Finding a Great Bra that Suits Your Body–and the Occasion

by | Aug 21, 2019 | Uncategorized | 43 comments

Finding a bra that suits your body and the occasion
Merchandise is Here!

Why do bras never seem to fit?

My mom got back from her trip to Kenya last week, where she was busy sunup to sundown distributing donated items to abandoned children and teens, and the adult women who work with them. Each child is given a hand knit sweater, and there is a large program to ensure girls have the requisite equipment to deal with their periods.

But she also takes seconds donated from a bra factory near our home in Belleville, to ensure that each girl is given an undergarment. Because of the poverty in Kenya, there is no way these girls would have a bra if not for this program, and so we don’t feel she is disrupting the local economy. Instead, she is simply giving a luxury that we all take for granted. 

We’ve been doing this on trips for years, and here’s a picture from our 2008 trip to Kenya! I’m on the far left, and this is how we fitted the bras for the girls for privacy reasons–over clothes. And all of us “fitters” did it ourselves, too, so the girls weren’t so embarrassed. It was actually a lot of fun.

Our home is often preoccupied with different bra types, then, because there are always several hundred lying around as my mom sorts the donations into sizes and decides which will go and which weren’t. So it’s kind of interesting to try different things on.

And one thing I’ve realized is how many DIFFERENT types of bras there are!

On Wednesdays on the blog this month we’ve been talking about lingerie and choosing items that make you feel sexy and comfortable. Last week we turned to finding panties that fit your body type, and yesterday I gave you a challenge to throw things out of your lingerie drawer that aren’t working for you. Today I want to talk about finding a bra style that works for you, and then next week we’ll concentrate on fit. 

I’ve really enjoyed giving myself an education on the various types of bras that are available.

Most of us wear ¾ coverage underwire bras, and to be honest, they work for most people. But thinking outside of the nude demi bra so that you have a set of undergarments that make you feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable. Seriously, bras are modern marvels.

So here we go to help you pick something that works for you!

And there are affiliate links below, because to provide pictures we found the easiest place to get a selection was Amazon.

A quick note: This is a post about bras. As such, there will be photos of bras and women in bras. 

So if you are someone who shouldn’t be looking at those, whether it’s because you’re recovering from a porn addiction or any other reason, make the wise decision and maybe pass on this post. We have to show pictures in order to make it clear what we mean, and this post is pretty clearly labelled as a post about bras, so just click away if you’re not comfortable with that. No one is making you read this. 🙂 

OK, now onto the post! 

1. Finding a great bra if your breasts are different sizes

Many, many women have breasts of different sizes. At the very least, it seems from surveys that 12% of women have breasts that they feel are different sizes, and some studies report that it’s up to 40%!

So first of all, know that you’re not alone if your breasts are uneven. And since it’s a common problem, there are solutions!

Consider a bra that has removable inserts so that you can leave one in and remove the other. You can fit the bra with the padding removed to your larger breast and then just add padding until the bra fits your smaller breast. Boom–you’ve got a personalized bra that fits you perfectly and makes you look more symmetrical, too!

On the topic of padding, though, excessive padding such as the kind found in push-up bras can be counterproductive if you have different size breasts since it can just draw attention to the size difference. So look specifically for removable padding whenever possible, not built-in.

When it comes to the kinds of materials bras are made of, taking a bit of time to look for memory foam bras can make a huge difference. Memory foam is created to mold to the person it is on, and so it can help provide a more personalized bra fitting to prevent gaping while providing coverage to both sides. Here’s an example of a memory foam bra that would be quite easy to add removable inserts to: If you’re looking for a bra with both memory foam and removable pads, here’s another one to check out

2. Finding a great bra if your breasts are small 

If you’ve never heard of a balconette bra, go check them out now! I have always had trouble with gaping bras and, according to my research, balconette bras are amazing at preventing gaping. Most bras that are strapless are made in the balconette style and they are a great option for smaller chested women. They’re made to cover 1/2 or 3/4 of the breast, and often have underwire and light padding. Women with larger breasts may find that these don’t fit the best, though, and should likely go for fuller coverage (most of the negative reviews on these types of bras on Amazon are from women with larger cup sizes!)

