso and the wings are tall, they may be too tall to comfortably fit under your arms; in this case, you might want to look for bra designs with short wings around the side of the bra.

Know your body, and learn what type of wings work best for your body type. When you try on a bra, look to see whether the wings dig into your flesh or whether they rest comfortably against your skin. You don’t want a band that’s too loose, because then it won’t provide enough support, but too tight and the discomfort can drive you not to wear the bra at all.

Wait, a Bridge, too?
Yes, that’s right; your bra has a bridge, too. The bridge is the part of the bra that runs between the cups in the front. If your bra fits properly, the bridge should lie flat against your skin between the breasts.

The bridge is the part of the bra that lies between the cups, against your body

If the bridge pulls away from your skin, the cup size is too small and your band size is too large. You need to change your bra size. Without a properly-fitting bridge, the breasts can be pulled off to the sides by the force of the band. This can lead to some awkward shaping and just not looking very flattering under your shirts.

Additionally, it prevents the band from supporting the weight of the bust properly. If the bridge doesn’t lie flush against your body, the band isn’t supporting your bust and the support has to come from the straps. This can cause the straps to dig into your shoulders, and can also lead to sagging, as the straps aren’t meant to bear the weight of the breasts.

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