Which Bra?

Parent Q&A

  • Bra Recommendations?

    (20 replies)


    I need some new bras. I have large breasts (36DD) that are starting to sag. I've always worn underwires but I think that the wires are irritating the skin under my breasts. Do you have any recommendations for comfortable, non-underwire bras that will still lift my breasts up and make them look nice? I've been wearing sports bras but I really don't like how I look in them.


    RE: Bra Recommendations? ()

    I have had good luck with Wacoal's Awareness Full Figure Seamless Wire Free Bra in a similar size. Wacoal has other non underwire bras that will still be supportive. Check out their website. 

    RE: Bra Recommendations? ()

    Hi, don't know whether you have tried Wacoal bras.  They have underwires but also soft material between that and your skin and same on the straps.  Macy's has them as well as the lingerie shop on Walnut St, near Peet's.   Maybe go talk w/ them.   Wacoal also has sports bras with underwires and I like those a lot.   You can often get them on sale at Macy's online. good luck!

    RE: Bra Recommendations? ()

    I strongly recommend going to Revelation in Fit in Oakland for a fitting. I wear a similar size in bras, and I went to them both for general bra fitting and for nursing bra fitting. They have dozens of brands and styles and are great with their suggestions. They absolutely do not pressure you into buying the bras at your store, though for these larger size bras I've found no difference between their prices and Amazon prices. The bras I've bought on their recommendation have been amazing (and I'm picky!).

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Sports Bra for Tall, Small-Breasted Figure

July 2013

I'm 60 and have gone bra-less since I was a teenager (unless a cotton-spandex camisole counts as a bra). I think, though, that it might be time again to wear one, at least with dresses. Can anyone recommend a comfortable brand, including the sports variety and camisoles with built-in bras, that would fit a tall woman with a long torso and well-muscled back, but rather small breasts? Most bra straps, even adjustable ones, either aren't long enough and dig in, or are long enough but come with cups that are too large. (I was looking around Zappos today, but couldn't decide about sizes, especially in sports bras.) Bra-Less & Confused

I have your same figure and I finally found a bra that works: the Balance Bralette by Ibex. It has adjustable straps. It is merino wool. it is not itchy and it never gets stinky like synthetic bras. I wear a large. hope it works for you!

I would recommend 3 places for you to get a good bra fitting.

1. go to Title 9 on 4th St. (they are now just south of University) for a sports bra - They will be happy to help you get a good fitting bra.

2. In Berkely - check out Beauty and Attitude 2116 Vine St Berkeley, CA 94709 (510) 868-1790. They are fabulous

and lastly - 3 - Nordstoms - great selection, great fitters,

These are all relatively expensive options but if you want a good fit you should get one or two so you know what works and what doesn't. Then you can go to less expensive places and purchase bras. I actually have gotten some good bras at Costco - but you have to know your size and if they will work for you. But for better bras I go to Beauty or Nordstoms. I work out alot and need a good fitness bra and go to Title 9. But I've also signed up for their email and they do sales every Wednesday and sometimes they have great deals on fitness bras through their Wed sales. odd sized as well

I, too, have a long torso and small cup size. I actually recommend staying away from sports bras, if possible. Most of the ones made for smaller cups are pull over with no strap adjustments, plus they just smoosh the boobs you *do* have down. Having said that, I do have a few sports bras from Lily of France. They are back clasp, have adjustable straps, and decent cups for real support. Only issue is that I think the band size runs a little small.

Another brand I like for regular bras is Wacoal. They have a wire-free bra that fits great and is very figure flattering. I have purchased other Wacoal bras and have been very satisfied with the fit and wear.

I like the Bare Necessities website for bras. Although, many people recommend going to Nordstrom or Macy's for an actual fitting. I may still do that some time. It might be worth your time, since you have not worn a bra in years and aren't sure wear to start.

Here are links to the two bras I mentioned above.

Lily of France bra: http://www.barenecessities.com/lily-of-france-la-technologie-wire-free-convertible-medium-control-sports-bra-2151350_product.htm?pf_id=LilyofFrance2151350=_cm_sp=SlotLocation-_-R2C2-_-LilyofFrance2151350

Wacoal: http://www.barenecessities.com/wacoal-awareness-contour-wire-free-bra-856167_product.htm?pf_id=Wacoal856167=_cm_sp=SlotLocation-_-R2C3-_-Wacoal856167

Where to get a fitting  and bras for small bust?

June 2013

Is there a retail lingerie store in the East Bay that specializes in small-bust bras? I know of lulalu in San Mateo, but thought I had read online about a place closer but can't seem to find it now. Any recommendations appreciated. Barely-an-A

Title Nine Sports on 4th Street in Berkeley. They do mostly sports bra but all their sales staff is trained in bra fitting. Nordstrom's also has great service on bras. cocosar

Someone may have already mentioned Lula Lu in San Mateo, I haven't been reading Recommendations regularly, but in case not, they specialize in small bust bras and will fit you in their store; you can also order from their website. The store is small but the people there are good, as is the selection. http://www.lulalu.com Jenny

Adding bra support to summer dress??

Aug 2011

For the first time since having (and nursing) 2 kids (now 10 and 7), I bought a really pretty sundress. I love it, and REALLY want to wear it, but the truth is my breasts look terrible in it! I'm fairly small chested at this point - went from C to B cup after nursing, but very flabby!! I can't wear a bra with it - even one that transforms, because it has a low back, and very low-cut front. Even the thin clear rubber strap connecting the 2 sides of my silicone ''nu-bra'' shows in front. But it does have actual pleated ''cups,'' I.e., gathers in the triangular pieces of fabric covering the breasts. It also has straps slightly wider than spaghetti straps (approx 3/4''), and zips fairly tightly up the back, so it's not entirely without structure or support... just not where I really need it. It's made of rayon (pretty thin).

I'm wondering if a seamstress could put in some sort of support/pad to lift breasts a bit? Anyone out there ever done that? I hope I haven't wasted my $$$, and more importantly, the thought that I can never again wear a summer sundress makes me feel sad and so old! Any suggestions, advice, clever ideas appreciated! Signed, 47 with 80-yr old breasts

I am thinking that if the dress is that low cut, that you might nto get a lot out of the add-in bust cups. You don't need a seamstress to do it. Go to Joann and pick up a set of sew-in cups, and follow the directions...OR get a band-aid style ''bra'' and wear that. Target website has an example. Wendy

I have a bra that is really just two cups that hook together. It has some kind of adhesive that sticks to the skin. It doesn't give a lot of uplift (I'm very small-breasted) but otherwise works. If you hunt online I'm sure you can find one.

I think I may get a lot of backlash for giving you this advice, but I was in the exact same situation as you. I never even really needed a bra pre-kids and could wear the cutest dresses and tank tops. Then came pregnancy and years of nursing and hello - flat as a pancake. The way I saw it for myself was that I had two options - I could wear a bra always (like starting the second I got out of bed because I couldn't even wear a t-shirt without one) or go to the plastic surgeon. So I opted for the latter. I got just the smallest implants - not for size or anything, just to perk them up a bit and I am so happy now! I could have gone with the lift and no implants, but because I had lost all my filling, so to speak, it wouldn't have really worked, but it might work for you. Good luck to you no matter what you chose! Stephanie

I Hate my Athletic Bras

Aug 2010

I started exercising seriously about six months ago, and I *hate* my athletic bras -- they're the kind that is basically a big piece of elastic that just flattens everything out. Is there an athletic bra in existence that has both (a) underwire and (b) molded cups, in the style of a t-shirt bra? I've checked Athleta and Title 9; I can find underwire bras, but can't seem to find one with molded cups as well. Please help The Girls! Tired of being squashed

Title 9 has a retail store on 4th street in Berkeley. They have lots to try on. I'd give them shot.

I love the Ta-ta tamer bra from Lululemon. It is not underwire, but it is very supportive and has molded cups. Also very comfortable. You can get it at the Berkeley store on College & Ashby or online. Here is a link: http://shop.lululemon.com/Ta_Ta_Tamer/pd/c/520/np/520/p/1642.html. no smooshed boobies!

I love my Moving Comfort underwire running bra that I got at See Jane Run in SF, but I think there's one in east bay - Rockridge? Not modled cups but if you get it tight- fitting with underwire you don't need molded cups IMO. runner with breasts

YES!! I have two that I love.

