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bras. the bane of my existence. and a few outfits
msredkitty wrote in fatshionista
I really suspect that i'm wearing the wrong size bra, but when I try to measure using "conventional wisdom", I end up with a size that is too tight and uncomfortable. I'm most comfortable in a 44 or 46... I hate underwires because they are always in my pits, and I suspect that means I'm wearing the wrong cup size. Are there differing rules for the busty and plump among us? Is the holy grail of cute, comfortable and *not* underwire impossible to find?? I also really dislike when the bottom band is too long and it kinda rolls up because I have a big belly. Am I just shaped totally weird?


This is what i wore to shoot a wedding at SF city hall. minus the demented look, no makeup and saggy hair. Dress from ON, cardi from target, Teva boots from last season.

I got some new glasses, but i'm not 100% on them. Also a new hat from TJ Maxx. My husband thinks i look like Mary Poppins.
scarf from target (love) cardi from ON


peacock dress from f21, frye boots -I am wearing this to a wedding in Texas with the burgundy sweater in photo 1 and matchy tights. I'm considering a brown belt. Also, general consensus is this dress is too big... your thoughts?

sorry this is fuzzy, my 8 year old snapped it. Anniversary dinner from awhile back, celebrating 13 years of wedded/16 years of schtuppin' bliss. Yours clothing peacock dress, frye boots, some old black light lacey cardi.


not so much an outfit as a shot to show off my cool target cowboy boots. love these things! so comfortable. and fit very well, i have 17.5" calves and they are very roomy, they hit right at the point my calves get big.

And this, my friends is a crazy awesome dress i got at ross to wear as a halloween costume, but it has turned into a great housedress! it did work well as MRS. ROEPER. and, i went to party full of 20-somethings and no one knew who i was! And clearly, i need a new pose. hand on hips!

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I wear anywhere from a 38G-40H (depending on brand) and last night I actually found a supportive non-underwire bra last night at the local store I go to for my bra's (only one store that has my sizing in the city..meh) it however, is not cute and looks similar to an ace bandage (so I think), I wore it for the first time today, and sore/itchy.

I hear you on the bra front. OMG I hear you. So for what it's worth, here's a few things I've learnt about bra shopping in My Life As A Fat.

Ignore the measurements. They don't take fat into account. The test of whether a bra fits you is 1. whether you can do the band up and breathe, 2. whether the cups ride up when you put your arms over your head, 3. whether the underwires poke into your armpits when you sit down.

If the underwires do poke in, try gently bending the underwire - how do I put this? Bend it around towards you, like you were going to mold it towards you, around your rib cage. Make it curve - we are not 2-dimensional!

If they still poke in, go down a cup size and see how they feel.

If they still poke in, bother them, and go soft-cup. It is (as you've found) really, really hard to find cute, comfortable soft-cup bras, but you do what you need to do.

If you can, take a non-judgmental friend bra-shopping. Seriously. They are so useful - they can play with strap length (which makes all the difference between ow-ow-ow and omg comfortable), and they can keep the sales-people at bay. Sales-people will tell you not to buy a bra where the band "digs in". This is not good advice for fats: the band should be comfortable, yes, but it also needs to be firm, and we squish.

I don't know if they're available where you are, but my favourite bra brand is Fayreform. I'm a 16-G in AU/NZ measurements, and I find they're really good at having reasonable straps, no wide bands under the cups, and being pretty cute. :)

Finally: you are not shaped weird, and I totally love your colour-sense. I am especially in love with your peacock dress, and that yellow cardi!

I've ALWAYS had underwire poke me when I sit down, just because of the way I am shaped. I do the wire bending in thing you described, and it works like a charm. I will note that I only own non-padded bras, I can't say how it would work with the padding.

Yessss, that advice about not digging in is hopeless for fats - if I buy bras that don't 'dig in', the band goes skating up my back as soon as I move and my tits get no support at all. If a band isn't denting the squidge, it's not holding on to me and it's not going to do anything useful. I go by whether or not the band feels painfully/constrictingly tight and whether it moves when I raise my arms/bend over, whether underwires are poking my armpit and whether they're lying comfortably against my chest in the middle, whether straps are digging into my shoulders too much (usually an issue of straps being too narrow!), and whether the cup fits or is cutting across my breast to give that quadruboob effect. For me, sorting out all of that mostly means wearing a 40GG (though it can still vary massively). That's nothing like the size any measurement system I've ever encountered would give me.