Here’s an example of a beautiful balconette bra:

As well, although push up and padded bras are not for everyone, they can be a great part of your arsenal, especially if you have smaller breasts. Here’s Joanna, on an issue she was having with her wedding dress:

Joanna on Filling out a Wedding Dress:

I wore a beautiful silk organza dress from the 1950’s on my wedding day, just as I had always dreamed I would. My perfect, cream dress was my grandmother’s and my mom wore it, too. Grandma lived with us from just after my 6th birthday until she died when I was 10 and so wearing her dress was a really important way for me to have her there with me on my wedding day. The problem? Grandma’s dress was WAY too big on me through the chest. But I found a whale of a push-up bra that added several cup sizes and allowed me to wear the dress of my dreams without having to deconstruct the bodice of an antique gown.

For most of us, the issue with a garment’s fit isn’t so drastic as the problem Joanna ran into with a delicate antique, but adding a little padding can be of great use to ensure that a dart sits correctly!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have smaller breasts you may also find that you are able to go braless or get away with simply a bralette or bandeau regularly. While pregnant, if experiencing a lot of breast tenderness, maternity tank tops with a little extra fabric in the bust or built-in support may give sufficient coverage to allow you to go bra free incognito. Additionally, consider tank tops with a small bra insert to keep your nipples from showing through your shirt or find some light, lace or cotton bralettes that offer the nipple coverage you want but don’t have the restrictiveness of a traditional bra. You could try out a more full-coverage bralette, like this one:

Or even a lighter, less structured one like this one:

3. Finding a great bra if you are large chested

If you are large chested, make sure that your breasts are well supported and consider an underwire or other heavily structured bra to keep everything in place. It’s especially important to ensure that the bra that you are wearing works well for you if you have a larger chest as larger breasts can cause back pain if they aren’t properly supported!

Next week, I’m taking on bra fitting, so check back in next Wednesday to find out how to find a bra that fits you and gives you the support you need.

If you feel that your breasts are trying to escape a demi-cup bra, consider switching to a full coverage style for piece of mind and more comfort. As well, while it may seem counter intuitive, you may find that a push-up bra helps offer even more support so your girls stay where they are supposed to, so definitely don’t rule them out immediately!

With many of your choices when it comes to bras it’s going to be more about fit and sizing than the specific trait. Push-up may work great for larger breasts when it’s in a more full-coverage style than in a smaller one where the girls are at risk of spilling out; thinner, less-padded bras and bralettes are made functional by looking for options with a thick band around the ribs and thicker, more supportive straps.

Don’t be afraid to try something outside the box, but just look to make sure it will fit you properly and provide adequate support. And as proof that “full-coverage” doesn’t at all mean “less sexy,” here’s an example of a great full-coverage bra that is simply gorgeous: As well, here’s an option that is quite similar but has a front close and great back support!

Breast support during activities is particularly important for more well-endowed women. For sports bras, you can use a well made compressor style sports bra, but you may also want to consider an encapsulation sports bra, to keep your breasts from rubbing against one another while you exercise.

To combat jiggling breasts during exercise and to prevent back pain, you may need to invest in a more expensive sports bra so that you get top notch construction and support. And hey–spending even an extra $50-60 to get a really nice sports bra that provides adequate support is still cheaper than going to see a chiropractor or masseuse to deal with the back pain a bad sports bra can lead to when you have larger breasts! Here’s a great option that has excellent reviews and is available in a variety of colours:

4. Finding a great bra if your breasts are sensitive

Are you one of those women yanking your bra off the minute you step in the door? You are definitely not alone. If underwire and padding just aren’t your thing, consider some of the new soft materials that are available and avoid bras with lace that would touch your skin. Here’s an example of a soft cup bra that would be more conducive to sensitive skin than your typical lacy bra:

As well, if you find bras are uncomfortable because they dig into your skin, figure out where exactly the problem is. Do you find that the underwire is poking at your underarms? Try to look for structured bras without an underwire or simply look for an underwire bra with a slightly different cut so it doesn’t hit you in the wrong place. Does the band feel like it’s digging into your back? Ensure that you’re wearing the right bra size first off, but then look for styles with a thicker back band to more evenly distribute the pressure (typically looking for front-clasp bras helps with this!).

