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How To Find A Bra That Fits You: Special Dress Edition


MOAR BRAS! Today is part two of How To Find A Bra That Fits You (cue Kermit arm flailing), brought to us by reader Michelle Naidu who owns a bra store in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and therefore knows her sh*t. Last time Michelle was here, she gave us amazing tips for finding a bra that fits (both for special occasions and in general), which you should absolutely check out if you haven’t yet. And today she’s back with a comprehensive guide on special occasion bra shopping. Personally, I was so frustrated by the bra shopping experience for my own wedding, that I ended up wearing a pair of zebra-print star-shaped pasties under my dress and nothing else. While I won’t knock a good pair of animal print pasties, I’m assuming the same probably can’t be said for most of APW. So if you want to avoid my fate, I suggest reading on.

Maddie

How To Find A Bra That Fits You: Special Dress Edition | A Practical Wedding

Some days I spend a lot of time cursing dress designers. They design gorgeous dresses completely ignoring the reality that ninety-nine percent of the human population can’t wear said dress without some kind of undergarment. I’m looking directly at you backless strapless beauty. For the record, ladies, I do also spend a small amount of time cursing at you also if you buy said backless strapless dress and then get angry at me because gravity is my fault (and the dress is final sale!). Bras are not magic (though a good one can be magical). Be realistic about your support requirements and your comfort level before buying the dress. When the saleslady is telling you “Oh, you can totally wear that braless!” can you actually? Not could a human wear it braless, can you wear it braless? You know, in public. If yes, rock on sister. If not so much, well I do have some options. And yes, you should bring your dress with you*.

Your Favorite Bra

Unless you stay up watching infomercials, you might not know that there are several options to modify a regular bra you already own (and hopefully love) to work with your special outfit. These are often very low cost alternatives to buying something outfit-specific that you may not wear often or ever again. Also, never underestimate the power of a little strategically placed double sided fashion tape.

Strapless Bras

How To Find A Bra That Fits You: Special Dress Edition | A Practical Wedding

Strapless Bras: 1. Elomi Molded Underwire Strapless Bra available at HerRoom ($69) 2. Fantasie Ava Strapless Underwire Bra available at Freshpair ($86) 3. Perle Prima Donna Strapless Bra available at HerRoom ($105) 4. Patricia Stay Up Strapless Bra available at Change Lingerie ($67.95) 5. Marie Joe Avero Strapless Bra available at HerRoom ($104.50) 

The search for a comfortable and supportive strapless bra can be frustrating, especially if you are larger in the chest.

Pros: A good fitting one goes a long way—you can, and will wear it for more than your special event. They often have seamless cups and very little detail, so they can be worn under most fabrics. Because it’s just a bra, you’re not adding layers or complexity to your outfit.

Cons: It’s just a bra. Even with the best strapless bra, gravity is not your friend. The more active you plan to be, and the longer you’ll need to wear it, the less appealing a strapless bra can be. For a regular event, you can likely build in opportunities to adjust if needed. If you’re going to be the centre of attention, you might want to factor this into your decision.

Things to look for: Make sure you’ve got a minimum of three clasps at the back, bustier ladies try for four. Width is what’s helping your bra stay in place. You also want to buy your strapless even snugger than a regular bra, so the width helps eliminate the ever-dreaded back fat look. Also, check out the silicone around the top – you want it to be thick/feel slightly tacky to the touch. Make sure you try on your strapless without any straps, and spend a bit of time dancing, jumping, and bending in the dressing room to make sure it’s comfy and not going to move in the first thirty seconds.

Bustier/BasqueHow To Find A Bra That Fits You: Special Dress Edition | A Practical Wedding

Bustiers/Basques:  1. Dominique Longline Lace Torsolette available at Bare Necessities ($69) 2. Piege Seamless Hidden Wire Bustier available at Victoria’s Attic ($163.95) 3. Jezebel Caress Bustier available at Bare Necessities ($50) 4.  Elomi Smoothing Underwired Bustier available at Linda The Bra Lady ($78) 5. Fantasie Ava Underwire Moulded Bustier available at Linda The Bra Lady ($110) 

A bustier is a strapless bra, with a bodice to provide extra support. Technically bustiers finish at the waist and basques at the hips, but I don’t think you’ll find many people getting too fussy about this (or knowing there’s a difference). In the last few years many bra companies seem to also be reintroducing long line bras (your grandma likely has stories about the first generation), but most don’t have the ability to be strapless.