I agree with you about the tightness of the band, if it's not tight, it will slide up in the back. It's just physics, the fashion is for breasts to be worn really high and the stress has got to go somewhere. The only way around it is to lengthen the straps and have one's breasts much lower, but most people don't seem willing to compromise that way. Sports bras can work okay but only by using a ton of fabric to spread out the load.

A friend had a hissy fit in a fancy bra shop because she wanted a bra that lifted her breasts but wouldn't cut in to her back fat, I don't know how she was expecting that to happen. She went home in her old ill-fitting bra with the back strap up around her shoulder blades and her breasts on her belly.

I haaaaaate underwires and instead wear sturdy sports bras. There's lots of supportive wire-free bras out there, but they are not cheap. I have an upper belly roll, which always rubs against underwires and pushes them into the wrong place.

I love the star scarf, and the gray peacock dress, and the purple dress. And I have the same Yours peacock dress! :-D

Oops. You have the same icon as a local friend.

Go get sized at a really good department store. You DO NOT have to buy anything to get sized. You CAN take down brands, styles, and sizes and go buy them online cheaper, or use one of the size-comparison sites out there to find cheaper bras that fit similarly.

I buy Hanes underwire bras and then cut the underwire out. All the non-underwire bras are built horribly and make me look flat.

Mm, for bras my holy grail is Ewa Michalak...they're located in Poland. Suffice to say, I do not own very many, but they are very well made and well designed/constructed. My go-to for everyday bras is Cacique, just because they're more available and less expensive. While I have no solution to the band rolling up (mine does this on my sides, under the armpit and it drives me nuts some days, especially when the stupid little plastic boning supports decide to stab me) I gotta have the supportive, firm band. So while I measure a 40", I wear a 38 in Cacique (damn they're stretchy!). I kind of suspect the underwire pokey thing is a too-big-band and too-small-cup combo - the underwire should land mid-armpit if you raise your arms straight up, and rather a bit of the underarm/side fat can be pulled forward into the cup. I've had them poke me, but when they fit correctly I feel like there's not a way for the underwire -to- poke.

Then again, you could get crafty and shorten the underwire up a bit...I'm thinking Wiss tin snips and plasti-dip.

We had a huge, informational, awesome bra info post but it's been a long time. Try this (lots of info) or the BGC directory. If nothing else, I do like their advice to try the bra on backward, cups to your back, to check the fit of the band.

Love, love, love the caftan in the last pic! *dies* I also loves me some Mrs. Roeper too! A small part of me was disappointed after I moved out to find that life with roommates is not as cool as they played it out in Three's Company. And the apartments you end up living in are never so sweet as that 70's pad was! XD

The grey peacock dress is very cute and I think it fits fine... I just think it might be better styled if you wear a belt of a coordinating color at your underbust to create a nicer line and accent your shape. :)

Bra shopping is a chore for me... and I tend to be an easy fit for bras (meaning, I can buy off the rack at Lane Bryant and not have to monkey around with special ordering.) According to the "Bra Fitting Experts" I'm something like a 54" band... but I can't imagine wearing a 54" band... it'd slide right off of me! (FTR: I wear a 44 DD.)

I have to second whomever said that we fats have to throw the conventional bra-fitting rules out the window. Yes, they're supposed to fit without cutting in on a straight-sized woman... but we fats do squish. Some "digging in" has got to happen in order to get a clean line and good support!
My hard and fast rule with bra shopping is that I always try the bra on before I lay my money down. At nearly $40 a bra, I consider these babies an investment! And, like all women's clothing, sizing is not standardized from manufacturer to manufacturer. I've ordered beautiful bras from online only to have them get here and not fit right. Sure, most sellers are willing to exchange the garment without much fuss... but I hate the hassle. :P

Yeah, "bra fitting" rules are generally ridiculous - they often don't work even at the very low end of the scale (traditional A-D cups), nevermind when both bust and back are larger. They just sort of increase without any regard to the reality of the human body. A 54 band would be for someone who wears something like a... size 36 US, maybe? (Which I am guessing, if you wear a 44DD, you are not.) My sister wears a 50 back (she should really be wearing a 48, but she doesn't like how tight they are) and dress size 28/30. It's just this aura of complete mystery and confusion around bras and bra fitting that leads to preposterous results...

