My first bra review!

Hi! I’m Nicole!

I’ve been reading/following a UK goddess at Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust for quite some time. The premise of this blog? Finding best fitting bras in the UK for cup sizes F +, and testing out different stores for their bra fitting knowledge and ability. I was inspired to start this blog because, while I love all of the info that Georgina provides at FFFB, it is a UK based blog, and I’ve been looking for a blog that focused on bras that are available in the US – even if our selection is very limited.

For this post, I am going to write about a recent fitting I had at Lane Bryant, and then I will post pics and descriptions of the bras that are currently making their appearances in my closet (and are easy for American women to find).

Some of my background: I worked at Lane Bryant for 2 years, and was a bra fitting goddess. No woman ever left the store without a best fitting bra that (1) did not ride up in the back, (2) whose straps did not dig into the shoulders, (3) cups that comfortably surrounded all of the breast tissue – i.e. no under arm bulge, and the center gore sat flush against the chest. Most of the customers that I worked with were DD – G cup.

WIth that being said, you’d think I would be able to always find bras to fit myself perfectly! However, when you’re a busty lady, it’s always tough to find the best style and fit for your frame, shape, and size. Over the last 10 months, I have lost about 50 pounds, and with this loss, my bra size has definitely changed (though I can’t say I’ve kept up with those changes well. Big Breast Bras are expensive!). For reference, I am 5’4″, about 260 pounds, I wear a US size 18/20 tops, size 20 bottoms, and 14/16 dress. My under bust measures 41″, and my bust measurement is 53″.

Recently, I went back into Lane Bryant for a bra fitting and to purchase some bras (they have a great semi-annual sale, Buy 2, get 2 for free). I hadn’t had a fitting in a while, but before the weight loss, I was wearing 44Gs at LB, so I grabbed some cotton balconettes *pictures to follow* and tried them on in 42 Hs. I felt comfortable in the size, and so I asked a sales girl if she could do a fitting, just so I could be sure that I was in the right size.

The sales girl (whom I later learned was the manager on duty) asked me to pull up on my straps to lift my breasts. She then took a measurement under my bust (44), and then placed the measuring tape over the fullest part of my bust (she did not give me a number). She then declared me to be a 44 DDD. I looked at the girl and I said “Wow, really? I have a 42 H on right now, and it feels comfortable, and fits well, too.” She said “Yeah, I mean….you can go down a band size from the 44. Sometimes I do that when I want my bra to fit more snugly.” But that did not account for the US cup difference of 2 cup sizes! The sales girl did not ask to see how my bra fit, and I was clearly disappointed in the fitting.

I feel good in the 42H in the cotton balconette, but I do feel as though 40s provide more support….however, as you’ll see soon… I’m not sure that Hs are going to cut it anymore if I go down to a 40!

Elomi Tamarie 
Purchased at Nordstrom’s Columbus, Ohio, $60.00
Size:  UK/US 42 G
Style: Full coverage, non padded
# hooks: 3

Notes: The band rolls a bit, suggesting that it would be too tight, but the 42 is actually very loose (something that I have found with Elomi bras in general). Despite the central gore sitting flush with my chest, I do have some side spillage, though not terrible. The shape is OK, it’s mildly pointy, and I prefer a more round shape.

Prima Donna Madison
Purchased at Intimacy in Chicago, on Michigan Avenue – $116.00
Size: UK 42H
Style: Full coverage, non padded
# Hooks: 3


Notes: I so badly want to love this bra. One, it’s gorgeous, and two it was hella expensive. I bought this bra after being fit at Intimacy in Chicago, a store that carries many European bras, and up to a K cup, I believe. I don’t remember how I had heard about Intimacy, but I went there to visit a grad school in Chicago and had to go into Intimacy. The bra fitting itself is an experience that any D+ woman should have. The sales women are very helpful and are very “Hands On” with their fittings. When I was fit into the Madison, we struggled to find something that covered the ‘side-boob’, but also had a center gore that sat flush against my chest. Compromises were made.

Things I love about the Madison: The shape of the cup pulls the ‘side-boob’ in, and pushes it forward, away from the underarms (which is really nice). The band is very supportive…..however, the top part of the cup is a stretchy lace that does not seem to provide the most support, and the center gore never truly sat flush against my chest. The uplift and shape of this bra are A+ fantastic, but I can say I have only worn this ONCE after spending so much money on it. In addition, the bra is supposed to have a delicate crystal adornment on the central gore that fell off after the first washing! I am going back to Chicago in a couple weeks and I look forward to having a fitting at Intimacy again.

Elomi Cleo
Purchased at Nordstrom’s, Columbus – $58.00
Size: UK/US 40 GG
Style: Full coverage, non padded
# hooks: 3

Notes: I purchased the Cleo after noticing that my other Elomi bras had stretched out a lot, so I wanted to get a 40 in an Elomi. Naturally, I went to a GG, since I had worn a 42G in the other Elomi styles. What’s interesting about this bra is that it fits very well around – snug, but not tight – the central gore sits flush against my chest, but there is MAJOR side spillage. It’s a beautiful bra, but it just does not provide the side coverage that I need. At about this time in my taking pictures I realized that I would love to try ANY bra in a 40, but in a cup bigger than a G or an H…. I am thinking that I am probably going to feel most comfortable in a 40 J or something?!

The following reviews are all Cacique by Lane Bryant, various styles.

Balconette
Purchased at LB, $44.00
Size: 42 G
Style: Balconette, full coverage, lightly padded
# hooks: 4

Notes: The shape of the LB balconette is round, and subtle, which is very nice under clothing. The straps are comfortable, but can sometimes pinch a bit. As you can see, the center gore just about sits flush against my chest, meaning that I would wear this, but will probably find that my breasts shift throughout the day. I’d love if I could do a GG instead of having to go into an H in this style.

