1. Be Pro-ficient
A professional fitting means you can learn your current bra size and get style recommendations — saving precious time/energy/tears wasted on searching for “the one.” The current part is key, because a bust size changes with time. If you’ve gained or lost any weight in the last year (yup, even a few pounds), or had a baby, your boobs likely just aren’t the same as before. “Support and comfort cannot be compromised,” says Marie-Josée Koury, customer relations and product development consultant for lingerie company, Wacoal Canada. “Get fitted by an expert who will first establish your contour measurement, then cup size.” And don’t just stand there when trying on a new undergarment, put it through its paces before you head to the cash register. “Once you have the bra on, sit down. The chest expands in the seated position and you will be able to assess your comfort level,” says Koury.
2. Find Comfort Queens
A lot goes into a bra that’s specially designed for a large bust, and it’s possible you’re not benefiting from the construction as planned. Exhibit A: straps that dig into shoulders. “Women with large chests will commonly buy bras that are too big at the torso band, putting all the weight of the breast onto the straps, which will then dig into the shoulders,” says John Izzo, la Vie en Rose VP Design and Product Development, who advises seeking out bras with wider torso bands and three eye/hook closures. “Most of the support should come from the torso band and thus this should be snug. The straps should be there to support too, but [they] mainly stabilize movement.” Izzo also recommends looking for bras that feature fuller cups. “They will give more support, minimize the breast movement, and will define the breasts to avoid uniboob,” he says. Bras that feature wider straps are designed to offer maximum support, leading to increased comfort.
3. Let’s Get Technical
Lace is lovely, but for effortless comfort on a daily basis you’ll want to get up close and personal with more modern textiles. “Spacer fabric is a breathable material that is very soft and adapts to your shape,” says Koury, “For larger cup sizes a good T-shirt bra made with spacer fabric will provide support and opacity without increasing projection.” Technical materials are a must-have when it comes to sports bras, too. (You want to get sweaty, not stay sweaty, right?) Whether you appreciate the security of a compression style sports bra, or require the sculpted support of a multi-seam design, options made with moisture wicking materials will keep help keep you cool and dry.
Another nitty-gritty necessity is the band fit. Ideally, a new bra will fit best around the band with the closures on the widest apart setting. This leaves room for you to adjust the fit over time, maintaining a snug closure as the highly elasticized material stretches out – which it inevitably will. Embrace the process.
4. It’s Underwire for the Win
Big boobs can have a love/hate relationship with underwire (i.e. covet the lift and support, dread the pinching and prodding) but there’s a chance you might be doing it wrong. “Underwire should not dig into the side of your underarm area,” says Koury, “make sure it covers all breast tissue.” Underwire should fit snugly against your body, with the center of the bra lying flat against your sternum, not floating between breasts. And, like a trip to Starbucks, spillage isn’t desirable. If your cups runneth over the top of the bra, test-drive a larger cup size. The goal is a smooth, seamless fit between you and the garment. Wondering about wire-free styles? They’ve gained popularity lately, and are worth exploring, but can’t compete with all that underwire offers. “Some wire-free bras will also fit well and provide comfort, but usually not quite as well as an underwire bra,” says Koury.
5. Try Sheer Delights
Wonderfully relaxed and delightfully lacy, the popularity of a certain undergarment style is helping to dispel the myth that bras for the D+ cup set can’t be as feminine as their A/B sisters. “The bralette is definitely a big trend, and has an influence, too” says Izzo. Slowly but surely, femme-forward options for boobs of all sizes are busting into the market designed without sacrificing comfort for (sexy) style. “For those with a larger chest these styles are unlined and available with underwire for better support,” says Izzo. Another way to find an amazing large-bust bralette match: look for cup-specific designs. “Wacoal now has styles with C/D cup sizes to offer good shaping and support,” says Koury. Also consider expanding your search to include gossamer demi style bras, they’re plentiful and an equally girly indulgence.
Shopping for bras can be exhausting, especially if you’re fuller-chested. In addition to facing the challenge of finding a style that actually comes in your cup size, the best bras for large busts should achieve that often-elusive trifecta of being supportive, comfortable, and cute. To help you find the right bra for you, we tapped three experts for their professional advice.
“For so long we’ve been taught to think our boobs were the problem, when all along it’s really been bad bras,” says Ra’el Cohen, co-founder and chief creative officer of ThirdLove. “Every person will have their own unique criteria for what makes a bra fantastic, but it ultimately comes down to looking and feeling your best.” Preach.
“A customer with a larger chest should never have to choose function over style,” adds Tracy Freno, senior manager of customer service at Bare Necessities. “Breast shapes and sizing can differ from woman to woman, so even among women who fall under the ‘big bust’ category, a certain style of bra might prove to be more comfortable and supportive to one woman’s shape as opposed to another.” With that in mind, Cohen and Freno both suggest being patient with yourself and the process, and keeping your options—and mind—open. “What works best for someone will depend on their unique breast shape, size and needs…take the time to consider which style fits you, your life, and your style the best,” Cohen says.