One is by Lily of France. It doesn't have an underwire, but it does have molded cups and is very comfortable and flattering. It has a back clasp, which I prefer to pull-over bras. Here is a link: http://www.barenecessities.com/Lily-of-France-Padded-Wire-free-Sports-Bra_product_LilyofFrance2111350_,search,.htm

The other is by Jockey. It too is really comfortable and has a back clasp: http://www.jockey.com/products/Medium-Impact-Moulded-Cup-Mesh-Bra

Bare Necessities, the site I linked to for the Lily of France bra, has a phenomenal bra & sports-bra selection. Keep those babies in check!

I used to wear and hated Champion jog bras for big busts--smooshed up and plastered down. So happy to say that wearing two regular underwire bras works better than an athletic bra for me. I am busty and short, 36G and 5'4', so getting a good fit in a jogging bra was impossible. I wear an old nursing bra (granny-type coverage!) underneath and then a bra that is a bit too small for me now on top. Because they are old and I have more in the basement, I can just throw them in the washing machine after I wear them (I hand wash my real bras). The combo of coverage and tight support, with good fit and underwire, works great for me. Good luck! The girls require underwire!

Need 100% cotton bras

March 2010

Dear BPN readers, Recently I found out that my skin is allergic to spandex. The biggest challenge for me right now is finding 100% cotton bras as most of the bras have spandex. All the Bras from different brands that say 100% cotton are always 95% cotton and 5% spandex. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice where can I get real 100% cotton bras (the straps does not have to be cotton)? Thanks a lot. no spandex please!

American Apparel sells all cotton bras. Go to the website and click on women, then click on bras. There is an option for fabric, then click cotton. These are good bras for people that are medium to small busted. Judy

Worth a look and a phone call http://www.decentexposures.com/ Good Luck

Swimsuit shelf bra w/o uni-breast look?

June 2009

A question for women in the C-cup range or larger. I usually avoid swimsuits and tops with a shelf bra, because I detest how my breasts migrate toward the middle and get squished together. This is uncomfortable to me for many reasons I won't enumerate. I'm wondering if other women have invented a solution for this. I'm a seamstress, and have tried to come up with something to sew in, but haven't come upon a good solution. In the past, with an exercise bra, I've safety-pinned the top and bottom of the fabric in the inside middle, to create a pinched area of the fabric that keeps the two parties separate ... but now I'm dealing with a swimsuit I like and am not sure if pins will ruin it. Please, any ideas? Creative sewing tips? Lift and Separate

I loved your post! I am a size D and for years I would have to buy bathing suits 2-3 sizes too big b/c of my breasts. I cannot address your questions about how to sew your bathing suit, but I will tell you that Land's End sells suits that are designed for women with D/DD sized breasts that are fantastic! I recommend investing the extra money in a more expensive suit so your cup size can be accommodated. It is totally worth it! Big Boobs Mama

I know you asked for sewing advice, but here is a different suggestion from a D cup. www.Brasmyth.com has bathing suits with underwires. I have found them to be comfortable, to solve the problem you mentioned (as well as a few others), and to be extremely long-lasting. I can't do a shelf bra bathing suit period and this has been a happy solution for me. Underwire only

Bra for HEAVY breasts

June 2009

Yes, I said ''Heavy breasts''! I just got back from another tear-filled bra-shopping experience. The girls used to be 34FF until I had reduction. Then, they were 34C. In both sizes, I needed the most supportive bras because my breasts are so heavy that regular (pretty) bras could never keep them from bouncing. Even most sports bras didn't work. Well, now that I've gained weight, the girls are 36D, and I am having more trouble than ever! I went to Nordstrom's, like everyone recommends, where they fitted me just fine, but the bras didn't work. These molded, soft-cup bras are a joke! That was a year ago. So, today, I finally took myself down to Title Nine, where everyone else seems to go, and still no luck. The girls fit into the bras, but the bouncing was plentiful. I couldn't even work with the one the salesgirl jokingly called ''The Last Resort'', whcih covered half of my torso. Where do I go? I can't exercise anymore without backaches from boob-bouncing, and I am down to 3 5 -year old bras that are too small but that hold me down enough. What can a girl with heavy breast do? I can't believe that I am the only one with this problem!!! A Bounce in Every Step

I know you said you were fitted at Nordstrom, but as a former bra fitter myself, might I suggest that although you fit into a 36D now, you are really a 34DD? The cup size is the same, but the bra is smaller around, thus giving a much better, snug fit, which should result in less bounce. Sometimes this results in a bit of ''back bacon'' (an unflattering small roll of flesh above the bra just behind your armpit), which may lead you to believe that you need the bigger size. Sadly, though, to get the support you need, you might need this smaller size. And remember that the bra will stretch out. You may need to try a bunch of different styles (I recommend Wacoal brand), but this may help. Also, if you can find an adjustable racerback style, you may have a lot more support. Good luck! Been there!

Try Beauty and Attitude in North Berkeley on Vine at Shattuck. 2116 Vine St Berkeley, CA 94709 (510) 868-1790
I found the truly only comfortable bra I've had in years from them. The staff are extra nice too! Anonymous

There are exactly 2 bras that I can wear (and my boobs are definitely larger than 36D). Both are Playtex Bras, non-underwire, style #4400 (cotton) and #4693 (soft cup). Both come in cup sizes DD and DDD, and go up to 48DDD. I have tried many other kinds of bras but always come back to these. A good online source for larger bra sizes is Ladygrace.com, which sells both of these bras (the 4693 is their best-selling bra, I understand), as well as many others in large sizes. It's not the most convenient for trying new bras, but once you have a style that you like, you can order it there without difficulty, while most stores don't regularly stock cup sizes above D. If there is a local store where large bras can be tried on and purchased, I hope other posters will let us know, as I'd love that option too. A fellow large chest

I am your size and found a sports bra at Title 9 a few years ago. It's not that comfortable and makes me look like I'm right out of a 1950s fashion magazine (lifts and points!), but I have to say that it does give support. I still bounce a little but I feel that's okay, it brings circulation to my breasts! I don't think mine are that HEAVY. As for other types of bras, I'm also at a loss. I found a nice Playtex bra once and should've bought a case of them as I can't find them in the store anymore or online! Might try Victoria's Secret, they have larger sizes... anon

For heavy breasts try Goddess brand bras. Underwire bras are painful to me so I use the wireless support bras although they do have underwire bras as well. You can do a Google search on them. If you've gotten your sizing done at Nordstroms you should be able to order your correct size. I have ordered them from Roamans, Woman within and One Stop Plus. If you look at the One Stop Plus website, they have many user reviews posted for each bra. Any of those websites are reputable and you can usually use online coupons to get discounts (Google search as well). They are not going to be the absolute most sexiest bras you've ever worn but they work. wearing a 46FF AND supported!

I understand your frustration. BTW, although Title Nine has a great selection of bras, I found their fitting expertise to be lacking. I went there and one of their fitters looked at me with my clothes on and said I didn't look like a 32DD and tried to convince me that I was at 32B. I've been professionally fitted at several other places and knew the 32B wasn't ever going to work. Anyway, sorry for the digression. I'm not sure if you've already tried the following, but I've found these to be the best for me.
Goddess Sport Bra 5056
Wacoal bras
CWX (sports bra division of Wacoal)
also you might try biggerbras.com I've found sports bras and non-sports bras in bigger sizes from England and Japan to be much better constructed and supportive than American companies. Good luck! Judy

The only bra that's worked for me is Lilyette Minimizer. They sell them at Macy's. I've worn them in all sizes-- before, during and after pregnancy and nursing. Nordstrom bras have never worked for me either. Good luck!

