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PlusSizeBras.info -- A Consumer Information Provider

Your Resource for Larger Cup Size Bras and Bra-Sized Swimwear
Plus Size Bra Fit
    Updated February 10, 2007

FIT YOUR BODY --
75 to 80% Wear The Wrong Size --
Most women wear bras with undersize cups, some with an undersize band to try to keep the backs from riding up, some with an oversize band so they can still breathe.

Why? for a number of reasons:
  • a) they're simply uninformed,
  • b) most measurement-to-size charts and size calculators are totally wrong,
  • c) so-called "professional" fitters are poorly trained and/or more interested in sales commissions than competent service,
  • d) manufacturers target the mass market and make a range of sizes that fit a limited portion of the population,
  • e) merchants stock only brands which target the mass market,
  • f) these women buy the size they want to be instead of the size they actually need,
  • g) all of the above


The correct answer is, of course, g, "all of the above".

How Can I Tell? --
Following are some symptoms of wearing the wrong size:
  • red, painful shoulders,
  • shoulders indented with grooves,
  • numbness in arms or fingers*,
  • reduced arterial circulation*,
  • frequent shoulder strap adjustment and backs that ride up,
  • uncomfortable, perspiring cleavage during hot weather,
  • the underwire sticks out in the middle like a third boob,
  • "falling out" or difficult modesty when bending at the waist,
  • unattractive, lumpy bosoms under tops.
         * Consult a physician!


Out of frustration at an inability to find a comfortable, but pleasantly attractive bra in one's correct size, too many resort to often unnecessary, costly, and sometimes unsatisfactory breast reduction plastic surgery.

What Can I Do About It? --
If you want comfort and style, PlusSizeBras.info can help you find it. We can:
  • ...instruct you how to measure and calculate your size;
  • ...help you decide for yourself if your fitter is competent;
  • ...help you discern whether or not you are indeed properly fitted;
  • ...provide you with buyer's guides to discover attractive bras in your size;
  • ...suggest where to purchase them.


I'm Not Comfortable Being Plus Size --
If you want help being comfortable with the size you are, PlusSizeBras.info might be able to help. Please pardon this temporary lapse in political correctness, but the first step, and this can be the most difficult one, is to "get your head on straight."

You need to wear a bra that fits your body, not your psyche.
You are the size you are regardless of the size bra you wear.


A smaller cup size isn't going to make one's breasts any smaller, but a larger, properly fitted bra will at least be COMFORTABLE!

If you wear a size 10 shoe, you wouldn't wear a shoe that's 3 sizes too small to make your feet look smaller. Why should you treat your breasts with any less respect than you would your feet?


One way to improve your self image is not to define yourself in terms of your bra size. I always cringe when I hear someone say, "I'm a 36DDD", or some such nonsense. You are much more than a voluptuous figure! If you have to talk about your bustline, doesn't it sound better to say, "I wear a 36DDD," or "I'm a size 36DDD"?

How Does A Bra Work? --
Bras are a clever arrangement of cloth and thread and often metal or plastic to support and shape the female bosom. The main elements of a bra are:
  • frame, commonly known as the chestband,
  • cups,
  • shoulder straps.


The frame anchors the bra to the body and provides the attachments for the cups and the shoulder straps.

The cups envelop and shape the breasts and provide support by transferring the weight of the bust to the bra frame. Underwires are often used to stiffen the frame to improve support and shaping.

The shoulder straps elevate and adjust bosom height and transmit only a small portion of the weight of the bust to the shoulders.

How Does A Bra Not Work? --
When the bra frame is oversize, as is typical, it doesn't fully or snugly contact the chest wall below one's breasts. As a result the frame "floats", suspended by the shoulder straps. The bra frame can do little to support the weight of the bosom - the shoulder straps have to; but they were designed to primarily adjust the height of the bust, not carry it. So you tighten the straps, and then the back rides up, and you tighten the straps again, and the back rides up even more. The straps also cut into the shoulders, making them red and irritated. Now you're willing to pay a premium for a bra with wide, padded straps. But still your shoulders indent and your shoulder pain is now chronic and perhaps arterial blood flow is restricted. After a few more years of this largely self-inflicted misery, your medical insurer will finally approve you for a costly and possibly risky and largely unnecessary breast reduction surgery. [If you're considering a surgery, remember that the surgeon is his/her own marketing specialist. They'll only show you pictures of their successes -- demand to see pictures of their failures too.]