Here’s one example of a front-clasp bra with a nice, thick back band to combat that “digging in” feeling:

For many of us, bras just aren’t going to feel as comfortable as going bra-less. But that doesn’t mean they need to be actively uncomfortable. If your bra is actively causing you discomfort, identify the key reason and talk to someone who really knows what they’re doing, whether it’s a lingerie shop attendant or even a friend you trust!

5. Finding a great bra if you are pregnant

During pregnancy, your breasts prepare themselves to do the amazing work of feeding your baby, which means they have a LOT of growing to do. In fact, one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms is extremely tender breasts, so you’ll likely want to invest in a wire free, soft material bra or two. Additionally, some nursing tanks may give you enough coverage to go bra-free.

Try to avoid investing in too many bras early in your pregnancy, as your cup size can dramatically change as you approach delivery. A maternity store I visited recently suggested 36 weeks as the perfect time to start looking for maternity bras, though many women start shopping earlier in the 3rd trimester and do just fine.

Overall, during pregnancy you’re going to want to look for bras that have a lot of give. If you’re someone who found that her breasts started growing early and by the end of the first trimester you couldn’t wear your old bras anymore, you simply don’t have the luxury of waiting until 36 weeks to get fitted. But it’s also not a great idea to spend a ton of money on bras that may only fit you for 12 more weeks.

Instead, one idea is to look for bras that are based in S, M, and L sizes rather than solely band size/cup size. The reason for this is that these bras tend to be much more forgiving–many medium bras fit sizes between a 34B and a 38C, for instance. So when shopping for a bra, find one that you are currently on the smallest end of possible sizes to give yourself lots of room to grow into that will still work for you at a variety of sizes.

Here’s an example of some maternity bras that may work for you if you find yourself in this awkward situation! Plus, they come with extenders and padding so you can truly customize this throughout your pregnancy as your bra size changes.

I know these don’t look as cute as the other bras in this post, but sometimes it is about practicality. And if you don’t know what size you are going to be a month from now and you don’t have a lot of disposable income but you really need a bra that fits, these are a fantastic option. And you can always look around for the colours or patterns that you prefer!

Then, when you’re settled into your post-baby body or have started nursing, you can splurge and buy some really really cute options that you’ll wear for a while! But we’re not trying to tell you that you have to break the bank to get the cutest possible bras at every stage of life. Sometimes, it’s best to just be practical!

6. Finding a great bra if you are nursing

Maternity bras have come a long way since I had my kids. As in, there are actually options now!

Look for soft materials and avoid underwire, especially as your breasts adjust to being used to feed a baby. Also, make sure that you have breast pads and nipple cream available to keep everything happy. You may be the lucky rare woman who doesn’t leak, but in case you aren’t, make sure you’re prepared!

Finally, recognize that when you’re nursing, you are still allowed to want to feel like a sexy wife! And nursing bras don’t need to make you feel dowdy! Investing in a few flattering nursing bras that make you feel beautiful and help you still feel like a grown up when you’re dealing with spit up and diapers all day. 😉 Here are some really cute and retro-looking options we found:

7. Choosing a great bra if you are going to a formal event

If you are wearing a formal dress to a major event like a wedding, consider your comfort and what type of bra you will require before choosing your dress. It’s always frustrating to dump a ton of cash on a gorgeous dress and then only wear it once because the bra you need for it is just so dang uncomfortable! So take the extra minute and make sure it’s something that won’t be painful or uncomfortable to wear.

