- Author Darcee Van Ee
- Published March 14, 2022
- Word count 3,142
As any woman can attest to, finding the perfect bra is a challenge that is not only frustrating, but essential to the modern woman’s wardrobe. No one, myself included, likes to wear any item of clothing for several hours only to want out of it in a matter of minutes. Yet this is often the situation with bras.
Have I found myself doing precisely that? Yeah.
Is it possible to find the perfect bra? Good question.
When I started this endeavor, I wasn’t sure, but I was more than willing to try.
So, as the saying goes, challenge accepted.
One disclaimer for my search is I did not go to a bra boutique where they measure and try to help you find the perfect size and bra for your figure. I thought before approaching this task that most women don’t despite being told in numerous articles, podcasts, influencer videos, etc., that it’s the only way to get the perfect bra. Several years ago, I did go to a boutique that claimed to have the “best-fittings in the city”, but I honestly didn’t find the experience worth it. I’ve found that the key is to measure yourself several times, be honest, and accept the size based on your calculations.
I wanted to pursue my goal in a systematic manner and decided that the first thing I needed to do was do a quick look through the internet and a few stores, okay, a lot of stores, to see what my criteria was for a perfect bra. This included the best balance I could determine for the best bra for the best price. If I couldn’t find one, then I was going to try and find one that was as close to perfect as possible.
Did you notice I used the term “my criteria”? Above all else, bras are a highly personal purchase since there is more than one difference between one bra and another as well as one person to the next. No two people are the same with the same tastes and comfort factors. While my search for the perfect bra may not be exactly what you hold as the golden standard for yourself, hopefully you will benefit from my experience.
I looked at a ton of bras online and in stores and realized that there were two things that I looked at when initially looking for a bra. (To be completely honest, there are three, but I took it as a given that while size is an option, it should not be a visual factor in the search for a bra. Besides, that’s a different article all together. So, please trust me when I say that I did my due diligence. I measured a bunch of times, made the calculations, took the average, and found my REAL size of bra.)
The two aspects of a bra that first grab my attention?
That’s right. I found the initial features that attract my attention are color and style. I don’t think I’m the first person to ever say that seeing the usual bra colors for a well-endowed woman can be pretty underwhelming. How exciting is it to find white and black bras? Or…the coveted nude / beige? Yeah, not exactly the highlight of my day, week, or month either. So, color in a larger cup bra is pretty unique and checks one of my “covet” boxes.
As for style… this is another category that I find both equally appealing and frustrating. I love the flexibility of demi-cups, (appealing) but most are either flimsy for my cup size (which isn’t that large) or fail what I like to call the “jiggle” test (frustrating). This involves bending over at the waist and shaking your shoulders side to side to see if anything jiggles out of the cups of the bra. At the same time, I love full-coverage bras for the over-all wearability and support (appealing), but most look like something my grandmother would have approved of (frustrating). Another style of bra I love is the minimizer bra since these lovelies make it possible for me to wear button front shirts without having the buttons pop open (appealing). Problem is, they rarely stand-up to holding the girls snug without becoming uncomfortable or the underwire digging into areas of the human body that should not happen (frustrating).
I have to admit to one other little aspect that really appeals to me and despite more representation as of late, it remains mostly elusive to those of us who are not small, in either cup size or band width. Lace. I love lace. The more lace, the better. Colorful. Plain. Ornate. Multi-hued. Soft. Lots and lots of lace. Did I mention I love lace?
As you can imagine, I find simply LOOKING at bras an appealing and frustrating task, but the effort can be worth it, especially when you find a gem and get a bra that is as close to perfect as you’ve imagined.
The list of traits I use to consider a bra perfect for me, after the initial look are:
Underwire. I love keeping the girls where they are supposed to be. Lots of people argue that non-wired bras are better for you in the long run, but I have never found a bra without wire that is comfortable and keeps the required separation between the ladies.
Lace. I think I covered this one already. Keep in mind, I’m looking for the perfect bra. PERFECT.
Support. There is absolutely no point in strapping on a bra that doesn’t give some kind of support. I’m not looking for a sports bra that keeps them from moving even an inch while I’m doing burpees or jogging. I’m simply referring to an everyday, this is going to look and feel great, kind of bra.
Wider shoulder straps. No matter what the bra expert or novice bra influencer says, I refuse to wear a bra without reasonable straps. They offer stability. They offer support. They offer comfort. I could go on a real word rampage on this one, showing all the reasons why a wider strap is better than a pencil thin strap for women who are in the same situation as myself, but I’ll save that for another day. Again, my bra. My opinion.