I wear a 32DDD/E which is pretty much impossible to find in stores, and also need a bra that has a lot of support. I have been ordering bras from figleaves.com. I search for all the bras in my size, select a bunch that look like they could work, and send back all the ones that don't. I usually end up with one or two after all that, and they are usually the more expensive ones, but they tend to be higher quality and will last a long time if laundered carefully. Good luck! Anon

I have the same problem. Have you tried Title 9? They have a bar bell system: 1-5 bar bells with 5 being the ones with the least jiggle. It's a sports oriented store, but lots of the bras are for everyday use. A friend told me about them and I've worn them ever since. They have a store on 9th street down the street from Smith and Hawken and a catalogue. staying put

Earlier Recommendations

Bra Fitting for Rubenesque Woman

March 2009

So, I called Nordstrom per recommendation of many who have responded to bra questions in the past. Unfortunately, they do not carry my size - which is somewhere between 48 F, G, or H or thereabouts. Can anyone recommend a store to visit to have a bra fitting that carries such large sizes? Thanks a bunch. Christine

Call Bras for Body & Soul in Fremont, Phone: 510-790-1911. Their primary focus is to serve breast cancer patients, but I wear a size I bra and am very happy with the bra they put me in. They are the only place I know in the Bay Area with high quality bras for large breasted women. Amy

I would give Nordstrom another try and go in person for a personal bra fitting. I didn't think I would ever find a bra that fit me, until I finally went to Nordstrom. I thought I was a 40H or I, but it turns out I really wear a 34 or 36L. Who knew! I now have bras that fit and support me for the first time in 20 years. It has helped me look and feel better. Good luck! Elizabeth

It's mail order only but Decent Exposures will custom make your bras to whatever size you need. They don't work for everyone but they work great for me. No one else makes a size 34 F. Check out their website at decentexposures.com

Call Alla Prima in San Francisco 415-864-8180 (Hayes St.) or 415-397-4077 (Grant). I am not sure if they have your size, but give them a call. There's a place in Berkeley that's a clothing store and she has a couple of bras only but a friend has gone there and she is large breasted. I am asking her and will get back to you. Karen

As a formerly busty lady, I found Lily Ann's in Pleasanton, www.lilyannslingerie.com, and Alla Prima in San Francisco at allaprimalingerie.com. Lily Ann's had lots of 36HH for me to try and Alla Prima was a little short on stock but willing to order samples for me to try, although they would only hold them for 3 days so I was never able to get there to try them. Once you have a proper fitting and know what bras you like, you can order by phone. There also is a small shop on Fourth Street but I didn't find them to be helpful - they lost my request for an order twice so I gave up on them. Happy hunting. Anon

I just got a 34F Panache bra at Nordstrom and I love it. anon

Where to buy a good fitting bra

Jan 2009

I recently put on a lot of weight and need to buy new bras. I am trying to avoid Victoria's Secret, because in my experience their bras fall apart quickly and easily. I went to Macy's and tried on many bras (although there wasn't much of a selection in 38D), and none seem to offer adequate support or a nice shape. Does anyone have recommendations of where I could go to get some personalized help in finding good bras? I know that having the right bra can really help me improve my deteriorating figure. anonymous

1. There was a woman at Nordstrom's in Corte Madera who was very knowledgeable a few years ago - sadly, I don't know if she's still there, or even her name.

2. I recently had good luck with bluefly.com (http://www.bluefly.com) which is designer discount, online only. Their stuff is very high quality and always less than full price (which may be expensive, so even discounted it's not super cheap but less than department stores). I ordered several and returned the ones that weren't wonderful. There was postage, but I didn't have to schlep all over. Oh, no sales tax, so it evens out. Good luck! Fitted

You need to go to Beauty and Attitude on Vine St. in Berkeley. Signed, The Girls. Flaunt 'em!

You're going to get a lot of responses just like this one: Nordstrom's. They have fitters who will determine your right size, and who will find bra styles that work with your body (believe it or not, there's a lot of styles and variations to choose from, and it does make a big difference). I go to Nordstrom's in Corte Madera, but of course there are others, depending on where you live (Walnut Creek, for instance). I'd been wearing 38C for years, and found out I'm actually a 38D. It made a world of difference in my appearance with my new bras! Anon

I have often had frustrations over finding the bra with the right fit for my body. I have always found the ''foundations experts'' at Saks 5th Avenue to be very helpful. They really look at your size/shape and do their best to help you find the right bra. (be warned, they are not terribly shy about examining your bra for a good fit--but isn't that what you want?) I don't have any experience there with larger sizes, but they did help me when I was pregnant and my size went up considerably. Best of luck Anne

Probably the easiest would be Nordstroms. they are very helpful!!! There used to be a place in the city called Champagne and Lace. They have nice things. There used to me a place in Antioch but I'm not sure they are still there.good luck!!! Melissa

For a great bra fitting, I highly recommend Nordstrom's. Their saleswomen are trained specifically in fittings, and after measuring you, they'll bring you several bras in your size. Like many women, I discovered I have been wearing the wrong size for the past 20 years! Nordstrom's is expensive, but they do carry bras in a range of prices. JG

THE place to go is Bras for Body & Soul in Fremont, 510-790-1911. They specialize in bras for breast cancer survivors, but will fit anyone. They have a wide range of bras. All are good supporting bras, without underwires! They are philosophically opposed to underwire bras. I wear a size you wouldn't even imagine exists, and I get great support from the bra they fitted me with. The first time you go make an appointment for a fitting, as it may take a while to find the right bra for you. They will take the time it needs to fit you with the right bra. Big

I just recently stumbled into the Gap Body shop out in the Marina in SF on Chestnut near Lombard and Steiner. I am also a 38D and know the feeling of uncomfortable bras. I bought a couple bras there and LOVE them. Earlier the same day I was in VS and had a terrible time looking for bras and was so happy to find the gap store. Bra hunter

Go to Title 9, off Gilman in Berkeley! I'm a big gal, and had not bought new bras in years. A friend told me to check out Title 9--these are the most supportive, well-fitting, comfortable bras I've owned in years....I bought 4, and am not disappointed, several weeks later. The place is quiet and mellow (despite the fact that I brought my 3-year-old along), and the staff is knowledgeable, helpful, and not pushy. The store can also keep your information in the computer, so when you forget the style and size you bought, they'll remember for you. Heidi

I just went to Nordstrom in San Francisco and was assisted by a very helpful person in the lingerie department in finding the right bra. I had never been fitted before and it was very nice to feel I was in the hands of a professional. I recommend you go there and ask for a fitting. anon

Go to : Beauty and Attitude Lingerie 2116 Vine St Berkeley, CA 94709

My 18 yr old daughter is also a 38D and did not have a good experience at Macy's. I found this store on Yelp and they were great with her and she not only found bras that fit, she found pretty bras that fit. Try them. (they also fit my friend's daughter who is a 30D and has not been able to find bras that fit her either). The are especially good with younger girls but I got some there as too. been there

I wear the same size you do, and you're right -- it can be hard to find much of a selection in that size range at some place like Macy's or Victoria's Secret. I highly recommend going to Nordstrom. Their staff are great at fitting you with the right size, and they have a good selection of well-made bras. Now that I've found the right size in a flattering style, I just order them online when I need a new one. I might go in to the store itself every once in a great while to see if there's a new style I like, but it's nice to know that when I need a new everyday bra, I can just order one without taking lots of time to try on bras that don't fit.

Granted, Nordstrom isn't the cheapest store around. But the right size really does make a difference, and I think it's worth spending a little extra to get a well-made bra that will continue to fit you, even after you've washed it a few times.

Good luck! Me and the (well-supported) girls

NORDSTROM! Now, plan on spending between $60-80 for a good bra, but it is well worth it. I would also recommend getting fitted again for a bra. At 5'2'' and 130lbs I am a 32 DDD which seems HUGE, but seemed even bigger when I was squishing my breasts into a 36D because it was the biggest size they offered at Vicky's. You'd be surprised what size you really are, and how having a good fitting bra makes all the difference. Especially when it is so hard being busty (shirts, dresses, people staring and making comments).

My favorite brand at Nordstrom is Chantelle, they make beautiful full figured bras! Also the perk of getting them at Nordstrom is that they will take them back if you aren't satisfied, and will repair them for free anytime! (My underwire came out of one and they sewed it up just like new on the spot.) The Chantelle bras give great support and beautiful shape. I took my Mom to get fitted and buy new bras and she said she felt like she had a breast lift! busty gal

Nordstrom. - The sales people are helpful and know what they are doing. They have a wide variety of styles and prices and quality.

Beauty and Attitude on Vine at Shattuck. They will measusre you and fit you to the perfect bra for your body type/size. They offer top quality bras but be prepared they are on the pricey side. I go there every 4 months or so to get re-fitted, I buy one or two bras in the store (its worth it for the fitting/sizing they do) and then if I need more I search for them on-line........ Perky

Several weeks ago I weaned my second kid and was mortified to realize that all I owned were a bunch of dingy nursing bras. I was not looking forward to buying new ones- I have seriously poor body image right now, and envisioned very Victoria's Secret-esque type of lingerie establishments as my only option. I ended up at Beauty and Attitude on Vine in Berkeley (near Peet's) and found some great fitting, practical bras based on recommendations from a down to earth , low pressure salesperson. I will definitely be returning when the need next arises. Frumpy Suburban Lady With Good Bras

Good place to get an unusually sized bra

August 2008

Can anyone recommend a good place to get well-fitted for a bra? My MIL and I are unusually sized (cup size is way larger than chest width). We both need some good everyday and exercise bras.

