Affiliate Disclosure

This blog earns money from affiliate links. That means if you buy something through one of the links (to Amazon, HerRoom, and Hips and Curves) on this blog, I will earn a small commission on the sale. It's important that you know that, so I decided to tell you upfront.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Sports Bras for Side Fat and Back Fat Bulge Control

Spilling out of the back or sides of your bra is no fun. Especially when you’re working out and want to keep everything contained. Not to mention, if you’re at a gym or running or otherwise in public, it’s…not a good look. Swooping and scooping can help when you’re planning on doing something sedentary, but it’s not that useful if you are bouncing or moving around. If you have bulges under your arms, or carry back fat, you want a sports bra that can hide back fat or side fat, contain the extra tissue, and keep you looking smooth while you exercise.

You’ll want a bra with a higher back or sides to help everything look flatter and sleeker. Another helpful feature is a bra with power mesh material in the back and sides. Think of power mesh as a bit like control pantyhose material for your bra. It helps smooth you out and make you look better. Don’t fall for the trap of trying to get a larger band size to hit the bumps. That will just make everything worse, as the band will push up and make the rolls look worse. And, it will be uncomfortable too— even worse when you (and the bra) move around.

Keep in mind that the band on a sports bra should generally fit more snugly than a standard bra for better support. And, you should fit normally inside the cups. Any spillage will be exacerbated when you run or jump. Try it on and jump or box or practice whatever sport you intend to participate in, to test whether the bra will keep you in place and support you properly.

If you are a D cup or above, stick with encapsulation bras. Compression bras won’t have enough support and can cause the dreaded “uniboob” effect.

And, of course, the bra should also do its job of preventing your breast tissue from bouncing up and down while you work out.

Every bra on this list will give you the back and side smoothing you want. I’ve sorted them by size range/body type (full figure, full bust, average figure, etc.) and labeled them to show whether they are suitable for low, medium, or high impact exercises.

Full Bust Sports Bras that Minimize Side Fat and Back Fat

Panache Underwire Sports Bra 5021

Ideal for running while busty, this bra will seriously reduce bouncing, no matter what sport you try. It’s got great shaping and support too (no uniboob). There’s a racerback option so you can keep the straps off your shoulders while you work out.

Inset straps are designed to keep them from falling off your shoulders.  That's also a bonus if your shoulders are narrow, since the straps are less likely to slip while you move around. The front mesh in the center is breathable, so it stops under-bust sweating, and the allover fabric is designed to push moisture away from your body.

Powermesh (there’s that control top fabric again) on the back and sides help smooth out unsightly lumps and keep you confined inside the bra where you belong.

You don't have to settle for basic black or white either, it's also available in lime/cobalt/ gray/mango, beige, abstract ice, abstract paint, kaleidoscope, cyber print, pixel, geometric and stripe prints.
UK sizes 28D-H, 30D-H, 32C-J, 34B-J, 36B--HH, 38B-HH, 40D-GG.
High impact

Chantelle 2941 High Impact Underwire Sports Bra

Great coverage and support, as well as a bit of padding (to hide the headlights) add up to a great bra for larger busts. The underwire is exceptionally flexible so it won’t dig into your stomach and will move with you as you exercise.

Powermesh sides and back smooth out bulges, stretch with you, and wick moisture away from your body. The straps are inset, to stop slipping, and also feature a J-hook to convert the bra to a racerback style. They’re also padded, to be more comfortable and reduce chafing.  It contains, lifts, and supports so well you can even wear it when you’re not exercising.

One more thing, the band has four sets of hooks (not a column, but rows), so that you can make it tighter (and get more wear out of it) than most bras, with only three rows. The band runs tight, which is good for higher impact sports, but sister size down a cup and up a band for a more comfortable fit.

30D-H, 32-40 C-H, 42C and D in black with contrast stitching
High impact

Sports by Impact Levels

If you're not sure what impact level you need, here are some guidelines:

Low impact: walking, yoga, Pilates
Medium impact: cycling, hiking, skiing
High impact: running, gymnastics, jumping

Freya Core Underwire Sports Bra AA4002

Jump, run, or head out to the trampoline park, you won’t bounce around in this bra. It has excellent support, as well as shaping. See those seams? They lift and round your breasts, so you never look like you have only one boob. It’s also available in an extensive size range, including the rare 28 band and up to a K or JJ cup, depending on band size.

The fabric is soft and specially designed to dry quickly so you won’t feel sweaty during or after your workout. Nobody wants bra sweat.

Wider underwires are more comfortable, and great if you have wide breasts. And the bra arches in the center, which is better if you have a larger stomach. The sides and back are tall, for better smoothing and bulge taming.

Beige or black in UK sizes 28D, DD, E, F, FF, G. 30-36D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, and K, and 38D-JJ.
High impact

Wacoal Underwire Sports Bra

The unique strap design lets you lock in the adjustment so it won’t slip. Essentially, inside of slide the buckle along the strap, there are six fixed “stops”. An extra bit of fabric underneath the strap keeps the adjustment hook away from your skin, so it won’t rub and cause irritation.

One more unusual feature on this bra: the underwires are essentially on the outside. You may think, at first, that you’re putting the bra on inside-out (check the tag side!) but while it may seem odd at first, it’s actually a comfort feature.  Since the wires are outside, they won’t rub against your skin and chest, especially while you are jumping around.

