Need a Lifty Bra for Sagging Breasts? Looking for the best support bras for exercising? Or for the best full figure bras or the most comfortable bra for large breasts? Confused? Relax! We have compiled an ultimate guide to buying a bra online, to help you.
Our Ultimate Guide to Buying a Bra Online
Finding the best types of bra on the internet for your body shape can be a time consuming quest because there’s so much choice – whether you’re looking for cheap bras or expensive designer bras, a push up sports bra, or simply the best bras for everyday wear.
What’s more you want the best fitting bra because the right bust support really does make a difference to the way clothes fit you and how you look.
We’re bringing together all the information you need in one place – an ultimate guide to buying a bra as well as answers to some of the questions we’re often asked :
- How should a bra fit?
- What are the best full figure bras?
- How a bra should look on your body.
- How to fit a bra at home?
- What are the best bras to buy?
That Bo Derek Moment
Do you remember your first bra? That first Bo Derek moment when you realised that your girls were getting more attention than you were, and you were taken shopping by your Mum to buy, what we termed in jest at school back then as, ‘an over shoulder boulder holder’.
Over the years, as many of you have too, I’ve grown accustomed to constriction, but my first bra seemed like a corset. There were only a couple of types of bras back then – the action bras and the frilly ones.
Some seemed to have come straight from Marilyn Monroe’s wardrobe, with advanced wiring and engineering which would make an architect proud.
Others were no more than a bit of stretchy t-shirt fabric to give a bit of support.
The action bra was of course a forerunner of the sports bra, but so much simpler. More of a stretchy bra that gave just a hint of support – but action bra it was not, and ‘action’ was the last thing my mother wanted for me as a young teenager unless it was rising to the trot on my pony.
Then there were the bras for the late teen developing body, bras which were often quite enormous really.
Young guns though would have had no trouble undoing the big hooks at the back which were large enough to catch deep sea fish with.
How should a bra look on your body?
First of all your bra should and must enhance the way your bosoms fall. It should centre your bosoms so that your bust is in line with your rib cage and lifted to about half way between your elbows and your shoulders.
Position your bra so that it sits slightly lower at the back than the front. This has the effect of tipping your bust upwards a little, makes your girls sit better, and also can help to avoid unsightly back-bulge.
In front of a mirror, lift your arms above your head. If the bra stays put, you’re all good. It shouldn’t lift off the chest at the front.
If you choose an underwire bra, the underwire must sit snug and flat against your rib cage, but behind your actual breast, not on any part of it. Your bosom should sit comfortably in the cup without bulging out. To do this, you might like to lean forward when you put on your bra and position the underwire correctly first.
Tips on how to choose the right bra
When choosing a bra makes sure that it’s not too loose, and not too tight. Too loose and it will not give you support, too tight and you will be uncomfortable and have bulge.
Put your thumb under the clasp at the back and pull it away from your body. It shouldn’t pull away by more than about 3 or 4 cms.
Good bras are made from high quality fabrics with high tensile strength and good elastic recovery. They should last for many wears.
Cheap bras on the other hand might last a few washes, but unless you are very careful and hand wash them, they will probably lose their elasticity and grip.
Good bras though are finely engineered 😉
Different Types of Bra
Today we have so many types of bra available to us that it’s often hard making the right choice.
To help you update your closet with great fitting bras (a must if you want your clothes to look great on you) I’ve done some research on Bras Bras Bras and more Bras.
The Lifty Bra for Small Breasts
Want an instant breast lift? There’s no need for cosmetic surgery because there are many lift bras, or push-up bras on the market which will give you more oomph.
A Lift Bra promises to give you more natural looking cleavage while still being comfortable to wear.
When you’re buying this kind of bra look for the wording ‘push up’ bra.
Push up bra benefits
The benefits of a good push-up bra are many.
A push up bra should make your breasts look larger, and this is a popular choice for small breasted women. Generally push up bras are padded, making your breasts appear bigger, and due to their push up design they will also give you more cleavage.
A push up bra should give you a little unobtrusive padding.
It’s a go-to if you like underwire support, and a whole lot of lift.
Lacy push up bras and ever-so sexy push up bras go side by side with plain styles that don’t shout ‘look at me’. It’s your choice.
