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