The sides and back are tall and made of mesh that will smooth you out and also keep you cooler, allowing moisture to escape.

Comes in beige, black, blue, and purple. US sizes 32, 34, 36, 38, and 40 C-H; 42D-DDD.
High impact

Sports Bra Care Note

If you get a dark color, wash it separately a few times (like jeans) to make sure it doesn’t run. It’s best to hand wash your sports bras (and really most bras) because the elastic, wires, and padding can break down in a washing machine.

If you absolutely must put them in a machine, hook the back together and put the bra in a mesh lingerie bag. Then wash on gentle cycle in cold water.

Don’t put them in the dryer (actually don’t put any bra in the dryer) as it will wear them down faster and the heat will break down the material and the wires. Lay them flat to dry, or drape them on a rack (with the center of the bra over one of the rods and the straps hanging down on either side).

Full Figure Sports Bras That Tame Underarm and Back Bulges

Elomi Energise Underwire Sports Bra

If you like the Elomi Cate, this bra is for you. It’s modeled on the same frame, but transformed into a sports bra. There are four part cups and side support panels for great lift, support, and shaping, without uniboob. And, it will keep everything in place so you can jump and roll and kick without having your chest knock on your face.

The back and sides have power control fabric to prevent back fat and underarm bulges, and there are also extra panels in the sides to push you forward and out from under your arms. The sides and back do get taller as the bra size (band and cup) gets larger, so it may not work if you are at the higher end of the size range and have a short torso.

The straps can be worn standard or racerback (with a J-hook), allowing you to get a bit more support, and concealing the straps under a sleeveless top.

It’s made out of moisture wicking fabric, which will keep you cooler and (incidentally) is also good if your inner body temperature is having mood swings.

With all of that, it still looks an awful lot like a regular bra, so you could use it that way if you want.

Comes in black, white, navy, red, charcoal, and beige.
UK sizes 32GG-J, 34G-K, 36DD-K, 38D-K. 40D-J, 42D-H, 44D-GG, and 46D, DD.
High impact

Vanity Fair Sport Full Figure 76500 Bra

This bra delivers both comfort and a style that’s close enough to a regular bra to wear even when you’re not exercising. It’s got built-in ventilation to keep you cool throughout your day.

This is a full figure style, so the straps are a bit wider (for more comfort) and the cups are slightly larger (for better containment) than an average figure bra. It also has tall, power mesh back and sides to keep you looking smooth.

The power mesh also adds moisture wicking and better stretch (since it stretches in every direction), it will be more comfortable. It’s seamless, so there are no lines to show under your clothing. If you hate wires, it also comes in a wire-free version.

Black, damask, white, pale pink, fuchsia
US 36C-44DD
Full figure
Medium impact

Glamorise Magic Lift Active Support Sports Bra

A great bra if you prefer less vigorous exercise, such as walking or yoga, but still need full figure support. This bra goes up to a 50 band and K cup! Since the cups ares partially cotton, it’s cooler and naturally breathable and moisture-wicking.

There are seams and inner slings for shaping, but no wires! Instead of wires, there’s a power mesh wide band for added support and comfort. In addition, the sides and back have more control fabric that will stretch to fit you, pull moisture away from your body, and tamp down on unsightly bulges and back fat.

And, it’s another bra that looks a lot like a regular bra.

Available in white, beige, and black; cups go from 38-50 B, C, D, DD, F, G, H, I, J, and K (UK sizes).
Low impact

Average Figure Sports Bras for Side and Back Fat Control

Champion Motion Control Bra B1522

A running sports bra that’s not too pricy and comes in actual sizes, including D and DD cups. It’s also wire-free (a bit less support, but no wire to rub against your skin). The straps can be worn standard or criss-crossed for extra hold and to help keep the weight off your shoulders.

It’s constructed out of moisture-wicking fabric to keep you drier and more comfortable while you work out. The encapsulated styling keeps your bust supported and minimizes bouncing so you’re more secure while you work out. The sides and back have power mesh for better stretch, shaping, and bulge management.

Black, beige, pink, blue, and white in US sizes 34-42B-DD.
Average bust
High impact

Brooks Moving Comfort FastForward Zip Front Sports Bra 300637

Made for moderately intense activities, such as cycling or hiking, this bra is wire free and has a wide band to keep it in place. A front zipper closure is easy to open and locks into place when you close it. It’s a great feature if you have trouble reaching around your back to fasten your bra.

The cups are padded (for comfort, rather than size, to reduce chafing as you move around). If you don’t want the pads, or are doing something less strenuous, you can remove them.

Powermesh on the back, sides, and straps stop bulges and add moisture control, pushing wetness away from your skin. It will also dry quickly.

It’s got a racerback, so the straps are less likely to slip.

Sizes S-2X (equivalent of UK sizes 32C-E, 34-38 A-E and 40 C-E)
Average Figure/Some Full Bust
Medium Impact

Amoena 44070 Zip Front Sports Bra

If you want to exercise after breast surgery, this bra comes with pockets for a prosthesis (sold separately). There’s also a bit of padding for shaping.

