Monday, June 18, 2012

sewing for the "girls": beginning at the beginning

okay ladies, let’s do this. i’ve got what i think is some good stuff prepared.
any discussion of dressing a larger busted woman has to start at the beginning—the foundation, the undergarments.

and truly, truly—this is the Most Important Part. really for any woman. the major difference—once you hit over a D or DD cup, bra shopping becomes that much harder. forget walmart, target, kmart. forget even victoria’s secret or most lingerie shops. they’re not going to carry the sizes you need. which is annoying, because of anyone we’re even more in need of these items. to look good in your clothing, and be comfortable, you have a to have a good foundation. so, let’s discuss a couple of quick points for bra shopping.

o1) YOU NEED A BRA THAT FITS YOU. sounds obvious, right? but so many woman don’t have this. and that DOES NOT mean going up in the band size to make the cup fit. that is a Bad Idea—one which many “bra fitters” in big box stores will try to do to you, in order to get you into a bra from them. if you should have a 38DDD and they’re coming at you with a 40DD, TURN AND RUN. it’s not right, it won’t work
your bra should fit snugly around your chest and the triangular part in the front should be flat against your chest.

o2) FORGET MEASUREMENTS. unless you’re visiting an ancient old woman in a hidden specialty shop who can divine your exact bra size with a mere flick of the tape measure…chances are the measurements aren’t right. the whole “measure under your boobs, then around the fullest part and 1”=A cup, 2”=B cup…” NO. just…NO. the system is dumb anyway, but really breaks down when you’re looking at 7” or 9” of difference. get an accurate chest measurement for yourself, and start with that. it’s going to take trial and error. prepare to whip bras off and on for a long time.
one of my best fitting bras is one a friend threw into the fitting room for me AS A JOKE because it was SO BIG. and also, as a JOKE, i put it on. and then i shed some tears because it fit. the point being: you may be bigger or smaller than you think. the bras i had in the fitting room were all one or two cup sizes smaller. i never would have grabbed the one that ended up being the right size. probably because the cups were bigger than my 7 year old’s head.

o3) you’re probably going to have to spend some decent money. like i said at the beginning—forget walmart, forget target. a $14 bra isn’t in your future. that doesn’t mean you’re going to have to remortgage your home though.
here’s where i shop (or have shopped in the past):

this is the lingerie side of lane bryant. their basic bras go up to a 42H. if they don’t have your size in store they’ll order it and have it shipped for free, or you can order online. their balconette bra is my go-to and comprises the bulk of my collection.
they range in price from $30-$50+. however they run sales ALL THE TIME—right now it’s “buy 2 get 2 free”. so if you stick with basic bras you can get 4 for around $60 which isn’t bad at all.
also, their stuff is cute! i was always jealous of my girlfriends who had the little matching bra and panty sets. thank you cacique.

this store is aimed towards younger girls. their bras only go up to DDD in the cup, but 42 in the band. they also run in the $30+ range.

this is a british company, and their stores are only in the uk. but they carry bras up to a KK cup, and they offer good guides for fitting and bra wearing on their website. shipping to the u.s. is around $13. i’ve never bought from them, but i do get their catalogues and they have cute things and seem fairly committed to bras for big boobed women—they know their stuff. ;)

if you’re fairly sure of your size, or don’t mind buying and returning, amazon is a great option. you can search by your size, and the reviews are always helpful.

nursing bras
this is a whole other subject, but one i wanted to mention. i’ve been through my share of nursing bras (87 months to date of nursing babes under my belt, and still counting). DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY ON ANYTHING SOLD BY MOTHERHOOD. they claim to have larger sized nursing bras online—but the pokey wires, flimsy fabric, and cheap plastic that comprises their “nursing bras” are not worth a second thought. my absolute hands down favorite nursing bra that i can not recommend enough:
the elomi smoothing molded nursing bra. it’s not cheap, but it is worth every penny. it comes in u.k. sizing, so my best advice is order 2 so you can decide which fits better and return one.

why i love this bra? it’s comfortable—once you get the right size it’s supportive and comfy. the fabric is sturdy—i’ve been using the one i bought before i had elliot for a year now. i toss it in the washer on delicate and hang it to dry and it looks as good as the day i bought it. and the design of it is awesome—when you drop the cup to nurse, there’s an inner cup that still provides support for your breast. that is the best part and why i recommend this bra so strongly.


so there you go, my recommendations. (just fyi—nothing here is being paid or perked or compensated. these are just my personal opinions and recommendations)

supportive bras make all the difference in the way a garment fits and feels. and that’s x100 for a large breasted woman. so it’s even more important that we have something good. start with the basics. get it right. it’s going to make a world of difference to how you feel in your clothing.

any other recommendations you can share with us? where do you buy your over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders? (hehehe…see, i was so mature through this post. it had to come out at some point) i’m always looking for new suggestions!
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  1. Thank you so much for this series. I know exactly what you mean and hardly anybody understands. Looking forward to the next posts.

  2. I second everything Taly said!

  3. Love this! Can't wait for the rest of the series! Dresses and swimsuits are the worst things in my opinion, dang near impossible to find anything that fits.

  4. Sing this from the rooftops! I'm currently 7 months in to nursing baby #3, so I'm in expensive nursing bra world, but even not-nursing it's amazing what size cup I need! I mean if I went with the measuring thing, after 3 babies the difference wouldn't be so great, but once you gather it all up into a cup, hello DD:)


    1. "once you gather it all up into a cup, hello DD"
      i love this!!!! falls into the "sad but true" category!

  5. I just bought a couple of bras from and I am very happy with them. They have lots of larger sizes and decent prices. Thanks for a great post!


  6. I LOVE the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra. I've been through the ones from the department stores and the ones from Motherhood. Not anymore. I want cotton or microfiber for absorbency. I want SOFT elastic. I do not want an underwire. I used to think I needed the inner cup for support, but I've changed my mind on that because I have to hold my breast while nursing (and that's plenty supportive) and I prefer to avoid the extra bulk of the inner cup. I haven't yet found something that I like as well for post-nursing (though I don't really need to because the little clippy is the only thing making the Bravado a nursing bra). Somehow I fall right between sizes in the cacique brand. :(

    1. i know you're not "supposed" to wear underwire when you're nursing. but i really feel better and more supported with it. plus i like to be a rebel ;)

      i'll have to check out the bravado bra! thanks for the tip!

  7. My big girls from when I was nursing have sadly disappeared, but when I did have something that needed support (yes, my now B cups were once 32Es) I had a lot of success shopping at Breakout Bras and buying the Hotmilk brand. Bonus - they didn't look like industrial udder holders!

    1. oooh--i've seen hotmilk! they're purdy! but they didn't have my size :( yeah--these babies get massive when i'm nursing.

      haha--industrial udder holders! awesome!!

  8. I hated having to try to find nursing bras in Plus sizes. The only thing I can figure out is that nursing apparel places don't know that plus size women nurse, but that is my own rant. I have the Elomi bra as well and love it for nursing (the wires popped out but I don't care and still wear it every day). I did like the motherhood ones for pumping though as the stiffer cup held the flange a bit better. The cost of these bras is almost embarrassing when compared to those that can grab anything off the shelf and got with it. I also hate how all sites have different ways of calculating sizes. One site has me at a 52H and another at 47K....


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