Pros: Bustiers come both boned and unboned and provide superior strapless support than just wearing a strapless bra. They are able to all but eliminate the falling down nature of traditional strapless bras. Since they need to be snug to do their job properly, they also can have the added benefit of providing a smoother look under your clothes. Lastly, because you are getting full-bodied support, bustiers can have lower backs and more plunging necklines than strapless bras.

Cons: The added support that comes from boned bustiers can be problematic, as many wedding dresses are boned to begin with. Wearing two sets of boned clothing can be restrictive and uncomfortable, and while unboned and smoother finishes exist, they can be difficult to track down. For this reason bustiers don’t always play nicely with lighter weight fabrics.

Things to look for: If you can find them, real wire boned bustiers are typically far better constructed and will last way longer than those with plastic boning. That said, in terms of a bustier, you get what you pay for. If it looks like it’s a novelty item or is around the $50 dollar mark, it’s most likely meant to look cute and promptly be removed, not worn as a support garment. Buy your bustier from a bra brand you trust (or a recommendation for a friend or in the comments!) and you will have an investment piece of lingerie you’ll wear for years and years. If you’re buying an unboned bustier, pay close attention to the fabric portion: Is it sturdy enough to do anything? Is it going to wrinkle or crease over time? If there are seams, can you see them through your dress? Added tip: buy your bustier on the middle clasp instead of the loosest. Since you don’t wear them nearly as often, stretching isn’t an issue like it is with bras, so it’s nice to have the ability to both snug and loosen it up.

Backless, Strapless Bras

How To Find A Bra That Fits You: Special Dress Edition | A Practical Wedding

Strapless, Backless Bras: 1. NuBra Feather Lite Adhesive Bra available at Linda The Bra Lady ($36) 2. Nippies Skin Silicone Nipple Cover Pasties available at Amazon ($25) 3. NuBra Original Silicone Adhesive Bra available at Linda The Bra Lady ($65) 4. Fashion Tape available at Linda The Bra Lady ($10) 

A strapless, backless bra is typically one that you will adhere to your body. Some come with silicone cups, while others are made of thin fabric cups or just thin fabric.

Pros: No lines, straps, or anything to worry about!

Cons: These are really only an option for smaller chested ladies. It’s really fancy tape. Sweat and adhesive don’t typically go well together, so you’ll want to test out your purchase’s staying power before your event just to make sure you don’t wind up trying to nonchalantly kick your “bra” under the nearest table.

Lastly, while none of these items are magic, a good seamstress just might be. Having cups sewn in, your favourite bra deconstructed and sewn in, or a bustier altered to fit the neckline or backline of your dress are all possibilities. Also, there are amazing ladies everywhere who custom sew bustiers and corsets (both for under clothes and to be worn alone). Depending on where you live, often times the custom option doesn’t seem to be much more expensive than what’s available in stores.

*Unless it’s difficult to transport, like the majority of wedding dresses. Don’t be scared to ask the store if they will allow you to purchase and return several items in a 24–48 hour period for a dress fitting or home trial if they don’t typically allow returns.

Editor’s Note: We are in the process of putting together a Pinterest board from all the amazing suggestions you guys left in the comments of our last post. So if you’ve found an amazing special occasion bra that you want to share with the rest of us, leave it in the comments and we’ll make sure to add it to the board.

Photo by Leah Verwey for Favor Jewelry (APW Sponsor)

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  • http://robyntheblogedition.blogspot.com Robyn

    I have been really wanting to start buying bras that fit me but didn’t know where to start and OMG Michelle’s store is in my city!!! This is the best day. Saskatoon YAY!!

    • Darcy

      Saskatoon indeed!

      • chelle

        Oh my goodness amazing! Who knew there were so many Saskatoon ladies reading APW?! Meetup!

