Challenge: finding a bra that works

By: Marly. On: August 16, 2019.

For plus size older women, it is impossible to find a bra that is easy to put on (ie front-closing, preferably a sturdy zipper rather than hooks), has cap sleeves so that straps do not create constant shoulder abrasions, is cut high to actually offer support to the whole breast, has good back support, and has a band underneath rather than a wire.   I have spent hours and many dollars trying out one bra after another and have constantly had to compromise on one or another of these elements. Frankly, at this age, I don't care about how pretty or sexy the bra is; I want comfort and support!

I doubt that I am the only woman who has had this challenge!   If you have come across anything like what I am describing, do tell!  Otherwise, I would like to find a woman design engineer who can make this type of garment. 



from Christine R (unverified) at November 15, 2019

Agree entirely.  Especially difficult in South Africa.


from Mary Clutts (unverified) at November 04, 2019

Did you send your design idea to Third Love? This is a SF Bay Area company that is in the business of redesigning not only the bra but also the bra buying experience. When taking a look at their website, it seems like these two women might be the ones to take on the market for mature women who are struggling with the very issues you describe.



from Della (unverified) at October 16, 2019

I'm a full 36 D and have been wearing Genie Bras for years now. They are a step in, pull up bra that feels like you're wearing nothing but makes my tshirts and all other tops look great. they go in the washer and dryer, I hang to dry and they last for years, and I just paid about $50 for 12 of them in assorted colors and that included shipping. The manufacturer/distributer is now in China so it took weeks to get my recent order, but they arrived in the original boxes and in perfect condition. If you're interested you can get them online, but make sure it says the original Genie Bra. 


from Marly (member) at October 15, 2019

Better bra design for older womenBra babes,

As a result of our hearty conversation and an analysis of needs, I have come up with this sketch which I sent to a number of bra companies.  Two of them were profuse in their thanks and said they are taking the feedback and sketch to their designers. I said the top priorities were comfort, containment, support and ease of donning (ie  I want a front closing garment). Stay tuned!


from Sue POLSON (unverified) at September 05, 2019

Here is the one I've been buying for years now: Berlei Full Figure Body Bra Y196B. 

Sometimes they have specials. White is sometimes on special for a lot less than the popular Latte colour. Prices have increased. They do eventually stretch out but I can't remember when I bought the last 2 and before that I got 2 white ones for $25 each. Due for new ones. I wear 18DD. They are cool & comfy in our hot summers. No underwires. Only Latte colour at present. Sizes 14C to 20E. Can buy on eBay for less though.


from Irene  (unverified) at September 03, 2019

Someone told me about this Jane Austen era bra which sounded ideal.  Enjoy.



from Alaine (member) at August 24, 2019

After reading the comments, I feel like I must be missing something when it comes to front-closing bras. Or maybe I just do it wrong. I tore my rotator cuff a while back, and while it has healed, I find front-closing bras much more problematic than back-closing ones. With a traditional bra, you can wrap it around your waist with your arms kept low, fix the hooks, spin it around, pull it up, put your arms in and adjust, all without a whole lot of stress on your upper arms or shoulders. The few times I tried front-closing bras, I thought it required a lot more arching of the shoulders to put it on in the first place. I like Playtex and Bali, but it's low hanging fruit. I'm small chested but heavy, and they're the only brands I can regularly find in 42B. My go-to bras are Playtex 18 Hour or Bali Double Support.


from Marly (member) at October 31, 2019

The secret to handling a front closing bra easily is to LIE DOWN when hooking or zipping. YOur boobs move out of the way and you have

a flatter area to work with.  I discovered this after returning various bras which i could not close when standing up!  I find it more difficult

to pull a back closing bra around from the front.  You are a B cup and i am a DDD so that might make a difference!


from Lenora (unverified) at August 05, 2019

I believe a front-closing bra would be welcome to all sizes - ARTHRITIS  prevents my ability to hook bras  from behind. Strong front closure such as a flexible zipper would be great - Wacoal's $55 front-closing bra has one tiny, fragile-looking plastic hinge - questionable investment from the get-go, and another challenge for arthritic fingers.  Thank you all for listing your current solutions, but a "dream bra" is a great idea.  


from Martha Richards (unverified) at August 05, 2019

Before we talk solutions we should identify the problems. Although fluffy women are harder to fit we should not exclude normal sized women, we all similar problems. At the end of the day when all you can think of is... take if off, NOW, your bra doesn't fit. 

