Bra causing back fat? How to Fix it.

Back fat, bra bulge, back wings – whatever you call them, I know what you mean. As a Bra Fitter I am often asked “Are my bras causing back fat?” and of course it isn’t the easiest question to answer. As I find myself often repeating this sermon in the fitting room I thought I’d share it here to help more women. 

bra causing back fat
Image Credit: Canva

Firstly I want you to know that “back fat” is not unique to you. It’s not because you like eating candy on the couch at night or because you missed the gym all together last month. “Back fat” exists on almost all women, unless their is an unusually low (potentially dangerously low) body fat percentage. 

Back fat is really the term used to describe the layer of subcutaneous fat and skin that sits around our mid section, that is often made to look more marked in an ill fitting or incorrect style bra.

Ways a Bra can exaggerate back fat

A comparison of good v bad bras for back fat

how to fix bra causing back fat

Reason's this bra is causing back fat

Because the band is too big it is riding up the back and lodging in to a wider and softer part of the back which actually exaggerates back buldge. 

bra fit for back fat

Why this bra works better

Because the band is fitting snugly around the ribcage it is able to sit where it is supposed to. Which for most of us will be the narrowest part of our back. It won’t move up and down if the fabric is nice and strong. 

bra fit and back fat

Bra Fit for reducing back fat and back bulge

The advice will surprise you... but it's what any good bra fitter will tell you.

Most ladies gravitate towards a looser back in order to reduce back fat. BUT this is the worst thing you can do. This will, if not immediately definitely eventually, make this dramatically worse. 

FIT: The ribcage band

The ribcage band is responsible for taking most of the weight of the breast. As you can imagine, boobs being heavy, this has a pretty sizeable job. 
This band needs to sit snugly against us in order to hold on to the ribcage to anchor the bra to our body. 

If this  isn’t firm enough the back will simply ride upwards on your back until it gets stuck by lodging itself into a broader (often softer) part of the back. This is the number one reason of exaggerated “back fat”. 

There is of course a point where this band can be fitted WAY too snuggly and that in itself will cause back fat. Please note that this is actually incredibly rare. My guess is 2% of my customers that complain about back fat will present with this being the issue. 

FIT: The Shoulder Straps

So, if the ribcage band is fitted too loose and it’s riding upwards on your back, then the logical “fix it” is to tighten the straps. AGAIN, this is the worst thing that can be done in this instance. Because the ribcage band is a lot lighter than your bust, this maneauver will actually just pull the ribcage band up your back further. Making the whole issue a much bigger problem.

Remember! Straps are not there to take the weight of the breasts. And this is why tightening straps doesn’t work to lift the bust. They are (generally) elastic after all! 

🚨 Having your straps set too tightly can make back fat worse. 

FIT: The Cups

If the cups are too small, then breast tissue will spill backwards out of the cups and merge with the back. 

Most American women wear their cup sizes 1 – 3  sizes too small and aren’t skilled in swooping their breast tissue forward from under their arm in to the cup. 

So, cups that are too small coupled with poor ribcage band fit and strap setting is a recipe for back fat disaster. 

Bra Design for back fat

What to look for in a bra to prevent back back

Soft Edge Fabric

Material used under arm area is broad with a slightly soft edge.

Consider a Full Back design

Opt for a full back design

Strong Fabrics

Strong, stretch resistant fabric is best. Don't go for soft and stretchy.

Extra Wide Ribcage Band

Choose a wider ribcage band

Winged Straps

Specially designed winged straps can assist with preventing back bulge.

Get your Bra Fitted

Get your bra fitted by a professional bra fitter so that you KNOW the fit is taken care of.

So, is the fit of your bra causing back fat?

As you will have picked up by getting this far in to my lecture (I mean, blog!) it’s really the position of the bra on your back that exaggerates the appearance of back fat and not so much the band being too firm.  If your bra band is sitting straight across your back, and stays like that as you move,  your band size. is probably accurate.  If it’s too loose, it’ll ride up and dig in to a softer part of your back. 

supportive bra tips
→ READ: My favourite Support Bras

Investing in good product

Cheap bras with soft and stretchy fabric around the ribcage can cut into your skin and make back fat seem worse. With a well fitted snug band  you should feel fully encased and more supported. A bra with a wider band is also definitely a good way to improve back bulge.

Bras that help prevent back fat


See our full review here.


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