Bandeau Bra
Purchased online at LB – $48.00
Size: 44 G
Style: Bandeau, convertible straps in the back, lightly padded
# hooks: 5


Notes: This clearly does not fit how it should. The band is too big, and the cup is too small. It is, however, very pretty, and I like that the straps are convertible.

Plunge
Purchased at LB – $42.00
Size: 44 F
Style: Plunge, convertible straps, optional air pad inserts, padded
# hooks: 4

Notes: The band is too big, and the cup is slightly too small, but I do still wear this bra for plunging necklines (though I adjust ALL night long). It is versatile, the shape is nice, and it obviously provides some pretty kickin cleavage. In addition, LB does NOT currently sell this style in FGH cups.

French Full Coverage
Purchased online at LB – $42.00
Style: Full coverage, lightly padded
Size: 42 H
# hooks: 4

Notes: This bra is some kind of terrible. The lower half of the cup is very supportive and provides a nice shape, but the top half of the cup is just awful. The lace has no stretch or structure to it! The overall shape is very Madonna-ish, and I did not like it. Also, the 42 H did not even come close to sitting flush against my chest. The band is fairly loose. I bought this bra in cream and black, returned the black and kept the cream because I had already tried to wear it for a day. Boo!

Cotton Balconette
Purchased at LB – $36.00
Style: Balconette, full coverage, lined, not padded
Size: 42 H
# hooks: 4

Notes: Love this bra. In fact, I have about 7 of them because I wear them every day. They are comfortable, stay in place, and provide a nice, natural shape. As you can see, it fits well, but there is some extra material in the cup. I tried this in a 42 G, but the cup was a smidge too small. I love this bra for all day wear….however, it does not provide the most amazing cleavage or lift that I would want for a going out bra, or for sexier shirts (other than t-shirts). The band itself started out very snug, which I have to appreciate for a cotton bra as cotton tends to stretch more and faster than other bra materials. Also, I would appreciate more support on the sides of the cup to keep me from looking so wide.

For me, there is a clear difference in fit between bras that I ordered online and those that I tried on in store (specifically for LB bras). Thankfully though, anything you order online from LB you can return in store for exchange or for $$ back.

As I mentioned, I’m going to Chicago again in a few weeks and I have a bra fit reservation at Intimacy. I’m hoping that I can find a nice fitting bra in a 40 band, with a proper fitting cup.

What fit issues do you have with your bras? Which bras have you tried in the US? What do you think of them? Let me know!! 

9 thoughts on “My first bra review!

    • Yes! But I think a large part of my problem is (a) my recent weight loss and (b) some of my breast tissue has migrated from the front to the sides as a result of growing up wearing the wrong bra size. I just started wearing the cotton bras, and I’m hoping that this will help….Hopefully my fitting in Chicago in a few weeks will provide more insight as well.

      • I’m so happy to hear of another US D+ blogger! Welcome to the club. Most of the bras I have are from UK companies, but I’ve recently fallen in love with Parfait (D-G, but they are thinking about expanding!). It looks like more US companies are starting to offer DD+ bras.

        Balconette and bandeau styles suit your shape really well. I’ve had a lot of the same fit problems with bras, especially since I have a bunch of migrated tissue (from forcing myself into a 34C for years). I find that scooping doesn’t do much if the underwire isn’t wide enough to hold it in. I like my underwires to sit exactly halfway around my body (does that make sense?). If you end up in a tighter band, you might find yourself needing a much larger cup, to accomodate the tissue near the armpit area. For example, when I moved to a tighter band from a 32FF, I had to go to a 30GG, since the cups were sitting farther back and were, thus, holding more tissue. When you get the chance, try out some larger cups… this is a guess (based on the Elomi Cleo), but I’d start with a 40J/JJ.

        (Also, congrats on the weight loss!)

        • Thanks!

          I posted my measurements today, which was the first time I have taken my measurement in a long time – even since starting to lose weight. I was kind of shocked by the difference in number between under bust and over!

          I checked out the Bra Size Calculator at A Sophisticated Pair, and it suggests a UK 40 J as well.

          I double checked the Intimacy site to see what kind of selection they have of this size….they have some Panache styles, but I can order them from the UK for cheaper + shipping! I love Curvy Kate styles and Panache, so I’m thinking I will probably order something from either BraStop or Bravissimo within the next few weeks!

          Thanks for the tips! 🙂

  1. It’s really fantastic that you are taking the steps to finding the right size bra, but I agree with several of the others that you are about 3 cup sizes off. Even with weight loss and migrated tissues in the right size bra it will be plenty big enough and with scooping was done to bring all of that into the cup you would have had epic 4-boob. It is a long, tough journey, because all brands are different and not all companies are going to work for us. I can’t wait to see the before and after if you bump up the cup several sizes because I have a feeling it will be more than right!

  2. What a great new blog! I think I will link this for our readers as I feel they’d enjoy hearing your perspective. Also, thanks for checking out our calculator. 🙂 I agree that you may want to try the HH/J cup since the underwire doesn’t seem to fully encase the breast tissue on the side. The Elomi Caitlyn bra has a nice size range (as well as colors), and I know the Tamarie also has sizing up to an HH cup. The Abi bra is another good option since it has a bandless frame so there is less material at the bottom of the bra to help alleviate rolling. Also, Goddess has two styles (Keira and Alice), which are both priced under $50. Panache may be another brand to consider since they tend to have wider set underwires to give added support for women with wider set breasts.

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