        • Darcy

          I’m in but in a bit. I’m currently trying not to go nuts waiting to have a baby any day now.

  • Steph

    Only thing I would add is that if you are extra extra busty like me, and also want to wear a strapless wedding gown, a true corset is the best way to go ;)

    • Anne

      I definitely second the corset option. I ended up going that route for my wedding, and not only does it truly make everything stay in place and make the dress easy to fit (if you gain or lose 10 pounds you can still tighten the corset to the same size, so you don’t have to worry about the dress not fitting), but then you’re left with a super sexy undergarment that will last you forever. If you’re in the Bay Area, I highly recommend these ladies: http://www.darkgarden.com/

      • meg

        DARK GARDEN! I grew up around the dark garden ladies!!!! Hells to the yes.

        • Anne

          Right? They were awesome, and the corset they made me was beautiful.

          • meg

            Also, fun fact. APW sponsor Gabriel Harber has done photography for them for… about a decade now, I guess. Man, that makes me feel old.

      • Mia Culpa

        Dark Garden is the best! I own a few of their corsets because they have the best “ready-to-wear” measurements so I don’t have to spend as much. They also made my wedding ensemble: a tiered ruffly tea-length skirt and sweetheart corset with a lace shrug. I love them to pieces.

    • Rebecca

      I am really looking to go the corset route for my wedding, but I only have half a clue what I’m doing. I’m looking at this:

      http://www.hipsandcurves.com/plus-size-lingerie/p-11477-plus-size-ainsley-raw-silk-steel-boned-corset-corsets-bustiers.aspx

      Anyone out there got some good plus size corset knowledge?

    • KE

      I scoured the internet and mostly found novelty corsets, and even my favorite lingerie store that has everything didn’t have them. Any suggestions of websites/stores?

      I heard cloth ones that lace up are the best intersection of comfort and slimming (though that came from a small chested friend, so no word on support). Thoughts?

      • Maddie

        I totally forgot! APW actually has a sponsor that specializes in custom corsets. Not inexpensive because they are one-of-a-kind and made to measure, but they are high ass quality.*

        http://apracticalwedding.com/vendors/crafty-broads/

        *Not a paid endorsement. I just want one for myself.

        • KE

          Ooh! They made my friend’s dress and it was stunning. Wedding’s over now so I currently don’t need a corset, but I will be waiting for an excuse to hit these ladies up.

      • Hintzy

        Historical reenactors might be your friends in this case… because we wear the clothes we make as *clothes* not as costumes, they are generally constructed to much higher standards of comfort and function. There are a few to be found on etsy and other corners of the interwebs… if you or a friend is really adventurous at sewing you can check out historical patterns (I would suggest victorian in particular because they tend to have the more curvy shape that we wear modernly, early 1900s, renaissance, and elizabethan aim at flattening more, regency is really only good for empire waisted regency gowns)

        good spot for patterns: http://store.reconstructinghistory.com/rh944-ladies-1880s-corset.html

        an etsy seller I happen to have been eyeballing lately: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MeschantesCorsetry?ref=seller_info

      • Katharine

        Yep. Just bought a wedding corset… at a sex shop. It was an awesome experience, actually–it was Hubba Hubba in Cambridge, MA, and they have a great selection, very understanding older salesladies who will unblushingly rearrange your boobs and back fat so everything’s nicely tucked in, and some higher-end stuff that’s of exceptionally high quality. I don’t know why I didn’t buy one years ago–it makes me feel amazing.

      • Mia Culpa

        All the corsets I own are fabric. Two are silk, one is silk with a lace overlay. They’re all lined with cotton, with a cotton waist tape to prevent stress. They are also all flat-boned steel. And above all, they are extremely high quality and well made. The last part is what makes for a comfortable, yet slimming, corset.

      • Jessica B

        What Katie Did and Fairy Goth Mother are the best reputations I’ve heard.

    • Hillary Clinton

      Underbust or Overbust? I don’t want to squish what little boob I have down into oblivion (or up over the top of my dress) with an overbust, but it seems like it would be really awkward and possibly painful to wear a strapless bra with an underbust.