If you need to go strapless, ensure that you have great fit so that you don’t spend the entire event hiking yourself up (I promise, that is never a good look). Also consider the effect of gravity on your chest over the course of an evening.

Another option is to find a strapless bra that is more of a bustier or corset style than simply a bra. This can help because it sits on your hip bones and provides a firmer foundation where everything can rest. Normally with a bra with straps, the pressure is on your back and your shoulders and that’s what gives your breasts that lift you want. With a strapless, you’re missing half the picture. So if you are looking for a lot of lift with a strapless bra, look for a bustier or corset-style bra like this, as an example:

Rebecca swears by these. Here’s what she says:

Rebecca on Bra Options for Formal Wear:

My wedding dress had a corset-bra sewn into it. When I first saw that, I thought “Yeah right–I don’t want something that constricting and I’ll just wear a normal strapless.”

But then I put the corset-bra on.

I loved it. It changed my life. (Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite that drastic).

I was able to walk, sit, dance, and twirl all day without having to worry about my bra falling down. It sat nicely on my hips and held everything in place (including my incredibly heavy strapless wedding gown), and even helped smooth out everything so as a bonus I didn’t ever need to worry about what my tummy was doing during wedding photos! 🙂

Now remember: we aren’t in the 1700s–a bustier or a corset isn’t meant to squeeze your waist smaller, and if it constricts breathing it is far too tight! This is meant to add structure and to provide support so that your breasts stay where they are supposed to all day without your bra riding down.

If you’re looking for a bit less coverage, many companies today manufacture stick on bras for use with lowerbacked formalwear, which are a great option for women who do not require a lot of support from their bra. Plus, even though they look a bit daunting, they can actually be incredibly comfortable! Often after a few minutes you don’t even feel them anymore. Although fair warning: peeling them off is a really, really strange experience. Here’s one example of a sticky bra: 

Stick on bras really do work wonders for women with smaller breasts, but if you are looking for a solution that also gives your breasts lift, these may not be for you. These do a great job of keeping your breasts together and covering your nipples but not much else. So if you’re looking for more, definitely go to a lingerie store and get properly fitted with a great strapless bra!

There you have it! My best principles for choosing a bra that works for you and will have you feeling comfortable, confident, and ready to take on the world. Do you have any other advice about choosing a bra? Let me know in the comments!


Check out other posts in our lingerie series: 


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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43 Comments

  1. Becky

    Oh man, the pregnancy/nursing bra struggle is so real. Especially since I was on the curvier side to begin with, and it seems that I’ve gone up and stayed up a cup size with every single round of nursing! I had a pretty frustrating experience with the nursing bras. I bought 4 from the maternity store at the local mall, and had to start wearing them while I was still pregnant because I outgrew the regular ones. Three of them had some kind of wire support, and for one of them, the side boning support that it had in place of an underwire was bent and coming out before my son was even born! The other two underwire bras (the only nursing bras available in my size) didn’t even survive until he was done nursing, because the wires came out. The only one that lasted was that exact grey one that you have in the maternity bra section, and I’ve been wearing it since as a nighttime nursing/general support bra. One major change I’ve noticed since having kids is that I just can’t comfortably sleep without some kind of soft bra anymore.

    For my second child, I didn’t want to spend $50+ per bra for ones that wouldn’t even last through nursing, so I honestly bought a pattern and just sewed my own! No underwires this time, and they’re the ones I’m currently living in for the end of this pregnancy as well, so they held up much better. They’re not the prettiest, but it was an interesting learning experience, and I’m very strongly considering whether making my own is something I need to continue learning how to do when I’m done nursing for this last time. I had a very hard time finding affordable bras that worked for me after I finished the second round of nursing, due to the band/cup size combination that I seemed to be, and if I stay up yet another cup size after this one, yikes. I’m looking forward to the fitting post, because you’d think I’d understand how this works from sewing clothes, but I still can’t seem to get the hang of my bra size.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I love all the people who have said they could sew their own lingerie! I used to sew a bit, and I still have a book about sewing lingerie, and it’s SUCH a pretty book. I’d love to sew more panties sometime. Except that I love knitting more. But I think that’s an incredible skill that can also be so fun.