It has a zip front closure, which is great if you’ve had surgery, and have trouble reaching behind you to close a back fastening bra. The zipper has a soft lining, so it won’t rub against your skin and cause irritation.

It’s wire free, but the band is extra-wide for improved support and stability while you exercise (in other words, the bra will stay in place better). Power mesh material keeps moisture away from your body and minimizes side and back fat bulges.

Sizes S-XL (equivalent to US 32-42B through D)
Medium Impact

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Comfortable Bras for Menopause and Perimenopause that Won't Leave You Sweating

Menopause and perimenopause can leave you hot, sweaty, and miserable. Body and hormone changes can make you hot one minute and chilly a few minutes later. Besides the hot sweats (and the word night sweat is a definite misnomer), you can have other changes which make buying or wearing bras difficult.

Since many bras are made with fabrics that aren't breathable or moisture-wicking, that just makes the problem worse. You may find that previously comfy bras are now sticking to your chest and trapping moisture next to your body. Since taking multiple daily showers usually isn't feasible, you need something made out of materials that will help you stay cool and dry.

Menopause can also cause some women to gain weight.  Some get it in the midsection, while others find that the weight ends up in their chests.  If that's where you gain weight, you will need a larger bra size than you'd been wearing before. Make sure to measure yourself (or get measured) so you have a better idea if your size has changed and what size you need.  Check this page on getting a bra that fits for more tips on how to find the right size.

Even if you stay the same size, old bras that once fit just fine may now make you miserable. The hormonal fluctuations can lead to swelling, tenderness and soreness (kind of like semi-permanent PMS). Your old bras ride up on your torso, the wires dig into your chest, and the bra sticks to your body.  Banded bras may suddenly either poke you in the ribs or end up too high on your chest.  It's uncomfortable and can make you want to tear the bra off ten minutes after you put it on.

You may also find that you end up with breast tissue that is sagging or deflated and that you need more support than you used to. Once your hormones have stabilized, try this list of bras for sagging breasts.

Since the perimenopause/menopause cycle can go on for years, it's important to be as comfortable as possible while it does.  I've grouped these by feature, but I've listed the size ranges and the appropriate body type at the end of each description.

Stop the Bra Sweat

First, there's the problem of sweating.  Bras made of cotton or moisture-wicking materials will be more comfortable and less sweaty than bras made of standard fabrics.  They won't be labeled for menopause, but the idea behind names like "cooling touch" or "play it cool" is to minimize moisture and discomfort.

Banish the sweat, and keep cooler with one of these bras.

Fruit of the Loom Extreme Comfort Cotton Bra

Cool, comfortable cotton keeps those hot flashes under control. It breathes, it washes well, and it's soft against your skin. A good choice if your skin is sensitive, since it's nearly entirely cotton.

It's bandless so it will also be extra comfortable if you are short or have a larger stomach (banded bras tend to rub, and can be less comfortable if you are swollen).  A wide center panel makes it a good choice if you are wide-set.

Most of the colors are completely smooth, with no lace or trimming to show under clothing (there are two colors, white and beige which have the option of a bit of lace trim along the edges of the cups).

Comes in white, sand, cobalt blue, pink, red, heather gray, and black, plus white and sand with lace. US sizes 34B to 44DD. (average cup)

Maidenform Custom Lift Underwire Bra

Technically, this is a sports bra. But it doesn't look like one.  The cups are made of material which keeps moisture away from your skin (so you won't feel hot and sticky).  There are also mesh panels on the sides.

The cups have padding and push-up for a bit more oompf.  You can wear the straps the standard way or criss-cross. And, if you want,  you can wear it for a light workout too.

Comes in US sizes 34A-38DD in white, hot pink, heather gray, black, and blue. Maidenform tends to run on the small side, so keep that in mind. (average cup)

Wacoal Basic Beauty Spacer T-Shirt Bra

The secret to this bra? Spacer foam. It's knit with little air pockets built right into the fabric to improve circulation and allow more air to pass through the bra (don't worry, nothing shows!).  That makes it much lighter and cooler than the fabric in a standard bra.

There's some padding, but it's still thin and much less bulky than standard t-shirt bras.  The straps are inset and it has a leotard (U-shaped back).  The straps won't slide off (even if you have narrow or sloping shoulders).

Plus, a wide back band and side boning keep lumps and bulges under control. The side support also helps push your tissue forward to keep everything front and center.

This one comes in full bust sizes. So you can get a band as small as 30 and cup sizes from D to G (depending on band size).

Comes in seventeen different colors (!) including beige, taupe, ivory, white, black, blues, pinks, wine, and red US sizes 30D-DDD, 32-40 C-G and 42D-DDD. (full bust/full figure)

Simone Perele Caresse Plunge 3D Bra

A bra with smooth foam cups (for modesty), embellished with scalloped floral lace along the bottom and the back of the band. The 3D fabric makes it comfortable and breathable.

The straps are fully adjustable so you can get them just the right length even if you are tall (or have a short upper torso - yes, in this case the same feature works for both ends of the height scale).

It's so comfortable you may forget you are wearing it.

