Plus Size Bras: A Shopping Guide for Cups that Runneth Over

If you’re a plus sized woman, you have special concerns when it comes to bra shopping-concerns that Victoria’s Secret doesn’t take into account. Designers have finally discovered plus size lingerie, and specialty shops are springing up all over the web. But it’s important not to be distracted by all that silk and lace. And don’t be intimidated by the price tags. This guide will help you choose the kind of plus sized bras you’ll need for every occasion, while keeping an eye on your budget.

A plus sized woman should own five different kinds of bras in four levels of support.

1. Sport Bras
If you can find the motivation to exercise regularly, always have a separate fitness bra. Don’t ruin your fashion bras by exposing them to sweat and bounce. That’s not what they were made for. Invest in a racer-back bra that will hold you tightly so that you can work out without wearing out your foundation garments. A good sports bra will last you quite a while, and you may be better off buying one from a catalog like Just My Size than trying to find one in the stores. If you’re worried that sports bras are too flexible and that you’ll need more support, check out Junonia’s Serious Motion Control Bra. It’s on the pricey side, but if you do laundry regularly, you’ll only need one.

2. Cotton Bras for Home Use
Don’t be fooled into buying what designers are calling a ‘leisure bra’. Most plus sized women have breasts that are too heavy for the barely-there support of a leisure bra. You’d be better off saving your money and going without. You should, however, have a soft cotton bra for home wear. These types of bras are now made in supportive designs offered at Lane Bryant and other plus sized clothing stores. If you don’t find an option you like at a retail store, consider the selection of cotton bras at Her Room. Cotton bras won’t lift and separate like an under wire or full support bra, but if you have to run an errand they’ll get you to the store and back without embarrassment if you run into an old friend. Plus, the flexibility will be good on your back and shoulders, which take enough punishment during the week.

3. Maximum Support Bra
Which brings me to the support bra. You know the bra I’m talking about. It lifts, it separates, it holds everything in place. Once you put one of these on, the girls are locked and loaded. This is the bra that should be worn under your clothes when you want to look polished and professional. Your clothes will look better on you, and you’ll look about ten pounds thinner. The fact that you won’t want to wear these for more than ten hours in a row is the price we pay for fashion.

Goddess makes the most supportive bras on the market, and they’re pretty to boot. For those of you who prefer under wire, consider Lane Bryant’s line of Cacique bras with push-up pillows inserted into the lining. They give a sexy, smooth lift that eradicates any sign of sagging. But disappointingly, Cacique still doesn’t offer their bras in the full range of plus sizes and those on the extreme ends are better off sticking with Goddess.

4. Everyday Support
Finally, every woman should own a medium support bra for those days when we need to be at the office or looking our best. You have to be careful with this kind of bra because if you don’t buy it a little smaller than you’re expected to it will eventually stretch and then you might as well be wearing the cheaper cotton variety and sitting around in your sweatpants. Catherines offers the finest retail selection of plus size everyday ware bras, and the Avenue isn’t bad either. At the very least, go to the stores and try some on. Even if you are just going to search for deals online later, you’ll have a clue as to what looks great on you.

5. A Sexy Bra
Every plus sized woman should feel like the sexy woman that she really is, regardless of her size. Surprisingly, Ebay is a reasonable option when looking for fun and sexy plus size bras on a budget. You can even set up a notifier to alert you when bras your size are listed for auction. Look for a bra that makes you feel pretty, one that has lace or whispers across your skin like a kiss. Experiment with patterns or animal prints. And don’t worry too much about the level of support, because this is a bra you probably won’t be wearing very long.

It might take you a while to assemble all the necessary pieces of your lingerie wardrobe, and that’s ok. Take it a step at a time, and consider it a long range project. With some planning and patience, you’ll always have the right bra for every occasion.

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