Confessions of a Curvy Mom: Bra Shopping Is a Nightmare

Rant 17

braI have never been able to relate to those women who consider bra-wearing optional. It's just not a reality for women rocking a C-cup or above. I'll admit, there are moments when I envy those free-boobers who can work out without a sports bra or slip into a tiny tee without the fear of looking obscene, but it's just not my reality. And I am okay with that. But this also means I have to stay stocked with good bras. Sounds simple, but it's not. It's harder to find a bra that covers, lifts, and looks pretty than the perfect pair of jeans. Can you relate?

Everything was fine until I had a baby and ventured into D territory. It used to be that I could walk into any lingerie department and find a great selection of cute yet functional brassieres. Not anymore. It's as though everything is either too flimsy (those petite little straps will be painfully digging into my shoulders in two hours) or too matronly-looking (like something Ethel Mertz or Florida Evans would wear).  

So, at the suggestion of an Oprah Winfrey Show episode, I tried a fancy bra boutique called Intimacy. It was an amazing experience and revolutionized the way I thought about bra shopping. First of all, you have to make an appointment with a fitting specialist. She works one-on-one with you to determine the perfect size and type of brassiere that you need. Little did I know, I was wearing the wrong size. Apparently, most women are measured wrong and don't follow these boob rules of thumb:

  • If your cups runneth over, it's time to go up a cup size.
  • If your cups dimple, it's time to go down a cup size.
  • If you have the dreaded back fat, you probably think your bra is too tight, but you're wrong -- your bra is too big. Wearing the bra lower on your back with a smaller band size will completely eliminate the back fat.
  • If your strap falls down, that means your bra band is riding up and you probably need to go down a band size.

It was great. I walked out with my girls looking better than they had in a long time. Problem is, these bras aren't exactly cheap. For me, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make, but I know a ton of women who can't and won't. So what's a busty girl to do? There are some great options out there. I particularly like CurvyCouture.com, which has lots of sexy options. Other great lines include: Curveturiere Intimates and Cleo by Panache. For the extremely budget-conscious, don't dismiss Fruit of the Loom. The Fresh Full Figure Dot Meash Push-Up is very cute and affordable options ($7, Walmart.com). And the Beauty by Bali Women's Convertible Strap Underwire Bra is lovely ($20, Target.com).

If you are curvy, what bra brands have worked for you?


Image via CurvyCourture.com

body, figure fixes, lingerie

17 Comments

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Iris0409 Iris0409

Talk to me when they don't even sell your cup size in anything but a specialty store. I'm counting down the days - the moment my youngest is self-sufficient enough that I know I can go 60 days without lifting him up, these puppies are GONE. I'm talking small b-cup, G-O-N-E.

redK8... redK8blueSt8

I don't necessarily consider it a specialty store, but I can't find my bra size (32D) in most stores, even Victoria's Secret. They just don't carry it in stock, but they do online, but then it's almost $10 more for shipping. SOMA carries my size in the store in many of the pretty designs, but there aren't many SOMA stores around. Luckily I live near one in Portland. I don't know why bra makers think skinny bands don't have big cups.

handy... handy0318

I hear you redK8blueSt8.... I'm older and heavier now, but throughout high-school, college and my 30's trying to find a D cup bra in a smaller band width was really hard. Now that I'm in my 50's, I'm dressing more for comfort so the Ethel Mertz/Florida Evans bras work fine for me.  I have a couple of sexy ones for special occasions with my hubby, but the rest of the time I just go for the Playtex wide straps.

nonmember avatar Candi

I am a 36 F. (and no I am not obese.) I like Lane Bryant's lingerie shop Cacique. BEAUTIFUL bras-and they always have them in my size. If they aren't in stock, Cacique orders them and I pick it up at the store!

Badge83 Badge83

I'm a 36F which is an unfortunate size. My chest was already huge before getting pregnant, and it was all downhill from there. I found Cacique (Lane Bryant's lingerie store) had the band size I needed with the large cups. It was great to try them on and see what pushed the girls up front and center. Amazingly, they even appear a bit smaller. At $45 a bra it's not too pricey, and they frequently have BOGO sales, with coupons. Not too shabby!!

eem8605 eem8605

I'm a 32F or G depending on the bra. The only place I can find bras are at specialty store. I get mine at LiviRae's. Now with pregnancy the size is increasing and the nursing bras are especially to find in this size and up. I'm only 10 weeks now and the G is loaded. My bras usually cost in the $70-$90 range. 

tuffy... tuffymama

I got up to an American size 38M. I'm not kidding. And I'm only 5'2". That's what hormonal imbalance can do to you. I've been treating my thyroid and adrenal disorders, and I've gotten them down to my post-pregnancy 36J. I was having to order my bras from England. At $80-$120 each, that was a big, painful hit to the budget. I'm trying to get them back to my pre-pregnancy size of 34F, so I can wear all the gorgeous Le Mystere bras I bought right before I got my BFP. I'm saving up for a reduction in 2014. I want to be a C or D cup. I would love to wear normal shirts!

cooki... cookinmommyof1

I wear a 32ddd/e which is amazingly hard to find unless you special order online, so I squeeze the girls into a 34dd. Usually works fairly well, but even that size is hard to come by

nonmember avatar ES

I am a 36DD and that is after a reduction I had ten years ago. I have no clue what I was then but I can only imagine it was at the very least a G if not bigger. I was in my early twenties and trying to fit myself into smaller cuter bras. Best decision I ever made. My one and only piece of advice to women considering a reduction, do not go any smaller than a C. If you are that big naturally, your body type is made for a larger cup size and it will look more natural. My awesome surgen told me this and he was right. Now I am off to google all the bra stores people posted about before! Thanks!

tinyk... tinykitty

Shot from a DDD to an I since I've been nursing. People keep promising me they'll shrink. Fingers crossed...

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