Did you know that your bra has wings? Okay, not the ones you’re thinking of. Bra wings are the strips of fabric that go around the sides and back of your body, attaching to the cups at one end and the hook-and-eye fastening at the other.
Most people just refer to this part of the bra as the band, but there’s a slight difference between the two terms. In some bras, the wings are the band. In others, they’re just a part of it. If the fabric between the cups (called the ‘gore’ or ‘bridge’) continues below the cups and joins up to the bra’s sides, that’s all part of what we call the band. However, only the section from the outer side of the cup and around the back is the wing.
In some bras, the gore and wings aren’t linked, and these are called bandless bras. Though the name is quite misleading! They do have a band, just not at the front – here, the wings make up the entire thing. They’re not the same as backless bras, ones that actually come without a band at all because they’re just a pair of self-adhesive cups.
Why do bra wings and bra bands matter?
Probably the most important thing of all that you can learn about bra fit is that the majority of the support should be coming from the band. It’s important that it’s firm-fitting. If it’s loose, it won’t be providing that secure, stable base that the bra needs to lift your bust up. However, finding a supportive band is not all about how tightly it fits.
It’s entirely possible for a bra band to be so tight it’s uncomfortable and yet still providing little in the way of lift! If you want to find a bra that’s more supportive, it’s also important to pay attention to the construction of the wings.
Bra wing features that boost support
Bras work by distributing the weight of your bust around your body. The wider the wings of the bra are, the more surface area it has to spread that over, and so the more support it’s able to offer.
Just consider a flimsy bralette with nothing but a strip of elastic for a band. Even if you add underwires, it’s still not going to be built for heavy-lifting. So look for bras with a tall back and sides.
To get a great fit and that ‘firm hug’ feeling, modern bra wings are always elasticated. Sometimes, they’re made from a non-stretch fabric with an elastic trim along the edges. More likely, the fabric itself will have some stretch of its own too.
Not all stretch fabrics are equal however! Lower quality elastics break down and lose their stretch more quickly, and are more easy to deform (over stretch) in the first place. Bra wings made from a high-quality stretch fabric aren’t just more supportive from day one, but they’ll stay supportive for longer.
One of the best stretch fabrics and one that’s widely used in the lingerie industry is power mesh. It has a dense knit, 4-way stretch and excellent shape retention, meaning it snaps back to its original length when you take the bra off. Bra bands that are either made from or lined with power mesh will be extra-supportive.
Another way to bolster the support of the bra wings is to add some boning. Think of it as reinforcement. Typically found at the side of the bra near to the cup, it strengthens the band and also prevents it from rolling up.
Wider bands are more prone to folding over, hence why many longline bras designed for full busts are boned. So if you go the wider-wings route to find more support, you may want to look out for side-boning at the same time.
Did you know just how important bra wings are to the support? Are they something you pay much attention to when lingerie shopping? Let us know in the comments below.
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!