Lately I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I was wearing the wrong size bra. The back of my bra keep creeping up, the front kept sliding down, my underwires weren’t staying put. Something had to be off. Furthermore I desperately needed a strapless bra for all these adorable off the shoulder looks that I’ve been dying to stitch up and wear this summer. I went online to herroom.com to start bra shopping. Because I didn’t know my true size I had one of two options, I could go online and purchase 3-4 different sizes in 3-4 different styles and brands, have them shipped, then return them all, or have a proper fitting. I chose the latter and I am so glad I did!
After doing a little googling I booked an appointment with The Philly Bra Lady to get properly measured and get an education on all things bras. The Philly Bra Lady is owned and operated by Karima Renee. Karima knows everything about bras and breasts and was able to break it all down for me. We discussed how a bra supports the breasts, what a well-fitting bra looks like, how the bra should function, and differences in bra shapes and sizes.
After Karima took me to boob-school it was time for my measurements. Now for the past 2 years I’ve been wearing a 38D. Karima took one look at my breasts spilling out of my supposedly full coverage bra and knew I was in the wrong size. After lots and lots of measurements and a math formula I’m not sure I understand we arrived at my new bra size. A 38G. How in the world!? I was literally speechless. But we put that 38G on and sure enough I filled out the entire bra, there was zero spillage and I was totally covered.
After our visit, Karima sent me my “bra-perscription” which included clickable links for suggested bras to purchase.
Everyday bras for full-busts
The brands Karima suggested for me were Curvy Couture, Fitfully Yours, Wacoal and Chantelle. After trying on all these different brands in my new size, I decided on the Wacoal and Chantelle brands. Both the Fit Fully Yours and Curvy Couture bras didn’t work for my shape.
Honestly, I had no idea a bra was supposed to cover so much! The lingerie ads we see are totally misleading. Boobs squished together, spilling out of cups, armpit boob, all this should be contained within the cup of the bra for the best support. And I also just have to note, a little tip to bra companies. When advertising bras that go up to J cups, why not feature models with J cups. I am not impressed by your bra holding up an A. Show me your bra holding up a G, H or J and I’ll say brava!
Strapless bras for full-busts
When I asked Karima for a strapless option for my bra size, I was sure she was going to suggest a long-line style (which I detest wearing in the heat of summer) but thankfully she suggested something much more comfortable. For strapless, Karima recommended the Fantastie Smoothing Strapless Bra, which was unfortunately sold out my size and the Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Bra. The Fantastie strapless is available in sizes 30B-42G and the Wacoal bra is available in sizes 30C-40H. I am absolutely loving the Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless bra. I even wore it as a regular bra while I waited for my new bras to come in. I was blown away by the support and structure. It’s super effective and after a brief wearing-in period I was able to wear it for an entire day without issue.
Sports bras for Full-Busts
As for sports bras, Karima recommended the Wacoal Sports Underwire Bra which comes in sizes 32C-40H and 42DDD. I haven’t yet ordered this but I plan to!
Here are my bra tips, taught to me by the Philly Bra Lady!
Every bra is made up of 5 parts: band, cups, straps, closure and bridge and all should fit properly to ensure every part of the bra is doing its part.
The band is the most important part of the bra. Think of this as the foundation of your bra. It should fit snuggly around the rib cage.
The bridge is the triangular shape that separates the cups and should lay flat against the chest (or as flat as possible) and functions to keep the breasts separate. When your breasts are too big for the cup size, they will start to overflow into the bridge area, forcing the bridge off the chest. This is a telltale sign that your cup size is too small.
The straps should not dig into the shoulder. If they are that means the other parts of the bra aren’t doing their job. Full busted women should look for thicker straps and as well as infinity straps, or straps that can freely move all the way forwards and backwards. When you first buy a bra the straps should be on the longest setting. Over time, as the bra stretches out, you can shorten the straps.
The cups should cover the entire breast including armpit boob! Depending on your shape different kinds of cups works for different women. If you have very round breasts, all cup shapes will generally work. If your breasts are full on the bottom and shallower on top a soft cup bra is preferable. Try different cup shapes and materials to find your ideal fit.
The cup size changes as the band size changes, even if you are buying the same lettered size. So for example, a 36D and and a 38D will have a larger band size (obviously, 36 v. 38) but will ALSO have a larger cup size even though they are both technically a D cup. Who knew?!
When wearing a new bra the closure should be on the last hook (the hook closest to the opening). Over time the bra will stretch and the additional hooks will allow you to tighten the band.
The majority of the breast tissue should be contained inside the bra (contrary to what many lingerie ads depict). This includes the breast tissue that creeps out towards the armpit, all tissue should be in, up and forward!
The back of the bra should rest at about 4-6 inches above the small of the back. If it starts to creep up the back you aren’t wearing the correct size. So if you are wearing a tank, you shouldn’t see your bra poking out the top of the back of the shirt). As the band creeps up in the back it lowers in the front, offering less support and creating an off-balance, see-saw effect.
Bras should always be washed by hand, in cold water with baby shampoo. You should always air dry your bras and make sure they are 100% dry (generally two days of drying time) before wearing them again.
It’s ideal to have 5-7 bras in your collection that you rotate daily in order to get the best wear and longevity out of your bras. Never wear a bra 2 days in a row if you want to get the optimal longevity out of your bra.
Back bulge can be minimized with a wider band, by wearing the proper band size and ensuring that the band in resting in the appropriate place. The band should fit snuggly.
I’ve been wearing my bras for a few weeks now and I can not get over the difference! I feel better supported, more comfortable and my clothes just look better! I even wore a strapless bra for an entire day from 8am-10pm with ZERO issues. Just incredible!
Karima suggests getting fitted at least 1X per year. Our bodies are constantly changing so it’s important to get measured to make sure that you are wearing the right size and experiencing unparalleled support. If you’re in the Philly area I HIGHLY recommend a fitting with Karima. She comes directly to your home and makes you feel totally at ease. This woman knows her stuff!
If you’re outside of the Philadelphia area try your local Nordstrom’s. And I beg of you, do not go to Victoria’s Secret. Although they are a household name, their bras do nothing for the full-busted woman. Get a good fitting from a reputable bra-fitter and get bras in the right size that do what they are meant to do: lift, separate and support!
Have a bra question?? Leave it below!
Happy Sewing, Styling and SHOPPING!