      Reply
  2. Jane Eyre

    Those nursing bras are lovely!

    Sports bras: I knew it was time to replace my old ones when I saw a picture of myself during a race and… wow, the bounce. That old bra was not doing its job.

    One of my runner friends recently recommended a brand to me that she likes (Zyia), and I thanked her for it – so many “sports bras” these days seemed to be marketed to small chested women who do yoga. Not judging, but I was a 32DD before pregnancy and “medium support” wasn’t going to be adequate for running. So, my random advice: make sure your sports bra is designed for your activity!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      YES! I think it’s so important for large chested women to have proper bras, ESPECIALLY for sports. It’s really the most important time, because you need to be good to your back and shoulders. I’ve never had that problem myself (ha!), but I know that it’s a real issue, and when we scrimp on it it can have major repercussions.

      Reply
      • Kelly

        Except major retailers don’t really make sports bras for plus size breasts. If they do they are close to $100 apiece. I am sorry but while I make good money, I think that’s a bit ridiculous to punish me because God gave me big breasts 🙁

        Reply
        • Jane Eyre

          I’m not sure how plus-size you are talking about, but the Zyia all-star bra goes up to 38Dd-40DD. (I don’t work for them – I just love that bra.) $49.

          Champion goes up to 42DD for $30 to $40.

          You can watch for sales at Lane Bryant.

          Amazon has a bunch that go up to 46I – there’s one for $42.50 that’s a “glamorise women’s double-layer custom-control sports bra.”

          Reply
  3. Mrs. C

    I’ve had 4 baby boys in the last 5.5 years. With my first, I really struggled with frumpy, bumpy nursing bras. I thought they were my only option. They were bumpy through my shirts and I had to wear button up shirts if I didn’t want to show my belly and back while nursing (even with a cover). But then I exposed all of my upper chest (which meant I had to use a cover, even in the hottest summer months. I discovered cotton camisoles for baby number 2. This allowed me to feel more comfortable nursing because I could wear tshirts and not show my belly and back or upper chest. I felt more like myself, but the cotton camisoles didn’t have great nipple coverage – especially with a nursing pad in… still a little bumpy in the bust area. Finally, for baby number 3, I discovered camisoles with a shaped and slightly padded cup. Yay! It provided the benefits of a cami, gave me a nice rounded bust with no nipples showing through, and made me feel quite a lot sexier.

    Playtex Women’s Maternity Nursing Camisole with Built-in-Bra #4957, Black, Small https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A8LSKKM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_sIuxDbA7EQQZY

    Reply
  4. Stacey

    My struggle is having a small band size that isn’t available in regular stores. I have to shop at specialty bra shops that are $$$. I am lucky to find a single bra for less than $100. In fact, I’m not sure I have found one that fits well for that price. So I have very limited options and own only a couple bras.

    Reply
    • Lindsey

      I’m not sure how small you’re talking, but have you considered getting the smallest band size possible at a more reasonable price and sewing (or having someone sew) hook and eye closures further down the band (closer to the armpits so that when fastened it makes the band smaller)? It could be a possible solution.

      Reply
      • Jane Eyre

        The easier sewing trick is to just fold the band over in itself (near the armpit) and sew that; it makes the band smaller and doesntvrequire you to install new closures.

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I hear you! That’s my family’s story, too. I have a GREAT email from a reader with specific instructions about what to do for that, and I’ll share it in next week’s post!

      Reply
      • Ashley

        I look forward to that, Sheila! This has been a struggle for me too, although not so much at the weight I am now. But I know it will be before long if I keep losing weight like I hope to!