Ah, Comfort --
We've described the differences between properly and improperly fitted bras. The best thing going for the properly fitted bra is comfort. Since the larger cup bra doesn't make you any bigger, you might as well be comfortable, right?

Finding It --
Ok, now that you've discovered that you should wear a bra in a size Victoria's Secret® won't carry, what do you do? Browse our buyer's guides and pick out a bra you like in your size. Write down the maker's name and style number/name. Remember that companies do not agree on cup size designations higher than D. We created our TruSiz™ system of grading cup sizes to standardize. Be sure to visit our BRA FIT/MEASURING and BRA FIT/SIZES pages for more information.

Next time you shop at your local department store or lingerie specialty store, and you find that they carry a desired brand name, but not your size, ask them to special order your selection. If they're not willing to do this, or if they don't carry the brand you want, ask to see the department manager. Inquire about special orders and if they seem uncooperative, ask them to call you when the manufacturer's representative is in so you may directly inquire about special orders.

If neither are cooperative, try a maternity store that carries a full line of nursing bras. I'm not suggesting you buy a nursing bra, even though they're available in cup sizes to TruSiz™ K, but sometimes breasts do not return to their former size after nursing, and for these customers, maternity stores may carry conventional bras in the larger cup sizes made by the same fine companies noted for their fine nursing bras such as Leading Lady® and Fancee Free®. These shops may be more willing to special order for you and may be more willing to give you the special attention you deserve.

Don't Give Up Yet --
Another alternative is mail order. Use the retailers we've listed at the RETAILERS page. Unlike local stores who may not be willing to inventory your size, mail order companies often specialize and THEY ACTUALLY WANT YOUR BUSINESS. Give them a try. You may be pleasantly surprised!


FITTING --
When fitting a bra to determine your size, try on only a full cup, back closure bandeau style. This means no minimizers, no demi-cup, no longline, no front closure, and no all-in-ones. Stick with the same brand name and, if possible, the same style. Switching around will only cause confusion. Different makers and styles from the same makers use different patterns, and are cut more or less full than others.

If your cup size was estimated in the measuring section of this website to be higher than the largest cup size a prospective retailer has in stock, probably DD or DDD, don't waste your time trying them on. You'll only wind up buying yet another uncomfortable, improperly fitted bra to sit in the back of your drawer, or, just as bad, you'll be empty-handed and frustrated. Just say NO!

The Frame (Chestband) --
The bra frame, or chestband, should be fitted first. It's simple enough to determine the right size. Just add 2 to your underbust measurement and round up to the nearest even number (TruSiz™). One's chestband size should never be numerically higher than one's bra off abovebust measurement. And NEVER add 4 or 5 as manufacturers suggest. I can't prove this, but it's my opinion that this is done for business reasons only and has nothing to do with fit. I've found that adding 4 or 5 fits the frame too loosely and causes cups to be undersize. (No wonder 75-80% wear the wrong size!!!)

Fasten the closure using the middle set of hooks and eyes. If you can fasten it in front of you and slide it around to your back, it's too loose. The frame should fit comfortably and not dig into your flesh. It should fit tight enough to remain snug at the end of the day. When the frame of an underwire bra is too tight, it may draw the underwires into your ribs and bend them along the lower side or bottoms of the cups, uncomfortably digging into your ribs. If the frame is too large, the back will ride up and the shoulder straps, not the bra frame, will support the weight of your bust. The straps may then cut into your shoulders leading to discomfort and/or pain.

The Cups --
Bra cups should fit all the way around each breast and prevent sagging. If your breast tissue bulges from the tops and sides of cups, keep trying a larger size until there are wrinkles or puckers visible that clearly indicate you need the preceding size. Properly fitted cups should provide sufficient support to prevent straps from digging into your shoulders. Cups should cover breasts to the level of modesty desired, complementing outerwear. Be wary of cups that are cut so low that the breast actually falls out when you lean over. Try before you buy.

The Straps --
Straps should be wide enough not to cut into shoulders. Padding and wide, built-up or camisole straps help somewhat. Stretch or non-stretch is a matter of preference. Some prefer a short length of stretch to provide some give or strain relief. Straps should be adjusted so that the fullest part of the bust is located mid-way between the navel and the collar bone.