Comes in white, sand, blush, berry, scarlet, french blue, indigo, rose, and black in EU sizes 30-34 C through G; 36 B-F; 38B-38E and 40 B-D. The cups are running a bit big, so you may want to go down a cup size and up a band size. (full bust)

Glamorise Magic Lift Cotton Wireless Support Bra

Soft, cool, breathable cotton! Yay! There are no wires to dig into your stomach or armpits, but this bra still gives great support.  There's a band that wraps around the inside of the cups and connects to the straps (like a super-sling) so you'll get good support and lift even without a wire.

The straps are padded to be more comfortable. It does have horizontal seams, which will give you a more conical shape. If you have trouble with back and side bulges, the tall sides and back will help keep bumps under control.

And, it's pretty too.

UK sizes 38-58 B, C, D, DD, F, G, H, and I in pink and white. (full figure)

Banish the Underwires

If the underwires start to bother you, go for a wire-free bra instead.  There are bras with stronger bands, control top materials and other features that will still give you decent support, even without a wire. And, since there's no wire, there's nothing to dig in or poke tender tissue. As a bonus, these bras are made of cotton or other breathable materials, so you can keep your cool while wearing them.

Bali Double Support Cool Comfort Wire-free Cotton Bra

This bra is 86% cotton, to keep you cool and comfortable. The fabric is slightly stretchy for a more custom fit and it's completely smooth (no seams or bumps to show under your clothes.

It's not a t-shirt or contour bra, so it will mold to your shape (rather than having one of its own). However, it's also double-lined for modesty and better support.

The back has a leotard U-shape so the straps will stay in place and not slide off your shoulders.

Comes in white,  taupe, and heather gray in US sizes 34B-D, 36, 38, 40 B-DDD and 42C-DDD. (average cup/full figure)

Bali Double Support Cool Comfort No Wire Bra

If you prefer a silkier fabric, this bra has the same styling as the cotton bra above. It also comes in more colors and prints as well as a wider variety of sizes.

There's no lining, but the fabric is fairly thick to minimize show-through.  The banded bottom gives a bit of extra lift and support without any wires.  Some of the larger sizes also have boning in the sides for better support. It runs a little big in the cup, so you may want to try a smaller cup size than usual in order to get the right fit.

Comes in 18 colors, including white, ivory, light beige, tan, leopard print, latte, several shades of pink, lace print, red, lavender, and multiple shades of blue in US sizes 34B-DD, 36-44B-DDD, 46-48C-DD. (average cup/full figure).

Olga Play it Cool Wirefree Bra

Keep cool with a bra that won't make you think you'll melt when your temperature spikes.  There's some light padding, but it's not thick or heavy.  The lining pulls moisture away from your skin to keep you comfortable.  The straps are padded for extra comfort.

A plunging neckline and smooth cups allow you to wear this under v-neck t-shirts or thin tops without worrying that anything will show through under your clothes.

Comes in US sizes 36C-44DD in gray/black, almond, pale blue, sea blue, violet, and white. (full figure)

Warner's Play it Cool Wire Free Cooling Racerback Bra

Special material inside the cups of this bra helps keep moisture away from your body and prevents you from getting overheated.  The cups are contoured (molded into a specific shape), so there's no show through and it's smooth under clothing.  It's a racerback and the straps adjust in front, so you don't have to twist and turn to put it on.

It's a low cut wide plunge style, so if you are close-set, this may not be the best choice for you (you may spill over into the middle).

Comes in gray, toasted almond, and white in US sizes 34-40 A-C. (average cup)

Fruit of the Loom Seamed Wirefree Cotton Bra

Entirely cotton, except for a bit of elastic where the straps attach, along the top of the band, and on the tops of the cups (this makes it fit better).  Otherwise, it's just pure, cool, comfort.  There are no wires to poke you.

There's no padding either, but the bottoms of the cups are thicker to prevent show-through. Seaming gives you more lift and a better, more rounded shape.

The high back and sides provide bulge control and keep you looking smooth.

Available in white, beige, and heather gray in US sizes 36D, 38B-D, 40 B-DD, 42B-DD, and 44 C -D (full figure).

Try a Sports Bra

Or, get a sports bra. Since they're are designed to remove moisture, they will keep you cooler. And many don't have a wire to start with. I've listed both underwire and wire free styles below. If you do get the sports bra, sister size to a larger band, smaller cup. It will be more comfortable.

Bali Active Classic Coverage Underwire Sports Bra

Another sports bra that really doesn't look like one.  You can wear it as an everyday bra (even if you don't plan to exercise). Put it on to go to work and then wear it after (or on a weekend) for power walking, yoga or low impact sports.

It's made from breathable, moisture wicking fabric that pulls wetness away from your skin, so you feel cool and comfortable.  The center is wide, so it's better if you are wide set.  There's only a thin underband and the center is arched, which also makes it a good choice if you have a larger stomach.

The straps are pulled in (close set in the back) so there's less chance of slippage.

Comes in white, champagne shimmer, several shades of pink, heather gray, turquoise, fuchsia, lavender, mint, and black in US sizes 32-42 B through DDD. (average cup/full figure)

Wacoal Body by Wacoal Front Close Underwire Bra

This is a sports bra, but it sure doesn't look like it. The sheer panels add a touch of elegance, while the super breathable fabric makes it practical and easy to wear.  Wear it to work, for a night out, or off to the gym for a light workout.