  • Class of 1980

    Hey, I can still go braless! However, I’ve never been fond of my legs.

    It’s always something. ;)

  • AM

    Great, much-needed post! I (unexpectedly) was 5 months pregnant for our wedding. Had to buy a new dress, had come to terms with not necessarily feeling that hot/beautiful on my wedding day, had huge boobs that I wasn’t used to, blah blah. I planned to wear the dress without a bra, but the MORNING OF the wedding, I threw on the strapless bra I had bought to wear with my rehearsal dinner dress…and it made me look HOT! Completely changed my shape and the shape of the dress. And I really felt wonderful all day about it. Amazing what the right bra can do, definitely worth spending some time shopping for!

  • http://fancystephanie.wordpress.com Stephanie

    I wish they had backless bras for busty ladies! Low back dresses are such a huge trend right now, and I desperately want to join the trend!

    Is there ANYTHING out there for a 40F??

    • Lauren

      Preach! I am a 40F and it is a struggle! Help us out!

      • Rebecca

        Ummm….this one claims to be backless- looks high to me, but it might work? I’m also not really sure how you get into it…

    • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

      As a 36E/F…I don’t think there really *is* a good backless option for busty ladies. The support from a normal bra comes mostly from the band, and then some from the straps, so strapless gets all its support from the band, which is already a challenge for those of us who are bustier. If you go backless, there’s just no where for that support to come from, you know?

      • marbella

        Not backless, but strapless dilemma – I bought a strapless from a boutique for my wedding dress and it did so little that I ended up going braless. My dress was very boned and had a corset back so this was better than the crappy bra pulling my boobs down. However I had lost so much stress weight that even on the tightest the dress wasn’t tight enough. I think the strapless was a 36G. I am bigger than that in the cup and smaller in the band but can’t even find a strapless in my real size. My advice to very busty ladies is don’t get a strapless gown. I loved my dress but I did spend the whole night pulling it up.

    • Maddie

      My answer to this problem has always been a super sexy visible bra (of which I have none, so I don’t usually wear them). Get something in a bright color, and make it look intentional. A little Carrie Bradshaw action, if you will.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        That is my rule for summer and tank tops. It’s a losing battle to hide the strap, just make it a fun one already. Not sure I can pull off that theory for special dress occasions though.

      • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

        Yes! I just recommended this to some fellow shoppers last night. Bedazzle the damn thing and WERK IT.

        • Maddie

          BEDAZZLE.

          (You just unlocked a special compartment of my soul)

        • http://fancystephanie.wordpress.com Stephanie

          That is actually a brilliant idea! Rhinestones all along the back of the bra…

    • chelle

      A clear strap, while not ideal, at least lets you use a bra back converter so you can pull the band lower and put the support around your stomach. If the dress is completely backless this won’t be enough, but if it’s just a very low back it’s a huge step up from no options.

  • http://thevanillabride@blogspot.com Sonarisa

    I’ve been looking for bras for the past two weeks, so these posts have been coming at great times. Just went up a cup size, so now my favorite strapless doesn’t fit anymore and I can’t find options I like! I’ve been looking for bustiers, but I can’t find any except online (or of the novelty variety) and I hate buying without trying on! Anyone have suggestions for places to go or recommendations for awesome online shops? Thanks!

    • http://robyntheblogedition.blogspot.com Robyn

      BraStop.com is a UK shop I’ve tried ordering from (nothing fit though, but returns were easy and shipping fairly reasonable). Prices are really good too.

    • Rebecca

      I ordered a stack of bras from Bare Necessities when I was bra hunting- they have a pretty good selection of sizes, and returns were easy- kind of slow, but return shipping was inexpensive and all I had to do was throw one form in the box and another one on top of it. Plus I actually found a strapless bra that I loved (Wacoal Red Carpet).

      Their bustier selection was kind of limited in my size, but ymmv.

