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what is the best bra for support

Have you ever wondered exactly why bras are constructed the way they are? You’ve been fitted for bras many times, and you’ve been wearing them for years. But, do you know how the parts of a bra work together or what each part does? Understanding the purpose of each part of a bra will help you quickly determine what fits and what doesn’t when bra shopping.

Let’s discuss the different parts of a bra and their purposes.

1.  Cups

The cups are designed to hold your breasts, and the cups should fit your breasts snugly, but comfortably. Your breasts shouldn’t popping over the top or out the sides of your bra cups. If this occurs, it’s a sign that your bra is too small. On the other hand, space between your breast and the cup signifies the bra is too big.

2.  Seams

Seams not only help keep the bra’s fabric sewn together, but seams offer support as well. And, the support and shape can vary depending on the type of seam – such as vertical or horizontal. For example, a 3-part cup bra provides extra support and lifting. (I know, you’re probably thinking, “What is a 3-part cup bra?”) A 3-part cup bra simply means the bra has three seams to maximize support.

3.  Underwire

The underwire is sewn into the fabric under the cups and is designed to give your breasts a rounder, fuller look. The fuller look comes from the fact that the underwire is helping to support and lift your breasts. Of course, not all bras have underwire because every woman’s preference is different. However, it’s important to note that bras with underwire shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If you find that your underwire bra is painful, it’s most likely because you’re wearing the wrong size bra. It’s not because the bra has underwire.

4.  Center panel (gore)

The center panel of a bra, also known as the gore, is meant to separate your breasts and create a rounder look. The gore connects the bra cups, and it also holds the ends of the underwire, if applicable. The gore should sit against your chest if the bra fits well. If the gore is sitting on breast tissue or is lifted off your chest, you need a different bra size.

Related Post: 7 Signs You Are Wearing The Wrong Bra Size

5.  Bra sides (bra wings)

The bra sides (or bra wings) extend off the sides of the cups and eventually turn into the bra band. The bra sides help keep your skin smooth under the bra, alleviating bulging around the bra sides and band. However, if a bra has a very thin band and wings, bulging around the band may be inevitable. Some bras come with very wide bra sides to provide an even smoother silhouette.

6.  Bra band

The bra band provides the most support for the breasts. So, it’s essential that your bra band is truly the right size for you. A bra band that is too large will ride up on your back, putting extra weight on your bra straps. A bra band that is too small will squeeze your back, bulging your skin around the band. The band should fit tightly so it remains in place to fully support your breasts.

7.  Bra straps

Bra straps are not meant to provide support. In fact, the straps shouldn’t be providing any support because this can be painful on your shoulders. Instead, bra straps are designed to help keep the bra in place. And because each woman’s torso varies in size, the straps come with adjusters. Adjusters allow the straps to tighten or loosen depending on your needs.

However, you shouldn’t need to overly tighten your straps to make your bra fit tighter on your breasts. If you have to do this, you probably need a smaller cup size. It’s also important to know that bra straps shouldn’t be uncomfortable or cause pain. (This is just one of many bra myths.) If the straps are digging into your shoulders, it’s likely the band is too big.

8.  Hooks (hook and eye closure)

A bra has several sets of hooks to fasten the bra band. Your bra should fit comfortably on the first or second hook. A bra will stretch over time as you wear and wash it. As the material stretches, you can move to tighter fitting hooks to bring that bra band back to your size.

Bra knowledge is power! (After all, you need to be knowledgeable when bra shopping.) All parts of a bra work together to carry the weight of your breasts. If one part isn’t doing its job well, the entire bra can’t do its job – which is to be supportive or comfortable.

Featured image lingerie:
Mod By Parfait Tattoo Padded Balconet Longline Bra A14315 in Clematis Blue/Champagne


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Lauren Hamilton

Lauren Hamilton is the founder of, a lifestyle and relationship blog offering relationship advice and encouraging women to be the happiest, most confident version of themselves through positivity and self-love. She's also a freelance writer and communications strategist. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, and check out some of her accomplishments on her portfolio.

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