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If you've been searching for your perfect fit for quite some time and are ready to throw in the towel, we feel your pain. But we also happen to have a few handy tricks to share, courtesy of three amazing bra experts. Applying their insight, we've also sourced 13 bra options to help you look and feel your best.
What to consider while shopping for a plus-size bra
Women of all sizes struggle to find the perfect fit, but great plus-size bras can be particularly tricky to track down.
"The bra industry tends to generalize weight with size, and for plus-sized ladies, that means starting with a general sense of your size is key," Athena Kasvikis, founder of Behave Bras, told us. "By this I mean your general measurements and how they equate to cup and band sizes. Then, you're prepared to start hunting for how bras work for you based on your preferences."
We all tend to get frustrated when we discover that we're multiple sizes in different brands, but the pro recommends paying more attention to how something feels than what the label says.
"I personally wear a few different cup sizes in different brands because no two brands run the same. What I'm not concerned with though is not what the size tag says, but how it fits and flatters my unique body," she said.
Curvy ladies typically crave a bit more support when it comes to their bras, and Kasvikis offered up a few tips for getting the best fit:
- If you want more support: "Try band sizes that are close to your measurements and ensure that your band is doing the heavy-lifting (pun intended)," she said.
- If you prefer a looser band fit: "Size up with sister sizing to the next band up (next cup down) to ensure that you're customizing to fit your preferences and body," the fit expert suggested.
- Focus on comfort: "Pay attention to the strap and side wing size of the bras. You want to go for wider straps to better distribute breast weight across the shoulders (and avoid painful shoulder divots) and wider sides to decrease bulging and pinching under the arms," Kasvikis advised.
What bra styles are best for plus-size women?
There's not a particular bra style that works best for every beautiful curvy gal, but there are a few that work quite well. Here's a quick cheat sheet from the pros:
- Molded cups vs. unlined cups: "If you're more asymmetrical between breasts, you'll want to focus on molded cups as the pre-shaped cup can hide asymmetry better and help balance out breasts. Adjusting each individual strap can also help to prevent gaping in cups for the smaller of the two breasts," Kasvikis said.
- Plunge, T-shirt and demi bras: "If you have a more bell-shaped breast (heavy on the bottom and sides), I recommend focusing on bras that are going to pull your side breast to the front of the chest and uplift all that bottom weight. These three styles will be more flattering than balconettes because of how and where they're redistributing breast weight," Kasvikis said.
- Top-notch technology: "Women with larger busts can look for back smoothing bras, no bounce solutions, light lift foam pad underwire and bras that offer cups with full coverage," Dora Lau, founder and president of Dora L International, an intimate apparel global sourcing and design company, said. "Try wire-free bras, sports or active bras that can offer support and no bounce. Full figured women will also want to try minimizer bras, which are particularly good for DDD and above, that offer slight compression which give greater coverage, containment and support."
Plus-size bras worth trying
The right bra can help you look incredible in your favorite outfit, and this smoothing option from Playtex promises to do just that. The wireless, tag-free style offers side and back smoothing and a four-way support system with higher sides and a taller back. Amazon customers seem to love the bra (it has 12,000+ five-star ratings) and it's easy to see why since it also features wicking fabric, adjustable straps and a back that won't ride up.
Lau suggests looking for bras that offer handy solutions like "uplift in the cup to help lift the bust, no bounce with containment and back/side smoothing features."
This affordable option focuses on upper bust control with its full-coverage unlined cups, and it also puts a premium on comfort with its two-way stretch back and breathable material. In other words, you'll actually feel excited to tackle your next workout in this sporty style!
Part of finding the right fit is paying attention to the placement of the straps on your bra. "Straps that are placed closer on the shoulder will help reduce strap slipping. Straps should preferably have a V-shape on the back, closer to the hook and eye," Lau explained.
We love how this Unibra pick has lightly padded straps, built-in support panels and soft cups that offer excellent coverage. It also comes in 10 colors ranging from neutrals to bold hues, so there's something for everyone.
Think a bralette is out of reach when you have a larger bust? Think again! "A plus-size, plus-bust gal can wear any style that fits well and feels comfortable. You’re not relegated to the grandma bra just because you’re bigger. You may have to devote a little more time and money to the search, but stylish, sexy bras are out there for you," Jenette Bras CEO and bra fitting expert Jenette Goldstein said.