We've both tried Nordstrom's fittings and were not satisfied with their experience. I went to Berkeley's Beauty & Attitude b/c of all the positive Yelp recommendations, but all the sales clerk did was ask my my bra size, tell me I needed to go up 1 cup (w/out measuring me), and gave me some pretty but undersupportive bras to try on.

When I lived in Southern CA, there was a fantastic store for women of unusual sized breasts that had just the kind of bra you were looking for (for example, I prefer no underwire and in cotton; they had a variety of nursing bras that fit those specifications and my cup size was about 2x as large as I am now), but I can't seem to find the same up here.

If anyone can help us out, our ''girls'' would be ever so grateful! Needs More Support

My teenage daughter is in the same situation. We found great success at Title Nine in Walnut Creek. The sales clerk - I think that her name was Susan - but I am not sure - helped my daughter try on and select a bra that was comfortable and provided by daughter with the necessary support that she needed and even talked my daughter into a bra with a underwire. This was not an easy task - we spent almost 2 hours in the store trying on different types of bras. My daughter loves her bras, they fit her well and she can wear them both for sports and regular wear. We have been to both Nordstroms and Macy's, and Title Nine was just far superior in their selection and fitting for these types of bras. Anon

This place has the kind of bras you are looking for: Sarah's Bare Necessities Inc www.barenecessities.com 1865 Adobe St # A, Concord - (925) 680-8445 Also - check out jms.com for online orders. Melanie

Go to Claudette at Cotton and Company on College Ave! She's amazing. www.cottonandcompany.com -

Bra Fitting - Berkeley, Albany area?

Jan 2008

I've just finished breast feeding my first am in serious need of some new bras. Old bras don't fit right, nursing bras are too big. Can anyone recommend a shop where someone actually works with you to find a good (and flattering) fit? I'm in El Cerrito so anything on this side of the bay would be super. Saggin' in the EC

Though not in Berkeley, I would recommend that you go to Nordstrom's. Though their bras are more expensive, an expert will measure you and determine the right size. You can try on a bunch of bras and they will educate you as to what fits correctly. If you can't afford it, you don't need to buy a lot of bras there, but you will have the basic knowledge and information. Then you should be more able to find bras that fit when you shop on your own. I've had good luck at the Corte Madera Nordstrom (Marin) which is only a 15-20 minute drive from Albany, and the San Francisco 5th & Market downtown location. Karen

Need someone to fit me for a bra

Oct 2007

I need someone to fit me for a bra. I think I've been wearing the wrong type and/or size. I remember an article in the Chron awhile back with recommendations on high-end stores or boutiques that specialize in this, but now I can't find it. I appreciate your recommendations! wearing the wrong one

A La Folie on 4th Street in Berkeley is having a special bra fitting night on Wed. Oct. 17th starting at 5pm. You should call (510) 845-1616 to find out more details. The bras are gorgeous, and PRICEY, but the fitting should be good and the event fun. If you can't make it there, head to Nordstroms. Anyone of the sales people in the lingerie dept. will be able to fit you well. Also on Piedmont Avenue just off Linda on the West side of the street (not the shop near coffee shop) further down heading toward McArthur near the stationer/used book store, there is a women's clothing store where the owner can do a fitting. - in need of a good fitting myself

Try Zafu.com which has/had info. on what bra brands are best for which sizes and shapes. Also good for jeans. Otherwise, try Nordstrom's in Walnut Creek. right sized now

I recently had myself fit for a new bra (hadn't done it in way too long) at Nordstrom in Walnut Creek. The women who helped was Caroline and she was great. She spent a great deal of time with me and probably brought me more than 50 bras to try on. She brought me everything from experience to on the clearance rack. I would go back to her again. Best of luck! Momma with new bras

All the advice you need in 4 words. Erica - Nordstrom - Walnut Creek. She took 15 years off my saggy rack. was saggy 38c, now perky 34D

Don't go to cotton and company, they sold me really expensive bras that didn't fit well at all, I bought them because I felt pressured to do so -stupid I know. I would recommend this place on Vine (beauty and attitude) they take time to help fit you, and only sell you what actually fits. I didn't feel pressure to buy anything. bra girl

Trouble finding comfortable bra for 36A

Oct 2007

This will probably sound silly, but I would love some input from those of you in the same boat. I'm a 36A on a good day and find it impossible to find a comfortable bra. I find underwires to be utterly ridiculous since I have nothing to ''support.'' I'd prefer one made of cotton and not too expensive. Frankly I'd be happy to not wear one at all, but am shy about the pointy-ness. Any advice will be greatly appreciated! Almost as flat as a Pancake

I know just what you're talking about. My one word of advice - don't rule out underwires. I hadn't worn a bra for 20 years because I didn't need the ''support.'' But there was that pointiness problem. I finally went to Nordstrom's (downtown SF), and one of their excellent fitters persuaded me that a) I should wear a 32B, not a 34A, and b) there's a fantastic Natori underwire bra (it's called a Body Doubles Contour bra) out there for me. Even if you don't like Nordstrom/Natori prices, go for the experience. I'm really glad I did. anon

You are so lucky!!!! Wandering around Target, I love all the colored smooth bras they have. So inexpensive and pretty....also, you can wear those tank tops with the thin straps & little shelf bra built in? I love those. This is a problem I would like to have!

Hanes makes a comfortable, all cotton bra with no underwire--I think they're called ''t- shirt style'' and they're less than $10.00 at Target. K

Olga has a line of bras that are made of comfortable material without underwires that seem to fit well. Many department stores have staff to measure and fit you as well so you get the right fit. Personally, I like camisole tops, all cotton, shelf bra, etc. because some research suggests that holding the breast tissue in cups may not be good for lymphatic circulation and drainage. nm

I am in the same boat.. small chest and no desire to wear a bra.. my friend recommended Barely There & they are great... try Bare Necessities.com http://www.barenecessities.com/Bras-Barely-There_catalog_nxs,31,vendor,7 15.htm Audrey

I am in a similar boat. Check out Title Nine -- www.titlenine.com -- which supplies fitness clothes for ''real'' women. They have several pretty bras, and a great selection for small cup sizes (also excellent support bras for large cup sizes, a good thing to share with our bustier sisters). Try the ''1-2 Barbells'' option under Bras & Undies. Also, my fabulously chic and small-breasted aunt swears by camisoles. JJill, Territory Ahead, and Coldwater Creek have charming as well as plain camis, some with a shelf bra. If you are tall it is harder to find a good cami (though they come in petite sizes) but Banana Republic now carries tall camis in the summer at least. Much luck! Ana

Hi there, I feel your pain at trying to find small bras. I don't really need the support either, but prefer the look and feel of wearing one. Luckily, lately there seem to be more around. Macy's in Corte Madera had a whole section of them last time I was there. I think they were called ''small figure.'' The brand I liked best was from Warner's - lightly lined, not padded (though there are padded ones too). There's also the whole range of ''Thank Goodness it Fits'' bras and Calvin Klein makes a pull-over type - very light support. Or if you're comfortable with it, you could try a camisole (I sometimes wear them in the winter under more bulky sweaters and such). Almost flat chested too

Try a sports bra or a nursing bra. I stopped nursing six months ago, but I find nursing bras to work great. no underwire sister

Take a look at Elita brand bras/camisoles. Many are simply stretch material; quite a few are cotton. They are very comfortable. Available at barenecessities.com . - anon

At 38 A, I found the Playtex ''nearly A, nearly B, etc'' bras at Target to be very comfortable. Shrinking Mama

You mean I'm not the only one? I'm definitely ''in the same boat.'' After having a baby, then breastfeeding, I went thru a long spell of discomfort with misfitting bras. I have finally found a nice crop of assorted underwire-free bras. Here are some of them, from most often to least often worn: Vanity Fair style # 19072, size 36; Calvin Klein ''choice,'' size S/P; Maidenform ''for girls,'' style # L3202, size 34A. There is also another Calvin Klein and an Xhilaration (Target brand) in the top bra club, but neither have a style name or number. Have you visited figleaves.com? The site can help you find your true bra size, they sell CK (notice 2 of my favorites) and have a great return policy. Good luck finding your comfy undergarments! 36(nearly)A

I am a 36A also (sometimes even 38A) and I just bought some bras at JCPenney that are very comfortable. They are called Ambrielle. I'd recommend them. I wouldn't say that they enhance my size at all, but they are comfortable. And pretty, in a very simple way. Member of the IBTC