There are no seams to show through your clothes and no bulky padding either, and the racerback won't show under tank tops.  This style is best if you are wide-set, shallow, or tend to point in opposite directions. It's also bandless, which is more comfortable if you have a larger stomach, or if you are bloated.

Get this one in your sister size for better fit (band size up, cup size down).

Available in toast and black in US sizes 32C-DD, 34-38 B-DD (full bust)

If front closures aren't for you, try the  back closure style.

Leading Lady Womens Cotton Sports Bra

Super comfortable and great for everyday wear or even sleeping. It's a low impact sports bra, with no underwire to dig into tender skin. It's nearly entirely made of cotton too (96%), so it will be cool and comfortable in hot weather or if you get hot flashes. There's no seams to show through your clothes, either. It has a high front, so it's best under jewel neck or turtleneck tops. There's no metal or clasps, just pull it over your head. Another thing, it comes in larger band sizes up to 56 and cup sizes up to G!

Comes in black, blue tie dye, gray, white, blue print, plum, purple, and burgundy floral in US sizes 36B/C/D through 56 DD/F/G. Note that the size listings are doubled on Amazon for some reason. (full figure, large band/small cup).

Champion Curvy Sports Bra

Cute cutouts in front, and an inset strappy design in back gives this bra a fashionable look and feel. The straps adjust so you can get just the right length, and the cups are molded (shaped) so no uni-boob. Most of all, it has both mesh panels (to let the air out) and special moisture wicking technology to keep you dry and comfortable. It's a medium impact bra, so there's more support if you're feeling especially sore. Since there's a regular clasp, it's easy to remove at the end of the day.

Comes in a boatload of colors with contrasting trim, including reds, pinks, blacks, purple, mint, stars, stripes, or just plain black. Sizes XS-XL (roughly US 32A through 38D) (average cup).

Playtex Active Lifestyle 18 Hour Bra

This bra breathes like cotton and won't leave you feeling hot and sweaty. There are no underwires to pinch or poke, and the underband gives soft, gentle support under your breasts.  Slings on the sides of the cups help push you forward and give better definition (no uniboob). The straps are soft and wide for better comfort; they're also inset in back so they won't slip.

US sizes 36B-D, 38B-DDD, 40-42 B-DDD, 44C-DDD, and 46DD in ivory, beige, white, black, and pale lilac. (full figure)

Go for a Bralette

Bralettes have become a big fashion trend, but in this case they are also practical.  They're lighter, less structured, and have no wires by design.  Physics dictates that they are mostly made for smaller busts, but there are a few designed for larger sizes and fuller figures.  These are especially good for leisure wear, when you want some support but not a full-blown bra.

Calvin Klein Womens Modern Cotton Bralette

Made of a soft cotton blend with no wires, hooks, or bulky padding. Just pull it over your head and you're done. The elastic underband helps keep everything in place when you bend over. There are no seams or lace to show under clothing either. Keep in mind that Calvin Klein runs small!

Also since there is no wire, this is a better choice for smaller busts (or just lounging at home if you are larger).

Comes in blues, reds, black, green, white, black, stripes, plus logo prints in sizes XS-L (some colors go up to 3X). (average cup/plus size depending on color).

I have included pictures of both average cup and plus size so you can see how it looks on different body shapes.

Eberjey Pima Cotton Soft Cup Bra

Fashioned from super-soft pima cotton, with only a touch of elastic. It's 92% cotton! There's no decoration, just a tiny lace trim along the edges of the cups.

No wires or slings or bulky padding either, just a light lining for modesty and a touch more support.  This is a great lounging bra on the larger side and just perfect for smaller busts that don't need a lot of support.

Available in white, beige, charcoal, and black in sizes S/M and M/L or 32-36 A-B and 32-34 C.

Leading Lady Plus Size Wirefree Bralette

Perfect for lounging around when you just want a bit of support (and modesty) without a full-blown bra.  Unlike most bralettes, this one comes in larger sizes. It's nearly entirely soft smooth cotton (95%) with just a bit of lace trim around the top and along the bottom of the band.

Think of it as a mini-camisole, with just enough bra for modesty (if you need to answer the door or take out the trash) but no wires or heavy structure.

Comes in blue, white, heather gray, and black in sizes S-3X (roughly US 32A through 54G)

Wacoal B-Smooth Wireless Bra

A bit of a cross between a bralette and a sports bra, with enough support for light exercise, without any wires. There's some padding, but you can take that out if you prefer.  It will also keep you smooth because the sides and back are high, to help combat lumps and bulges.

Wear it around the house, for power walking, or under everyday clothes; it's multifunctional. The material is cooling so it will keep you comfortable when your temperature changes.

Lots of shades of blue, pinks, red, black, wine, pecan, lavender, and beige in sizes 32-40 (roughly 32-40A-D) (average cup)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Post Mastectomy and Surgical Bras for Every Stage of Healing and Recovery

If you've just had a mastectomy, reduction, augmentation, or other chest surgery, you'll need to stop wearing regular bras for a while until you recover.  You will still have to wear a bra (except of course for washing both the bra and yourself) until you heal, but you'll need different post-surgical bras for each stage of recovery. I have broken these down in stages (from initial post-surgical wear to fully healed).