  • Lindsay

    For the extra-busty like me (34HH), I highly recommend Bravissimo. I bought their Lola Luxe Basque in ivory for the wedding, because I’ve already got it in purple and I know it’s supportive and comfortable all day long.

    http://www.bravissimo.com/products/lingerie/bodies-and-basques/lola-luxe-basque/ivory/au21iv/?level=1

    • marbella

      boob twins! :)

      • Jessica B

        Bosom Buddies =)

  • Lia

    I’d love to see a corresponding post for panties/knickers – I’m struggling with what will be comfortable/practical under my petticoat (which may be scratchy) but still look pretty… or at least cute!

    • Rebecca

      YES! I have been thinking about how I will deal with that issue as well. I second the panty post!

    • Rebecca2

      I’d put in a vote for a good old fashioned slip if you’re combating scratchiness, plus whatever undies make you happy. Sounds like you’ll have enough layers going on you can wear whatever you want without it showing…

    • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com erin

      Oh, true!

      Also, can I just put in a random bitch about cute lingerie sets that only come with thongs instead of, like, knickers that cover your ass? I mean, it’s sort of useless for me anyway, because no one makes cute lingerie sets to fit a 38H (because big-busted ladies only get to have beige! Or maybe a black lace! Never cute bows or polka dots or frills! YOU GET NO FRILLS, BOOBS!), but WHY MUST EVERYTHING HAVE A THONG?

      • chelle

        Actually this is something you need to complain about (nicely!) to the stores you’re shopping in! All matching sets come with so many bottom options it would make your head spin, but retailers only stock the versions they think they will sell. If no one gives them any feedback, they will never change their ways! (and honestly, when faced with “which of these 8 styles of underwear do you think you might sell?” Just sticking with the same thing makes one decision easier.)

        Also, at a 38H you’re definitely able to get some colour! Heck, that’s barely even large! I hope someone in the previous post had some great suggestions for places for you to shop (Prima Donna/Marie Jo make divine things in your size. As do many other brands).

        • marbella

          bravissimo, brastop – there are tons of cute bras and knickers in your size.

      • Class of 1980

        Aww, Erin. Now I am sad.

        Boobs deserve bows and frills.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        Since the last post I have been looking at the pretties on different websites. My new hobby is to search only by size. (At whatever your favorite store from last post is.) The next step is seeing if it’s in stock in a store near me.

        Nordstrom’s carries all sorts in your size.Including my sports bra in HOT PINK! Why do I have a beige sports bra anyway?

      • Rebecca

        No idea what your tastes/ bottom sizes are, but this is very pink, lacy, and has two different matching bottoms…Panache in general seems to have several cute matching sets in your sizes- fingers crossed that their shapes and prices work! (they have polka dots…polka dots are my favorite!)

  • Kathy

    Is there anything coming on shapewear? The rear view of my dress suddenly look lumpy at the last fitting. Is there anything for smoothing but not sucking in? I’d like to eat the awesome food we picked out.

    • KE

      Wacoal has some great shapewear that smooths without sucking in. It won’t make you look noticeably smaller, but it’ll make love handles less obvious. It’s also comfortable, which is something I’ve never been able to say for Spanx.

      • Kathy

        Amazing, thank you!

      • Maddie

        Spanx is my nemesis.

        I’ve also had a surprising amount of success with shapewear from regular ol’ stores like Target and Walmart (they carry the same brand). They are usually made from a thinner material, so they stay down better, don’t suffocate you, and smoothe really well.

    • Jessica B

      I really like Rago. They’re an old-fashioned (re: still sexy) girdle company that smooths and shapes without constricting.

  • Class of 1980

    Just remembered this …

    Some years ago, I had a friend who was ultra ultra busty. She wore a specially fitted bustier with a million hooks at her wedding.

    On the wedding night, she and her new husband undressed on opposite sides of the room. When she got to the last hook on the bustier, it flew off and zinged through the air across the room, hitting the wall where her husband was standing.

    He just looked at her in amazement and said … “Can you do that again?”

    ;)

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      I want to do that!

