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Six pretty bras for busty gals

Longtime readers of Cheryl Shops are well acquainted with my bra woes, but for the new folks out there, I’ll make a long story short: I have big boobs. Now, when I tell people my bra size, they tend to be shocked, which leads me to two general conclusions. One: My bras fit me so well, my gals look perfectly placed and proportioned to my body. Two: Most women out there are wearing the wrong bra. (I, for one, was shocked when I found out my true size.) If you fall into the latter camp, I highly recommend making an appointment with Linda the Bra lady. It will change your life.

And speaking of life-changing experiences, a great thing that’s happened in the last few years is that there are a lot more lingerie brands offering pretty, sexy bras in bigger cup sizes. When I first found my true size, I actually wore these hideous Olga bras (it’s amazing I attracted any male attention in those things, really), because there was so little available in my cup size. And while it’s still a challenge to find DD+ cups at a lot of department stores and mass retailers (I’m looking at you, Victoria’s Secret), I highly recommend seeking out smaller independent boutiques like Linda’s, the excellent Journelle, and one of my all-time favorites, La Petite Coquette, as well as online shops FigleavesBare Necessities, and even ASOS. So here are six pretty, sexy bras, all of which are available in DD or larger (and smaller!) cups. Treat yourself (and your ta-tas)!

Six pretty bras for busty gals
Top row, left to right:

Parfait is Affinitas’ line for the larger-busted lady, with most of its styles available in sizes up to G cups. (They have matching undies and negligees too!) What’s really notable, other than the prices, which are very wallet-friendly, is that so many of their styles are pretty—no need to settle for a nude molded-cup bra, although they do carry those, if that’s what you’re into. Parfait by Affinitas Anna Demi Underwire Bra, $55

Elle MacPherson has made a nice post-modeling career for herself with a really successful line of lingerie. (She’s also hosting Fashion Star on NBC, but let’s skim over that for now.) And while you’d expect someone nicknamed “The Body” to come up with flimsy bralettes and such, MacPherson’s lingerie is incredibly detailed and well structured, and many styles, such as this one, are available in up to F cups. Elle Macpherson Artistry Underwire Bra, $68

Panache has been one of my go-to brands for awhile, but they now have a more fashion-forward spinoff called Cleo, and there is nary a neutral bra in the bunch. This fun style comes in up to FF cups, with bands as small as 28.
Also a very affordable, durable line. Panache: Cleo Ellie Balconette Underwire Bra, $45

Bottom row, left to right:
For more of a splurge, I highly recommend Chantelle bras. They’re French, and, really, the French know what they’re doing when it comes to lingerie. This is definitely not for everyday wear, but when it comes to styles made for seduction, Chantelle is a sure thing. This style comes in B through F cups. Chantelle Tulleries Demi Bra, $105

Freya is another one of my go-to brands, because their styles are almost always fun, and they’re rarely padded or molded (I’ll save my rant against padded bras for another day). This lovely lady comes in D to GG cups! Freya Roxanne Underwire Balconette Bra, $62

As noted above, Journelle is one of my favorite lingerie stores in the city, and their website is pretty great too (they have some of the best customer service I’ve ever encountered). It’s also a good place to find lesser-known brands, and so I discovered this well-priced Claudette Dessous style (again, the French!)—I love that it’s both sheer (sexy!) and neon pink (superfun!). And bonus: bring an old bra into any Journelle store now through 3/31 and get 20% off a new one. I think this one has my name on it (and possibly yours, in cup sizes from A to F). Claudette Dessous Mesh Bra, $54

From our friends at Cheryl Shops

Cheryl Shops with… Linda the Bra Lady

I think it can be safely said that by now we’ve all seen, or at least heard about, the infamous “Bra Revolution” episode of Oprah, in which it was revealed that 8 out of 10 American women are wearing the wrong size bra. I’m fairly vigilant about getting measured, so I was pretty confident going into my appointment with Linda the Bra Lady today. After attending a mastectomy bra-fitting class years ago, Linda Becker spent 20 years taming the ta-tas of Philadelphia women; five years ago she moved to New York and opened a shop at 828 Lexington Avenue. Her newest store, at 552 3rd Avenue (36th & 37th Sts.), where I had my appointment today, just opened on Saturday. Both locations stock some 250 bra sizes, and if for some reason they don’t have yours–and, really, if they don’t have it, who will?–they’ll special-order it for you. They also sell matching undies and swimsuits in all manner of sizes as well. (Fun fact: her best-selling bikini tops are size 32 G, for “young, thin girls with nice full breasts,” says Linda. “They come in and snap them up!”) There’s a chic waiting room in front, but, really, the magic happens in back.

 

While some “expert” bra fitters can claim to know your bra size just by looking at you, Linda uses the tape-measure method, which is more precise and results in far fewer returns. She measured around my ribcage, right under my breasts; the rule of thumb is to add 3 inches to that measurement to get the proper band size (4 inches if the number is even). Mine was 29-1/2, which Linda said means usually I’m a 32 but sometimes a 34 in brands like Wacoal, which run small–true on both accounts. Linda eyeballs cup size, and she guessed mine correctly–to preserve my modesty, I won’t tell you what it is, but Linda did accurately assess that my right breast is a full cup size bigger than my left. She said because of my, er, unique situation, I should look for stretchy cups to accommodate my shape–non-stretchy cups will gape on the smaller breast and cause the bigger one to spill over. My other fitting challenge is that I have very sloped shoulders, so my bra straps are constantly slipping down; Linda addressed this by bringing me racerback and adjustable-strap styles, neither of which I’d ever tried before. I settled on a style by Chantelle (which happens to be my favorite bra maker), very similar to the above Icone Basic Spacer–the straps can crisscross, but even better for me, I can make them taper in at the back so that they don’t slip off my shoulders! So while I was, in fact, wearing the correct size, I was wearing the wrong type of bra, which was just as bad. Problem solved!

As a bonus, Linda peppers her fittings with all manner of tips. I learned how to properly put on a bra (straps first, then hook, then lift your breasts into place–never yank the bra), that one should rotate bras daily and wear them 3-4 times before washing (preferably by hand), and that bras should be replaced every 6 months, especially if worn on a regular basis. For more tips, I highly suggest checking out theLinda’s Bra School section of her website, which is rife with all manner of mammary-related (sorry, couldn’t resist) information; there’s also more on the Linda Unhookedblog, which is written by Linda and her staff. And while, of course, you can shop on Linda’s website, I highly recommend making an appointment with Linda or one of her bra experts, all of whom receive at least three months of Bra School training. (Appointments are highly recommended but not required; all the stock is kept in back, so you can’t really walk in off the street, pluck some bras off the rack, and go try them on.) A note for the modest: My fitting involved lots of toplessness, and Linda did help me adjust my girls several times in a true  hands-on manner–all par for the course when it comes to bra fittings, but worth mentioning for the uninitiated. It’s literally a transforming experience–I can’t wait to wear my new bra tomorrow!

FTC full disclosure: My new bra was gratis, however I will definitely be back to Linda’s for a new bikini come summertime.

From our friends at Cheryl Shops