But first, I want to emphasize that I can give bra suggestions, but not medical advice. If you have questions about your operation, healing, or any follow-up procedures or visits, please consult your doctor and follow their recommendations.

I also want to stress that everyone recovers at a different pace, and you may heal more quickly (or more slowly) than you expect. If you think you have a problem, talk to your physician. It may also help you to seek out support forums to talk about your recovery with other people who have had similar operations. The actual lived experience of surgery and recovery has plot twists that doctors may overlook!

That said, here are some tips on how to navigate the post-surgical bra wearing and buying process.

Start with the bra the doctor gives you. Then, move on to an initial recovery bra with openings or pockets to accommodate your drains. Once you have healed a bit, depending on what type of procedure you had, you can switch from the post-surgery bra with drainage allowance to a soft cup front closure bra or a compression sports bra. Basically, something that's more similar to an everyday bra you would have worn before your operation.

You will likely be more comfortable in a seamless style, as there is less chance of irritation. Look for something breathable, such as a cotton or cotton-blend bra. It may be easier to put on a bra that closes in front, as there is less need to stretch and pull on your incision(s).

You’ll need to avoid wearing underwires for about three months. It’s best not to buy any new underwire bras until you have healed, the swelling has gone down, and you can be sure of your new size and shape (particularly if you had augmentation or reduction). This may take up to six months (everyone recovers differently).

If you had shoulder or rotator cuff surgery, enhancement, reduction, or reconstruction, you can start wearing regular bras when you are fully healed. If you had a mastectomy or lumpectomy, you can purchase bras with pockets for the form(s).

I’ve listed bras by each stage below.

Initial Recovery Post-Surgical Bras (after Chest or Shoulder Surgery, Reduction, Augmentation, Mastectomy, or Reconstruction)

Gentle Touch Post-Surgical Surg-Ease Bra

Made of cotton, with two pockets for drainage pouches (right after surgery). The velcro straps make it easy to put on and take off, as well as to check on healing and your surgical dressing(s).

This is good for breast surgery, rotator cuff surgery, shoulder surgery, or chest surgery. Measure under your bust (or your body size) to get the right size, rather than by cup size.

S-XXXXL (28A-B, 30-32B, 34-36C-D, 36-38D-DD, 42-44DD, 44-46F, 46+) in white or black. The white is available in front hook or front velcro closure).

Elizabeth Post Surgical Bra

This has openings on the sides to allow room for drainage. This is best if that’s where your drains are, if you have an incision in the center of your chest from thoracic surgery, it might not work as well. The straps and the center close with Velcro so it’s easy to get it on and off. The openings at the sides also adjust so you can get them the right width for your drains with squashing them (or yourself). Since the closures are Velcro, you can fine-tune the adjustment without worrying about hooks or fasteners to get the right size, and when the swelling starts to go down.

Comes in pink, sizes S-7X.

Post Surgical Bra Front Closure Mastectomy Bra

If you’ve had a mastectomy, you will need bras with pockets to hold your prothesis. You may find that a front closure bra is more comfortable, and easier to put on. Since it closes in front you don’t have to stretch so much to reach the hooks and fasten them.

Amoena Frances Front Closure Mastectomy Bra

Designed to wear for leisure or sleeping, this bra is super soft, and made from 88% cotton knit. There’s elastic on the top, under the band, and on the straps for a better fit. It won’t provide tons of support, but it’s fine once you’ve passed the drain stage and are ready for a more “standard” bra. It does have pockets for breast forms (if you need them). Those are sold separately. And, it comes in some fun prints and colors too.

Sizes S-2X (32-50A-D) in white, beige, blue snake, navy, black, orchid/white print, taupe lace, gray lace

Amoena Greta Post Surgical Bra

Here's something different! A bra you can close either in the front or in the back!  So you can fasten it easily even if you are having trouble reaching around your back or forward. The seams do make it a bit retro, but they also give you a more uplifted shape.

A light lining hides any show through, and there are pockets (no forms though, those are sold separately) if you've had a mastectomy and need a prosthesis.

Comes in white or beige, sizes  34A-D, 36A-DD, 38A-DD, 40-DD, 42A-DD and 44A-D.

Post Surgical Compression Bras

Annette Womens Post Surgery Front Close Bra

This is better for latter stages of recovery, as it is closer to a sports bra. No seams, no wires, and the front closure makes it much easier to put on or take it off.  No need to twist around to get dressed in the morning or undressed at night. Racerback styling puts less pressure on your shoulders.

The sides are high for better support, but they might be a problem if you have a short torso. The fabric is a lightweight nylon blend with ribbing on the band and sides for a better fit and more stability (so it won't slide around). It's not quite a longline, but the band is wide, so it's better for taller women.

Sizes S-2X (approx 32-38B-DD, 40B-D ) in beige and black.

Annette 10168 Post Surgery Soft Cup Bra

Suitable for use after augmentation surgery, reduction, or lumpectomy. It won't work for post-mastectomy, unless you have expanders, as there are no pockets for a form.

This is a cotton blend bra, which closes in the front, making it easier to put on after your operation. There’s also cotton fabric behind the hooks, so that they don’t touch your skin.

It has a wide band for support and a racerback to help keep the straps from slipping (which is extra helpful when it’s hard to raise your arms). Then, once you’ve recovered, you can keep wearing it as a weekend, lounging bra.