        Reply
  5. Hard-to-fit BEFORE nursing

    I was a 34DDD before breastfeeding, and I looked everywhere for nursing bras that would both fit and provide enough support to avoid straining my back as I adjusted to being a 36F. Maternity stores didn’t have anything that worked for me. The lingerie stores in my area didn’t have nursing options in my size. My mom, a seamstress, suggested we find some well-made bras that fit (and we found them on clearance!), and then she converted them to nursing bras for me. This ended up being a much more economical solution! A few of my friends found out what we had done and ended up bringing my mom piles of bras because they were tired of flimsy bra options at a time when their breasts were heavier and more cumbersome than ever!

    So if you’re struggling with nursing bras, consider reaching out to a seamstress or tailor for a bespoke option!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      That’s an amazing idea! I love these outside-the-box tips and tricks–hopefully this can help some other women, too 🙂

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Love that! (I wonder if you can find instructions for how to do that online? It can’t be that hard!)

      Reply
      • Becky

        I found instructions!

        https://sewfearless.com/2016/03/nursing-bra-diy/

        They sourced the clips from a site called Sew Sassy. There’s also a Canadian shop called Bra Maker’s Supply that should have everything. (This is actually where I got the patterns and supplies for my homemade nursing bras, because I was having trouble finding an American shop with basic kits for lingerie sewing newbies. )

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Yay! I love it.

          Reply
      • Tonya

        Yes you can! I did this recently. After years of not having the best marriage and then asking God to renew my mind on sex and the marriage relationship he totally did. So I began searching for ways to make sure that the physical side of our marriage was taken care of and ways to make sure after giving birth that didn’t lose my thought process. So finding “sexy” nursing bras was a must for me to keep my mindset where it needed to be. Thatfelt impossible. So finally I had the idea to convert regular bras into nursing bras. Amazon has kits to do that with! All you may need extra is ribbon. And there are tutorials online for covertsin them too. Super easy basically anyone can do it. So I got to buy all new sexy bras and ditch my ugly nursing bras for the first time in 15 years.

        Reply
  6. Kelly

    I am a 38 DDDD! Can’t find a bra at retail stores. And when I’ve gone to specialty shops that only sell bras the ones that fit me end up being $70 apiece and ain’t nobody can afford that.
    Nine years ago I was looking for a strapless bra to wear with my dress that I had bought for the occasion of my 20 year class reunion after I had weight-loss surgery and a drop 70 pounds…my strapless underwire bra cost more than the price of my dress.!

    This is a timely matter for me because I have three bras that I rotate and all are in pretty poor shape. in fact on one of them the underwire has poked through the material. So when I get paid Friday, I plan on buying myself some new bras. I will check out Torrid because they are a plus size shop and they look like they have decent bras.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, yay for new bras! And I hear you about them being so expensive when you’re a hard-to-fit size. I do find that hand washing does a lot to extend the shelf life of a bra, but it does take a lot of work. You likely already do this, but for others, I soak in a lingerie soak (you can also just use gentle detergent) in the sink in lukewarm water, then just agitate a bit, then rinse, then I just plop them into a towel and roll the towel up to squeeze excess water out. Then I hang to dry. And they can last years that way.

      Reply
      • unmowngrass

        Does rolling damage the shape at all? I have hand washed/dried bras before, I always found the easiest was to drape the towel over my knee, then the bra (one cup at a time), then the towel again and just press it.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I havent had a problem! But your way is likely safer. I just find mine is super fast.

          Reply
  7. Hannah

    I have to put in a good word for the sticky bras–I bought one for a ballet costume this past winter, and it’s really great with leotards that don’t otherwise have room for bras. So for anyone who has a similar outfit they need to wear, it’s something to look into. I wish someone had told me about them waaaay earlier as it would have opened up a lot of leotard options and saved me a lot of nipple peeking embarrassment in my younger years!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Oh I hadn’t even thought of them for dancers! Such a great point!

