Over-the-shoulder-boulder-holderFilter: help me find one for my boulders :)
October 5, 2009 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Bra help! I have big boobs and a small body, help me find inexpensive bras in size 32G, seemingly an oxymoron.

Because of my odd bra size, 32G, my hesitation to buy bras online, and the rarity of finding this size in stores, I never seem to have more than 1-2 bras that fit me at any point in time. I've realized that I can't keep doing this to myself. I NEED more bras, but I've wasted so much money over the years on trial and error that I need some advice on which brands I should be looking at. I've decided that I need to order online from a place like figleaves.com, but I'm horrible about returning items I've ordered that don't fit, so I'm hoping that with your help, I can get it right the first time.

I've had luck with La Mystere bras, but damn are they expensive. I'm hoping to get some advice on specific brands that have worked for you in the past, come in my size, run true to size, are comfortable and/or durable, and are around the $50 range.

Bonus points for push-up bras, bras that allow for plunging necklines, or those with pretty designs. I also prefer non-lacy types that I could wear under t-shirts, and a cup shape that doesn't make me look like I have alien breasts. Dammit, i'm 23 years old and I'm sick of beige colored grandma bras.

Even more bonus points if you can recommend a shop in the D.C. metro area that would carry a bra that fits the criteria above, and is not Fredericks of Hollywood.

Please note - I've been fitted multiple times by the helpful folks at Neiman Marcus. I'm certain that 32G is my ideal size.

Tangent-filter: big breasted ladies, how do you combat boob sweat?
posted by Gonestarfishing to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (32 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've never been there myself, but I bet a specialty store like Dell's Bra Boutique could hook you up. (No pun intended!)
posted by JoanArkham at 8:39 AM on October 5, 2009

I really like Prima Donna, because their stuff fits well and is really pretty, but they are more than $50 (the ones I've bought have been closer to $100). I think you're going to have real trouble finding good bras at that price point. They might be out there, but I haven't found them, and I'm a little closer to stock sizes then you are. It seems that good bras are one of those things you just have to suck it up and pay through the nose for.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:46 AM on October 5, 2009

Best answer: Here's my process for 38DDD boobs:

(a) Go to a boutique or Nordstroms, try on LOOOOTS of bras (even though I've been fitted, every bra style fits me differently, so I can't assume I'll be the same size across brands or even across styles in the same brand).

(b) Once I find one that fits and meets whatever criteria I'm looking for (usually "perky and not smooshy at all), write down style number and size, buy one from store if I want to wear it around for awhile (usually a good idea). $70 to ensure I won't be miserable is an investment.

(c) Buy from ebay. Since I already have tried them on in the store, i know they'll fit pretty well. And expensive bras can usually be found 50% off - I'm addicted to Fantasie bras which are $70-$80 at Nordstroms, but $35-$45 on eBay.
posted by muddgirl at 8:48 AM on October 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

Seconding muddgirl's "once you've found something that fits in a store, buy the exact same thing cheaper on line" strategy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:50 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm a 34F/32G, & as far as inexpensive goes, I'd say you might be out of luck. I can't find anything cheaper than $40, usually. There's an excellent specialty shop in my neck of the woods where I go about twice a year to get re-fitted & get new bras. I buy 3 or 4 at a time. I haven't found anything pretty, just functional, but I have found some that work with plunging necklines.
posted by oh really at 8:57 AM on October 5, 2009

As far as boob sweat goes, I find a bra with enough lift lets the issue take care of itself, at least until the issue becomes sweat in general. If it's a minor issue, try a little talcum (or bath, or baby, or whatever) powder underneath the breasts in the morning when you're doing the rest of the antiperspirant ritual. If it's something that comes up in the middle of the day, those cheap pre-moistened drugstore "facial cleaning cloths" work just fine as body wipes, and often come in small purse-friendly packets.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:57 AM on October 5, 2009

Best answer: I'm a 36G and work in lingerie. In larger cup sizes like ours, you can get inexpensive but it's often a false economy as you end up needing to replace them more often, as most of the price is down to the quality of the fabric, and a poorer quality fabric will stretch out and lose its shape earlier than a good quality fabric. My advice would be to find a good quality bra and buy it in the sale, rather than buying a cheaper one. With all of that said, here are some brands that I wear and my impressions:

Freya: Very cute, relatively inexpensive and so widely stocked online that you can often get them in a sale. The only problem is the quality, which gives these bras about a 2-3 month shelf life before it loses its shape and starts to feel rubblish.