Sizes 34-46 B-DD in beige and black.

Amoena Ester Surgical Bra

Looks more like a sports bra and is has a easy on/off front closure. It’s much easier to put on while you are recovering. It has cotton pockets for forms (if you need them; those are sold separately). There are no wires, just a wide underhand which will help keep you from shifting around. There’s mesh along the sides and back to help keep you cooler and more comfortable.

A good option if you need a large band, small cup as it comes in band sizes up to 44 in A and B cup sizes.

Comes in white sizes 34A-D, 36A-DD, 38A-DD, 40-DD, 42A-DD and 44A-D.

Post Surgical Soft Cup Bras

Wacoal Soft Cup 852247

This is a good choice if you are larger than a D or DD cup. While it doesn’t close in front, it is soft, comfortable and gives excellent support without an underwire. There’s no lace or seams to irritate your skin, just a bit of decorative openwork between the cups. This does not have pockets, so it’s not suitable for a mastectomy. It will work if you’ve had reconstruction, reduction, or augmentation.

The fabric is stretchy and breathable for a better fit and greater comfort.

Comes in 34-44 B-DDD in beige (limited sizes in white).

Wacoal How Perfect Soft Cup Bra

Smooth, and made of an exceptionally soft knit fabric. There are no wires to rub against your skin or irritate your incisions. It does have some boning on the sides for better support. The plunge shape won’t show under lower necklines. Keep in mind that if you’re very round the plunge may not be a good option (as you could pop out of the center).

No pockets for prosthetics; this is best for recovery from other types of surgery (reconstruction, augmentation, or reduction).

Comes in beige, black, light blue, navy, and raspberry in sizes 30-32B-DDD, 34A-DDD, 36A-DD, 38B-D, and 40A.

Post-Mastectomy Bras with Pockets

Anita Post-Mastectomy Safina Bra 5349X

Now that you’ve recovered, it’s time for a more standard sort of bra. This one has no wires, so it’s comfortable, but the horizontal and vertical seams will give you more lift and support than a seamless bra.

There’s even a touch of embroidery on the cups. The pockets inside are comfy, soft cotton with elastic at the edge to hold the form(s) in place. And, it comes in a variety of colors, as well as band sizes up to 50.

Choose from beige, black, blue, white, red, or ivory. Sizes 32-44 A-F, 46-50 A-D.

Amoena Lara Seamless Molded Cup Wire free Bra

Sometimes you just need a seamless bra (so it doesn’t show through shirts). This one is smooth, with just a small embroidered appliqué leaf between the cups. In fact, it looks a lot like the sort of bra you probably wore before surgery.

There’s a bit of padding for modesty, rather than size. It does seem to run a bit big, particularly in smaller cup sizes, so keep that in mind.

Comes in black, beige, and white in sizes 32A-C, and 34-40 AA-D.

Amoena Nancy Bra with Pockets

A truly pretty mastectomy bra! This one is cut and sewn for better fit and shaping, but has no wires to irritate your skin.  The lining is a special cooling material to keep you more comfortable.

The bra comes in several colors (so you're not stuck with just white or beige) and the cups are trimmed with pretty lace. Most of all, no more plain Jane bras, even if you need a larger band. This bra comes in band sizes up to 52!

It's got a narrow center, so it's better if you are close-set.  There are pockets for a prosthesis.

Comes in beige, white, wild rose, navy, and black in sizes 323B, 34-52 B-D.

Post-Mastectomy Sports Bra with Pockets

If you were active before surgery and want to keep working out, you’ll need a sports bra with pockets for your prosthesis. This will gave you the shape you want, while minimizing sweating and discomfort from exercising.

Keep in mind that sports bras tend to run tighter in the band, so you may want to sister-size up a band size and down a cup size for a more comfortable fit.

Amoena Active Zipper Front Medium Impact Sports Bra 44411

This has pockets for breast forms and a front zipper to make it easier to get it on and off. The fabric is designed to wick moisture away from your body and keep you cooler.

There are no wires, just a soft support band under the cups.  The straps are padded to relieve stress on your shoulders as you move around.  It will keep everything from moving around whether you are post-op or recovered and out power walking.

There's also a hook in the back so you can wear it as a racerback if you want to.

Sizes S-XL (roughly 32A-42DD, plus up to 44D) in red.

Amoena Performance Sports Bra

This one is better for low impact activities such as yoga or a brisk walk (essentially the less bouncing and jumping the lower the impact). There are ventilated and mesh panels in the back, between the cups, and on the sides to minimize wetness and moisture against your skin.

It’s designed as a post-mastectomy bra, so there are pockets for forms (but those are not included with the bra).

EU sizes 32AA-D, 34-42 A-DD in beige and black.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Best Bras for Tweens and Big Girls Getting Their First Bra

I must have been about 12 years old when my mom took me to get my first bra. I didn’t really need it at the time, but I wanted it really badly! We went to one of those places where the fitter looks at you and hands you a stack of bra boxes. Then she started adjusting and poking and prodding. It was embarrassing and unpleasant. And there weren’t too many good options either. Tween bras didn’t really exist then! There were no best bras for tweens, just “training bras” (what exactly were you training for exactly?) and adult bras that were way too big, too frilly, and just plain wrong for a 12 year old!