      • Class of 1980

        I know! ;)

  • Lauren

    I ordered longline after torsolette after bustier – probably spent $50 on shipping alone. I ended up getting this from DB: (http://www.davidsbridal.com/Product_Embroidered-Lace-Torsolette-8900_Accessories-Lingerie-All-Lingerie)

    Caveats: My dress is pretty sturdy, but I needed some lift. I was not looking to suck in or smooth out. I was looking for 1) something pretty for the fella and 2) something that wouldn’t fall down. I went up two band sizes and down two cup sizes. The cups are not -really- big enough but they do the job. The boning tends to bend out, but should be unnoticeable under the dress.

    This particular style is suiting my needs. Many other busty solutions I tried came up to my neck (exaggerating, but you get it) and my dress, while not low-cut, is strapless and sweetheart so you could see little lacy rosettes everywhere. This one is low cut enough to not be shown, but high enough to keep everything locked down. I wouldn’t rate it an A+, but it definitely gets A marks for fit, comfort and ability to fit huge boobs.

  • Darcy

    When trying on a bustier please remember to test how it feels while sitting down. At some point in the day you will want to sit down and having bones poke into either your belly or your thighs will really suck.

    • KE

      Seconded.

      With basques, I’ve noticed that some pooch out at the end when I sit. Perfect in the boobs, smooth down the torso, and then the stays round out for an inch or two at the bottom, stabbing me in the hip bones and making it look like I have a narrow but unmissable fat roll. If I push down on the pooch, then the basque is smooth all the way down, but the stays roll up at the bottom so they’re poking into the air (in a way that can be seen through the dress).

      Btw, has anybody else experienced this? I have great posture so it’s not because I’m slouching and it’s getting scrunched up. Many basques fit great, but probably half do this to me.

    • http://pinterest.com/katerees711/ kate

      YES. I have a fear of getting bruises from my dress/undergarments on my wedding day. That sounds like absolutely no fun.

      • Emily

        I didn’t think of this, wore a bustier with my strapless dress, which had boning, and I had welts on my ribs by the end of the night! Luckily, they were gone by the next morning, but ouch!

  • http://kbegnaud.tumblr.com Kathryn

    I’m loving all the bra talk! Has anyone ever tried this style of backless/strapless bra? Advice and comments would be helpful!
    http://www.lordandtaylor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/lord-and-taylor/u-plunge-backless-strapless-bra

  • Laura

    The most comfortable thing (wedding dress or otherwise) I have ever ever tried on is basically a nightgown, completely shapeless, stretchy, sheer, and low in the front and back: http://allurebridals.com/products/8800

    And the first time I tried it on, the salesperson told me A) to try it on without a bra (WHATTTT) and B) to just sew cups into it to be able to wear it (AGAIN, WHATTTT???).

    Second time I tried it on, I wore a seamless bustier underneath. At the end of the day, it was too low-cut for me, but I could totally see the right bustier making *all* the difference here!

    Long story short, I will be getting a dress with a built-in corset.

  • js

    I feel left out. I’m a tiny woman, and I have a small chest to match. It’s just as hard to find something that fits when you have no bust then when you have a little extra. How about a little love for the IBTC’s?! I went to a custom bra store when I needed a backless, strapless bra for a Prom dress, so there’s that. But I’m not even a 32 around, so it can be very challenging to shop at “regular” lingerie stores. Currently, I’m a 30C and I really don’t like the suggestion my very busty friends recently gave, that I should, “be happy I can still wear a training bra”. I’m a thirty something woman and I’m not interested in neon peace signs and hearts all over my undergarments, thank you. Tell me I’m not the only one. Small chested sisters, unite!

    • chelle

      Hi JS!

      Being tiny can be the best! Especially since you are certainly a minority – the sale racks are all about you! Change of Scandinavia and Freya are two brands that consistently make a 28 band (if you think those 30s are actually too big but generally the best you can find). Piege (may be sold under the name Jezebel in the States? I don’t quite remember…) makes lovely things for smaller ladies, as does Huit.

      You absolutely don’t need to be wearing anything even reminiscent of a training bra – try and remember your friends are likely coming from a place of jealousy since if you wanted to, you could rock the no bra look with ease and considerably less double sided tape than them.