I'm in exactly the same boat, and I finally found a bra that works for me: Playtex ''Thank Goodness it Fits'' size 34 Nearly A, Seamless Stretch Foam Wire-Free Bra. No underwire, just a little bit of padding so it's not ridiculous, but helps fill out a t-shirt a bit, and (a huge problem for me) it doesn't ride up all day. That being said, it's close, but could still be better - looking forward to others' responses in case someone's found the ''perfect'' bra for us flatter girls. Anon

Warner's makes a really nice line of wireless bras is small cup sizes. They are lightly lined, not really padded so it looks natural and they are comfortable. Mine even has convertable straps so it can turn into a halter strap. I found mine at JC Penny's I think, but I know you can find them online also. mosquito bite mama

i just had to get new bras because after child #2 my headlights were on. i am a little bigger, 34c, so i did get some underwires. but, i went to macy's and got fitted. then i told her my concerns and she went and got bras and gave them to me. they were so comfortable i didn't even try any more on. i bought the two she brought in. go get fitted. i even saw some non-underwire ones with a little thickness that i was tempted to buy for myself. but i needed a little more support. good luck! anon

Go to a store with a professional fitter. Real fitters go to training sessions and learn about the body types that different manufacturers are trying to suit. There is a fantastic, kind and professional fitter at Nordstrom named Crystal. I know she works on Sundays. Ask for her at the counter. It does not cost anything to have her fit you. falling down 32 DD

I'm really glad you asked this question because I've wondered for years what else is out there so I'll be interested to read other responses. I've found a pretty good option, a bra by Jockey that is really basic, cotton, no support, inexpensive, comfortable. I don't know the style name but Macy's sells them. I think they're about $15-17 each but are often on sale. Jenny

I am exactly the same way. The world of bras seems to consider mostly the opposite problem, which is how do you find a bra with enough support. My solution is to either wear a camisole with a built-in shelf bra, or a nice simple athletic bra. Neither have cumbersome wires or clasps. anon

I am in your boat, too - I only ''graduated'' to an A cup now that I'm nursing ;) So is my mom, and our favorite bras are made by Elita. They come in cotton or soft microfiber, and although I think there are some with underwire, there are at least a few that don't have any. They're really comfy - my favorite is the ''silk magic crossover bra.'' I buy them online at herroom.com. Another option is Playtex, which makes a line called ''Just My Size'' which includes a size called ''Barely A.'' I found a few with molded cups and no underwire at a Playtex outlet store, but they might be in department stores, too. Not as comfy, but more of a typical bra. Sorry none of this is too cheap or convenient, but I am so glad not to have to wade through rows of bras that are useless for me anymore! Fellow almost-pancake

I am a 36A, as well. It is very hard to find good-fitting bras that don't turn my breasts into overpadded torpedo t*ts. I do wear underwire, which you said you were avoiding. It does give a little lift, which I like. I tend to look for demi-cup bras, as I have a hard time filling out full coverage bras. Wacoal makes a very good bra, but I forget the name of it. It is a seamless underwire. Jockey also makes a few good bras that come in 36A. Two good resources are the Bare Necessities web site http://www.barenecessities.com and Bra Smythe http://www.brasmyth.com You can search by bra size, cup shape, underwire, no underwire, etc.

A word to the wise: If you find a bra you like, buy a bunch of them! I don't know if our big chested sisters face this, but the bras that suit my frame are constantly being discontinued, so I have to start the search all over again!

My breasts are small and far apart, and the only brand of bra that fits me well is Playtex's rather desperate-sounding ''Thank Goodness It Fits''. They come in ''nearly A'' and ''nearly B'' as well as ''perfectly A''. Sears carries them, as does Macy's in Union Square. Target has a few styles but usually only in white (why?). The TGIF bras are lined or lightly padded, though--if you're looking for something thin and stretchy, they may not fit the bill. Thank Goodness I'm Flat

Hi, My body is different than yours, but I've found that Title Nine in Berkeley has a very good and large selection of bras. They're an athletic-focused store, so their bras are practical, but not all sports bras. They're located on 10th street off of Gilman, on the block behind the Walgreens and REI store located on San Pablo. A Good Bra is Hard to Find

I'm also flat-chested, and I just wear an undershirt to cover up the ''pointiness''. I find bras uncomfortable and they really aren't necessary for those of us who are not ''well-endowed.'' Flat and happy

I also have a 36A, and have found a couple of bras that work for me: 1) Warner's: Satin Tuxedo Wire-free Bra 2) Lily of France: Gel Touch(tm) Wireless. (They also have several sport bras.) Also, using an extender helps make the bra feel more comfortable. The extenders are sold in fabric stores (and they are usually cheaper than retail stores, too). Good luck!

This store in San Mateo was mentioned in the SF Chronicle last year as a good source of small sized bras...I have never been to the store or bought anything from the web site but it looks like a good resource so I'm passing it along. The store is at 212 E. Third Ave., San Mateo, phone: (650) 348-8858, web site: www.lulalu.com Jenny

Done with nursing - where to get a bra fitting?

May 2007

So after three plus years of back to back pregnancies and breastfeeding, I am ready to ditch the maternity/nursing bras and wear regular bras again. But, no surprise, my old ones no longer fit. You always hear that there are specialists who can help you figure out your correct size and the best bra for you, but i have no idea where to go to get that help. Have any moms out there found a good store or person to help them with this? i am so ready for a comfortable well fitting bra again! thanks for any ideas. Rebecca

You absolutely must go to Nordstrom. I went to Walnut Creek but I'm sure they are all just as good. I am telling you - the miracle worker I had took 10 years off my rack. I am a new - perky woman. Funny me...I thought I was a 38c turns out I was a 34 D. My clothes look SOOO much better on me now. It's really worth the time and money to let the professionals do it. They will chose a nice bra for you. Buy 3 of them and you'll be set. Along with a lingere bag and some nice washing soap. And while you're there...help yourself to a few pairs of hanky pankys - they too will transform your warddrobe sister. I wasn't a believer - but now I am. And they are surprisingly comfortable...they almost remind me of maternity underwear because they are stretch lace. Who knew a thong could be comfortable? Worth every penny

Hi there I recently went to A La Folie down at 4th St. They actually had a bra fitting event last week. The lingerie there is beautiful and the prices aren't cheap. However the women there have real bodies and are I felt very comfortable there. I discovered I was a size larger than I always thought I was!! I can't recommend them highly enough. They are friendly, personable, knowledgeable, approachable. Good Luck. julie

In a word, Nordstrom. All the sales reps are friendly and seem to know what they're doing. I go to the SF branch in the old half of the new Westfield Centre. anon

I have been a size 36-B since I was 16 (or so I thought). After 25 years and two children later I decided that I needed to treat myself to a good bra fitting, since I doubted that my size was still correct. I heard that Oprah dedicated an entire show to bra fitting and she highly recommended the staff at Nordstrom's. Recently, I read an article about bra fitting and the writer was thrilled with her Nordstrom experience. So a few weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and stepped into Nordstrom for a bra fitting. They were busier than I thought and all their staff was busy with women of all sizes and types. A young woman came my way and I asked for a fitting. She guided me into a fitting room and measured my chest. She then told me to undress from the waist down while she went back into the store to get bras. She came back with 6 bras, or so. I asked her what size they were and she answered ''34D''. My first thought was: ''Oh boy, I picked the one person who doesn't really know their job!''. I tried on the first bra and it was a bit too big. I wanted to say ''See!'', but remained polite. She gave me another bra that fit PERFECT! I couldn't believe it. The next one fit even better. I walked away with 3 bra's and have been thrilled to pieces with my non-surgical breast augmentation. I have recommended it to all my friends and two of them went in for their own fitting and also realized that they were wearing a completely wrong size. They loved the service and were also extremely happy with their new, correctly fitting bra's. Another friend told me that she went to Nordstrom as well for a bra fitting and purchased one bra at the correct size. Then she went to Marshall's to buy more at the correct size. Good luck! Happy 34D

I have no idea how I happened into the bra section of the Gap in Corte Madera but I am so glad I did! There was an older saleswoman there - I don't remember her name - but she was AMAZING. After pregnancy and nursing, I had no idea what bra size I was anymore - only that my bras were huge on me. She measured me and found me the perfect bras. Good Luck! former c cup

Nordstrom is great for bra fitting! Good luck!

