The function of the bra band is to provide 90% of the support (the straps give the other 10%). To actually give this support, the band must be snug: it must be narrower than your torso.
This is because bra bands stretch. Often they stretch quite a lot, up to 20 cms ! After a couple of washes maybe even more.
Some other bra bands are quite tight, and don't give at all. Usually a snug band is preferable to a stretchy band. But you can also buy stretchy bands if adjust the sizing.
* FAQ *Q: Why must my band be snug ?
A: Would you wear panties that are looser than your hips ? I thought not, they would fall off. A bra band must not only stay in place, it must provide 90% of the support.
Q: Tight bands sound so uncomfortable !
A: If you are wearing the right bra size, you will feel as if you are wearing nothing at all !
Q: How can I tell if my band is too loose ?
A: It will ride up: The band must be parallel to the floor. Also, it must not budge if you wave your arms around and do flapjacks.
Q: How can I tell that my band is too tight ?
A: Hardly anyone wears a too tight bra band. It's practically impossible, way too painful, physically impossible. 90% of women wear bands that are too loose, because that is easy not to notice.
Q: I think my band is tight, it always feels uncomfortable.
A: That's probably because you are wearing the wrong cup size, and it is the underwires that are too tight. That also makes you tighten the straps, which makes the bra even more uncomfortable !
* HOW TO CHOOSE BRA BANDS *
Your standard band size:
- Usually you need a bra band that's slightly tighter than your underbust size. Measure yourself tightly at exhalation. For measurement in cms, substract 5 cm, and round down to the nearest band size. So, a underbust measurement of 68 cms should wear a band size 60. *more info here*
- Find out if the band of the bra you intend to buy is standard, stretchy, or tight. You can try stretching it with your hands and see how much give it has. If you´re not sure, compare with other bras. If buying online, ask the seller or search for online information. There is also this table of very tight / stretchy bras.
- Always try out the bra band while closing it on the outermost (loosest) hook. With time even the best bras will stretch, and that is when you will be using the tighter fastening.
So, that's it on bra bands ! As usual, feel free to ask me anything !