2 to 3 hook closure. This impacts the overall support of the bra. If the hooks in the back are simply meant to hold the bra together, I’d think a one hook closure would be enough, but that isn’t really what they are there for. The number of hooks can directly impact the level of support offered to the bra. I like both, depending on the bra.
Supportive coverage. Demi bras and full-coverage bras can offer the same supportive coverage depending on how well they are made. Prior to this experience I would have sworn it was impossible to find a demi-bra that would give me what I was seeking, but I did. Yeah, I was surprised too. Nevertheless, my go-to is usually a full-coverage for daily attire and now, a demi-cup will be for those occasions I need something just a little more “open” across the front.
Comfort. Is the fabric soft? Silky? Not itchy? The feel of the fabric combined with all the other features should lead to a comfortable bra. When the bra is on, it should feel like you are wearing a bra, one that you are happy to wear all day.
Quality. I want to believe that most companies out there do their best to build a great bra. Otherwise, they’d be out of business faster than they could think up a solution to poor craftsmanship. The stitching, type of elastic, quality of fabric, finishing touches, everything that goes into the making of a bra needs to be done with quality as a focus. If the bra is of poor quality, it will fall apart and the repeat business for the company who made it can kiss follow-up sales good-bye.
My goal was to find the PERFECT bra.
I tried on what I felt was a respectable number of bras, 20. I felt that with a lot of online research that included looking at customer reviews as well as articles about great bras, I should be able to find a perfect bra without trying on a thousand, okay a hundred, bras. Honestly, I don’t think my sanity could handle trying on that many bras.
I was not interested in purchasing a bra, or five, that would be okay. I wanted a perfect bra or one as close to perfect that I could find.
At times, this challenge felt impossible. The reviews were a great tool to filter out the majority of poor-quality bras, but they lead me to try on a few that were not at all what I would expect for the price and hype. The articles were educational and directed me to trying on several bras, but again, there were a few that didn’t match up to my expectations, especially when it came to the reputation of the publisher for the various articles. Nevertheless, I had accepted the challenge and was determined to see it through.
With all of that said, here’s what ended up happening.
I eliminated well over half of the bras after the first try since they were so far from tolerable that I barely had them on before I was desperately reaching for the clasp. They were horrible.
I will not mention the names of the brands since I feel that these bras didn’t work for me, but they may for someone else. It wasn’t my goal to run a smear campaign on the brands that didn’t work. Furthermore, many of these bras were from companies that are well known in the industry and have been in the business for ages. While many women are obviously fine with their products, I wasn’t.
What made them horrible? Great question and one that I will happily reveal to you. Besides, you deserve to know where I drew the line on my top features for a perfect bra and the rest that didn’t make the cut.
First… BULLET BRAS! I honestly thought the bullet bra shape or cone shape that was popular from the 40’s to the 60’s in America was well over. Yet, here I was, 2022 and I found bras with that cup shape…on me. I didn’t think my breast shape is that strange, but…
Second… ARE YOU SURE THIS IS THE CORRECT BAND SIZE? I’m an average size band, 36, and a few of the bras were so tight I couldn’t get the hook and eye closure close enough to touch, let alone fasten. Again, I honestly thought maybe there was something wrong with me. I had to remind myself that I had done my due diligence prior to the try on phase of this adventure in bra trials. I watched multiple bra sizing videos, measured myself multiple times, and found my best size. These bras were not the right band size.
Third… YOU CALL THIS FABRIC? If I couldn’t stand touching the fabric because it was too rough, I was not willing to sacrifice my delicate skin to an all-day exfoliation procedure. I like soft skin as much as the next person, but that long is torture, plain and simple. It really surprised me to find bras from prominent brands that had fabric I couldn’t stand.
Finally… SUPPORT? WHAT SUPPORT? I tried many bras that were padded and not padded. I was not looking for a bra to improve the perceived size of my breasts. I wanted a light padding that provides a little coverage and helps maintain the shape of the lace cups and gives some support to the girls. I have found that if a bra doesn’t have any padding, the cups tend to stretch out faster.
Was I successful? Yes…and no.
Allow me to further explain.
Out of all the articles and research I did, everyone that encourage bras for the curvier figure, suggested ones that looked great and felt great on someone decidedly smaller than me. By a lot. Not cool. Not cool at all. How is someone going to find the perfect bra for a curvy figure if no one actually tells the truth about these bras? The articles should be informative and offer some realistic suggestions, not be used as an advertising platform. So, I will share my top bras as well as a couple honorable mentions.
