Bra Gore Digging Into Sternum? Here Are 5 Ways To Fix It

May 27, 2023

Bra Gore Digging Into Sternum? Here Are 5 Ways To Fix It

We all know this familiar feeling. You take off your wired bra at the end of a long day, and right in between your breast tissue – on a bone called the sternum – you have painful red marks and sores on the skin. This condition can make putting on and wearing a bra every day feel like agony.

What is this issue called? Why is it happening? Most importantly, how can we fix it, so that we no longer have to suffer in absolute misery throughout the entire day until we can finally take the bra off?

The problem starts with the part of the bra called the "gore".

What Is a Bra Gore?

The gore is the center section of the bra that sits between your breast tissue and bridges the gap between the bra cups.

black and white photo of a woman wearing a bra with an arrow pointing to the center gore

Another term for this part is the bridge, center panel, or the center gore. It is also where the wire in bra cups meet on a wired bra. 

In a properly-fitting bra the center gore should lay flat against your sternum and it should be snug,  but not noticeable.

What Causes Bra Gore To Dig Into Sternum?

A bra gore provides extra support, but it can also be a pain - literally. 

This happens when a bra is ill-fitting and pushes the gore into your sternum. When it does, it can cause those painful skin issues we mentioned earlier, especially red marks and indentations. It can also lead to an increase in acne due to excess sweat and the gore rubbing up against your skin.  

Here are a few reasons why your bra may not fit you correctly.

1. Your cup size is too large

It’s easy to mistakenly get a cup size that is not quite right for your bust. It may be unintuitive, but a bra with cups that are too large can lead to your gore digging into your sternum. That’s because when breast tissue doesn't completely fill the cup, the tension of the bra is not well distributed and can result in a pressure point on the sternum. Ideally, the gore should lie completely flat against the chest, with the cups encapsulating the breast tissue snuggly.

2. Your bra band is too small

Band size is another aspect of your bra that’s easy to get wrong. Even if you’ve had your bust measured, either by a clerk in a store or yourself, the measurement might be inaccurate because you were wearing clothes while you were measured, or you weren’t exactly sure where you were supposed to wrap the tape. Also, bra sizing varies quite a bit across different brands, so it's likely that you'll need to try different sizes in different styles for the perfect fit.

Since most of a bra's support comes from the band, it may be tempting to get a smaller band size than you need. Bra bands do "break in" and stretch out over time, but there is a limit to how tight the band should be - any difficultly breathing normally, the band rolling over itself due to being completely stretched to its max, and center gore digging are all signs you might need to size up in the band.

Pro Tip: If your band is just a bit too small, another alternative is wearing your bra with a bra band extender for a while, until it stretches to a snug but comfortable length.

3. Your bra style is wrong for your breast and chest shape

Breasts and chest bone structure are unique on all women and therefore call for a unique bra style. Even if the band and cup measurements on your bra are completely accurate to your real size, if the style is not right for your breasts, sternum, or ribcage, you could still experience tightness and discomfort from the center gore.

4. Your shoulder straps are too tight

Sometimes bra straps can draw tight over time without us knowing, or we may think they need to be tight to give our girls an extra lift. But if you don’t give the straps enough slack, they can pull up on your bra and shove the gore into your sternum.

photo showing red mark from bra strap 

5 Ways To Fix Bra Gore Digging 

The only way to save your sternum (and your sanity) from a bra gore is to make some serious changes. With that in mind, here are five ways that you can fix bra gore digging.

1. Get a proper measurement of your bust size

Fixing bra gore digging should always begin with you getting an accurate picture of your true bra size. This step will help you pinpoint the real problem with your bra. 

 If, for example, you take your measurements and find that the band and cup size you’re currently wearing are correct, then you may simply need to adjust the hooks or the straps on your bra. 

If neither of those solutions work, there are better options that can help you, which we’ll discuss below. 

But to know which options to try, you must first know your bra measurements.

You may think you need to go to a lingerie or department store to have this done correctly, but you can just as easily measure yourself at home. All you need is a sewing tape measure, and pen and paper (or your smartphone) to record your findings. 

photo of professional bra measurement

See our Size Guide for detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to measure your bust properly.

2. Wear your bra on the last hook

If your current bra is the correct size for your breasts, but the gore still digs into your sternum, try adjusting the hooks on the back of the band. Do you tend to wear your bra on the first hook? If so, move it to the last hook and see how you feel. You’d be surprised how big a difference such a small adjustment can make.

photo of a bra being clasped on the loosest hook

3. Change up the bra style to match your breast shape

Not every woman’s breast shape is the same! Some are round or elliptical, while others are full or flat. A properly fitting bra will account for these differences. If it doesn’t, then the gore could still give you trouble. 

To fix that, change up your bra styles to match your breast shape. For example, if you have issues with full cup bras or those with relatively high center gores, try balconette bras or plunge styles instead.

4. Loosen the shoulder straps

We know it’s tempting to wear your straps tight to provide your breasts with extra lift, but your bra's support shouldn't be coming from the straps. Although it's less likely to be the main cause of the issue, with an improper fit, it may be that the straps are pulling up too hard and actually pushing the gore harder into your sternum. Try loosening them up to see if that brings you any relief. 

photo of a woman holding her bra strap

5. Switch to a wire-free bra

Finally, you can eliminate most of your problems with bra gores by switching to wearing wireless bras only. Wireless bras often don't have the same center gore structure as wired bras, but if constructed well, provide comparable support to wired bras. 


Skin irritation, sores, and pain from bra gores can completely ruin your day.

Follow our tips to find bra styles that provide you the support you need without the debilitating discomfort.


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