Shopping: Bras, Bras, Bras

(“Bras, Bras, Bras” to be whined in an intonation similar to the infamous “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”)

Sometimes I wonder if the bra I wear most is as supportive as they feel or if I’m just really used to them—in fact, I think a lot of bra comfort has to do with what you’re used to and what you look for in a bra.  I want it to hold up my boobs, mainly, and to also provide some separation and definition.  I’m not a fan of minimizers for daily wear.   I generally find soft cups either don’t provide enough support for me OR they use way too much compression.   (I do find a cotton soft cup with compression is great for exercising.  Not so great for work.  But that’s me.)

The bra I’ve been using for years is the Lilyette Women’s Maximum Support #908 (thru 44DDD) which is also known as Cortland Full Figure Underwire (thru 52DDD). Usually I find these for $24-$34.   However, they have gotten harder to find.  The local Macy’s and Nordstrom’s quit carrying them; the local Catherine’s sometimes has them but only in soft cup, which I always feel I’m drooping out of.

I’ve been wearing these in both 46DDD and 44DDD, depending on time of the month, but the 46DDD are becoming bigger (or I’m slightly smaller) and moves around too much.   Meanwhile the 44DDDs are older and very worn. I also tend to adjust them to make them fit — often bending the underwires inward toward the breastbone, or removing the stays on either side.

So I’ve been trying some new bras.  In particular, I’ve been looking into larger cup sizes.  The Elomi Jasmine underwire full coverage bra I initially found at Nordstrom’s in 44G.  The band is tight, yes, but the underwires are right against my breastbone in front, and the girls feel lighter somehow.  Thrilled, I bought 2.  At first it was great for the first few hours, a bit tight/weird for the next 3-4 hours, and then uncomfortable after that.  I have to keep my torso straighter in this bra; I would not attempt yoga in it, and the underwires do come right up to my armpits.  Now, well, either the band’s stretched a bit or I’m getting more used to it, but it’s much more comfortable — at least for the first 10 hours.

The Elomis are priced at $54 though, which, ow.

Again, I’m not sure how much of the comfort/discomfort is about what I’m used to and how much is the bra itself.   But I wanted to try a few others.  I’d given up on Lane Bryant for bras, but I’d heard on the Fatshionista LJ group that Lane Bryant does have larger-cup bras in their Cacique stores, and there is one in the greater Seattle area.  So I ventured south to Tukwila and tried some, eventually purchasing a Cacique (LB) Lace full coverage bra with seamless cups in 46DDD that felt great the first hour or so  … and then I felt like my boobs were falling out, as in, the cups are smoothing but not supportive.  Tightening the band and straps didn’t help.  Also, a month had gone by, too–a month in which I began working out more frequently.  My 46DDD Lilyettes are looser too.  So I got a 44DDD (in blue!) a few weeks ago.  The band was a little tight but the cup fit was excellent…

I thought …

Until yesterday, when again, I felt like the cups weren’t, um, there.  Or not there enough.  Then, about 4:30, I looked down to see a white-tipped underwire poking out between the buttons on my blouse.

Head, meet desk.  Only no, don’t, not sure what that would do to the underwire.  I adjusted my blouse to cover the wire, went to the women’s room, undressed in the stall, and poked the underwire back into place.  Then I went home to change.

So now I get to decide if I want to try to return a two-week old bra that has been worn 3 or 4 times.  Without receipt.  Or if I want to sew the underwire’s “doorway” closed, and perhaps only wear it to be seen in.  (AKA a “date bra”).

Also, in the meantime?  My 46DDD Lilyettes are looser yet, to the point where the stay on the left-hand side (I lean to the left when mousing) has actually scraped some of my skin off last week.  I wore exercise bras all weekend to help with healing.  Today I’m wearing an Elomi bra, which fits snugly and doesn’t have side stays.

And I think I’ll be getting more of the 44DDD Lilyettes.



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21 responses to “Shopping: Bras, Bras, Bras”

  1. Clover Avatar

    I’m down to 3 bras, but it’s so discouraging trying to find bras. I don’t live near any fat stores, and bras are such an important thing, I hate buying them over the internet without getting to try them on! Despite all the times my stupid underwire has popped out at the wrong time, or rubbed my armpit raw, I hate bras that DON’T have underwire– they just don’t “lift” the same!

    1. living400lbs Avatar

      YES. This is part of why I keep wearing the Lilyettes – even though I don’t find them locally anymore, they’re reliable enough I can order them relatively safely.

      At Nordstrom and LB I tried on 3-4 styles/sizes. But I only bought 1 size/style at each.

      (Sometimes I feel like Peg Bundy in the “Married With Children” episode where she finds out her favorite bra’s been discontinued.)

  2. Anna Avatar


    I recently shot up two cup sizes and a band size, and now apparently I’m forbidden to wear anything colourful or cute. It’s all beige from here on in.

    Well, um, NO.

    1. living400lbs Avatar

      One thing I will say for LB is they do have colors.

