How should a bra fit for a plus-sized woman? How do you determine the right cup size? How do you figure out the right band size? How do you know what shape your boob is? (Yeah, you have to know that too.) I created a YouTube video to help you find the right bra for you and your boobies.
You can also scroll down to read the blog post.
Most of my adult life, I had what I like to refer to as “quad boobs,” when some of your breasts squishes out on the top of your bra. After I had two children, those quad boobs drove me crazy. Every time I turned sideways and looked in the mirror, I hated what I saw. I was always trying to cover them up, but then they would slip out the bottom of my bra.
I already wasn't feeling great about how I looked. When I had enough (and my kids were old enough to leave with a sitter), I went to a boutique about an hour away that truly had experts, not some old lady in a department store with a measuring tape and serious judegy face. The boutique caters to women who've had breast cancer, which means they're super compassionate. There was no judgement about anything which, as a plus-sized woman, I worry about dealing with.
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Boy, did they know what they were doing. My bra fitting went way beyond just taking a tape measure around my ribc age. She figured out my exact bra size by taking all kinds of measurements.
Then, she brought an array of bras into the dressing room. They were different brands and slightly different sizes, because she was also trying to fit the shape of my boob.
I'm guessing most of the women walking around on this planet are wearing the wrong size bra, especially if you're a plus-size. First of all, please know that the bra size you need probably isn't available in most department or big box stores. I'm betting that you already figured that out. When you're above a 38 — and even 38 is pushing it — or below 32 or 34, you're screwed. And God forbid you need a cup size above a double-D. You might be able to find a Triple D, but not much more.
For years I squished my boobies into triple D's, because that was as big as I could find. Now, after I went to this boutique, I discovered I was actually a 42H. People, I am not going to find an H at Macy's or Boscov's or Target or whatever. My specific brand and bra size is Wacoal 42H. Now I buy all my bras on Amazon.
Here's another tip: if your bra hurts you or you have red welts when you take it off, you're wearing the wrong bra. The right bra will not be uncomfortable. I don't even notice my bra when I'm wearing it. And it makes me look so much better. You can see my waist!
Let's talk about how to really find your right bra size.
Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links, including Amazon links, which means I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase.
What You'll Need
First of all get a measuring tape that's long enough. Don't try to guess how much distance is missing if the measuring tape doesn't reach all the way around.
Also, try to measure yourself for a bra in front of a mirror. That way, you can see if the tape is level or not.
Bra Band Size
First, measure around your ribcage, under your breasts. (It might help to do this step wearing your current bra. Generally, women overestimate their band size. If you can get two fingers under your band, it's too big.) Then, round up to the nearest even number. That's your band size.
Bra Cup Size
To measure for your cup size, take off your bra. This one is trickier. You're going to use an easy mathematical equation for your cup size. Take the tape measure around your naked breasts at nipple level. Make it almost loose enough to fall down, but not quite. Then, subtract your under-the-boobs number from this number. Then check out this bra size chart to find out which cup size you are. For instance, if the number you come up with is 4 (which means a 4″ difference between the underbust and the over-the-nipple-measurements), then you're a D cup.
Shape of Your Breast
Finding the right bra also depends on the shape of your breasts. We're not all molded alike, of course. You might be bell-shaped or teardrop-shaped.
Look at your breasts in the mirror. (No bra, by the way, or you won't see the shape clearly.) Then compare them to the chart at The Curvy Fashionista.
Once you've determined which shape they are, you can check out this post from Adore Me that suggests different kinds of bras for different breast shapes. For instance, if your breasts are kind of wide apart or tend to be fullest at the sides, a balconette will bring them back to the middle.
Best Bras for Plus Size
If you're a buxom babe, these are the best bras for a plus size woman. These are Amazon links.
Find the Right Bra
If you don't know of a shop that specializes in bras or lingerie, I suggest you “try before you buy” on Amazon. Buy several different brands around the size that you came up with using the measurements above. Try them on. Decide which ones feel too big or too tight. Does the band size need to be smaller? Different cup size?
Then, return those and order more based on your discoveries. Yes, this is a process. But it's worth it. I bet you spend a good amount of time trying to figure out what to watch on Netflix or what to wear for cosplay. If you can invest that time in those activities, you can do this. Because once you find the right bra, you don't have to measure anymore.
You can also sign up for Amazon Prime to use their Prime Wardrobe “try before you buy” service. Then you don't have to feel awkward about buying and returning to many bras. (I always feel bad returning stuff. I know I shouldn't, but there it is.)
Never Go Back
Let me tell you, finding the right bra for me changed my life. It raised my self esteem, because I liked who I saw in the mirror. No more quad boobs! And there's my waist! Seriously, it was one of the most important moments in my adult life.
Do you have thoughts or suggestions? Join our private Facebook group and share! We're a very supportive group of plus size women. We chat about all things plus size and/or nerd. Can't wait to see you there!