As a big-breasted woman, I know firsthand the perils of searching for the perfect bra.
The Best Bra for a Big Bust
As a big-breasted woman who fits comfortably in 40DDD, 42DD, and 44D sizes, I know firsthand the perils of searching for the perfect bra. The best bra for my fuller cup size is the Cacique Plunge Bra, by Lane Bryant.
What Matters Most?
If a bra fits perfectly, looks great under a T-shirt, and feels fabulous cupped around the breast—color and price are the next features to consider. For me, I'm willing to compromise on color and price in order to get a great fit, look, and feel.
When purchasing a new bra, one of my rules of thumb is to first get measured. You can either measure yourself (see video below), or you can ask the salesperson to do it for you. Never buy bras from a salesperson who does not know how to properly measure you, or at a store that does not offer that service to its patrons.
My Two Favorite Bras: Prices
Cacique Plunge Bra by Lane Bryant
Strapless Bra by Modern Movement
What Do Big-Breasted Women Need in a Bra?
Without a doubt, big-breasted women need more support from their undergarments. Beyond that, there is much debate regarding several features:
- Underwire: yes or no?
- Straps: wide/padded, spaghetti straps, or something in between?
- Clasp: front or back?
- Midriff fit: snug or looser?
As a big-breasted woman who has a physically challenging career, I suggest the following for the best fit:
- Underwire: Yes! I never, ever, ever buy a bra that does not have an underwire-supported cup. The underwire not only helps hold the cup in place throughout the day, it also keeps the elastic band from creasing and tucking itself uncomfortably under the breast tissue.
- Straps: Wide and adjustable. For cup sizes larger than D, the most supportive straps are at least one inch wide. No spaghetti straps, please! Also, I would never wear a bra that cannot be adjusted at the shoulder straps,
- Clasp: The middle of the back provides a more secure fit, in my opinion.
- Midriff: Choose bras that fit comfortably around the midriff and do not bind or cut into your skin.
How to Measure Your Bra Cup and Band Size
Back Pain vs. Bra Price: Do You Have to Choose?
As every woman who has ever gone bra shopping knows, bras can be super expensive. High price tags mean that women often choose a bra that doesn't fit quite as well in order to find something that doesn't break the bank.
While this is completely understandable, it can sometimes lead to serious problems. Badly fitting bras can cause chronic back pain, which is unfortunately prevalent among America's working women. Wearing an ill-fitting bra may cause unnecessary back strain, neck and shoulder pain, and circulation issues.
This article linked above suggests that bigger-breasted women should look for bras that have "extra-soft, cushioned and wide load-bearing shoulder straps to ease pressure, and which don't dig in." Furthermore, shoulder straps should be fully adjustable, and clasps should be located at the back because they offer greater support.
Connection Between Wearing Bras and Sagging?
Plastic surgeon Dr. Broumand has suggested that wearing a bra may contribute to sagging. He says: "For younger women, not wearing a bra will lead to increased collagen production and elasticity, which improves lift in a developing breast. Also, tension on the connective tissue and ligaments supporting the breast can be beneficial to prevent sagging."
For older women, however, Dr. Broumand recommends bras. He notes that aging breasts naturally begin to lose elasticity and produce less collagen. At this stage, wearing a properly fitting bra is medically beneficial due to its supportive properties.
My Favorite Strapless Bra
Hands down, my favorite strapless bra is manufactured by Modern Movement, and it can be purchased at the Dillard's department store or online.
It is completely seamless, made primarily of nylon and spandex. It looks fantastic under sundresses, and the smooth lines aids in the overall appearance of my tube tops, tanks, and off-the-shoulder knitted tops. It is safe to say that in the summer months, I do not travel anywhere without this bra.
Because the cups are cut fuller, I can purchase a band size smaller than I normally would. I wear a 42DD in my (non-strapless) Cacique plunge bra, but I wear a 40DD in the Modern Movement brand. This keeps me looking like a lady all night and not like some fool who is constantly trying to hoist her boobs up from underneath her outfit. An ill-fitting strapless bra can be a miserable experience for the wearer—and comic relief for everyone else.
What to Look for in a Strapless Bra
- Fit: A good strapless bra will not fall down with movement. It should stay in place while walking or moving briskly. Most bra manufactures recommend going down in band size and going up in cup size to get the proper fit on a strapless bra. Adding silicone cup pads in the cups also aids in the overall support of the breast tissue.
- Construction: A good strapless bra for fuller women should have at least three back hooks in back. The stronger the band, the firmer the fit. If you wear an F or G cup, the strapless bra should have no fewer than four hooks and eyes in the back.
The Importance of Knowing Your Cup Size
Ladies with cup sizes larger than D are subject to more challenges than women who wear the smaller cup sizes. One problem is that manufacturers do not have a universal size chart for bra cups DD or larger. Ladies wearing an E cup size in one manufacturer's bras might be a DDD or F in another manufacturer's bras.
If you don't know how a certain brand size fits, I recommended that you ask for the manufacturer's bra cup specification size chart. For most major brands, you can find it online. If your breasts bulge either over the top of the bra or out of the sides, it is too small for you.
For example (compared to similar shape and style): Modern Movement's 40DD is the same size as Cacique's 42DD. Delta Burke Intimates bra size 40D is comparable to Maiden Form's 38DD.
More Great Info on How to Find the Best Bra
- 24 Best Plus-Size Bras 2021 - Oprah Daily
Whether you're looking for a plus-size bra with full coverage, a push-up with lift, or a bralette with no underwire, we've found the best options on the market.
- 13 Best Bras for Large Breasts - Good Housekeeping
The best bras for large bust sizes and heavy breasts based on factors like comfort, support, and appearance. These styles have large cup sizes for big boobs.
- Best Bras for Big Busts - Harper's Bazaar
If you are looking for a beautiful lace bra, a balconette, a molded cup bra, or a bralette, we have you covered.
Kathe Jones from San Francisco Bay Area on October 22, 2017:
First of all, let me say that I love and respect women who have big boobs. Although I am not a woman, I do like to have a large bust at Halloween. (I like to wear a 48DDD bra) Therefore, it is very helpful to know which bras work best with my breast forms to avoid sagging "breasts" Thanks so much for this information!
Zimkhitha from South Africa on April 02, 2014:
Bravo! girl...us with them air bags do not always get this kind of assistance. Try asking for a shop assistant for bra help and they ask you if you are pregnant...really now!
Julie Grimes (author) from Columbia, MO USA on March 02, 2014:
You are so awesome!!!
Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on March 01, 2014:
You knew that sooner or later I would have to comment on this hub just for the fact it said boobs, haha. As usual Julie, you make things interesting (even without the pictures, it would have held my interest). Anyone that truly knows me knows that I learn as much as I can about women in general so I am an asset to my woman, my wife. So I read about bras and woman's health and anything I come across to get wiser. My wife always laughs because so far everything that she has faced in 16 years of marriage, I have read and retained something about it. Well, thanks again for another interesting article. Love ya Lady. Bob.
Julie Grimes (author) from Columbia, MO USA on November 19, 2013:
Hahaha! You're too funny frog.
The Frog Prince from Arlington, TX on November 19, 2013:
I always look good in red! LMAO
Nice write and I now know what a man needs to know.
The Frog Prince