I love the gals at Beauty and Attitude on Vine near Shattuck. They are very helpful, honest and compassionate. They also have a nice selection of comfy bras. anon

Victoria's Secret will measure you and help you find the right bra - it's not just for the hot 20 somethings! I'm 40 and recently found the right fitting bra - I'd be wearing the wrong sizes for years! Have fun. anon

I think Nordstrom Walnut Creek or San Francisco are great. They have a good selection, sort of pricey, but really worth it. My sister says you find a good bra there, and then find a cheap copy of it at Target. They do great fittings. The worst place to go is Victoria's Secret. They don't know how to measure and their bras are overpriced. BTW, I have gone from a 34C to a 40D to a 34B back up to a 42E now am a 34DD. Whew! I got bras in every size... anon

Bras - Local store for full-breasted women

Jan 2007

I need bras for full-breasted women, in the 38-40, F-G range. Can anyone recommend a local Bay Area store with a good selection for bras in this size range? Thanks. Anonymous

You can get great service at Nordstom, they have a surprising lot of bras in big sizes. Not cheap though, like $60.00+++, but the one I got is holding up (no pun intended!) great. They were great at fitting and finding a ton of stuff for me. good luck shopping!

Title Nine has some excellent bras with great support for all sizes. Good luck! no longer bouncy

Title Nine in Berkeley has a good selection. I am a 38DD and I had great luck there. Of course they are expensive, but you are probably use to that Good luck. -fellow full breasted woman!

Call Jaye at Fashion After Passion in Alameda (look up number). They just moved so make sure you have their new address if you are going to stop by (I think they're not great about answering the phone...). I'm not positive but think they would have a good selection of larger sizes. They have a million bras and I was thrilled that they were so much cheaper than most places. Susan

Try Lane Bryant's Cacique. Sometimes you can try them in store, but you can always order them online (with great return policy and their own bra sizing info). I love and only wear the Cacique Balconettes 40G! Good luck! Kenna

''Title Nine'' on 10th Street near Gilman -- right behind REI. in the know

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Large size underwire bras

Nov 2004

Looking forward to retiring my nursing bras and need to find a store that sells large size underwire bras. Any recommendations for a store that does fitting and carries a large selection of large sized bras, the department stores do not carry my size. anon

I know its a bit far to go but the girls at the Bali/Playtex/Hanes store at the Outlets in Petaluma are worth every penny...they have a wide range of sizes...and the outlet prices are better than regular retail so if you end up having to buy lots of sizes if you're planning on downsizing post baby then that place is great. you didn't mention how busty you are (and I don't blame you!) although I am afraid that once you get past the DD mark you may have to look into a Lane Bryant store to see if they've got anything larger...or online for mail order sizes...good luck and oh yeah there's a great Carter's outlet store there too! mz

Finding the right bra after the nursing bra could probably be found at In Full Swing. This plus size women's clothing store is of finer quality items. In Full Swing is located on College Avenue near Claremont Avenue. I have found the ''just right'' clothing items there. know about being busty

www.secretsinlace.com They have a great selection of bras with larger ladies in mind! And the models are healthy, thicker women with, yep, you guessed it, big breasts! Great site & great styles! Good luck! Alena

try title 9 sports its on a small street off Gilman behind REI - they have different styles for different sizes and very high quality stuff - expensive but worth it. anon

Try Title 9 in Berkeley. anon

I am a plus size gal and I go to Macy's and Nordstroms. They should be able to help or give you alternatives. There is also a Lane Bryant store in Emeryville. I don't know if they size you, but I bet they do. Busty Mama 2

It's been 0ver 4 years since I've had to get my large bras (I had reduction surgery), but the only place I ever found my size (34FF) was at a large women's store right near the Oakland Library Main Branch. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name or exact address, but I know that it's next to a parking structure near the library, probably on 14th street. I'm sorry that I can't get more specific, but I hope this helps. The other large women's stores didn't carry 34's, and the ''regular'' stores didn't have FF's, so this was a real find for me!! If you have any more questions or need more help finding that store, you can email me. happycamper

I can recommend ''Bras for Body & Soul'' 2500 Mowry Av., Suite 130 in Fremont. Phone 510-790-1911. This is a very caring store for women that actually got its start fitting women recovering from breast cancer but has since expanded to fitting all women and promising to find the right bra and give you a thorough fit. You are guaranteed to find exactly what you need and not wonder if you are going to be looking again in a few months. Good Luck! Jenny

I have had good luck with Lane Bryant. They had a large selection and they were actually attractive (not just white and beige). I thought the prices were also reasonable. I don't know about fitting service. I knew approximately what size I needed and fitted myself. Margaret

The bra department at Nordstroms is wonderful. The women who work there are trained to do a proper fitting for you and the selection is huge. I am a 32DD and have had no problem finding a beautiful (yes I said beautiful) bra for a full sized figure. I struggled for years trying to find a good fitting, attractive bra. Additionally, they have quite a few bra's for full figured women for special occasions such as strapless, racer back etc. Another option is Victoria Secret's catalog. They carry a pretty good selection of full size bra's. Unfortunately, you won't get the sizing service you get at Nordstoms and you'll pay shipping even if you end up returning the bra but they do have a nice selection if you're sure of your size. Anon

Roslyn's Dress Shop has an incredible assortment of bras for the larger-sized woman. They are located on Broadway across from Oakland Tech High School. Although their bras are not cheap, they will have whatever size and style you are looking for.

2003 & Earlier

Stretch-type bra

Nov 2003

A couple of years ago I found a type of bra at Target (my clothing source!) that suited me perfectly: it's like a sports bra in that it is a single, stretchy piece of fabric with no pads, no underwires, no lace, no Victoria's secret. Just comfy and sufficiently supportive for a not tremendously endowed gal (b-cup, that is). The difference from a sports bra is that the material is lighter, a kind of nylon. Anyway, of course this bra has disappeared off the face of the earth (or the face of Target, anyway), and I can't locate a similar one to substitute. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Can you help me? I would be VERY grateful.

enough with the wonder-bra already

There are some wonderful, soft, stretchy nursing bras by Bravado that may fit the bill for you. (You don't have to unsnap them!) http://www.bareware.net/nursing5.htm Or you may want to try Decent Exposures. Many women rave about them, and there are lots of choices in sizes and fabrics. http://www.decentexposures.com/ Good luck! Jennie

I like the one that Jockey sells. You can find it at department stores or go online to jockey.com. They cost ~ $12 and they last because there are no fasteners to break off in the laundry. anon

Try barelythere.com I have a couple of these and I love them: http://www.barelythere.com/detail.jsp?from=collection=0=0188
the undies are really comfy and don't ride up : http://www.barelythere.com/detail.jsp?from=collection=0=4621

I too had to find a replacement for a basic, sport-type bra found at Target. It took a while but I really like the one available in the Land's End catalogue: cheap, basic, no lining, no uncomfortable seams, no underwire. It is marketed as a sportsbra but is really very basic, made of thin,quick drying material. Laura

I get my bras at Mervyn's in the Pinole Valley Shopping Center (I-80 east, exit at Richmond Pkwy, go right to the shopping area). They have a great underwear dept with the kind of bras you are talking about (the only ones I like to wear). Good luck. anon

Elements on College avenue (Elmwood) used to carry a brand, ELITA, that has a model exactly what you are looking for. I buy them four at a time, I love them so much. They are probably more expensive than the ones in Target but they are VERY durable (a pair lasts more than 3 years with frequent washing and drying). I bought my last pair more than a year ago, so I am not sure if they are carrying them anymore, but they did for at least four years. anon

Title 9 Sports has a good selection of sport-like bras that don't have a lot of super support. Of course, they also have the ''crank down'' models, but I think they have quite a large selection of what you seek. In addition, you may want to check out onehanesplace.com and breakoutbras.com. Both sites have some wonderful bras that sound like what you are seeking. There is a store in Alameda called 'fashion after passion'' that sells some stretch bras (they call them sleep bras because they are only moderately supportive), and that might also work for you. Best of luck. -- bra maven

I know EXACTLY what you mean, and for my maternity bras I ended up with the same type of bra if not the same bra. Mine is called ''barely there'' and I bought it at Mervyns. They go on sale frequently. It feels nice, looks good under t-shirts, no underwires, adequate support (but not really enough for running), and comes in various colors (though not a huge selection). It's shaped kind of like a gentle, simple sports bra, but more comfy. Easy to nurse w/ also-you just pull it up. None of these goofy snaps or velcro to deal w/ and you don't have to search for your breast while the baby is crying. anon

Hi - Try the Barely There line, available at Mervyn's (and probably other dept. stores such as Macy's, Sears or Penney's). 100% nylon, none of that annoying stuff you mentioned, and very comfortable! Great if you can get them during a 2 for 1 sale or a buy one, get one at 50% off, though they are not expensive. Good luck. no Victoria's Secret model either