You're right, I typically wear a size 24/26 top.

Ooof, bra-fitting. It's good that you recognize you're wearing the wrong size - that's usually the most significant hurdle, getting people to let go of the arbitrary designation of being a "B-cup" or whatever. While a measurement can be useful, it's not a hard-and-fast rule, and the traditional measuring system of adding 4 or 5 inches to your underbust measurement in order to get your band size is simply wrong for modern bras. A nice firm band is really what you want for maximum support - digging in is pretty inevitable, I'm afraid, when the band is meant to support 80% of the weight of your breasts. It took me a while to get used to the firm feeling of a properly-fitted bra, which I suspect is what puts a lot of people off.

Fitting "rules" that actually work: the first comment has some good tips; also, the center gore of the bra should sit pressed flat against your sternum, and all of your breast tissue should be encased completely by the wires, even under your arms - it sounds like the wires are sitting on top of your breast tissue. There shouldn't be any spillage over the tops of the cups, either - quadraboob means the cups are too small; alternatively, wrinkled cups are too big. Straps shouldn't dig into your shoulders too much (they're meant to take about 20% of the weight) but should be adjusted to make sure there's no drooping. And the band should be horizontal across your back - if it curves up, it's too big (being pulled down and forward by the weight of your breasts in front). (I got a lot of this from reading Fuller Figure Fuller Bust's blog; she's something of a bra-vangelist about issues of fit, and you might find other useful things there!)

Just going from your pictures, I'd guess that a 44 is a little too big for you - I'm eyeballing you as a size ~18/20/22 US (feel free to correct if I'm wildly off base), which usually means you should be wearing about a 40 or 42 band, and I'd guesstimate maybe an F-FF-G-cup? (I wear a US 20 and a 40GG or 38H depending on the bra, for comparison.)

On the matter of the bottom-band rolling up - it may not be possible to avoid in the back, but you can prevent it under the cups by buying bras without bands (so there's nothing beyond the underwires, basically). I know Elomi make a few styles like that but I can't think of any others off the top of my head. There aren't that many non-underwired bras for fuller busts on the market, though; they mostly tend to be maternity bras (which are okay but not as supportive; I have a few that I use for sleeping but I could never wear them out of the house). It might be helpful to experiment with different types of bra-styles and underwires, as these can differ a lot by brand - Elomi have quite wide ones that aren't too high; Panache have very wide ones that are also very high; Curvy Kate have slightly narrower and lower ones; Bravissimo have very low and slightly narrow wires; Ewa Michalak makes narrow-but-high wires. But it's ultimately about what works best on your body, so if you can, definitely take the time to try on LOTS of bras.

/wall-of-text. Sorry about that. Hopefully some if it's useful!

seconding this comment! I had the same problem as you and I'm about the same size--I used to wear a 44c, but going to a 40-42D actually made everything way more comfortable! No more underarm wire pokes, or bras riding up, or any of that nonsense.
I also buy bras now on the slightly tighter side, knowing that the elastic will loosen up over time and have the perfect fit. (Sometimes I will use a bra extender until this happens; I'd rather it start off snug and loosen up to being perfect than be perfect and loosen up to being uncomfortable...)

Yes, this is an excellent point - bras bands will stretch and loosen with wear (the cups shouldn't stretch, though), so it's best to get them as firm as you can possibly bear, and using an extender will help with the breaking-in period a lot. (And, uh, if you're naughty like me, it will also give you access to a wider range of bras - there are a lot of fancy sets from Panache/Freya/Bravissimo/Fantasie that only go up to a 38 band, and while I can usually wear Freya and Bravissimo 38s without an extender, Panache have super firm bands. I whack an extender on, and bam, that Masquerade 38 is now ALL MINE!)

You've gotten some fabulous advice above. I second that you should go someplace where you can try them on. Ordering on-line, even in a style that worked the last time, may well be horrible this time - your shape changes and the style may not be exactly the same either.

I hated underwires for a long time, and then I found Cacique and Olga Christina.