    • Addie

      Preach sister! I actually went and got properly fitted for a bra this week and found out that I’m a 30D. What! I found a number of super cute, lacy numbers that FIT and made my boobs look great at Intimacy (shops located all over and online). They aren’t cheap but they were magical. For the first time in a long time I felt like a proper grown up instead of wearing the same bras as my eleven year old cousin.

      So yeah, tiny boobs unite. And try Intimacy. The people were super nice and the selection very large for my size.

      • Kelsey

        Check out Honeydew- they’re the prettiest bras I’ve ever found for the smaller chested crowd :)

    • CoffeeCup

      Girl, I feel ya. I’m a 34A* and it’s difficult to find bras that fit, especially sexy bras and/or strapless bras, especially without padding.

      I’d look into True & Co. (https://trueandco.com/) and The Little Bra Shop (http://www.littlebrashop.co.uk/) for options.

      Whenever I go bra shopping in a store, I almost always get, “I don’t carry your size,” which bugs me because I don’t think I wear a particularly rare size!

      *Techinically, due to the law of ratios, I think I’d be most comfortable in a 36AA, but that doesn’t exist at all. So it’s always awkward when they’re like, “Just try a 32B! Just try it!” No, lady! The 34 is already kinda tight!

      • marbella

        Are you sure you are a 34A? Lots of ladies who think they are a larger band with a small cup actually need the opposite. A 34A’s sister size is actually a 32B or a 30C. That means the cup volume in those sizes is the same. The band might be too tight because your cups are too small – to test that, turn it around and fasten it backwards under your boobs. If the band is big enough without your boobs in the cups, it is the cups that are too small, not the band.
        I have been measured at high end boutiques and Nordstrom and they’ve still got it wrong. Honestly I think everyone should measure themselves according to the guide on http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/. If you have fitting problems or want suggestions for styles that will fit your boob shape (yes boobs are different shapes, they won’t all fit into the same styles as each other) the awesome ladies there will help, guide you and even do fit checks.

        • CoffeeCup

          Yep! Usually I can’t even fasten a 32 band, regardless of cup sizes.

    • Emily

      I’m a 30DD and I can find great stuff at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. I’ve been wearing some 32s, because I was mis-sized as a 34/36 C and so I’m slowly adjusting to my new size. I like Natori and Wacoal. The Freyas sadly don’t fit me right. One thing I’ve learned is that sizing isn’t consistent. You might be a 28 in one brand and a 32 in another. Grr!

    • http://sweetandwildchild.blogspot.com jackie

      Being tiny is awesome because you can wear all of the cute tops that make my 34DD tits look ginormous in a bad way. You rock yours, I’ll rock mine and we’ll all just compliment the hell out of each other :)

    • Crayfish Kate

      Thank you so much for speaking up for the smaller ladies! I currently wear a 32B, but after these 2 posts I’m hightailin’ it to my local intimate apparel store & getting fitted. I suspect I’m more in the realm of a 30C/28D. Anyways, I totally feel your pain on the lack of grown-up lingerie.

  • KE

    Can I just say that this thread is my happy place? I started at a 28AA (thanks, Mom, for insisting I needed to be fitted in middle school), peaked at a 32F (which was still too small), and am now rocking a 34D. I could talk about this ALL. DAY. LONG.

    • marbella

      Just a suggestion, if you were able to wear a 32 band and then your boobs got smaller (34D is considerably smaller in volume than 32F), unless you’ve changed shape, you likely needed to go up in cup size rather than up in band size and down in cup size.
      This chart gives sister sizes and cup volume:
      http://i.imgur.com/6KJjw.png

  • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

    This post is wonderfully informative but I need to take some time to acknowledge the following:

    Kermit Arm Flail is my FAVORITE way to celebrate things.

    Maddie, I didn’t think I could love you any more, and then you went and mentioned it in your very first sentence. xoxoxo

    • Rebekah

      Absolutely this whole thing. And also I went back and looked at Maddie’s posts about her wedding and her dress and imagined the zebra print pasties. Sorry Maddie!

