Do you know the different parts of a bra and their functions? Can you name and identify the parts of a bra? In this comprehensive guide, you will learn all the parts of a bra and what they do
A brassiere, also known as a bra, is an undergarment worn on the upper part of the body to support the breasts and delicate tissues. This description of a bra sounds so dull for something that is decorative and practical. However, it portray its functionality and the need for it in your collection.
Bras are one of the most significant and functional types of clothing that women wear every day. However, learning the various parts of a bra is a rare occurrence, even for women who have been wearing this undergarment for the longest time.
When you know the different parts of a bra, you will feel empowered and wish that you had learned them in your early stages of life.
Some parts of a bra are quite unfamiliar. Moreover, understanding why and how some parts are made can be tasking. For instance, understanding the use of thermoplastic in moulding the bra cups to take the shape of your curves as well as the bra’s adjustable underwire that supports the breasts.
Learning the parts of a bra may seem like re-attending those science classes back in the days.
Anyway, if you want to know how bras work and the different parts that make the undergarment, this article is for you.
If you prefer to watch a video rather than read, we’ve got you covered with the YouTube video below:
Bra Anatomy: Parts of a Bra
Here are the main parts of a bra you need to know:
#1. Bra cups
The cups are the most significant part of a bra. These parts not only cover but also support the breasts, keeping them in place and shape. The cups can either be padded or unpadded and may offer full coverage or cover half or three quarters of the breasts.
When buying a bra, you have to get the right cup size. The cup size is achieved by getting the difference between the bust and band sizes.
Check this article on how to measure your bra size to learn how to properly determine your size.
There are about 8 cups sizes that cover most breast sizes. The sizes start at A and are usually paired by the bra size in numbers. For example, a person can be a size 32A, 34B, 38G, etc.
The cups offer ultimate support and comfort the breasts would need. Besides, for additional support, some cups have a lining on the inner part. Bra manufacturer usually insert a foam between the outer material and the lining in case the cups are padded. The padding enhances the shape of the breasts and make them look bigger.
Some bras have pockets that secure the pads in. You can easily remove and reattach the inserts or pads.
When wearing a bra, you want the cups to not only contain the breasts but also fit perfectly well without gaps or bulges.
Upper Bra Cup
The upper cup is the section that covers the upper part of the breasts. This part typically features a stretchy material, usually lace, which gives the bra a decorative look.
Lower Bra Cup
Like is the case with the upper bra cup, the lower cup covers the breasts right below. The part offers both lift and support for the breasts.
#2. Unique Finish and Cup Seams
The seams give the bra cups an excellent shape. Regarding the shape of the cups, you can either go for moulded or non-moulded options, depending on the shape of the breasts you want: pointy or round shape cup respectively.
Non-moulded bra cups have seams. However, the seam stitches come in various designs and follow different directions.
On the other hand, moulded cups don’t have seams. The cups here are usually thermoplastically pre-formed to maintain the shape permanently.
In bra terminology, a decollate finish describes a flat finish in the cups and others parts of a bra. The finish ensures the bra feels smooth against the skin and offers a seamless look underneath clothing.
#3. Wings or Side Panels
The side panel is the part near the bra cups that offers support on the sides. Bras can either have low/short or high/tall wings.
#4. Centre Gore or Link
The gore is the middle part of the bra that is between the cups. This is where the wire joins in the middle of the bra.
The centre gore is noticeably negligible in some bras while in others, it’s big enough to change the shape of the bra.
In some underwire bras, the link has sewn wire channels that crisscross at the top. The height and size of the link or centre gore can alter the shape and placement of the bra cups.
In a fitting bra, the link should slightly touch the body in the middle. Also, the cups should perfectly fit symmetrically on both sides, especially for bras with underwire.
The bra band is also known as the chest band or the underband. This part secures the bra and runs around the rib cage.
The band is the most significant part of a bra since it supports most of the breast’s weight. Most of the bra’s support should come from the band and not the straps.
The underband is different at the front and back. The back band is present in every bra. However, not all bras have a front band. The link is also part of the band.
Bra bands usually come in sizes 28 to about 50 inches, i.e, 71 to 127 centimetres.
This is the band right below the edge at the bra’s front. The underband may come in different widths, depending on the type of bra.
Not every bra has an underband.
The back underband joins to the bra cups and sits horizontally across the back, holding both the straps and fasteners. This part puts the entire bra look together.
The back underband supports the breasts from below. A thick back band would provide more support compared to a thin one.
To test whether a bra fits you properly, check whether two fingers can slide comfortably under the band. The band should neither be too loose nor too tight.
For a more comfortable fit, the back underband features an elastic strip at the end. You may place the thin elastic strips on edges for elasticity.
The straps connect the back and front of the bra and go over the shoulders. The straps ensure the bra provides good support to the sisters.
The straps may be broad for additional support for larger bra sizes. Small cup bras may have narrow straps, while strapless bras have no straps.
Most bra straps are adjustable for a more customized fit. There are also bras that come with detachable straps. Finally, some bras come with two extra transparent straps. These bras are ideal for wearing with off-shoulders dresses and those with thinners straps.
#7. Apex Point
The apex is the high point of the bra cups where the shoulder straps join at the front.
These are plastic and metal rings that join the straps to the bra’s band. The rings make it easy to adjust the length of the straps.
All bras, apart from sports bras, have closures either at the front or back. The purpose of these closures is to tighten or loosen the bra’s band for a secure and more comfortable fit.
Hooks-and-eyes are the most common bra fasteners. Bras have at least two or more hooks and several eye rows. You can fasten the hooks for a more comfortable fit. For large cup size women, the most supportive bras are those with more hooks.
For bras that open at the front, manufacturer’s use a clasp instead of the hook-and-eyes as fasteners.
#11. Strap Adjusters
Sliders allow you to adjust the straps to the length of your body comfortably. You can lengthen and shorten the straps as you deem fit by moving the adjusters/ sliders.
#12. Back Strap Joint
The back-strap joint is usually where the straps join to the bra’s band at the back.
The back strap joins the bra in two different ways:
- At 90◦, forming a square shape at the back
- At an oblique angle.
Most women prefer bra that form an asymmetrical shape. These bras offer better support since they distribute breast’s weight evenly on the band, reducing any strain on the shoulders.
A stiffener is the section of the bra that offers extra support in a bra with no underwire. The stiffener prevents the sides from rolling up.
Underwires are usually fitted right below the bra cups on the edges. The role of an underwire is to lift the breasts to create a more flattering look. It’s additionally meant to counter sagging of breasts.
Not all bras have underwires for support.
Some bras have sew-in U-shaped channels that are usually made of plastic or metal inside. The underwire encloses the breasts from the bottom and lies flat against the rib cage from the centre of the chest to the underarms.
The underwire provides extra support, shapes, and lifts the breasts. This is why it should lie right below the breasts rather than on them. With an ill-fitting bra, the underwire tends to lie on the breasts, making it to poke out of its channel.
Trims are the flowers and bows at the middle on top of the bra.
The parts of a bra work together to support and prevent the breasts from pre-mature sagging.
The bra should stretch just about enough to allow the breasts to fit perfectly. The underthings should also be made of comfortable fabric for everyday wear. The fabric should also be attractive to capture attention.
Choosing the right bra can be a tough call. However, if you know your cup size and what you intend to use the bra for, the exercise won’t be so difficult.