Counter intuitive, but a smaller band size can be more comfortable than a larger one, because it can't ride up. That might also help with the underwire issue - they should be pointing toward your pits, but if they actually poke you the whole shebang is riding up too much - get a band size that sits slightly lower, not higher, toward the back. I go down two band sizes from what I "should" be wearing (and up two cup sizes) with good results.

I love, love, love the peacock frock with the fuchsia tights!!

I had the same problem with my bras until I got completely frustrated and went in to Lane Bryant where they measured me and told me the right size to buy. It took less than five minutes.

I didn't buy a bra there, but I did buy some jewelry because I felt bad asking them for extra service and then bailing out without spending any money. (I buy my bras on-line from

Can you go to a department store for a professional fitting? My saleslady took some measurements and asked me what I was looking for (underwire, front/back clasp, etc.), then came back with a bunch of bras in different sizes that mostly fit. She was an older lady and really knew what she was doing, but she didn't overtly follow any of the rules I've found online; she took one look at me and told me I was wearing the wrong size, so I guess it's one of those areas where experience helps. And as someone said above, you don't have to buy anything from them, but if you're like me and cave easily to sales pressure, you can buy a bra and then return it later.

The other thing I've done is to find a bra that fits well except for the underwire (which, as you said, involves an underwire that comes up to my armpits), and then remove it. You can make a teensy hole on the edge of the cup where the underwire is inserted and just slide it right out.

I'm just curious what you mean by "conventional wisdom", because a lot of conventional bra fitting methods do not work. What were the measurements you took? And what size did you come up with from that?

Also, I love your hair color!

Second picture is adorbs. I only wear Lane Byant no wire bras.

I love your glasses, you can totally pull of a statement frame! PLUS a comparison to Mary Poppins is nothing if not a compliment :D

I'd actually guess your backsize is considerably smaller than you think and that your cup size is considerably larger. Bras are proportional things so its a bit of a headache.

I strongly prefer underwires for the extra support. I'm also going to "me too" the suggestions to keep the band tight. If it's not pretty snug, it isn't doing anything.

The fitting advice from Bare necessities worked for me.

I remember seeing something but can't find it now, but some brands or styles of bra have lower under wires, or are built for shorter frames. If you can find a demi cup in your size, it might have enough room, but not have underwires that poke you in the armpits.

BTW, I *love* that scarf with the stars, and I almost bought a similar dress from Ross to wear with leggings and boots.

I've been dealing with this snotty bra problem myself very recently. And yeah, all the fitting advice that says bras shouldn't dig in etc is only right up to a certain point when you're fat-- to be supportive, the band *has* to dig in since it smushes down your flesh around the sides etc. You should be able to breathe with no trouble, but yeah, if raising your arms or bending this way and that makes your bra move significantly, it's best to try going down a band size or two. Someone recced extenders to me as a way to help when you're in-between band sizes, and I tried them, and they really really do help-- they're not uncomfortable, either, and that was what I was most afraid of, considering that a well-fitting bra isn't super comfortable to begin with.

For comfy, well-made bras without underwires, you might want to try Anita and Goddess. The main downside, afaik, of wireless bras is that they tend to give more of a 'natural' (god knows what that word means anymore wrt bra shape, but anyway), droopy triangle shape, depending on how the seams are put together. If you don't mind this, order away-- Bare Essentials, Big Girls Bras and Figleaves carry a good range of Anita, if not also Goddess bras.

Also, for some possibly helpful advice even if you're not interested in underwired bras, check out She has three comprehensive overviews of what kind of bras certain brands offer, and even if you're not interested in underwires, the stuff she says about seams is really educational. You'll also want to check out her post about full-on-top vs full-on-bottom boobs, even though it doesn't completely go into all the kinds of variations people experience. It was helpful to me to read her stuff because I'd never quite thought about why certain kinds of bras that should have fit didn't quite work on me, or felt uncomfortable, or didn't look like I wanted them to.

Lastly, please don't feel like your shape is weird or that your boobs are weird. There are sooooo many ways boobs can look naturally; the positioning of them on your chest is a factor (wide apart versus close together), as well as how soft or firm they are. If a bra doesn't fit you, it's not your fault, and not your boobs' fault-- it's the bra's fault.

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