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side sling bra

Bras are made up of lots of different parts, and there are certain features or components that you’ll only find on a particular style of bras. One of those is side supports.

There are two types of side support a bra may have, and some of them use both. The first is a ‘side sling’, a piece of fabric at the outer edge of the cup, which stretches from the base up to the apex (where the strap and cup meet). It might be overlaid and incorporated into the design, or it might be hidden away inside the bra.

The other type of side support is a narrow panel that is actually a part of the cup itself, joined by a seam. Like a sling, you’ll find it at the outer cup edge, and it will run the full height of the cup and join the strap. The side panels may be made from the same fabric as the rest of the cup, or they may be reinforced via a sturdier fabric choice or an added lining.

Sometimes, a sweep of satin or lace up the sides of the cups is purely decorative – so look carefully at how the bra is constructed. The Charlotte Padded BraMariela Unlined Wire Bra, and Tess Unlined Wire Bra are all examples of bras with supportive side support panels built into the cups.

What do side supports in a bra do?

So what’s the point of these added pieces at either side? As their name suggests, it’s all to do with support. They strengthen the outer edges of the cups, so that the bra can better push your breast tissue front-and-centre. You’ll get less of a wide, splayed shape (sometimes called ‘East and West’), and one that’s more projected. In other words, your bust will stick out a bit more when viewed from the side, and from the front it will look narrower.

As an added benefit, side supports also help to stop your breast tissue spilling out the sides of your cup, at the underarm.

Related: A Guide To The Different Parts Of A Bra And What They Do

side support bra

Charlotte Padded Bra 6901 in Dusty Rose/Black

Which bras have side supports?

Since their main intention is to add support, you’ll most likely find side supports in bras made for full-bust sizes. Usually, they’re added to unlined, seamed-cup styles. You almost certainly won’t find them on low-support styles such as bralettes.

Many minimiser bras also make use of side support features, because they have that narrowing effect that can make you appear slimmer.

And you might also find them on a plunge bra – even one for smaller cup sizes – that’s designed to create cleavage. Since side slings move the breast tissue inwards, they may be used in combination with side padding to push the breast towards the centre.

Who are side support bras designed for?

Many full-busted people find that they get all the support they need without side slings or side support panels. However, it may be worth looking out for bras with side supports if you:

  • Have wide-set breasts and would like them to be more centered
  • Constantly find your breast tissue spilling out of the cups towards your armpit (though note that this could be a sign you need a larger cup size)
  • Want more lift and a ‘sturdier’ feeling than your current bras are offering

If in doubt, head to your nearest boutique and try some side-support bras on to see the difference for yourself!

Related: Bra Shopping Guide: Tips For Buying New Bras

best side support bra

Tess Unlined Wire Bra P5022 in Charcoal

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

Featured image lingerie:
Tess Unlined Wire Bra P5022 in Charcoal
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Published by

Estelle Puleston

Estelle Puleston is the founder of, a blog dedicated to her love of lingerie. She works full-time as a copywriter and digital marketer for the lingerie and swimwear industry, and when she’s not doing that, she’s probably sewing or enjoying a good cup of tea.

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