Fantasie: Most of my everyday bras are Fantasie, they have great shape, good variety and designs, and are not ridiculously expensive. They are made by the same people as Freya, and are also widely available online and in sales. They last approximately twice as long as a Freya bra.

Fauve: Also made by the people behind Freya and Fantasie, this is the most expensive of the trifecta, and I think it's generally not worth the extra money when compared to Fantasie.

Elle Macpherson just came out with a G-cup range, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. In particular, it has a beautiful shape and is much more "fashionable" than most larger-cup bras.

Don't bother with the Pleasure State G-cup range - i tried it and it was in no way comfortable!

Fayreform are another well-known larger-cup label and worth trying out, but i have never been able to get a good shape with their bras, they always leave my chest looking wonky. Then again, that's just my body shape and they could suit you perfectly.

Prima Donna do beautiful designs and favour smaller back sizes, so could be ideal for you. They are relatively well-stocked outside of Europe, so you are likely to get it in the sales.

Rigby & Peller do amazing bras. They are hands-down my favourite bra, and do gorgeous, comfortable and very sexy plunge bras in particular. You can only buy them through their online store and they cost a fortune, but trust me, they are totally worth it!

If you've never seen it, Bravissimo is a wonderful, wonderful larger-cup lingerie store who stock great bras. I know you prefer brick and mortar but Bravissimo can be good even just to research what bras are available out there.

I hope that helps as a start - please feel free to MeMail me if you want to follow up with anything!
posted by ukdanae at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2009 [35 favorites]

p.s. seconding muddgirl's excellent advice re: eBay -- watchlists in particular are your friend for watching out for a good bargain in your size!
posted by ukdanae at 9:08 AM on October 5, 2009

I don't have any recommendations for boutiques in the area but you can try Macy's or Nordstroms. Sure, they sell expensive bras but they also have sales. I walked into Nordstrom's recently and said I need something in a 34G as cheap as possible—under $50. The salesperson went through the sale rack for me and found every cheap bra in that size. I ended up getting a different size because I find that I can wear a different size in different brands/styles of bras.

I hear you on the boring colors, but its annoying that the fun ones are always demi-cup or something you wouldn't wear every day. I haven't found a source for really cheap ($25-range) bras in these sizes. The industry just doesn't seem to make them. Every once in a while I hit the jackpot at Nordstrom Rack or TJMaxx but its almost not worth the effort to comb through.
posted by Bunglegirl at 9:08 AM on October 5, 2009

32E here. I have a lot of trouble finding anything cheap and comfortable in my size. I've been going to the fancy lingerie place in town (Ainsi soit-elle in Montreal, they are wonderful) and buying expensive bras, one at a time, and slowly building up a "wardrobe". I'm spending about $100 CDN on each one, but they fit like nothing else, and make everything I wear look fantastic. I take really good care of them, and they should last me a good while. This makes quite a dent in my student-sized clothing budget, but it's very much worth it.
posted by OLechat at 9:26 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Full Cup in Alexandria is supposed to be nice.
posted by exogenous at 10:06 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 2nding Bravissimo, I love them. I've had some trouble pinning down my correct size, I seem to be between sizes, and then of course, there is the variations between brands and styles. Bravissimo has some great stuff, and they are really quick to process returns (which I have had experience with).
re: boob sweat, Talcum powder is always a good idea, but I find sometimes I need a bit more than that. My issue is sweat under the bustline, pretty much where my bra sits and a little higher under the boobs. If I am anticipating a really sweaty day I will roll on a little Certain Dri in that area. This does require some foresight, as you're supposed to apply it at night, but it really works. Bonus: it lasts a good 48-72 hours :) p.s. I use this on my underarms as well, and it supposedly works for foot sweat too, so I figure it's safe for my boobs.
posted by purpletangerine at 10:12 AM on October 5, 2009

32D or DD depending on the bra. I've found that for strapless, bustiers work best, and the longer the corset portion of a strapless bra, the more supportive and comfortable it is. My favorite is by Va Bien.
posted by Sara Anne at 10:12 AM on October 5, 2009

FYI about online retailing: I used to prefer Figleaves, but now I prefer Bare Necessities because Figleaves changed their return policy (sale items are no longer returnable). If you sign up for the Bare Necessities mailing list they will send you various coupons and let you know when things are on sale, which can actually save you a lot of money in the long run.

