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“Plus-Sized” Bras for Busty Gals

by Ashley on September 8, 2009

I’ve found most bra information targeting a specific problem focus on women with larger cups and smaller underbusts–that doesn’t help me.  I don’t think I’ve ever really seen a post targeted to the problem I face: a larger ribcage and average cup size.

bra
via We Heart It

Like 85% of women, I spent most of my bra wearing life in the wrong size bra– pushed in to a  size that didn’t fit by mass retailers like Victoria’s Secret or the same 7 brands every department store carries (“what, you aren’t a 36/C? Try it on anyway, it’ll fit“).

At my smallest weight & bust size, I wore a 38/B, and as of a last measurement, I now wear around a 44-48 B/C (this varies by maker. According to the Lane Bryant site, I’d be like a 46/DD, which is laughable, ladies, laughable).

I wanted to share some sites I was finding for bras, in the event that you have the same sizing issue that I have and what my thoughts were on the pieces I’ve ordered and tried on. In shopping for bras, there are a few things I look for:

  • Appearance:  I’m a young, foxy woman.  As such, I don’t want a bra that looks like a maternity bra. I want equal options for lace, beautiful colors, and great designs as a woman who wears a 36/C.
  • Shape: Even though my ribcage is larger, but breasts still are only a B/C cup.  As such, I don’t want (or really need) a bra whose cups go up to my collarbone.  It doesn’t provide me any additional support & keeps me from feeling sexy.  Additionally, I love a bra with a bit of padding or shape. Being between those cup sizes, I love to have a little shape to make my bust appear more shapely and larger in comparison to my apple belly.
  • Cost: With my weight fluctuation in Bloomington, I’ve had to buy new bras roughly every year. As a result, spending more than $50 on a bra that will not fit in a year doesn’t interest me.

Figleaves

Oola Rococo Bra: Pretty on, Lumpy under Shirts
Oola Rococo Bra: Pretty on, Lumpy under Shirts

While Figleaves now has a U.S. site, I found that a bit misleading because all merchandise still ships from the U.K.  Shipping from the U.K. is marginal ($4.95), but it took the bras nearly a month to get to me–which wasn’t hot when my underwires were popping right & left!  There’s the added hindrance that 5 bras cost me $208 (the average price being about $45)–which smacked me with another $45 in customs fees.

I thought Figleaves had a nice selection of bras, including French lingerie company Oola.  When I received the following bras, I was excited.  During the first fitting, they seemed like they all fit well and looked really nice.  But when I tried them on under clothes, I found that the seam cutting across the bust was REALLY bulky and noticeable underneath the shirts.

Out of the 5 bras I ordered, 4 went back. I kept one, which cost $11.  It really cost almost $60, since my customs fees weren’t returned.  Plus shipping back the bras was another $11 due to the short return time (30 days) and the fact they tell you to allow 10+ days in that time frame for travel time.

Catherine’s

Serenada bra: I bet I can fit my head in to each cup
Serenada bra: I bet I can fit my head in to each cup

Catherine’s had a moderate selection in my size, though I found it really heavy on the “maternity” styled bras. There were some nice simple pieces though, and I thought that those would be great under t-shirt styled shirts, or under white shirts (especially hard to find!).

Because Catherine’s is based in the US, I was a bit more relaxed about ordering from them–even better when I found out my package shipped from (and back to) Indianapolis! Score–cheaper return shipping.

Unfortunately, while the bras I ordered were at a GREAT sale price ($15), none of them fit.  The bands were super snug and the cups gaped and bulged. I would have needed some obscure size to get those suckers to fit.  However, there are a couple of other styles that may be worth checking in to, one by Goddess and another more pretty version by Serenada…

Hips & Curves

RAWR! For bobcats in the bedroom.
RAWR! For bobcats in the bedroom.

My shipment from Hips & Curves has thus far felt the most successful. Most of their styles are very classic or are fun & playful (right up my alley!). From the styles I chose, I was pleased that the padded push-up bras made my bust look really great, and there were no visible seams underneath my shirts (despite the bras being lacy!).

The pricing was more than fair, from an $11 leopard print bra (meowww baby!) to two $25 lace push-up bras.  The quality didn’t seem bad for those prices, and I really feel like a foxy gal in them.  They also have loads of other cute & fun styles in the size range I mentioned above…which means maybe for once I can own more than 2-3 bras…

Since brands vary, sizing again can be inconsistent.  I think the leopard print bra I ordered I’ll have to go down a band size in.  The two push-up bras were different cup sizes (to see which fits better), though I’ll probably try to see if they can get the hot pink in my size ;)

The return policy doesn’t seem bad, though I always find having to request RMA’s an annoying process.  At least I can do it online!  They have an exchange policy, which is basically “ship them back, call us & re-order, and we’ll credit the shipping on the new order.”  Not my IDEAL exchange policy though…
The quest to find great bras will continue, though it’s been a blessing to find more and more stateside alternatives to Figleaves…

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