However, when you’re choosing a push-up bra you’ll need to decide whether you want a gel cup or foam type padding.
Also make sure that your breasts don’t spill out over the top – a decolletage is good, but not if it’s overdone.
Best Push Up Bras
Wonderbras are known for their lifting capacity and have been around a long time. Take a look at the best Wonderbras here.
Triumph is a well known brand that has stood the course of time and also have a nice line in push-up bras. This lacy push-up by Triumph is lovely and it features
- stretch lace to create a natural shape
- and exquisite floral embroidery
It would be a perfect bra for evening wear.
Check out a selection of other classic push up bras at the best prices here.
What is the most comfortable bra for large breasts?
You walk into a store and see rows, even walls full of gorgeous lacy bras in all the colours of the rainbow. You spend a while going through them and find the perfect style and colour.
Then you begin flicking through the rails and find your bra size but when you reach the changing room you realise that despite pulling, tweaking and shoving, the cup size is way too small and your boobs flow over the sides – so you take it back, and look again, only to find that the cup size you need isn’t there as this style only caters to smaller boobs.
Then in a state of imminent depression you head to the boring neutral coloured bra section to find your size.
Don’t do that! Read our sizing guide at the end of this post, and buy one of the comfortable but stylish bras below!
Best comfortable bras for large breasts
Good support bras are a must-have for large breasts, so too is an unpadded bra.
Here are our picks for the best full figure bras.
I’ve always loved Playtex Bras, and have one in my wardrobe right now. This Playtex 18 hour comfort strap bra is a favourite. It offers good support and is comfortable but attractive. It also features …
- Higher sides for coverage
- Wider straps means no digging into your shoulders.
- Rounder cups and no spillage
Playtex Cross Your Heart Bra
Another favourite for many women is the Playtex Cross Your Heart Bra. It’s an unpadded bra that features …
- Softly seamed stretch foam, with subtle heart design.
- Micro-thin foam lined cups offer smooth, contoured look under clothes.
- Lovely feminine sweetheart neckline.
Racerback bras can be racy, but also comfortable for larger breasted women. Check out a Racerback Bra Here. They offer freedom of movement and good support. Try one with no wires and no padding. You’re looking for super lift fabric and a wire free channel to lift your girls, and not flatten you out.
Racerbacks can be very racy and attractive with lace detail or they can be comfortable and sporty.
Here’s a selection of some lovely Sporty and Lacy Racerback Bras.
Best full figure bra and best bra for large breasts
The Glamorise wonderwire design is great for full figures, and features a cushioned support band which keeps the wire away from the body and helps to support and shape.
The underwire itself is hidden in a padded channel for extra comfort.
It’s a lacy bra, yet offers great support. It’s pretty, and it comes in several different colours.
Glamorise Elegance is designed for women who prefer a bit more fashion but don’t want to give up on comfort. That’s my type of bra!
Or if you are well endowed and want a selection, then check out this range of bras for large breasted women.
Why Buy a Strapless Bra?
Revealing clothes and bra straps simply don’t go together.
Backless tops, plunging necklines, and off-the-neck formal gowns call for strapless bras.
You could go for an adhesive strapless bra or a more conventional bra with underwiring.
What you are looking for though is one that stays put and doesn’t slide down your back, one that is comfortable, and certainly one that doesn’t slip around in any way.
When you try one on, lift your arms, bend from side to side. touch your toes – and see how it performs.
Best Strapless Bra
You’ll find more about strapless bras later in this post.
Best Sports Bras and Exercise Bras
Although you need a good fitting bra for exercise, and might be tempted to get a fitting at a department store or lingerie shop, it’s still good to shop for your sports bras online because you’ll most likely get a better deal.
So by all means get fitted at a store, but buy online if you can and see if you can get the same brand at a better price.
However, forewarned is forearmed and a sports bra provides a different function to a day bra. When you exercise your breasts not only move up and down, but side to side as well to in a butterfly motion. Your sports bra needs to be super supportive and comfortable.
Things to look for when you are buying a sports bra include the following :-
- Contour support cups
- Light breathable fabric
- A comfortable stretchy design
- Adjustable straps for a customised fit
- Straps with minimal stretch to reduce bouncing
- A sporty racer back often gives a nice snug fit
This sports bra comes in many different sizes and would be a good all round choice for exercise.
