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It’s not easy shopping for a bra—especially if you need that seemingly impossible combination of supportive and chic. Plus, many stores sell only A-DD bras, and that doesn’t come close to covering the spectrum of women’s actual sizes.
The result? We’ll often settle for something that doesn’t quite fit, says bra expert Kimmay Caldwell. With more than a decade of bra-fitting experience under her belt, Caldwell sees two issues the most: bands that are too loose and cups that are too small. “Women are mistaking loose for comfortable,” she says, adding that many women consider anything larger than a C-cup as too big and opt to size down instead (not a great idea).
Elisabeth Dale, founder of The Breast Life, a site dedicated to bras and breast health, agrees. “We’re so fixated on these different numbers,” she says. “Why not wear something that fits? You’re going to feel so much better.”
Turns out, it is possible to find a good-looking, comfortable bra that works—but you need to streamline the process by zeroing in on brands that specialize in fantastic bras for big-busted women. To find the best bras in various categories, we consulted our two experts. “A bra that fits should feel like it’s giving you a nice hug, not choking you or moving or riding up your back,” says Caldwell. Find your new huggable bra below.
This is a “workhorse bra,” says Dale—perfect for those long, busy days. It’s on the pricier end, but Dale promises that the three-part cup design, which has an extra seam to support heavy breasts, is extremely supportive and long-lasting. The elastic lining at the top of the cup is form-fitting, so you won’t get that annoying gap between breast and cup. And no worries about pesky wires poking out—this underwire is triple-wrapped for comfort.
Sizes: 30-46 band; C-J cup.
Shop it: Prima Donna Deauville Full Cup Bra, $147, barenecessities.com
More than 27,200 reviewers have given this bra a perfect five-star rating, and for good reason: extremely comfortable memory foam cups provide coverage and a slight lift, while a double layer back smooths you out in all the right places. This is a cult favorite from ThirdLove, known for its inclusive sizing options. In eight colors.
Sizes: 32-48 band; B-I cup.
Shop it: 24/7 Perfect Coverage Bra, $65, thirdlove.com
If you’d like to downplay the size of your breasts, this bra’s for you. Caldwell swears by it for minimizing size while maximizing comfort. Not only does it fit like a glove, it has a breathable mesh back to prevent bulging.
Sizes: 32-44 band; C-I cup.
Shop it: Visual Effects Underwire Minimizer Bra by Wacoal, $39-$65 depending on color and size, nordstrom.com
There’s a misconception that to get a lift, you need a wire. Not true, says Dale. This super-soft pullover bra promises up to one inch of lift—while also keeping its shape wash after wash.
Sizes: 30-44 band; A-DDD cup.
Shop it: True Body Lift Scoop Neck Bra, $58, trueandco.com
According to Caldwell, this trendy bralette provides as much support as a typical wire bra. Featuring a wide elastic band, it’s made of soft lace and microfiber and comes in red, black and white.
Sizes: 30-42 band; D-H cup
Shop it: Parfait Adrianna Lace Bralette, $48, herroom.com
Worried about back bulge? Join the club. According to Caldwell, bras with soft, wide straps help smooth things out. This bra features wide wings to combat the dreaded underarm bulge, and a four-column, two-row hook back for extra support.
Sizes: 32-44 band; C-I cup.
Shop it: Chantelle C Magnifique Minimizer Bra, $74, barenecessities.com
All-around support is crucial when working out—and this underwire bra with wide, cushioned straps claims to reduce bounce by 83 percent. Wow.
Sizes: 28-40 band; B-J cup.
Shop it: Panache Ultimate High Impact Underwire Sports Bra, $70, barenecessities.com
With more than 11,200 reviews, this bra—with lightly padded, contoured cups—is a winner. And there’s no wire! Says a fan: “This is the most comfortable bra I have ever worn! It is DEFINITELY NOT one of those bras you can't wait to change out of at the end of the day. The materials are of very high quality—silky and substantial but not overly heavy; and it provides excellent yet very comfortable support.”
Sizes: 36-44 band; B-DDD cup.
Shop it: Vanity Fair Women’s Beauty Back Full Figure Wirefree Bra, $26 with on-page coupon (was $44), amazon.com
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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