If your bra isn’t fitting quite right, the shoulder straps or cups might not be to blame. Instead, the issue may lie with the band itself. The band is the part of the bra that wraps around the rib cage and is actually the most important thing when it comes to a proper fit.
We’re going to explain what makes the bra band so important, and how to find one that fits:
Why Bra Bands Matter
Contrary to popular belief, it’s the bra band that supports most of the breast tissue, not the cups or the straps.
Approximately 80-90% of the support comes from the band; the shoulder straps only do 10-20% of the work. The straps are mainly used to keep the cups fitting close to the bust—it’s the band that does the heavy-lifting and supports the bust.
When the support comes from the band, the pressure on the straps is reduced, and you don’t need such wide shoulder straps. But the band can only do its job when it fits snuggly against your body. Otherwise, all the weight rests on the straps and results in neck and back pain (and overall a rather uncomfortable bra).
Choosing Your Band Size
At The BraBar, we always start with the fit of the band; we consider it to be the most essential aspect of any properly fitting bra.
The bra band should fit snug and with 1.5-2 inches (38-51mm) of give on either side and should not ride up on the back. When fitting a new bra, bands should fit comfortably on the loosest set of hooks. Then, as the band relaxes with age, usage, and washing, the hooks can be moved in to keep a snug tension.
The number of hooks on the back closure is not as important as the width of the band under the arm. This is the part that goes around to the back of the bra; it’s known as the bra wing. Many brands will taper the back at the hook and eye fasteners to reduce the width of the closure, which is why the number of hooks wide is not important.
Wearing a loose-fitting band also contributes to the dreaded problem of slipping straps. When the band is too loose, the straps will be set for the body frame of that band size.
If a woman who wears a 36” band wears her band too big (making it a 38” band), the straps will be set for a body frame of 38” around. This will make the straps too wide for a 36” frame, and the straps will be more likely to slip off the shoulders.
Is Your Bra Band the Right Size?
While you’re wearing your bra, try these tricks to determine if you’re wearing the right bra size:
- Lift your arms in the air. Does the band move up your chest and expose your breast? If so, the band is too loose.
- Pull the band away from your back. If it comes out ~1-2 inches (~2.5-5cm), then it’s the right size.
- Look at the band in the mirror. Does it look like it’s pulled upwards? If so, the band may be too big, causing you to adjust the shoulder straps too tightly to compensate. The band should be a straight line across the back.
Find Your New Bra at The BraBar
Finding the right band size shouldn’t feel like a guessing game. At The BraBar, our personal bra fitters will help you find the right bra size for your body. When your bra fits, you’ll feel the difference every day.
The perfect bra fit starts with the right-sized band. Looking for a comfortable bra that fits your unique shape? Check out our selection of bras in Canada!