      Reply
      • Kristina G

        A couple things:
        To fix an underwire that has poked through, push it back to where it should be and then cover the small hole with a bandaid-sized piece of moleskin bandage (used for blisters, found in the foot are section of the drugstore). I did this with my nursing bra, and it’s holding up fairly well a couple of months in. The adhesive is fairly strong and haven’t had any trouble with washing it several times.
        Also, I JUST saw a promoted video by a company called Tenderbra on Facebook. This company makes wire free bras, because apparently there was a landmark study in 2009 concluding that underwire bras contribute to breast cancer?? Will have to look into this further, but seemed pretty legit.

        Reply
        • CraftyHourMom

          I actually just came across TenderBra and their claims too. Caused instant concern, right up until a quick google search led me to all the major breast cancer foundation websites debunking this. Studies do NOT link wearing bras with underwire or even any bras at all with breast cancer. Phew!
          But I am intrigued by the shape of that style bra – anyone tried that? I’m mid-30s with small post-breastfeeding breasts that need a shape to conform to *ahem*

          Reply
  8. Wifey

    Since I have never had a ‘real’ bra with wire or padding, I looked for the same when nursing. I love my Kindred Bravely bra! It’s made from organic cotton and is completely stretchy, which is great because according to my measurements I go from somewhere around an A cup to a C cup depending on how recently I nursed. This bra ‘grows’ and ‘shrinks’ with you. It’s also a crossover style which means you just pull it aside to nurse, no clasps or anything. The only downside is that the bamboo milk absorber pads I insert do tend to work themselves into odd positions on occasion, but since I spend most of the time at home, it’s not an issue for me. I paid $21 for mine on amazon, so I can’t complain!

    Reply
    • Kya

      I LOVE Kindred Bravely–I have 5 of their nursing bras. I started wearing them in the 3rd trimester when underwires became too uncomfortable on my rib cage and I started leaking milk at night. I literally wore them until my daughter turned 2, and they are still so comfortable. They don’t look very good anymore, though!

      Reply
  9. LDA

    Thanks for the post! I’m nursing right now ( 36 DD) and I feel like a good fitting bra is especially important during breastfeeding to help prevent problems. After my twins were born, I used several cheaper brand bras, and I got clogged milk ducts all the time. I’m sure part of it was the poor fitting bras because when I finally got a good fit it helped. This time with my daughter, I haven’t had near the problem with the clogged ducts, and I’ve been using nice bras since the beginning. I’ve have good luck with bravado bras. They’re more expensive, but I feel like with both bras and shoes, you get what you pay for. Anyway, thanks for the series on underwear, it’s been interesting. 🙂

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Isn’t that interesting? I hadn’t thought of the effect of poor fitting on breast feeding. But honestly, often you’re feeling yucky enough then that you don’t also need the hassle of a badly fitting bra! But we women often don’t think that we’re worth it, but we are! Especially when we’re feeding our kids.

      Reply
  10. SnowAngel

    This is such a touchy subject for me. I have always been a larger cup with a tiny band, making it almost impossible to find ones that fit. I was “lucky” to find one this spring on sale for $80. As such, I never own more than two and I have to make them last for years.
    This also impacts the appearance of them. I would LOVE to own something pretty- maybe some lace, a funky colour, anything but the nude colour they come in. That is my only choice. Pretty hard to feel sexy about your underthings when 1) Barnum and Bailey could use your hand-me-downs, 2) they are the colour of old lady things, and 3) you have to emotionally prep for the shopping experience.

    Reply
    • Active Mom

      Here is what I found that was a lifesaver. I went to Nordstrom’s, which is a good high end department store with a fantastic return policy. I chatted with a staff member who took a ton of time to get me fitted and find the right brand and the right size bra. I purchased one bra (at the sales lady’s recommendation) and wore it every day to make sure it was comfortable. She told me if I didn’t like it for any reason to return it no questions asked. If I did like it she recommended that I start checking out Nordstrom’s rack online and watch for my bra to go on sale. She told me that 4 times a year bra manufacturers put out new colors. So as long as I was fine with “last seasons color” I could get a great deal on bras. She was right. The $90 full priced bra could be found for $40 online. So, I have been able to fill my lingerie drawer with really good high end bras for a fraction of the cost. Plus, if at any time they break Nordstrom’s takes them back.
      I am careful how I wash them and they have lasted a lot longer than cheaper priced bras. Plus, they are gorgeous!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        That sounds awesome! I do find that once you know what bras fit you, you can often get them cheaper online for sure.

        Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        So cool! I’m going to put that link in next week’s post, too. Thank you!

        Reply
  11. Libby

    I’m really enjoying this series. I did a clean out of my undie drawer today and it felt great! I bought some new panties using the recommendations you had in that post. And I searched your site for more bra options and saw that you had a post a few years back with a link to Lulalu that makes bras for small chested women (maybe you’re going to mention them again next week?…). Anyway I found a some really pretty bras that actually fit! Who knew? LOL. thanks so much for this series!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yay! So glad. And doesn’t getting new undies feel wonderful?

      Reply
  12. Meghan

    What a timely post! My daughter is on the verge of weaning so I have been thinking about getting out of my nursing bras and back into my regular bras. The thing is, my old regular bras have this awful underwire that digs in to my armpits, and I’m loathe to go back to that torture. My nursing bras are so comfy that I can sleep in them. I don’t want to say goodbye, but I also want to go back to bras that flatter my form more and feel pretty. Ugh….I have to go shopping. I hate shopping.

    Reply
  13. J. Parker

    Actually, as I looked through my bras yesterday, I realized only two of them needed to go. Some others, however, had very binding underwire, which I concluded could be easily fixed with an Exacto-knife. I poked a small hole in the fabric where the wire began and nudged the wire out. Eight bras later, I’d removed the wire from every bra that had it, and they are so much more comfortable! Thanks for the nudge. 😉

    Reply
  14. Janean Fuller

    We’ll bras and I have always had a rocky relationship! I’ve even gotten breast infections from their binding! At 48DD I could never find one that worked so I switched to flexees from Catherine’s. Yeah, they don’t keep the girls up but at least I’m not uncomfortable and pulling around with my bra all day.

    Reply
  15. unmowngrass

    I have found a tonne of useful information on the no-longer-updated Bras I Hate And Love
    https://brasihate.blogspot.com/
    (that links to a newer site, but it did look like a dead link to me. but all the info is still on blogspot. )

    The most important info I found from her is the concept of top-heavy or bottom-heavy. Use your hands to lift/shape your breasts into the position they would be if you were wearing a really great bra. Now, is the majority of the breast tissue above or below your nipple? Because you will need a different style depending on which it is. She comments that based on what’s available for sale, it seems the majority of women are ‘bottom heavy’. So if you’re ‘top heavy’, even if you get the correct ~size~, chances are, it’s always going to just not-really-fit. Plunge is NOT going to work, balconette probably isn’t either, and nor is anything with a seam across the top of the cup, like for a lace/ribbon trim, etc. Darts in the cup, however, are your new best friends!! And a bra-fitter who actually knows what they are talking about (rather than following a script — you can often tell these in the shop), few and far between as they may be, should be able to get you a bra that fits the top half of your breasts, even if the bottom part of the cup is still too big, because darts can be taken in easily. Pray about finding a good one before you go into the shop. (I’m serious. And in fact, given how complicated bras and fitting can be, I’d recommend doing this whoever you are!) Also, top-heavy ladies, you’re the ones out of everyone who least need a push-up bra, but you might find that the support in a push up bra is ironically actually where you most need it!

    Also, I know a lot of the options, especially for larger and/or less-commonly-shaped women, are on the ugly side of boring. But if you get one that’s a great fit, however ugly, you can also buy some aerosol fabric paint and make it any colour you want, right? Or stamp patterns on it, or add any other embellishment or trim (ribbon, sequins, lace, etc) that you want, right? Because something sewn over the top is not going to change the structure the way a seam as an integral part of the garment would.

    Reply
  16. Janet Arnold

    One of my shoulders is lower than the other, which results in the strap falling down. Can anyone recommend a bra for me? Is there a tailoring technique that would help?

    Reply

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