Fortunately, there are many more choices now. The bras are far more suitable for tweens and younger women, without adult lace, sheer cups, or plunging necklines. And, with online shopping tween girls don’t have to be pawed at by a strange woman in a dressing room!

These bras are modest, simple, and pared down. No lace, no frills, no inappropriate details— just comfortable, soft styles suitable for older girls.

Note that there are some adult women buying these bras because they come in small sizes. It works occasionally, but not most of the time. The trouble is that they are not designed for fully grown bodies. The straps are too short and the bands are smaller. If you need a small size, and you are an adult, try this post instead.

Best Bras for Tweens and Big Girls

Tween Bee Microfiber Full Coverage Teen Bra

This bra is designed specifically for tween girls aged 9-13. Slightly padded for modesty (not size), this bra is completely smooth with seamless cups and no underwires. Underwires are not generally needed for a small size, particularly for young women who aren’t sagging. And, a wire-free bra is also more comfortable for girls who aren’t used to wearing them. The thin double straps add an elegant touch without being fussy.

Comes in white and beige, sizes 30AA-A, 32AA-B, 34AA-B and 36A.

Maidenform Girl Softie Contour Bra

Thanks to the J-hook in the back, this bra can be worn standard or as a racerback. That makes it a good option for sleeveless or tank tops, since the straps won’t show. The straps are fairly thin so they also won’t show under scoop necks, button-down shirts or square necks. It’s smooth, with just a little padding for modesty, so nothing will peep out under t-shirts or fitted tops. Maidenform tends to run small, and since this is sized for pre-teens and tweens it will fit differently than a bra for an adult woman.

Sizes 32-36A in white, beige, and black.

Yellowberry Chickadee Seamless Tweens Comfort Bra

Yellowberry bras were originally designed for teens by someone who was a teen herself at the time. Her first bra shopping trip was a failure (sounds like mine!) and she decided to do something about it. The bras come in fun colors, and they are light, comfortable, and breathable. There’s a lining, but absolutely no padding at all. This one can also be worn criss-crossed.

Comes in coconut, beige, turquoise, black, orange, huckleberry, and white. Sizes are XS/S, S/M, and L/XL (there’s a chart on the page to help measure).

Trimfit Wirefree Cotton Girls/Tween Bra

This is more of a standard bra style. I would think it’s best for older girls (closer to 12 or 13) than say a 9 or 10 year old child. They are made almost entirely of cotton and don’t have any underwires so they are more comfortable and can be machine washed. It says they can be tumbled dry on low, but I would hang them up to drip dry.

Available in a two-pack of pink stripes/gray or navy hearts/white in sizes 32A-38A.

Trimfit Girls Racerback Bra

Fun designs and snazzy colors make these great for younger girls. They have a racerback (good for jumping around) and a longer band that won’t ride up. No hooks, just pull it on, and since they don’t look like bras, it’s OK if they show under other tops (or for layering).

Available in M, L., and XL in four pack packages: gray/white/purple, zig zag; black and white (2 of each), black/white/gray, purple, and black/white (2), purple, and zig zag.

Tween Sports Bras

Yellowberry Aspen Comfort Tweens Cotton Bra

Cotton! Yes! Cool, comfortable and breathable. It’s soft, comfy cotton so it will wash well and won’t get all sweaty. There’s just a little bit of spandex for stretch. No padding, but the bra is heavy, high quality cotton (so nothing shows through). Great for running around, jumping, and wearing to gym class or sports. Since it has a racerback, the straps won’t slip while being active. And it comes in three color-blocked shades: blue, huckleberry, and white. Sizes XS, S, and M.

Maidenform Girls Seamless Racerback Sports Bra

Just the thing for sports, this bra has thick straps and a racerback so it’s easy to move around without doing the strap adjustment dance. It’s made out of nylon, so it will wash and dry more quickly than cotton. It’s ideal for gym class or layering under other clothes, almost like a crop top. And no itchy tags either. It’s a bra without being terribly bra-like, so it’s good when she wants to feel “covered” and grown up, even if it isn’t strictly “necessary” yet.

Comes in black, black/white, green/white, white, and red/white in sizes S-XL.

Under Armour Girls HeatGear Sports Bra

A sports bra that manages to be both practical and fun, The moisture-wicking fabric keeps skin dry and the fabric will stretch four different ways to get the perfect fit. The back is a racerback so it’s great for sports (no slipping straps). The mesh back reduces the weight and helps keep cool and the band is nice and wide so it won’t ride up. The fun part is the snazzy colors. It comes in standard black and white as well as cherry/black, hot pink, and pink/deep gray. Sizes Youth XS-XL.

Fruit of the Loom Girls Cotton Sports Bra

This is sold in a three-pack (shop once and be done) of either plain or bright colors (several options). The bras are cotton, so they are comfortable and soft. They are not a racerback, but they do have nice, wide straps. No hooks to fuss with, she can just pull them on over her head. And, since they are cotton they are machine washable (less work to do the laundry is always a good thing).

Available in black/gray/white, black/pink/white, white/sand/black, gray/pink/white, hot pink/white/black, and blue/white/strawberry in sizes 28-38. They do run a bit small.