The ultimate guide to plus-size bras

The ultimate bra guide for plus-size women (Photo: Cacique)

When you have large breasts and are plus-sized, it is nearly impossible to find a supportive, comfortable bra. Shopping for said “miracle bra” that actually fits correctly and is semi-cute can be flat out exhausting, so it is crucial to know your actual bra size prior to your search.

According to a study done by inclusive lingerie brand Third Love, only 20 percent of women are wearing the correct cup size, and most go through their whole adult lives wearing the wrong size bra. I myself have been guilty of wearing undergarments that dig into my shoulders and don't fully support me until I finally measured myself and began buying the correct size. Not all brands fit the same, which is why it is extremely important to know your measurements so you can compare with a brand’s own sizing guide.

Insider Sizing Tips

Though there is no real foolproof bra calculator, I have provided a simple outline and rule of thumb, below, to help you determine your correct bra size at home.

All you need is a soft measuring tape and two measurements: the band size, which can be found around your back and under your bust, and the cup measurement, which can be found by measuring around your back and over your nipples. After you have these two numbers you will subtract your band size from your cup size and that difference will correspond to you specific letter cup.

For example, my band size is 44 inches and my cup size is 51 inches, which means 51- 44 = 6, which equals a DDD, according to the below guide.

Easy Cup Size Measure Guide:

1''= A

2''= B

3''= C

4''= D

5''= DD

6''= DDD & F

7''= G

8''= H

9''= I

10''= J

11''= K

Once you have measured your perfect size, it’s time to make sure that your bra is fitting the way it is meant to be worn.

The Band

Most people are surprised to learn that the band is the main support feature to your whole bra and that, when your band fits as it’s intended, then you will actually get the large bust support you need. A quick test to determine if your band fits or not is this: If you cannot fit a finger between the bra band and your skin, it’s too tight. And if there are gaps at the bottom of the cup, then it’s too loose and the bra will inevitably ride up.

Expert Tip: When you buy a new bra, clip it to the loosest row of hooks so that when the bra stretches from washing and wear, you can size down.

Center Gore

The center gore is the little area between the breast cups and the skin. This area of the bra should remain tighter to the skin to keep your breast from slipping out the bottom. If you can stick a finger between the center gore that means that it is too loose and will not provide the necessary support.

Cups

When appraising whether or not your cup size is correct, the cups should appear full and smooth. Often when they are too large there will be empty spots and have pockets in the fit. If the cup size is too small you will notice spillage under your arms or over the top and you need to size up accordingly. Next, you need to check if the fit of the underwire stays flat against your skin and doesn’t pinch or poke.

Straps

A bra with adjustable straps that you can loosen and tighten on demand, depending on the amount of wear, is key. Your bra straps should fit comfortably on your shoulder without digging and pinching or creating a tight red imprint when you take it off. The straps should also stay in place and not slip off your shoulders when you wear them, which typically indicates the bra is too large or the bra has lost its elasticity and it’s time to get a new one.

Now that you have the lowdown on how to shop for the perfect bra, keep scrolling to shop some of my favorite plus-size bras made especially to support large busts!

For more style inspiration follow my instagram @margieplus and my style blog www.margieplus.com.

The editors at Yahoo Lifestyle are committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. At times, we may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.

Boost

Cacique Smooth Boost Plunge Bra

This has got to be my favorite boost bra of all time! This cleavage enhancing bra helps keep your large breasts supported even though it has deep front plunge. The U-back helps reduce bulges for a smooth silhouette up to size 46H.

Shop it: Cacique Smooth Boost Plunge Bra, $43-$53, cacique.com

Strapless

Third Love 24/7 Classic Strapless Bra

A large part of this bra’s amazing fit is due to the brand offering half sizes in their cups to assure a perfect fit. It has silicone lining along the top and bottom edges to help keep the bra in place and has two sets of removable straps up to a size 48 F.

Shop it: Third Love 24/7 Classic Strapless Bra, $68, thirdlove.com

Plunge

Elomi Charley Underwired Plunge Bra (Photo: Fig Leaves)

I’m obsessed with this candy-apple red plunge bra that is a must for any curvy woman's closet! It is non-padded, with an underwire, and its sexy plunge neckline has all day support and undeniable sex appeal.

Shop it: Elomi Charley Underwired Plunge Bra, $69, figleaves.com

Longline

Addition Elle Deesse Collection Long Line Bra With Lace

This longline bra proves you can have support and still look sexy. It does not have side boning so it won’t poke and it has a 3 x 6 hook eye closure for a secure and comfortable fit. It is also available in sizes 44G/44H cups.

Shop it: Addition Elle Deesse Collection Long Line Bra With Lace, $62, additionelle.com

Full Coverage Lace

Curvy Couture Beautiful Bliss Lace Underwire Bra

Who says you cant be sexy while you’re all covered up? This beautiful lace unlined bra with an underwire finish provides ultimate coverage and support can be sexy, too. It’s topped off with a delicate blossom and diamond motif and is available up to a size 46H.

Shop it: Curvy Couture Beautiful Bliss Lace Underwire Bra, $62, nordstrom.com

Minimizer

Wacoal Visual Effects Minimizer Bra

This super comfortable full coverage bra lifts and supports to reduce the bust line up to one inch and is offered up to size 44DDD.

Shop it: Wacoal Visual Effects Minimizer Bra, $65, macys.com

Bralette

Torrid Black Lace Racerback Bralette

I fell in love with this wireless bralette the first time I tried it on. The pullover fit is sexy and laid back all at the same time. The power mesh lining helps keep you supported all day and night. It’s available up to a size 6x.

Shop it: Torrid Black Lace Racerback Bralette, $29, torrid.com

Front Closure

Glamorise Womens Plus Wonderwire Front Close Bra

This sexy and comfortable bra not only has an easy front closure and wide adjustable cushioned straps for all day wear, but it features Wonderwire technology. Essentially, it is a wire that never touches the body and features a hidden cushioned band for maximum comfort up to size 48G.

Shop it: Glamorise Womens Plus Wonderwire Front Close Bra, $32-$70, walmart.com

Read More from Yahoo Lifestyle:

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• The ultimate swimsuit guide for big busts and curvy bottoms

• Your plus-size shopping guide to wearing bold prints and colors this spring

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