I've found nice stretch bras, no bones or innards, at Nordstrom and at Earthly Goods (the cheaper store, uphill on Vine) in Berkeley. Earthly Goods may no longer carry the Elita brand, or bras at all, but I also found them online. I think the site was Sierra Blue. They come in both cotton and nylon-ish fabric, and are quite wonderful. Cotton is more comfortable, but they wear out. Nordstrom has their own brand, as well as a variety of others of the same type, some reasonably priced and some very expensive. flat chested

Halter bra for nursing bridesmaid

August 2003

I am looking for a halter bra to wear under a bridesmaid dress that has a halter top. The women where I purchased the dress said they've seen people bring in really nice ones, but they didn't have any suggestions on where to find one. I am nursing, so I definitely can't go bra-less. I know that a halter nursing bra is asking too much, but what about a regular bra? Thank you for your suggestions! Molly

I haven't shopped there myself, but I have heard that Victoria's Secret has a good bra selection. Their stores are in some malls. susie

I am in a wedding this month and my friend who is larger chested is having a bra built into the dress. You may want to check with the bridal shop or a seamstress to see if they can do this for your dress. roxanne

there is an old-fashioned foundations/lingerie shop in san leandro called bonnie's. they actually fit you and are not on commission or bonus basis (my last visit to nordstrom resulted in very expensive bras that didn't fit well - bonuses....). they evidently have another store or warehouse so have access to more than on site if necessary. i took my daughter there for a prom dress bra, they advised us not to bother for that particular dress instead of trying to sell us something! peggy

The Gap halter/convertible bras are pretty nice (and cheaper than Victoria's Secret). anon

Go to Nordstrom's. I was also a ''nursing'' bridesmaid this summer and couldn't go without a bra. I spent many frustrating afternoons looking at other stores, trying on bra after bra without any help or the sales people having any knowledge. I finally decided to go to Nordstrom's and I walked out of there with a perfectly fitting bra in 10 minutes. It turned out I was trying on the wrong size all along. You will pay more, but saving yourself the frustration is so worth it. Good Luck. Fellow Bridesmaid

What you are looking for is usually referred to as a ''convertable'' bra, because you can convert it to either a halter bra, a criss-cross back bra, A-symetrical (just one shoulder strap, angled across the back) or completely strapless.

Victoria's Secret, of course, has at least one bra like this, but many people don't like VS and many think that the quality is poor. For more variety, you might check out Fig Leaves (www.figleaves.com), they have a huge selection of all kinds of bras, including bras intended for bridal-wear. The only drawback is you have to order it and can't try it on until it arrives. However, they do have an excellent return policy. Good luck! Been shoppin' for bridal undies

I'm not a Victoria's Secret fan, but I was looking for something similar and I found two styles there that can be worn strapless, or with straps that convert to five different configurations, including halter. You can also buy clear plastic straps (also covertible) for them. Lauren

I don't have a recommendation for where to buy your bra, but assuming you do find one, you *can* convert it into a nursing bra! Check out these instructions: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/index.html?Baby/braconvert.html

Have fun at the wedding! Holly

Need a bigger bra, not underwire

April 2003

I used to be a 34B but am now a 34D. I thought that most women's breasts got smaller after breast feeding - but not so in my case. I was wondering if anyone has recommendations of where to go to get fitted for a new bra. Also, I would like a bra without an underwire but with a lot of support. Any suggestions? Thanks. MGD

I can relate to your dilemma, although I'm down to a 34DD after breastfeeding (from somewhere in the GGs). I don't know if you're looking for a sports bra, but I've been very happy with the bras at Title 9 Sports in Berkeley. They carry a number of ''high impact'' bras that are extremely supportive in sizes up to 40E. It's really nice to be able to try them on in the dressing room and jump around a little to try them out. They aren't cheap, but they're very good. Jennifer

I was in the exact same situation. I went to Nordstrom's (in Corte Madera, but I'm sure others would be good too). The women in the lingerie section are very helpful, professional and experienced. She measured me and brought me many different types, including some sale bras. I've been really happy with the bras I've bought there and the service there is really amazing. Diana

I've had the same problem, and for a more supportive bra I've switched to Bali bras. Bali is the only major brand that seems to make good, supportive, soft, smooth-cupped, non-underwire bras. Unfortunately they look like ''old-lady'' bras; they remind me of the ones my mother wears. (My husband was quite disappointed when I came home from bra shopping last time, but I told him I was sure he'd prefer me to wear ugly bras rather than have my breasts hanging down to my knees in a few years.) I've never been fitted for a bra, but I go to Macy's and try on everything in sight. It's amazing how different they can be. 36D, formerly 36B

I also have large breasts and have had a difficult time finding bras that fit really well. I have done well at high end stores, like Nordstroms, where you can find a person to ''fit'' you properly.

I normally need an underwire, but have found that the DK (Donna Karen) sports bra was very supportive (even while horseback riding) and comfortable. It does not have an underwire, so it might be a good choice for you. Good luck, Anonymous

When I was a 36D (similar size), I really liked the Bali Double Support wire free bra. Great support, very comfortable. You can find them lots of places, I got them at Mervyn's or Macy's usually. I have turned a few friends on to them also. They are a great every day bra. I don't know where to have them fitted around here, though I know you can make an appt. and have that done at Macy's, which I did a long time ago. Jennifer

http://www.decentexposures.com/ Dana

There was something on bras not too long ago so it might not be archived yet. I don't like underwire either. My favorite sources are gaia (cotton yoga bras)(try www.gaia.com or gaiam ). Blue Canoe (www.bluecanoe.com) has great organic cotton bras. Try Jane's top. Decent Exposures (1800-524-4949 or www.decentexposures.com) has cotton bras, no underwire for women sizes 30AAA to 58H. They come in fun colors and the company is small and great to deal with. They even customize. Susan

Hi, I don't have a recommendation of where to be FITTED for a bra, but just last week I bought my first new bras in 4 years, having spent much of the past few years in nursing bras (2 kids--now 1 & 3). I always liked the selection & decent prices at Mervyn's, and after a little research, I chose to drive to Northgate Mall in San Rafael. The Mervyn's there is very nice (quiet, clean, HUGE selection of bras); plus (this was important for me!) the mall (also very nice) has a small permanent, padded play area where my toddlers could let off some steam after I was done shopping. Good luck! Heidi

I just had a bra fitting done at Macy's in Hilltop last week. I was so off on my bra size! She took my measurements and had me try on about 30 bras until we found the right one. It was so helpful! Bonus big sale, I bought 2 and got 3 free! I was told they do fittings at least once a month, so give them a call and get an appointment. I also got the feeling that they may just do it if you ask them. Kerri

You may want to try a ''minimizer'' style bra. They tend to give better support and help reduce your bustline so more of your pre-pregnancy clothes will fit. Good luck!

I too have been very frustrated with comfort and selection in large-sized bras. But I just found some great bras at Lane Bryant in the Emeryville shopping center where Trader Joe's is. They have large sizes, big selection, and they're having a buy 2 get 2 free sale now. There wasn't anyone to help fit though - that would have been nice. anon

To get a bra that fits, ask for Irene Pope in the lingerie department at the Nordstrom's in Walnut Creek. She is also the person who fits women who have had mastectomies, so, as you might imagine, she is both skilled and sensitive. She knows the shape and charactersistics of every bra in the shop, and seems to be able to tell at a glance which models will suit one, and which won't. After years of unsatisfactory purchases, and long, unhappy try-on sessions, I was delighted to spend 20 happy minutes in her care and walk out with a bra that fit like a dream and made me look much better than I ever thought I could! anon

I wear a 38DD and the bras that fit me best are from Victoria\x92s Secret. They don\x92t carry the full selection of the catalogue in the stores and carry only a few larger sizes there, so I shop from the catalogue and order on-line. Unless I\x92m reordering a style I already have, I order a few different ones in the type I\x92m looking for, choose the best and return the rest (I do this with all my on-line clothes shopping).

Recently I wanted a smooth fitting bra for under knits- I ordered 4 possibilities from VS, found one that was perfect, returned the others and ordered 2 more of the right one. They make plain ones and sexy ones. I have a couple of the latter that fit me great and are fun to wear. I wear underwires, but if the fit and style are right, they can be very comfortable. The only beef I have with their mail order is that shipping is expensive. But they have a lot of sales.