Ultimate Sports Bra
I’m always on the lookout for the ultimate sports bra. I’ve found some fabulous bras online – if you’d like to have more of a choice, then check out this selection of sports bras.
What’s different about a Yoga Bra?
You’ll need to be able to breathe deeply and move freely in your yoga bra.
Although yoga is a low- impact fitness activity, you’ll need to choose a bra that gives you a full range of motion when you’re in poses where comfort and support of your breasts is important.
Yoga doesn’t normally incur vigorous movement but still your sports bra needs to have a yoga specific cup that contains your breasts and a design which allows for a full range of motion without a feeling of too much constraint.
Best Yoga Bra
This 3 pack of Yoga Bras comes in pink, grey and lilac and is a great budget buy.
Bras for older women
As you get older your body shape changes. It’s inevitable.
Your size may have gone up and down over the years, especially if you’ve had children, and your breast will probably have changed in shape and size too.
Bras suitable for older women don’t necessarily have to mean lots of bra, lots of fabric and a plain design.
Not at all!
Wear something which makes you look good and feel good – even if it’s only you who ever sees it. The psychological benefits of knowing you look great are really really important. Pretty underwear just makes you feel that much better about yourself.
So before buying a new bra, try on your existing bras and decide if the size is still right, then toss out all your tatty bras or the ones which don’t give you any lift anymore, and then get online and update your lingerie.
Use our bra fitting guide at the end of this post if you need a little more help when buying a bra online.
What types of bra, and how many should I have in my wardrobe?
My advice is that you need 4 different types of bra (each in two different colours – I tend to stick to white, black and nude/beige) and then one show pony bra that just gives you zing! I have a bright pink bra which always makes me feel good.
Let’s look at the different types of bra, all of which you’ll be able to choose when buying a bra online.
A Day Bra
For a day to day bra choose a seamless bra, perhaps with a little padding, definitely something you can wear comfortably under a T-shirt or Jersey dress.
This day bra really needs to lift, give you good shape, be comfortable and cover-up your Nipples so they don’t stick out! Let’s face it at a certain age you really don’t want to look like you’re in a wet T-shirt competition.
Choose a neutral colour. Consider white if you wear a lot of white or cream coloured tops, or buy a nude or beige bra which will be unobtrusive under your clothes in bright daylight.
What you are looking for is a bra that will look smooth under a T-shirt, that is super comfortable and doesn’t dig into you anywhere, and a bra that gives you a natural looking lift.
This soft, lightly padded Triumph T-Shirt bra with lace trim would be a useful addition to your day time lingerie collection.
Best Day Bra for Older Women
Here’s my pick – Check out the Dream by Genie Bra
Benefits apart from comfort include …
- Magic pouch to slip in support pads for extra lift and coverage
- Machine Washable & dryer safe (never loses shape)
- Curve-hugging seamless design
- Woven comfort stretch fabric. No wires or hooks.
An Exercise Bra or Sports Bra
When buying a bra online for exercising in you should look for a sports bra which gives you good support.
You want something which holds your breast quite tight so that they don’t bounce around when you exercise.
Look for a bra with wide comfortable straps which won’t dig into you.
Make sure the bra has an adequate cup size so that you don’t spill out over the top or around the sides.
Probably an underwire bra is not a great bra for exercising – rather choose something with stretchy comfortable engineering
Best Sports Bras for Exercising In
My top pick – this one by Glamorise
Or check out this selection of sports bras
Key Benefits of the Glamorise sports bra …
- Smooth cups – suitable to wear under T-Shirts
- Unique wired sling. Gives shape and support without wire digging into you.
- Unique back. 2 Way stretch.
- Wicking. Materials help you to stay dry.
A Going Out Bra
For a going out bra you need something just a little bit sexy, whatever your age. It might be something a little lacy, possibly with underwiring, but overall it must definitely be a bra which gives you a good lift and a feeling of being a little extra special.
Best going out bra for older women
I love this classic bra – it’s a beautiful fit, and beautiful to look at.
I also love this lacy bra from Triumph.
