When Truvy Jones in Steel Magnolias said, “Time marches on, and eventually you realize it’s marching across your face,” she failed to mention that it actually marches across every inch of your body. And as you make your way through your 50s, 60s, and 70s, you’ll certainly find that time is marching across your boobs.
Over time, our breasts lose elasticity and fullness, eventually changing shape. For some, this might be a subtle change, but for others, the bras that fit you just right will no longer be the correct shape for you. Gabrielle Richards, Senior Brand Manager of Shapermint, knows that purchasing bras can be a “constant battle”, especially when you’re no longer sure what size or style you need. But you still need to prioritize options that are “comfortable, fit well, and are affordable, no matter your age.”
Older women bras
Wacoal fit model and founder of PerfectDD, Alice Kim explains, “Older women need greater support as skin loses elasticity with age. So, the best bras for older women are ones that are easy to put on and take off and bras that marry comfort and support.” Maidenform One Fab Fit Everyday Bra will be a great option for most women because it checks all the boxes mentioned by Richards and Kim.
Maidenform One Fab Fit® Everyday Modern Demi Underwire Bra
Laura Tempesta, bra expert and founder of Bravolution, says, “as women age, they start to lose volume in the top of their breasts,” which she notes is called “top cup” in the industry. Because of this, she says that “full-coverage bras won’t work well for older women because the top of the bra cup will be hollow due to loss of volume.” She recommends looking for demi-cup or balconette styles for everyday bras because these types of cups do a great job of lifting and shaping breasts with shallow top cups.
Maidenform’s One Fab Fit is the original T-shirt bra, and it’s available in a demi underwire that checks a lot of boxes for older women. Designed with the brand’s SmartZone cup technology, the Everyday Modern Demi flexes to fit your breasts for better shaping and support. Pair that with an attractive price point, it’s a no fuss bra that’s still plenty sexy, and you won’t find yourself pulling and tugging at it throughout the day.
Natori Feathers Bra – Basics
For those looking for a lingerie splurge, Tempesta says the Natori Feathers bra is also great for a shallow top cup. At $72, it may be a bit pricey, but it’s comfortable enough for everyday wear. The Feathers bra features the brand’s signature Italian lace trim, a demi contour cup, a deep plunging neckline, and adjustable stretch straps. According to the website, the Feathers bra runs small, so if you’re adding this to your shortlist, think about ordering one cup size up for a better fit.
Simply Perfect by Warner’s Women’s Underarm Smoothing Seamless Wireless Bra
Underwire bras may not be the most comfortable clothing item in the world, and our guess is that women are just ready to ditch the discomfort at a certain age. But while tossing out anything with an underwire is totally applause-worthy, you still need to support the girls. So, to that end, the Simply Perfect bra by Warner’s is an excellent wireless option for older women. This bra features easy sizing, so there’s no worry about cup sizes and bands, an extra side panel minimizes underarm bulges, and it’s comfortable enough for all-day wear. It doesn’t offer any lift, though, so be aware when you purchase.
SheFit Ultimate Sports Bra
With wire-free, seamed cups for shaping and two-way stretch fabric that reduces bounce, this highly-rated sports bra by SheFit offers plenty of comfortable support. The crossback straps offer a bit of lift, while the full coverage bra itself will scoop everything in place. You can even remove the cups for a more customized fit. It features a front closure, so it’s also a great choice for those with limited mobility, whether those limitations are from age or an intense game of pickleball. We find the sizing to be a bit confusing to understand off the bat, though. SheFit uses their own sizing, so we suggest using the handy size chart to make sure your measurements match up perfectly with the size you think will work best. It supports A-L cups, so you’re bound to find a size that fits you.
Wacoal La Femme Underwire T-Shirt Bra
Sagging breasts are par for the course of aging. Whether your breasts are pendulous (a longer drop with more of the weight sitting closer to the nipple) or they have a shallow top and full bottom, a good bra can keep the girls looking high and tight. In either case, full coverage bras or t-shirt bras with contour cups are best.
For shallow top/full bottom breasts, try Wacoal’s La Femme Underwire T-Shirt Bra. The seamless foam cups lift your bust and give you a rounded shape, while the plunging neckline and embroidered frame keep it super sexy. The wire will get underneath the breast and keep it lifted. For more pendulous breasts, try the similar Elevated Allure Underwire Bra because it provides just a touch more lift. We only wish these two bras came in more colors.
Chantelle Rive Gauche Full Coverage Unlined Bra
Chantelle’s Rive Gauche Full Coverage Unlined Bra is an ultra-light, full-coverage bra with soft stretch that adjusts to your shape. Angled seaming on the cups supports your breasts and provides plenty of lift; plus, it centers the breast tissue (up to an I cup), ultimately creating the look of a longer, thinner waist. If that weren’t enough, the Rive Gauche bra also features a double-lined mesh band that smooths out your back and underarm bulges. Beyond that, the leotard (or U-shaped) back does the heavy-lifting to take the weight off your shoulders — a common complaint for many plus-size women. Some reviewers complain that the straps are a bit too thin. But support doesn’t come from the straps, so that comes down to personal preference.
Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Bra
If you’re headed out for the night or enjoying the Summer sun in something strapless, Alice Kim recommends the Wacoal Red Carpet strapless bra. “The Red Carpet strapless has padded support on the center gore and the frame for superior comfort and no digging, the Silicone strip along the inside perimeter, while designed to stay put, it’s not sticky or painful, and the wings have boning on the side seam and back band for added support, so it doesn’t collapse,” says Kim. If that weren’t plenty, the band and sides are designed to minimize any bulging. While the Red Carpet bra is strapless, it’s comfortable enough for everyday use, and should you decide to wear it as such, it comes with straps that convert it to a traditional bra, a halter, crisscross, and one-shoulder styles. Kim also notes that the Red Carpet, strapless, tends to run big, so you could size down by one cup size — we suggest trying it on in store first to figure out the best size for you. We wish that the brand would expand their nude color options to be more inclusive.
What to Keep in Mind
Caitlyn Parish, co-founder and CDO of Cicinia says, “The first thing to consider when picking a new bra for an older woman is their size. She may have been wearing a 34C in her youth, but now she’s probably wearing a 32DD or 32E. A good rule of thumb is that you should never buy a smaller size than your current measurements. While this may make you appear more youthful, it also puts you at risk of suffering from poor posture and back pain when wearing the smaller size.”
Tempesta also suggests keeping an eye on the band of the bra. “If it’s riding up in the back, or you can pull it out away from your back more than three inches, the bra is likely too big,” she says. “Another sign of a band that’s too big is that you consistently hook it on the tightest hook. A band that’s too small is obvious to most wearers because it is on the loosest hook and uncomfortably snug.”
Elastics get stretchier with age. To improve longevity, Tempesta advises hooking the band on the loosest setting when you fit the bra. If you start on the loosest setting, you can move on to the middle hooks and eventually to the tightest setting as the bra ages.
According to Tempesta, one of the most overlooked areas in bra fitting is a shoulder slope and shoulder width evaluation. She says, “If you have narrow and/or sloping shoulders, you should opt for racerback or X back styles because straight straps will likely fall off your shoulders.”
She goes on to say, “Your straps shouldn’t be adjusted the same on both sides. Most people have one shoulder higher than another. Adjusting them the same on both sides, if one shoulder is higher than another, means one strap will always be falling off your shoulder.”