Components of a bra

After a rather fascinating meeting this morning with one of my suppliers, I thought I should cover the components of a bra.

People often complain that bras are too expensive and that “they didn’t choose the boob life, the boob life chose them”. Well, once you realise how much detailing goes into just a standard bra, you start to see why there is a cost in good quality products.

I do not own this image. I could not find the original source to credit.


The cup is the part of the bra that holds your breasts. A lot of supportive bras use different pieces of fabric, often two or three depending on the support needed. The cups are generally held together by a gore in between the cups. The straps are also attached to the cups, unless it is a strapless bra, then the cups are sewn to the wings, or more commonly known as the bra band. You should always scoop your breasts into the bra to ensure the cups are properly filled with your breast.

Prima Donna, three part cup bra.

Centre Front Gore:

This part of the bra should sit flat on your chest between your bust. This is one of the indicators of a well fitted bra. The gore can vary in height depending on the style of a bra. A full cup bra tends to have a larger/ higher gore than a plunge or balconette bra.

Wings (Band):

The band of the bra is where most of the support should come from. Most women do not like the band to be too firm, but the support should be from here and not your shoulders other wise you can create back problems.

The darker the colour, the more support that, that part of the bra should be giving you. I was shown this image in my meeting today.

Front Strap:

The front straps are not adjustable. Straps are used to hold your bra in place but they should not be used to create all of the support from the bra.

Back Strap:

The back strap is adjustable. This allows you to make your straps sit firmly on your body without them being too tight, or too loose.

Hook and eye closure:

This is the fastening of a bra. The general two hook options allow wearers to get the best fit from their bra and are there to make adjustments if the elastic in your bra stretches out.

Image credit to Sew Sassy Fabrics


This is the part of the bra where you adjust the strap to your own comfort.


The rings join the front and back strap together. They can also be used to attach the back strap to the band of the bra. They are generally made from metal or plastic.


This isn’t really part of the bra, more just the shape. Different bra styles have different cuts of the neckline, for example, a plunge bra creates a rounded top V shape whereas a balconette bra is cut straighter across the bust.


The apex connects the front strap to the cup. The apex should not squeeze flesh but should sit against the tissue. If it does squeeze the flesh, this could mean that the bra does not fit correctly.


The underwire is set in place to support the cups. In better quality bras, it is made from metal, in lower quality bras, it is made from plastic. The wire sits under the cup and is in between the gore and the band. The wire should always hold the entire breast and no sit on any breast tissue, again scoop your breast into the cup to ensure you aren’t damaging your breast tissue.

Photo credit: Macculloch & Wallis

So there we have it! You standard components of a bra. Each bra also has to be hand made because of the complexity behind each garment. I remember the first time seeing a bra “dissected” and was blown away by the amount of detailing that goes into each bra.





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