Ask JeanM. She is an expert! A trained fitter for a big dept store (is it Penneys? Not sure of your shop names!)
Highest 290, Banded - 248 Lowest 139 (too thin!). Comfort zone 155-165.
Happily banded since May 2006. Regain of 28lbs 2013-14. ALL GONE!
But some has returned! Up to 175, argh! Off we go again,
I work as a bra fit specialist at JCPenney. I've also had a breast reduction, and to be perfectly honest, more plastic surgery is probably the most effective way to deal with underarm and back fat. My excess skin drapes over my reduction incisions, but I've given up worrying about it because I'm the only one it seems to bother and if I don't lift my arms, I don't even see it. But...a bra can help you manage that flab. I suggest that you look for bras with these features (usually mentioned on the tags on the bra): full coverage, full figure & side-smoothing.
The height of a bra's "wings" (the part that connects the cups to the sides and back of the bra) will vary according to the size of the bra - for example, a 36C will have narrower wings than a 42C. So when you're bra shopping, look only at bras in the size you need, because you may decide not to try a good bra if you're judging the style by looking at a size that's too small or too large. Generally speaking, though, full figure and side-smoothing bras have wider wings than other styles.
The Playtex 18-hour bra (style 4693) is a full-figure, wire-free bra with wide wings. It's made of fabric that doesn't stretch much, so it'll keep everything smoother. It has straps that are wide and padded at the shoulder, which keeps them on your shoulders and prevents them from digging into you. It's a good bra and a best seller, but it's basically a "granny" bra available in white, beige, and black.
The Playtex Secrets line has a full-coverage, side-smoothing underwire bra (style 4513) with reinforced fabric in the wings. It comes in fashion colors as well as the basics. I have a lot of customers who love this style. It has contour cups (molded foam) for shaping and support (NOT for making you look bigger breasted)
Vanity Fair's Body Caress underwire bra also has wide wings that are smoothing without being stiff. The fabric is very soft and smooth and you wouldn't expect it to be able to do a good job of smoothing, but it does. This one also has contour cups.
Some bras have Back Smoothing features, usually mentioned on the tags. I highly recommend doing your bra shopping at a department store (like JCPenney) that employs bra fit specialists who know the merchandise in their store well enough to guide you to some good choices that you might not think to look at. I wouldn't go to Victoria's Secret because I've had so many customers tell me that the bra they were sold there after a bra fit turned out to be totally wrong for them.
Shapewear (Flexees, Spanx, etc.) can also help smooth everything on your torso, so you could look for a shaping camisole or WWYOB (wear with your own bra). Do not attempt to pull this kind of garment on over your head. Step into it and pull it up, and don't expect it to feel extremely comfy. If it's very comfy, it probably won't do the job you want it to do.
Well, that's the 50-cent tour of the lingerie department in my little brain. Let me know if you have more questions.
Good luck! Bra shopping can be a time-consuming pain, but it's worth the work because your clothes will look so much better when you're wearing the right bra.
Jean McMillan c.2009-2013 - Always a bandster at heart
author of Bandwagon (TM), Strategies for Success with the Adjustable Gastric Band & Bandwagon Cookery. Bandwagon for Kindle now available on Amazon. Read my blog at: jean-onthebandwagon.blogspot.com
More on the WWYOB...Jean mentioned they might not be that comfortable. I think it just takes some getting used to. I have been wearing mine for almost two years now and I don't even feel it any more. It's like a second skin now. I even wear it in the Summer too. I like it because it not only smoothes out the area you mentioned but also my stomach and sides...which is why I started wearing it. I have some loose skin and this thing holds all in for me. I love it and highly recommend you give it a try.
I second getting a bra fitting. I got mine at Dilliards and wear their Wacoal brand full figure. At first I was shocked to spend $60 on a bra, but after trying on at least 20 different ones, I changed my mind. A good bra lasts a lot longer and takes 10 lbs off your figure. Don't be embarrassed to get a fitting. I kept covered for about the first 10 bras, then couldn't be bothered after that.