A strapless bra
Your fourth bra should be a strapless bra – for those occasions when you don’t want to be showing your bra straps.
Summer dresses with spaghetti straps, or evening dresses with low backs are just two types of garments for which you’ll need a good strapless bra.
Make sure that you can do it up and swivel it around without help from another person.
Make sure it fits correctly. The cup size is very important on a strapless bra.
Make sure you don’t have spillage at the back just around your shoulders and underarms.
My advice on colour would be to go for white or nude, because you’re more likely to be wearing a strapless bra with clothes which are flimsier and flirtier, so it’s not really about the bra at all – just the lift and shape it gives you.
However, if you’re wearing a dark colour to go out in, then you can be as outrageous with colour as you like – Pink, Red, Mauve, whatever lifts your spirits.
Best Strapless Bra
I really like this Vanity Fair strapless bra. It’s classic, non-fussy and also suitable for larger breasted women.
- It shapes and smooths from all sides eliminating any bulge
- It’s an unlined strapless bra
- Has double knit fabric that smooths.
The Sleep Bra
A sleep bra should be light and comfortable to wear.
It should be non-wired and have a soft band and soft straps to ensure it’s super comfortable for sleeping and lounging.
You need to look for soft, breathable cotton with a touch of spandex for stretch. The cups should be stretchable.
Many sleep bras are designed as nursing bras for breast feeding mums as they feature full coverage cups with front hooks making it easy for undressing or nursing.
However, they are also good bras to consider for plus sizes, because they offer good comfortable support for leisure activities.
Best Sleep Bras
Made from soft, breathable cotton with a touch of spandex, this bra is versatile, comfortable, has a front closure, and is perfect as a sleep bra.
It’s been dubbed the best sleep bra in America!
Check out the Leading Lady Sleep Bra.
For a budget sleep bra that also doubles up as an everyday bra, check out the pretty colours and benefits of the Comfort Sleep Daily Bra.
Minimiser Bras to reduce breast size
A minimiser bra is designed to compress your bust, and will generally be made of a firmer material that doesn’t stretch.
They work by slightly squashing or flattening your boobs, but do makes sure that they still life your girls and don’t distort your shape to make you look wider.
Best Minimiser Bras
The Berlei Beauty Minimiser Bra claims to
- Reduce the look of your bust by at least one cup size.
- The cups feature double lamination and have a moulding fit.
- The ‘trapped flower’ system modestly conceals the nipples.
- Made of soft fabric and has lightly padded shoulder straps.
The Triumph Minimiser Bra is also a good bet. Triumph is a popular lingerie brand with many classic styles.
Halter Neck Bra
What is a Halterneck?
According to Wikipedia …
“Halterneck is a style of women’s clothing strap that runs from the front of the garment around the back of the neck, and leaves most of the back uncovered. The name comes from livestock halters.
The halter style is used with swimsuits, to maximize sun tan exposure on the back and minimize tan lines. It is also used with dresses or shirts, to create a backless dress or top. The neck strap can itself be covered by the wearer’s hair, leaving the impression from behind that nothing is holding the dress or shirt up.
If a bra is worn with a halter top, it is generally either strapless or of halterneck construction itself, so as to avoid exposing the back straps of a typical bra.” Wikipedia
Why choose a halter neck bra?
Halter neck bras are ideal bras for a backless dress, or for tops without backs, and you don’t want a traditional bra to show. A bare back is sexy without being revealing, but you don’t want to ruin the lines of your dress by going bra-less.
The halter neck bra can be covered by your hair or the halterneck of the dress or top itself if it has one.
This scalloped lace halterneck is a very pretty choice, especially for smaller breasted women.
Bras for small breasts
If you have small breasts you can probably go without a bra altogether, but a bra gives you so much more shape under fitted clothes.
Although with small breasts you can wear any shape bra, don’t feel pressured to opt for padded or push-ups to make your boobs larger than they are.
You might like to try a triangle shape cup that doesn’t swamp your small frame. Stay away from full cup bras because they will swamp, rather than enhance your girls.
Why Wear a Gel Bra or Foam Padded Bra?
A gel bra has a gel insert in the cup which should give you a naturally enhanced look if you have small breasts.