I found 4 bras out of the 20 I tried that were as close to perfect as I could find. Out of those four, one stood out ahead of the rest.
The bra I would declare my fourth favorite is a great fitting bra, by a company called Bali and the bra name is Women’s Lace Desire Non-Foam Underwire Bra and can be found in a lot of different physical locations as well as online. It isn’t my absolute favorite because it isn’t lined with any form of padding, the straps are a little narrow, it only has a two hook and eye closure, and the side panels are narrower than the other three. You’d think I wouldn’t purchase it; however, it was super pretty, with a delicate lace pattern, it’s a full-coverage bra, and it fit rather well (comfortable). It’s the kind of bra that I prefer to wear in the summer heat. Honestly, it’s so sheer that I won’t be able to wear it in polite company under a thin top. Oh! Another factor against it…it was white. So…lace, but no color.
My third favorite bra is also a lovely but didn’t quite hit all the points on my perfect bra checklist. It’s by Vanity Fair called Women’s Beauty Back Lace Full Figure Underwire Bra and can be found online and in physical stores. It’s a bra that holds the girls in without cutting into the shoulder. The sides are wide, providing side coverage and it has a three hook and eye closure. This is a great sheer top or t-shirt bra since it’s fully lined so there won’t be any unwanted exposure. Sounds like a perfect bra, right? Well, it was close, however two major marks against it bumped it down to third place. One, it had very little lace, so little that the bra is more utilitarian than pretty. Two, it’s beige. It’s an underwhelming yet functional bra, that’s comfortable.
My second favorite bra was a super close runner-up to my favorite. It’s from a prior unknown company called ROSME and the bra name is Women’s Balconette Bra with Padded Straps, from their “Eliza” line. I discovered it on Amazon. It’s a lovely demi-cup bra, with lots of lace, wide padded straps, high side panels, a three hook and eye closure, and fully lined. Honestly, it fit well and was quite comfortable, however, it missed two things. One, if you bend over very far, you pop out. Yikes! I know demi-cup bras are supposed to go rather low and wide across the top of your breasts, but I like to stay in my bra when I happen to lean over to pick something up off the ground. So, a point against the bra. Second, it’s black. Again, another underwhelming color for an otherwise lovely bra. So little imagination when it comes to these bra colors for larger busted ladies.
Finally, my top pick is another bra that I’d previously never heard of but was recommended to me by a friend and after reading the reviews, I gave it a try. I have to say, I was super surprised. It’s by De La Ville Pleasures and can be found on Amazon. I selected the Jolie bra and boy was I impressed with the bra. It has lots of colorful lace, lightly padded, wide straps, a two-hook and eye closure, and wide side panels. What set this bra above the rest is the rich color combination on the lace, which covered the entire cup of the bra, and the look of a demi-cup with the hold of a full-coverage bra. The lace was primarily white, but there were these great shots of vibrant multi-color in a floral pattern throughout. (They offer a bunch of other colors as well, which is a real treat in my size category.) I tried my bend over test to see if I fell out and even wiggled a little, but I didn’t. Yeah! My only fault with this bra is the hook closure. I prefer three hooks, but for a two-hook closure, it provided a surprising amount of support where it’s supposed to.
Now for my two honorable mentions.
My first honorable mention is by Prima Donna called the Women’s Madison Full Cup Bra. It’s a bra with great reviews and although it is out of my personal price category, I gave it a try. I selected the bluebell color, since I have a preference for all things colorful. The straps are wide, the side panels as well. The lace is minimal, just a shot at the top of the bra cup, and the fabric is not quite what I was expecting. It fit well enough, but I expected more from a bra that cost over 100 USD.
My second honorable mention is the amarsex Women’s Sexy Lace Bra Unlined Sheer Underwire Bras Floral See Through Plus Size Full Coverage Bra from Amazon. It’s a company I’ve never heard of but based on the reviews and some personal recommendations from friends, I gave it a try. It’s a sheer bra with a pretty lace pattern across the cups. The bra is in a soft pinky lavender color. The side panels are wide, and the fastening is my preferred three hook and eye closure. However, it just isn’t as comfortable as the other bras. While the other bras, including the other honorable mention held firm to the breastbone between the cups, this one did not. The support wasn’t quite as I’d hoped based on the reviews.
Well, that’s my long story of trying to find my perfect bra. I felt fortunate to find four that were so lovely and felt so comfortable that I kept all of them. What surprised me most was my top two favorites are from brands that aren’t well known but should be. Take a risk, try something new and I hope my experience helps you in finding your perfect bra.