The Underwire --
Underwires should not be too long that they poke under the arm, sometimes indicating too large a cup size. Underwires should not be too short that they poke your arm, sometimes indicating too small a cup size. The underwire at the center front should lie flat and vertical against your chest wall (sternum).

Fit Checks --
A correctly fitted bra will touch your chest at the sternum and support your breasts at mid-chest without any bulges. Try this test to see if your bra is suited to your bust type: Stand in front of a mirror. Mark your waistline with a belt or a string and mark the top of your chest by holding a pencil horizontal at your collarbone. The fullest part of your bust should be no lower than mid-chest, halfway between your waistline and the pencil. If your bust is closer to your waist, you need a bra that will lift your bosom.

Place your finger on the center front of your bra and press. You should not be able to bounce your finger in and out -- if you can, your bra cups are too small. Feel along the front edges of your bra and down the seam under your arm. You should not feel any bulges -- if you can, your bra cups are too small. A good rule of fit is that there shouldn't be any bulged tissue above the cups. Pull your shoulders back and and see if there are any little rolls of flesh above the bra -- if there are, your bra cups are too small.


click to view 630 x 450 image
Band and cups are TOO SMALL


click to view 450 x 630 image
A perfect fit!


"PROFESSIONAL" FITTERS --
A word about professional fitters. Remember, the only real difference between a professional and an amateur is that the professional get paid. The title ensures neither competence nor quality of service. It's usually a good idea to ask your fitter if she works on commi$$ion. If she does you may want to consider shopping somewhere else. You may have a better chance of getting a bra that fits properly. Why? Think about it: If you were a fitter working on commi$$ion and spent an hour or more with a customer trying on bras, you wouldn't want her to leave empty handed, would you?

Story Time --
Here's a fictional story that might help you deal with fitters more interested in selling than fitting: Let's say you visited my website and you did some measuring and estimated that you needed to wear either a 38G or 38H. Now let's say you visit a specialty shop. Let's also say this store has a fitter who seems very maternal and competent and wise, and unknown to you, she's paid only on commi$$ion. (You were too shy to ask.) The fitter's noticed that you're wearing a size 42DD and clearly the cups are too small and therefore the frame is too large. She takes quite some time carefully measuring here and there and making notes and figuring and maybe looking things up on a computer. Finally she sighs in relief and pronounces that you need a Brand G bra. Brand G is famous for their full-figured bras. You notice they're on sale... only $49.95, marked down from $59.95. How can you resist such a bargain! You pensively wait while she goes to the back and in short order brings out your "perfect size", a 40DDD. Of course when you try it on, there's a 2" gap between the center of the bra and your sternum and the chestband barely touches your chest wall below your breasts. The bra certainly feels stiff and supportive, however. You question the gap at center front, but she says that some bras just don't sit flat and reassures you that she should know since she's been fitting bras since before you were born. So who can argue with that? After much tugging and pulling here and there, the fitter is satisfied that you couldn't be fitted better or be more comfortable in any other bra on the face of the earth. She's almost convinced you that 40DDD is your "perfect size." You're still not too sure about this. A properly fitted bra should be comfortable, shouldn't it? This one isn't the least bit comfortable! As a matter of fact, you can't wait to take it off! What should you do? Remember that you're the one who will be wearing this bra for several hours every day. Tell her you think it fits terrible and is very uncomfortable. The cups are still too small and a bigger frame won't fix that. Tell her you want to try on a size 38G. Can you believe it? They don't stock anything larger than DDD. Now what? Thank the lady for her time and find another store. REMEMBER: Not all fitters are like the one in this fictional story. A good fitter will immediately tell you they don't have your size and perhaps recommend another shop. They don't want to waste your time or theirs!

When bra shopping, resist the temptation to buy SOMETHING simply because you've spent so much of your time trying to find a bra that fits. Be a smart shopper. It's YOUR money, YOUR body, and YOUR comfort!!! Do the right thing! Look for the brands featured in our buyer's guides who make plus size bras. Shop at retailers listed here who actually stock plus size bras. You actually do have alternatives!

Don't be afraid to order from e-retailers located in other countries. Some of them can actually offer better service since the manufacturers of the products they sell are "in their back yards". This can cut weeks from back-orders. Be sure to ask about shipping charges, exemptions to Value Added Taxes (VAT) if you're not an EU resident, currency exchange rates, and article return and exchange privileges.


 
Plus Size Bras - Plus Size Lingerie

 
 




Plus Size Bras - Plus Size Lingerie