Women with cup
sizes larger than a C may need more support than a regular well-fitting
bra can give. For example, they may have pendulous breasts, or have a
massive amount of breast tissue in proportion to their body's frame. When
more support is needed, support panels are the answer.
A support panel
is an additional panel of stiff fabric placed along the arm edge, along
the bottom or around all the sides of a bra cup. Support panels can be
internal or external. If external, they are incorporated into the cup
When selecting a bra with support panels, look to see where the support panel is located. If it is along
the outer edge of the cup, its purpose is to move breast tissue out from under the arm and move it towards
your center. If located along the bottom of the cup, its purpose is to give better breast lift. If it encircles
the edge of the cup, its purpose is to create clear breast definition and move the tissue towards a forward position.
See support bras here.
The center panel can be a triangular shape, or be an extension of a bra's band. It is important to look at where the
center panel falls in relation to the apex or horizontal nipple line of your bust line. A well-supporting bra will have
a center panel both above and below this line. At HerRoom, every bra is photographed on a mannequin with a graphic overlay
that includes the apex line (note: if the bra has lower cup padding, the bra will sit lower on the mannequin). Apart from
providing additional measurements, it will also help you understand the center panel placement and size. Simply click on the
"measured" link at the bottom of each bra photo on our site.
The center panel actually decreases in width as the cup sizes increase. This makes sense when you remember that as breasts
get larger, they also get closer together. The center panel width at the Apex line generally measures as follows: AA=1-1/2",
A= 1-1/4", B=1", C= 3/4", D and larger =1/2". Also, the center panel increases in height as the cup size increases.
A bra band or bra frame is that part of the bra that goes around the ribcage. The band is engineered to carry the weight
and thrust of breasts. Cups are sewn either into or onto the band. It can have several configurations; continuous single piece,
stop at the cups' sides, contain several pieces, include boning etc.
The band is engineered to act as the foundation of a bra. It carries the weight of the breasts and provides the basic framework
to establish breast support. This is why it's so important to find your correct band size - too tight, and underwires dig into your
ribcage, too loose, and breasts won't have proper support.
A band that goes all the way around your ribcage (including under your cups) will always provide the best support because it's the most stabilizing design. And, if that band is made with powernet, you have the strongest support possible. Powernet (known as girdle fabric) is a two-way stretch nylon fabric that provides compressive support. It is the same fabric found in most shapewear.??Women with weight can have a problem with the bottom edge of the band under their arms folding up over itself. This problem can be overcome with side boning placed vertically in the band's side seams. If you are short-waisted or petite and this boning pokes into you, look for a bra with a band made of heavier gauge fabric to act more firmly to prevent the rolling.
The bra back is truly the backbone of any bra, yet it's given little, if any, attention by most women during the
bra shopping exercise. This is unfortunate since there are two key bra back features to consider before purchasing
a bra. They are the fabric and closure.
The fabric used to make the bra back is what really separates a cheap bra from a quality bra. An inferior fabric that is
somewhat flimsy and overly stretchy fatigues quickly. The bra's cups may be fine, but the back fabric quickly stretches to
its maximum. The bra must be thrown away after only a few months of wearing. A bra back made with sturdy quality shapewear-like
fabric such as powernet, will provide great support without stretching to its maximum with each wearing. Bras with quality bra
back fabric last years longer. When choosing a bra, give a tug on the back fabric. If it stretches easily, its lifespan is limited.
Most women desire bras with single hook bra backs because they think it's
more youthful-looking. Guess what? These backs look terrible on most women.
Skimpy bra backs must be worn tighter to provide support. The resulting
bulges above and below make the wearer look lumpy from behind. And, thin
bra backs almost never sit straight across your back. Most women should
be wearing a bra with at least a 2-hook closure, but really 3 or more to
achieve adequate support and smoothness. A wider bra back will always give
greater support. And, because it is wider, will smooth out or eliminate
back bulges making you look better under clothes. You may think it looks
like a harness from behind, but with your clothes on, no one will know.
You'll look smooth, supported and slimmer.