  • MS

    My boobs went from 0 to 30F reallllly quickly in my teenage years, so I have never ever ever been able to wear anything without a bra. Ever. BUT I just went in for my first dress fitting, and she suggested I try taking the bra off. After telling her that it definitely wouldn’t work, I tried it. And…it fit perfectly! And my boobs stay in place! The dress laces up, so it’s basically built like a corset. So, the moral of the story is, if you have the right kind of dress, you might not actually need a bra. Even if you’ve worn a bra every single day of your life. Hooray!

    • http://sweetandwildchild.blogspot.com jackie

      I just want to say that I had cups sewn into my dress, scared of no real bra, but willing to try, and my 34DDs looked DAMN GOOD that day. Better than any other day in my life, I’m bold enough to say.

  • BT

    I tried on a bunch of bustiers and price (sadly) really did seem to make a big difference. I tried on Felina ones as well as a few others which seemed to be in the $50-$80 range and then I tried on a Le Mystere bustier, which was $125 and it was way WAY more comfortable. I ended up finding the same one on ebay for like $50, but unfortunately, as mentioned in the article, the fabric of my dress is too thin and you can see it underneath. Womp. So uh, if anyone wants a Le Mystere Bridal 2355 Longline Bridal Seduction Bustier/Corset in 32B for much less than retail, uh….lemme know. (Not sure if I can post that here!!)

    • KC

      Can you add a lining between the dress and it? (something smooth, obvs.) It sort of depends what kind of show-through you’re getting, but often, possibly counter-intuitively, an extra layer can smooth a lot out.

  • Jessica B

    My second favorite website right now (after APW) is The Lingerie Addict, and because the woman who started that website just got married, there are quite a few of posts on bridal lingerie. My favorite post is called Why I’m Not Wearing Spanx at My Wedding

    The Lingerie Addict is a great website with several contributors of many sizes and style preferences. They are a body positive, snark free zone. I would say go to their Pinterest page for some lovely undergarment inspiration!

  • Emily

    What about just not wearing a bra? I’m a 32C (which I just discovered because I took the advice from the last post — thank you!!), but my dress has cloth bra cups built in (no support wire or anything though), and it’s a lace-up corset back. The seamstress I’m working with said no bra should be fine, but am I missing something? Should I get a backless stick-on bra? (There’s bare skin that shows on the back underneath the lace-up corset.)

    • Chelle

      If you put it on & it feels comfortable with no bra then don’t wear one! I mean, do a few jumping jacks & arm swings to make sure nothing is doing things you don’t want it to, but if no bra works, why add a layer?

  • http://Acceptorchange.blogspot.com OneMoreMeg

    I’m a newly discovered 36DDD, but carry my weight in my waist and lower. When I was trying on longline bras and other shapewear, nothing was fitting. If it went around my torso comfortably there was no support, but if it fit my chest I looked and felt like a stuffed sausage. In the end, the saleslady at Soma really came through. She looked at me and realized I should use separates. I ended up with a regular strapless bra and a shapewear piece that tucks up under the bra band and goes down to my hips. It looks like it could be one piece but it allowed me to get two different sizes for the best fit.

  • Ashleigh

    I posted on the last thread about my search for a strapless as a top heavy woman but the bra that I found that I loved (Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless) is only available in UK Shops- BUT I discovered brastop.com and they carry this bra in standard and lacy styles, sell at a discount, and ship worldwide! I’m buying the lacy version tomorrow to fit under my halter empire line dress!

  • ML

    I’m skipping the bra altogether as a 34B/32C, in favor of sewn-in bra cups. The dress is too low in the back to support any sort of strapless bra and I didn’t want to wear an extra layer of a bustier in summer heat. Found a great local seamstress through Yelp who will sew bra cups sewn into the dress lining. The cost will be around $50. Did an initial fitting and it’s SO comfortable and looks nice.

  • Sophie

    Can we talk about options for ladies who sweat a lot? For like everything? This is my main concern in dress shopping. I will be sweating a lot regardless of temperature, so what dress will I sweat through? The idea of a bustier or corset terrifies me, since it will mainly be a sweat absorbing device. I really want a line of clothes and everything just designed to avoid noticeable sweat stains (close fitting arm holes I’m looking at you) or make naturally over heating ladies less prone to melt downs (ha! Get it?).

    Solutions?