A Bad Deal for the Big Bust: Bra Bands that Are Too Large

If you wear a size 12 or lower in Campbell & Kate, chances are you do NOT belong in a 36 bra band. Yet there are countless women with waists measuring 31 inches or less wandering around in 36D and 36DD bras.

For the longest time, I didn't understand why this was such a travesty. I'd heard repeatedly that 90% of a bra's support comes from its band, but the concept made no sense until I saw the photo below from a blog by Don McCunn. When a band is snug, large breasts stay up.

On the other hand, when a band is loose, there's nothing to stop the breasts from falling, and the weight of the drooping breasts drags the band up even further in back (illustrations from BabyCenter).


It makes sense that if your bust is higher, more of your waist shows, and you look slimmer. You can see this in the before-and-after photo below.


If your rib cage just under your breasts measures 32 inches or less, but the bra fitter at your local department store is putting you in a 36D or 36DD, you need to find another store and fitter. The store may not carry the combination of a smaller band and larger cup size that you require, and your fitter may not even realize that such a combination exists!

There are several resources for finding your proper bra size that I will make available in another blog post, but today's focus is on the effects of a too-large bra band. Not only does it affect your appearance--it also affects the fit of the clothing you wear over your bra. If your band is too loose, you may be unnecessarily sizing up in tops and dresses.

Here's why. Women's fitted tops and dresses have more fabric at the bust where you need it and less fabric at the torso where you don't. When your bustline falls into the narrower torso region, there isn't enough fabric to contain it. Granted, if you're trying to fit your D cups into a top made for B cups, a snug band that lifts your breasts may not make a difference, but because manufacturers usually add ease to clothing (extra fabric so that the fit isn't skin-tight), there's a good chance that raising your bust line will make a dress or top fit after all.

I've noticed this phenomenon with Campbell & Kate shirts. Our Signature Shirt is actually made for D cups and higher, but when a woman's bra band lets her down, her bustline falls into the narrower region of the shirt reserved for her waist. For a woman with a size 8 waist, a supportive bra band can take her from an 8L that strains at her bust to an 8M that's smooth, or from a 10M that's baggy at her waist to an 8L that shows it off.

Diet and exercise aren't the only things that can make you look slimmer and fit a smaller size. A snug bra band can make a big difference in your appearance and the fit of your clothing. If the measurements on our Campbell & Kate size chart put you in a size 12 or less but you are running around in a 36 band, why not resolve to try a smaller band this year?


Note: I sympathize with women whose health issues prevent them from wearing tight bands, and I understand that some women's rib cages are more than a few inches larger than their waists. Everyone is unique, and if you're wearing the smallest band you can comfortably manage, I applaud you.



Bra Fit BLog

Even though I'm a bit late to the party I am sending a link to this piece to several friends.
I'm a 32-G and wear Fantasie bras.
Trying to convince someone that Lane Bryant really doesn't know what they're talking about - if they're a big girl - or that Victoria's Secret is all show and no guts - well, forget it.
So it's nice to see this information in print.
Thanks so much.