Comfort is key when it comes to fashion right now, and there is nothing more uncomfortable than an ill-fitting bra. And as it turns out, most of us are wearing the wrong size without even realizing it. For plus-size women, it can often be even more difficult to find the right fit.
Thankfully, styles and sizes have come a long way, and finding the right bra for a plus-size body is no longer an impossible task. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort or support for styles like bralettes, demi-cup, T-shirt and even strapless.
Use these tips to help you find the perfect plus-size bra for your own body, whether you’re a 38C or a 50H.
Measure yourself correctly
Under normal circumstances, the best way to figure out your accurate bra size would be to get a free personalized fitting. The first time I was sized properly, I was able to leave the store with a functional and super sexy bra. But while we’re in isolation and relying on online shopping, there’s still an easy method to figuring it out at home. All you need is a measuring tape.
First, figure out your band size: While wearing a bra, measure around the smallest part of your ribcage (right under your bust), keeping the tape parallel to the floor. Round up to an even number if you need to. (For example, 43 inches would become a 44.)
Next, measure around the fullest part of your bust. Then subtract the band size measurement from this number. The difference between these numbers determines your cup size. Use this chart for reference:
When buying online, look for a bra size calculator where you can easily pop in your measurement numbers and quickly figure out your band and cup size specific to that brand.
Make sure you have the right fit
Before making a purchase, check out the size chart on the bra you like to see how your measurements line up with the sizing. Finding the right fit can sometimes take more than one try, so take a look at the return policy too and make sure you can return free of charge for 30 days.
Once your new bra arrives, try it on ASAP and make sure it fits snugly but not too tight—you should be able to slide one finger under the band. The centre panel at the front of the bra should lie flat against your breastbone. (If it doesn’t, the cups may be too small.) Also, check out the positioning of the girls: Your breasts shouldn’t spill over the top or sides of the cups, they should be positioned midway between the shoulder and elbow. If there’s spillage, try loosening the straps a bit; if that doesn’t help, the cups are probably too small. Gaps or puckering, on the other hand, are usually caused by too-large cups.
Find the best back and shoulder support
A lot of us make the mistake of sizing up when we experience back or shoulder discomfort from our bras. The actual cause is often this: The bra is too loose and therefore not supportive enough to hold the cups against your body properly. The weight of your breasts can pull the bra down in the front, pulling the back up and/or causing the straps to fall off your shoulders. If the bra is higher in the back than it is in the front, you may need a tighter band. If the band on your bra is digging in or rolling up, you may need to experiment with a band that’s longer or wider.
And remember, support should come from the band, not the straps. Try loosening them if they’re digging into your shoulders and if they’re still too tight, try going up a cup size and down a band size.
Extend the life of your bra
Make sure you’re getting the best fit and longest lifespan out of your bras by following these basic care rules: Avoid wearing the same bra two days in a row. This will give the elastic fabric to regain its shape. (Ideally, you’ll have at least three bras in regular rotation—one to wear, one ready to wear and one that’s in the laundry.) And don’t machine wash, dry clean or tumble dry your bras; always hand wash them and then lay them flat to dry. Avoid folding them when you put them away or pack them to travel—they should be stored with enough room to avoid altering the cups’ shape.
Now that you know how to find the right fit, you can explore all of the options available in your size and finally get the perfect bra for your bod. Happy shopping!