This subtly sexy bralette from Lively has caught our eye and offers both fashion and function with its mesh lining, adjustable straps/band and supportive structure. It also comes in eight versatile shades (our favorites are called Smoke and Plum).
If you're looking for the best fit, Goldstein recommends paying attention to how snug your bra is. "90 percent of the support comes from the band, not the straps. For these contraptions to work, the band has to fit close, low across the back, tacking to the breast bone," she said. "Everyone has a different tolerance for tightness, but just know that the looser you go in the band, the more weight is going on your shoulders. Look for the feel of a supportive hug. You’ll know it’s working when you feel the weight come off the straps."
Available in eight colors and a plethora of sizes (up to 50H), this front-close bra is a force to be reckoned with and has 13,000+ five-star ratings. The lacy detailing offers plenty of sex appeal, while the side bust control shapes and supports your best assets.
Wondering how to find the right fit for your unique shape? Lau offered up a few helpful tips. "Try on a few different cup and band sizes to see what fits best and is comfortable. Use numbers as a guide and be sure to try on different brands and sizes to see what gives you the most amount of comfort. Comfort is key to feeling confident and being able to wear a bra the whole day," she said.
We fell for this flirty T-shirt bra the minute we laid eyes on it and think you will, too. The adjustable straps, molded cups and smoothing back are major selling points, along with the bra's striking array of color options available.
Lau told us that one of the main challenges plus-size women face while bra shopping is finding a bra that "gives support and shape without extra bulk." Luckily, this option we found from Thirdlove has that problem handled.
The wireless bra's superpower is smoothing and the style has wide straps and removable cups for extra definition and coverage. The pull-over style is available in sizes up to 3X and comes in four colors, and the price is pretty affordable, too.
Support and style for under $20? It sounds too good to be true, but it's possible, and this popular bra (it has over 2,500 five-star ratings) is living proof. The convertible style can be worn in two ways and has a foam underwire that offers extra support and comfort.
Customers seem to dig the floral lace trim and the plunging neckline that works for low-cut styles, and they're also pretty excited about the level of comfort the bra offers. "It's extremely comfy and sexy," one wrote. Another left the following review: "This bra is such a blessing."
Not a fan of wires? You can still find a supportive bra, according to Lau. "No wire options for full figure women often use support mechanisms other than wires. These can lift and shape effectively and eliminate wires that dig," she said.
We're currently crushing on this wireless shaper bra from Truekind that looks equal parts supportive and cozy. The style has structured cups, a soft and breathable fabric and wide straps, for starters. It's available in sizes up to 4X and has a seamless design to avoid itching. Seems like a winner to us!
With nearly 13,000 five-star ratings under its belt, this is one bra that comes well-recommended. The popular style comes in sizes up to 44G and minimizes your bust up to 1 1/2" to help create a smooth appearance while you're wearing your favorite clothes. An encased underwire and a silky lining also ensure that you're comfy all day long.
Over 6,000 Amazon shoppers have given this plus-size bra a five-star rating, and they've left some pretty impressive reviews, too. "These are simply fantastic bras for the price," one shopper wrote. Another left the following review: "It gets more and more comfortable over time."
The supportive underwire design has non-padded cups for a more natural look and adjustable straps to boot. The wide array of color options, lacy detail and affordable price tag also help!
Having a hard time finding the right bra? You're not alone, but don't get discouraged. "Your body is perfect; it's the bras that are the issue. Once you try a few sizes and styles, you're going to have a much better idea of what brands and styles will work for you," Kasvikis said.
Soma's new "smart bra" seeks to put an end to the age-old "nothing fits" issue and features patent pending Flexicups that stretch to fit your unique shape and patent pending Floataway Wire that flexes with you. The innovative design took three years to create and comes in multiple hues with sizes up to 42DDD available. It also features "Get a Grip" straps that stay put and keep you comfy.
Lovely in lace! Montelle's T-shirt bra is incredibly sexy with its lacy lining and back, and it also manages to provide plenty of support and comfort with its four-way stretch foam cups and mesh side wings. The sleek style runs in sizes up to 42G and comes in seven colors, including a lovely pretty purple called Almond Spice.
For more stories like this, check out:
- Need a new bra? These 20 options are perfect for small busts
- Yes, comfortable bras exist — 15 sensible options to try
- Avoiding strapless bras? These expert tips and comfy picks will change your mind