WELCOME TO BRA WEEK! This week and next, the Autostraddle writers and some special guests will be giving you the scoop on over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders and otherwise-inclined chest-covering situations — fashion, history, feelings and so much more.
Hi everybody. How are your boobs? I’m here today to talk to you about what to do with your life when your rack is too substantial to fit into “normal” department store sizes. I don’t know about you, but I was already wearing a C cup by age 11, which made middle school an awkward and uncomfortable time for all involved. When you’re already a pretty weird kid, all you really want to do is blend in, but my own body betrayed me. I was cursed with giant tits that failed to deliver anything but purely negative and altogether unwanted attention. By the time I’d reached high school, the girls in my chemistry class were calling me by a whole slew of horrible nicknames, and I was made to feel incredibly self conscious about my body for the rest of my natural life! It felt a lot like this:
All of that changed many years later, when my then-girlfriend’s best friend picked me up and took me to a place called Bratenders in New York City, where I received my first professional fitting and my first bra that actually fit. It was there that I discovered that I was not actually a 36DD but a 32G (hello ladies), that bikinis were a thing I could wear without pairing an ill-fitting XXL top with a M bottom, and that wearing the proper size opened the door to a whole new world of self confidence.
The first tip I can give you is never to go to a Victoria’s Secret or any other chain store at the mall. Your boobs don’t fit into anything they have there, and if they tell you otherwise they are lying. I spent too many years of my life wearing an ill-fitting bra and feeling miserable about my body, and I don’t wish that feeling on anyone, especially you, girl. Your feelings are important to me. The day you try on a size that actually fits you properly is the day your entire worldview and feelings about your body changes forever.
If possible, I would recommend finding a good lingerie shop nearby and getting fitted by a professional, but if that isn’t available, this Reddit thread is full of useful advice. Size is generally pretty subjective, and fits vary across brands and styles, so it’s always best to try things on first. I am only an expert in the bras that fit my particular rack and the racks of those I’m intimately familiar with, so for the purposes of this article I also consulted my good friend Emily White, president and treasurer of the imaginary International Hot Chicks With Large Racks Society.
Before we get into specific styles, there are three major complaints we must address:
+ Strapless bras are just never going to be a thing — I’m sorry. They do exist, but to my knowledge the laws of physics just have not adapted to properly create a bra capable of properly supporting any part of one’s D-or-above-sized body without straps. I have tried for years to find an acceptable solution, but they always make me miserable — they dig into my skin, and never look quite right. If anybody reading this has a better suggestion, I’d love to hear about it.
+ This is never going to be cheap. Unfortunately, most stores don’t tend to carry larger sizes, which means we have to seek coverage out elsewhere, mostly from specialty shops — which ends up being pretty expensive. On average, a quality bra can end up costing between $70-125, which is infinitely frustrating. Highly recommended spots to buy include Freya, Brastop, Jenette Bras, and my personal favorite, Linda the Bra Lady. (Autostraddle also has affiliate accounts at HerRoom, Bigger Bras, Torrid and Lane Bryant, if any of those are your merchants of choice.)
+ Emily wants me to tell you that sports bras are a particular challenge for women of generous proportion. I have no idea because I hate sports (huge rack + jumping jacks = not a pleasant gym class experience), but this moving comfort bra from RoadRunner Sports is a good place to start.
Based off of my favorite online bra-shopping spots, here are a couple of suggestions I’ve found for you and your boobs:
This is just a sample of things I found appealing — you are in no way limited by style or color! There are literally hundreds of options out there.
As for swimwear, here are a few cute suggestions I found while scouring the internet:
Please feel free to share any tips or other advice you may have in the comments. We’re all in this together.