1. We are less muscular and have softer tissue, thus creating the overflow at the top and bottom of our bras. Seriously, the overhang is really unattractive and really uncomfortable. 

2. We aren't as flexible as we used to be. What kind of front closures make sense? Options are important, hooks, zippers, whatever.

3. As we age for some reason our breasts seem to take on a zip code of their own. Bigger and softer. What's with that?

4. Again, because our tissue is softer, those cute thin straps cut in and are not comfortable. 

5. We need wider straps or as one lady suggested a full cap? Or would having the straps attached more towards the center keep them from slipping off our shoulders? Maybe having several places we could attached the straps in the back would help. 

6. And how about adjustments for length... why in the world do they ever put them in the back? Take bra off adjust. Put bra on check adjustment. Oops, not right. Repeats steps 1-3. 

7. Some women prefer underwire and some prefer wireless. Why one over the other?

8. Let's not forget pretty. Functional is important but please, DO NOT go industrial. I dont care how old I am or fluffy I still want pretty. 



from Barbara Floyd (unverified) at August 05, 2019

I also have a problem of excess back fat behind my armpit  bulging over the band going around my body. This makes it very difficult to wear certain styles of tighter or sleeveless clothing.


from atyck (unverified) at August 05, 2019

Perhaps it would be worth contacting   They are a fairly new start up selling bras exclusively online.  They don't currrently have what you are describing but may be interested in developing it.


from (member) at July 13, 2019

I'm an older woman who had the exact same problem. I found the Genie Bra several years ago and have never gone back! I step in and pull it up. It fits perfectly! I'm a 36D but I know they go up to bigger sizes as well. You can find them online easily if you want to try them. I just reordered a dozen and paid about $15 for a box of three assorted colors. Hope this is helpful!


from Marly (member) at July 13, 2019

Not enough support for a triple D cup, and too much contortion getting it on and off. I also read from other users that it unravels after a few washes.



from Brenda Anderson (unverified) at August 05, 2019

What about the Shefit sports bra?   It has a good front zipper.



from Marly. (unverified) at August 06, 2019

Does anyone have personal experience with this bra? (Shefit Sports)

It looks good but I wonder how difficult it is to get in and out of and to adjust.

You have to reach around behind to deal with the velcro band.  I have limited range of motion in upper arms. 


from Deb Margoluis (unverified) at August 06, 2019

the Shefit got more lowest ratings than highest ratings on Amazon.

Good Housekeping chose best bras for big boobs - article below. 

 Haven’t tried any but these sound good for what folks are looking for: Spanx Brallelujah (front closing) and Shorteez full back coverage - pull over


from Marly. (unverified) at August 07, 2019

None of these would work for me. I need full coverage and a high cut in the front. My boobs are very full in the center so all those bras that have just a little piece across the center are insufficient.   Also, because my bust is heavy, it doesn't seem to matter what bra i wear; I get strap abrasions on my shoulders.  You can't imagine how frustrated I am.  I hope there are other women on this post who have found a solution!

The one bra that comes closest is the Playtex 18 hour comfort bra but it has become increasingly difficult for me to manage the hooks in the back.


from Marly (member) at October 04, 2019

After copious amounts of research and trial and error, I found one bra that has some of the features wehave been talking about.  It zips up in front, has comfortable material, good coverage. Check it out:

I have worn mine for two days. Zipper stays closed.  Relatively comfy.  Strong material with flexibility. Let me know how you like it if you decide to try it.  BTW, the service is excellent.  The salesperson actually followed up with me to find out how I liked it.