      I’ve also been known to dye mine. ;)

    2. MaryP Avatar


      I know all about the “no cute bras” issue. I have a small cup size, but a big band size. Most times, when I’d get a band big enough to go around me, the cups (B or C, mind you) would be wide enough to end up under my arm pits! :-O So anyway, I hit on the idea of using bra extenders. With them, you can get a really cute little “date night” bra, (even though the band is too small) then make it big enough around to fit with extenders. I know the support won’t be great if your “cups runneth over”, but sometimes a girl just wants a pretty bra! ;-> I found them at the Vermont Country Store
      They only come in white, but you could still make a great entrance. ;->

  3. Mulberry Avatar

    Have you tried the bras at They carry plenty of bras in large band sizes and a wide range of cup sizes too. The prices are fairly reasonable.
    For those of you whose cups “runneth over”, they’ve started carrying Elila bras, which have cup sizes up to M.

  4. jerriselaina Avatar

    All my bras are falling apart. I haven’t bought a new one in 3 years. And none of them fit well. :: mournful hand to forehead ::

    I am thinking of, from here on out, never buying anything but sports bras.

  5. Serenity Avatar

    My most favorite bra sadly had a transmogrification experience the last time i washed it whereby the underwire mysteriously removed itself from the bra, but there are NO signs of exit … very Star Trek.
    I find there is no correlation between price and comfort and fit, but i’m not that big a cup size, SIGH. So i can root around on Sears’ clearance racks and find deals. (ha, i said racks)
    Sports bras also solve that ‘straps not staying on my shoulders’ problem, which i expect is mostly due to my poor posture. Gah.

    1. living400lbs Avatar

      I’ve had that happen :)

      I’ve found that bras that fit better stay on my shoulders better. But I also have broad shoulders (ha, I said broad)

  6. LLL Avatar

    I find that sports bras are the only option that doesn’t drive me insane by the end of the day. I’m allergic to lace and underwire. I’m blessed with a partner who sews, so she copied my current favorite bra. I had bought some bras from Penningtons about ten years ago, but they made their entire sports bra line about half its original size, and most other sports bras I’ve tried don’t work for me. You’d think it would be a simple thing to find a sports bra that would fit. Sigh.

  7. Lori Avatar

    I hate finding bras. Hate it hate it hate it. I went up to a 38J when I was pregnant/nursing, and even after I lost the baby weight, the extra boobage was there to stay. I’m already up to a 38K at 4 months pregnant, and I have no idea what I’m going to do if I end up going up another cup size or two, since I had pretty much already needed the largest nursing bras I could find with my son.

    I think I’m just going to take the time to figure out how to get a good fit from a Decent Exposures bra (which will probably involve a lot of sending back and making adjustments), then order myself like 3-4 nursing bras from them, and a nursing cami or two. They don’t give as much lift as I’d like (at least not when I tried them in the past), but at least they have a huge size range and are great about customizing.

    1. living400lbs Avatar

      A friend who wears a J cup loves Decent Exposures, but she wears 2 at a time for more support. Just a thought.

  8. wellroundedmama Avatar

    Lori, I have a whole list of companies that carry larger-sized nursing bras on my website in the Plus-Sized Maternity and Nursing Clothes FAQs. You might find some ideas there. Decent Exposures is listed there, and is a lovely company to work with, although I personally never found their really large cups supportive enough while I was breastfeeding. YMMV.

    My most difficult problem now is finding bras without underwires, yet which are supportive enough. Most non-underwire bras stop at a D or DD cup. Underwires look great on me, but I simply cannot wear them comfortably for any length of time.

    My most comfortable bras currently come from Cacique (the brand carried in Lane Bryant stores). They make a nice wireless bra up to about a 48DDD, and it comes in colors and patterns in many (but not all) sizes. It’s sort of like a sports bra but better. I think they have some online ordering available now.

    Just another brand to consider.

  9. […] I’d been meaning to post about my new bras for a while, but kept forgetting. Thanks to this post over at Living ~400 Pounds it finally got done. (You’ll appreciate that one more than mine if you’re over a D […]

  10. Constance Avatar

    After buying a cute sundress from Avenue this spring I sadly discovered all my current bras peeped out of the vee neckline. Last month, in search of a beige seamless front close bra, I took a chance on a side wired bra from Comfort Choice. This brand is sold through Woman Within and One Stop Plus.

    I tried it on, it fit well, then pulled on that cute sundress. Success! It not only lifted the girls well, it kept out of sight. I wore both bra and dress to a party recently and received many compliments. And, best of all, the bra was comfortable the entire time (probably 8 hours straight).

  11. Constance Avatar

    Re: Dying bras. How do you do it? Do you use Rit dye or a special fabric dye?

    1. living400lbs Avatar

      I used Rit dye, which was probably not the best since it required hot water. But it was fun to have a fuschia bra ;)

      1. Constance Avatar

        Ooo, I must try this! I’ve had a yen for both deep green and royal purple bras.

  12. […] is too long, but as they were also visibly worn I figured I just needed non-stretched-out ones.  My Elomis are fitting better, but the underwires come right up to my armpits, and I like the […]

  13. Extremely Discouraged Avatar
    Extremely Discouraged

    I am 440 pounds at present and have not been able to find a bra for years. After measuring for the millionth time my band size is 64 inches and my cup size at most B, probably half way beyween A and B. Does anyone make bras with a 64″ band?

  14. Ml Avatar

    Thank you for sharing. In my opinion, Most bra designers have no idea how to design a bra for morbid obese women with large cups and in my case with large 52- 54″ band size DDD.. I’m still looking for the perfect bra with full coverage support, back smoothing, no side spillage and lifts large saggy boobs and made from sturdy materials. For now I wear a Glamorise Women’s No-Bounce Camisole Sports Bra 50F with a bra extender.

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