In terms of brand, I (who used to be the same size as you before I stopped taking birth control pills and am now a band size smaller) really like Panache (in fact, it's the only brand that fits me). As a bonus most of their bras are around the $50 mark, and I've found that they hold up pretty well. My two favorite bras are the Panache Harmony Balconette bra (which gives me a really nice shape and good support, and is actually kind of sexy!) and the Panache Porcelain T-shirt bra (which gives a less flattering shape but is seamless and very comfortable). The Panache Tango Plunge bra is good for low-cut tops, but the seams and fabric are visible through thin fabrics.

But it really depends on your body shape; different brands tend to be cut for different bodies, so the key thing is trying on lots of things and seeing which brands and styles work for you. Order a bunch of stuff from Bare Necessities and plan to return at least 70% of it. (The Figleaves website has customer reviews, in case you want to see what other people think of various styles.) Or go to a brick-and-mortar specialty store; I rely on online shopping because even the specialty boutiques don't carry large cup sizes in a 30 band, but 32G should be readily available at Nordstrom or specialty stores. Once you find something you like you can start bargain-hunting.
posted by pluckemin at 10:20 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

My chest is not as big as yours but it's big enough, and I can't seem to find comfortable bras less than $75.

I live in the humid, sticky South and if I could roll around in baby powder I probably would. I pat it in all my "creases" including around the "girls." Works like a charm.
posted by radioamy at 10:25 AM on October 5, 2009

le mystere is well worth the price and i've hunted through a lot of brands. the tisha t-shirt bra (not the dream tisha, which is confusing) is the best. i typically just find what i like at macy's, write down the product serial number and look for it cheaper online. people have already recommended bare necessities, which has that brand listing sales for about the $50 range.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 10:36 AM on October 5, 2009

I'm an American size 36I and I was ecstatic once I discovered Bella Forma (which is located in Australia). The Triumph line in particular is a great fit and even has a plunge bra that allows SO much more neckline flexibility. The site also sell swimsuits in bra sizes with support, which is fantastic. There IS the limit that its shipped from Australia, but it's been worth it for me, once I figured out the size conversion (I'm a 14G there). Also, the prices are REALLY reasonable compared to what I pay here most of the time.
posted by Clytie at 11:01 AM on October 5, 2009

Best answer: I like Wizard of Bras . It's in the LA area, but has online ordering. Carries a HUGE variety of sizes and other supplies like nipple petals and lingerie wash and all.

You might also try MAKING your own. ">Craftster has forums and completed items and places to get supplies all over it for women who make their own.

For boob sweat, if I'm going out all dressed up, I will put powder under my girls. I like "Silky Underwear" by Lush. It smells pretty and works pretty well at keeping me fairly dry. With temps over 100 for months on end of late, nothing really helps except not going outside!
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 11:02 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you can find cups that fit, consider buying in a 34 and having the sides tailored. This can also extend the life of a bra - once the elastic starts to wear out, tailor it and get another year of wear out of it. That can make an expensive bra worth it, since you'll double its life.
posted by prefpara at 11:09 AM on October 5, 2009

I wear a 30F. Since you don't wear the same size as me, I'll tell you my new secret: eBay. Yes, I know, you don't want to buy bras online, don't want to buy something unless you can try it on and return it, etc. Trust me, you can get fabulous bras for so cheap on eBay that if you know what size you normally wear (and you do, you say), you can buy a ton of bras and just give away or resell any that don't fit well. I've bought Rigby & Peller, Wonderbra, Chantelle, Freya. and other bras on eBay in my size and they've all fit well enough to wear on a regular basis. Sure, some of them are more in rotation and more favored than others, but none of them outright just didn't fit, and they were all 50-70% off the normal retail prices.
posted by booknerd at 11:33 AM on October 5, 2009

I've been really happy with what I've found on Fig Leaves. Otherwise, bras are not that difficult to sew - if you have a friend with a sewing machine, you could conceivably build your own veritable wardrobe of bras.
posted by medea42 at 11:48 AM on October 5, 2009

Former 36F, now a 36C as of two weeks ago. I've got no suggestions for bras other than what you've already tried, but I'd like to second Lush's Silky Underwear.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:57 AM on October 5, 2009

I wear an unusual size too and here is what I've done: I buy one a month once I've found a brand that I like. It takes a while to get a good stash going, but if you are careful when you wash them they will last a while and you can spread out the expense.