Another great source is One Hanes Place. They carry \x91slightly imperfect\x92 and discontinued Bali and Playtex bras. There\x92s an outlet store with a good selection in the Vacaville Outlet Mall (by the old Nut Tree), and there is catalogue and on-line shopping. There are a lot of no-wire, soft cup Playtex bras available. Not sexy, but practical. Cecelia

Comfortable Bra

November 2001

Several months after weaning my toddler, I am still wearing my bravado nursing bra as I like the elastic band on it. My preference is for an undershirt, tho advancing age and 6 years of pregnancy/breastfeeding is making me feel the need for a little more support. Can anyone recommend a bra that they especially like for the comfortable fit?

the best bra in the entire world is right at your fingertips. Log onto decentexposures.com. Not only are the bras designed by women (these bras were originally designed by a pregnant mom who couldn't find anything to wear), the company is quite socially responsible. You end up feeling good about the company you're purchasing from and end up getting the most comfortable bra you could ever imagine. Every shape and size of woman - support the women of the world is their motto. I love their bras and I hope you will, too. [request that they stitch down the loop on the front] Good luck! Laura

The fantastic company in Seattle called Decent Exposure may have what you are looking for. Their bras fit women of all shapes (as they are custom designed). They have a wide variety of styles and fabrics to choose from. They sell by mail and can be found in the back of mothering and parenting type magazines. If you can't find them there, call information in Seattle. I believe they are located on Lake City Way. They are a wonderful, small company; run by the women who wanted a more comfortable bra. They probably have a web page, too.

If you like the Bravados, you'll probably likeJane's Bra. It's all (or 90+%) organic cotton and has a big wide band on the bottom. Check the website www.bluecanoe.com Jane's Top is under Stretch Bras I think (#A160) for 28.00 and they have other styles as well. Susan

I think whether a bra feels good is a matter of personal taste and depends entirely on what you're looking for. I have tried about 500 different bras in my life, looking for this combination of ingredients: underwire for support, straps that don't fall down, two hooks (not 1 and not 3), cute looking and not too matronly, smooth under dressy clothes (I prefer nylon), doesn't annoy my hypersensitive skin with ribbons, buttons, lace, and other scratchy things, and of course, it has to fit (I wear a 38C so not all styles come in my size) and it has to make me look beautiful and shapely. I am happy to report I have found a bra that I like a lot and that meets all my requirements. I have 12 of these in different colors and I sure hope they don't stop making them: Olga Simply Perfect Satin

Caring for Bras

May 2012

Hello! After 5 years of having three children and nursing, I recently purchased three nice demi-bras from Victorias Secret (yes has an underwire and little padding). I love them and they provide nice shape and support. They are expensive though. I want to keep them nice. I don't know how to do that. Over the past 5 years I have just laundered my pregnancy and nursing bras with the rest of my clothes. To keep these bras nice...what do you do? Hand wash? Machine wash but lay out to dry? Purchase one of the little bags that you can put the bra in to wash? If yes, where and which one? I worry about the arm holes getting caught on the wash wheel. Please enlighten me. Thanks! Emerging from the booby fog!

Buy a mesh bag (doesn't matter where- Bed, Bath, & Beyond is where I purchased mine) to put them in. Clasp the hooks first. They may come undone in the wash, but if they stay together the risk of the hooks damaging the ''pretty'' part of the bra is minimal. Hang dry. I toss mine over a drying rack, or on the clothesline (we have a retractable line in our backyard, so if it's currently out and in use, then I use that). You can also put them on a hanger and hang over the bathtub (or a doorway). It'll dry really fast. Wash them cold/delicate, with regular soap is fine.

Do this same process for your other nice/expensive clothes -such as sports bras, blouses, sweaters. I have a mesh drying surface (you can put across your bathtub or something) for sweaters. Sweaters you do want to lay out, so they keep their shape. Sometimes I put them on on thick towel on my bed (and lock the cats out!) and then come back to occasionally reposition. This is a SLOW drying process, though. Laundry Goddess

You can get a lingerie bag at Bed Bath and Beyond. I wash my bras in that in the washing machine w/ the other clothes then I hang them up to dry. They last a lot longer that way. You could also hand wash, but I find the lingerie bag is more convenient. anon

The best thing you can do is gently hand wash with a gentle soap like Woolite. The next best thing is to purchase a small fabric bag with a zipper made for the job from Bed Bath and Beyond or Nordstrom or Macy's, put bra in washing machine with other laundry. Most importanly, never put in dryer as the heat will ruin the elastic. I would go the BB and Beyond route

I put mine in a lingerie bag, wash them with my delicates and then hang them to dry. They last several years this way. Unfortunately, I haven't had good luck with Victoria's Secret's products. Some are made well and some fall apart right away. If these bras don't last, I would go to Macy's or Nordstrom to buy the replacements. Nordstom is much better for getting fitted and buying the right bra. Macy's is better for finding good bras that are less expensive when you already know what you need. Don't give up on quality bras if your new purchases don't hold up. Way too experienced

Hi - I wash mine in the gentle cycle in a mesh bag. I hang them to dry (I ''reshape'' them first and then lay them over a drying rack, preferably in the sun). It is the drying, I think, that will ruin them. Too lazy to hand wash CA Mom

Yes, you'll want to take good care of the VS bras -- they can tear and fray if you're not careful. I would get one of those netting bags that zip up -- this way they don't get tangled w/ other clothes or on the agitator. Use a gentle or permanent press cycle. You can wash them w/ other clothes, esp. if you're using the net bag. Wash in warm or cold. But also, very important: line dry them instead of using the dryer! Machine dryers are very hard on clothes, especially delicates. You will allow your bras (and many other pieces of clothing, for that matter) to last much longer if you simply let them dry in the air. You don't even need a yard - I just drape items over chairs or lay flat on the bed. I hope this helps! line dryer

I have three of those mesh lingerie bags. I hook the bra closed (so the hooks don't get tangled on the mesh bag), fold the bra in on itself (cup inside cup; so the cups don't get crushed and deformed), put it in the bag, and zip it up. I wash them on cold with my other clothes and usually at a more delicate setting. I take them out and hang them (with the middle part between the cups) over a hanger to dry. I put three per hanger, so it works out pretty well. They dry quickly.

Many people prefer to hand wash. My sister in law handwashed her bras every night as she got ready for bed. She kept the Woolight under the sink, filled up the sink with soapy water, swished 'em around, let 'em soak for a few minues while she put on her pjs and her moisturizer, etc, rinsed them, then hung them up.The only problem was that she always had bras hanging all over her bathrooms.

I have a lot of bras, and with my system, I can wash three per load, hang them in the garage, and they are dry within 6 hours or so. the machine spin takes out a lot of the water.

If you do an Internet search on ''bra care,'' you'll find lots of tips.

I would recommend either hand washing and line drying, or getting a mesh lingerie bag (as far as I'm concerned most any will do) and machine washing. But definitely line dry. Do know though that these bras will stretch and lose their shape no matter what in the next year or so. L

Forever New or other mild lingerie soap. (Not Woolite!!!) Hand wash in cool water. (A 5 minute soak, a swish, and a rinse will do. Not a big deal.) Line dry. And, I'm sorry to say, replace every 6 months if they serve any structural purpose. Elisa

Your bras will definitely last longer if you hand wash them and let them air dry, as well as avoid harsh soaps. I soak them for about 10 minutes in Dr. Bonner's liquid baby soap with a couple drops of lavender essential oil in the water. Don't wring the bras when you rinse them and store bras flat or on hangers(not folded)with the cups upright. --

I would recommend using a lingerie bag, either handwashing or washing on the delicate cycle on cold, and to make sure to hook the bras before washing. Use a soap made for delicate garments as well, and hang or lay them out to dry--no dryer!

However, Victoria's Secret stuff is cheaply made and usually falls apart/stretches out etc. much faster than better brands, so don't be too frustrated if you see your bras do that. I have always needed to buy top-quality bras for their support (read: I'm busty) and quickly learned that VS stuff is not worth it. Macy's and Nordstrom have a great array of brands--and the women there will do a great job fitting you so you know your exact size! Important to know when you're going out of one phase and into another. Good luck! HG

Yes, get one of those ''lingerie bags'' and put your bras in that before putting in washing machine using cold water and the ''gentle'' or ''delicate'' wash cycle. Hang to dry. Yeah, good bras are expensive

I recently went to a ''real'' undergarment shop to get a proper- fitting bra, and was told that you definitely need to wash them in the little ''delicates'' bag if you put them in the washing machine. Wash on delicate setting, NEVER dry them, and use a super-gentle detergent. There is one called Forever New (I bought some on Amazon.com) that has been around a long time, is biodegradable, and will keep things looking very nice. They told me that even Woolite is too strong of a detergent!

They also recommended just hand-washing with the Forever New in the sink - that's the best thing you can do. Laura