I have found that buying cheap bras result in bad results - pokey underwire, shredded material etc. There's also something to be said for going and getting measured so you know it will fit right in the right places. When I did that I found out that I had been wearing the wrong size for a lot of years.
posted by Kimberly at 12:17 PM on October 5, 2009

Coup de Fondre is in downtown DC and they have some items in your size.
posted by i_love_squirrels at 12:17 PM on October 5, 2009

oops, Foudre. sounds sexy either way.
posted by i_love_squirrels at 12:18 PM on October 5, 2009

Wacoalbras.com ... and I hate to break it to you but part of the price you pay for being bountiful is that you have to, well, pay a price for a good bra. There's no way around it (outside of muddgirl's great Ebay suggestion.)

I know that at least a few times a year, I'm gonna shell out 180-200 bucks for a few good bras.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 12:48 PM on October 5, 2009

Dor-ne Corset Shoppe in Silver Spring. It's about 5 blox from the Silver Spring metro. They will fit you, sell you good bras, and special order stuff as necessary. I'm with kimberly and others on this: cheap bras will just make you miserable in these larger sizes. You get what you pay for. You also might try ordering from Just My Size. I've been a 32G myself, though now, alas, I'm a more common 38DD. As for sweat: baby powder and cotton T-shirts.
posted by Nicky Diva at 1:10 PM on October 5, 2009

Another vote for trying on locally and then buying on eBay. I've been able to consistently pick up Freya bras that cost me $100 in a Canadian bra shop a few years back for $30 online.

I've had luck with La Mystere bras, but damn are they expensive. I'm hoping to get some advice on specific brands that have worked for you in the past, come in my size, run true to size, are comfortable and/or durable, and are around the $50 range.

The Freya Rio is my absolute favorite for support and shape and it has been extremely easy to find on eBay. It does lose some support after three months or so but for that price it's not a big deal to replace.
posted by waterlily at 1:21 PM on October 5, 2009

Not exactly what you were asking, but you might be interested to know that it's pretty easy to make bra bands smaller.
posted by fontophilic at 1:41 PM on October 5, 2009

My girlfriend has the same measurements as you (tiny waste /small body, same bra size).

Here's what she has to say:

Fantasie all the way. Specifically the Blacony # 4150 (currently on sale for $48) for everyday use.

For more fun bras, as have others, Freya. Note that Freya and Fantasie are from the same company (Eveden) so if you end up trying their bras and you like them, see if maybe their other brands have something for you. Also, I've found that if the balcony style bras from Fantasie fit you then the balcony style bras from Freya will fit the same way.

Freya also make beautiful swimming suits!

I personally shop at Intimacy, but it does not look like they have a store close to you.

Either way, you can't go wrong with balcony style bras.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 8:14 PM on October 5, 2009

Similarly dimensioned 32 G'er here. My favourite, favourite is the Panache Fiesta Superbra. Easy to pick up new on Ebay (seconding Booknerd - it's a wealth of new-bra joy!) and mine have lasted over a year so far. Great shape and support. Freya and Fantasie bras are very pretty but they are hit and miss for me, shape-wise, and the swimwear is a bit flimsy. Happy shopping!
posted by freya_lamb at 12:09 PM on October 6, 2009

32H here. I've given up on buying offline - I found my size in a few different brands, and I just order those. I get good results from Panache and Fantasie. I keep an eye out for sales and coupons for the online sites - Bravissimo, Figleaves, BareNecessities. Bravissimo will also send you a very nice paper catalog, which is nice for browsing for new brands/styles.

And for sweat, talcum powder is your friend. Plain old Shower-to-Shower.
posted by timepiece at 1:35 PM on October 6, 2009

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