The foam pad is popular because it looks and feels natural while enhancing and pushing up your bosoms. It is also lightweight and can mold to the shape of the natural breast.
Try the Wonderbra full effect gel bra if you’re looking for a good gel bra.
Or try some Foam Cleavage enhancer pads to pop into your existing full cup bra to give you some boobalicious enhancement.
Front closure bras
Front closure bras are popular for breast feeding mothers, as sleep bras, and if you want a bra that is easy to get in and out of – it makes getting dressed a breeze.
Another reason to wear a front closure bra is because you need a smooth back band under a special garment. The front clasp ensures that you don’t have a ridge at the back.
Try this classic white front closure bra.
What are other women wearing and loving?
Jan Wild from Retiring Not Shy
My favourite bra is always the last one I last purchased. Why? Well because it will have been professionally fitted (things do change over time), it won’t have sagged or faded and it is comfortable.
My favourite brand for several years now has been Simone Perele bras – they just seem to be cut to fit me properly and they are comfortable and pretty too. But, needing a new bra recently and not being able to find a Simone Perele that suited, I purchased this bra; the Triumph Amourette Charm. I really like it.
Finding a combination of comfort and fit is not always easy. With substantial real estate to manage I find an underwire essential and they are not always comfortable – any wonder most women take their bra off as soon as they get inside the door at the end of the day.
I also need a bra that suits my ‘sideways’ breasts because that’s what they are. So the shape needs to be perfect and I also need reasonable substance in the side panels under my arm. But there is a fine line between a bra that does what it needs and one that makes me feel like a trussed chicken (err old bird).
Leanne Le Cras – Cresting the Hill
As far as bras go – I like to be comfortable.
I prefer a wire free, claspless bra.
My favourites are the Best and Less, boring wire-free/clasp-free $10 jobs!
Annette Jones – World Travel Tribe
My favourite bra like many of my fellow sisters is no bra at all! Yes I do wear them, when I have to. However, there is nothing more satisfying than ripping that baby off as you soon as you walk through the front door or very soon thereafter!
Perhaps I am not wearing the correct one? Goodness knows how that could have happened after the endless fittings and trying on a mountain of styles in those unflattering changing rooms!
Rather than divulge my favourite as I’ve established I don’t like wearing them, let’s just say I have two ‘every day’ ones from Berlei. They have best workout from the 8 others that can be found in my lingerie draw.
I’ve been wearing the ‘Barely There’ from Berlei for about 8 years and find them the most comfortable of the uncomfortable pieces of lingerie to wear.
Ed’s Note: Try the Barely There Women’s Custom Flex Fit Seamless Wirefree Bra.
Melissa Chambers – All Around Oz
When it comes to bra’s I’m very much a ‘no frills’ girl. They have to be comfortable and also look good under my clothes. However, as a travel blogger there are lots of things that I do that require that little bit of extra support. So I absolutely love Berlei’s sports bras. I always wear one if I am bushwalking or going four-wheel driving. Just recently I went beach horse riding for my birthday and I loved how supported I felt.
I also love the quality of Berlei’s bras as well. They last for ages and don’t seem to stretch like others do.
Melissa, below – wearing her fave Berlei Sports Bra bra while out horse riding.
Choosing the Correct Bra Size
If you’re buying a bra off the internet, follow our sizing guide below to help you make the best choice, and avoid buying something which doesn’t fit that you end up having to return.
How to fit you Bra Correctly
- Use a traditional tape measure
- Measure under the bust
- Measure around the fullest part of the bust
- The difference in inches between the two measurements gives the cup size, so A cup for 1 inch, B cup for 2 inches etc.
- The measurement around the full part of the bust will give you the bra size.
- Bend over when you put the bra on so that your boobs fit nicely into the cups.
- When secured, the bra hooks should be on the first catch to give room for any stretching as it gets worn.
- Underwires should not dig in.
- You shouldn’t bulge out all over the place when the bra is on – not around the back, or shoulders or over the cups.
- Straps shouldn’t be too flimsy.
- The bra should sit flush with the skin at the front and not gape.
Bra Problems and Solutions
When you’re buying a bra online, you want to make sure you get a good fit, but sometimes it isn’t possible and you may have to return the bra and get another size.
But before you return it because you feel it doesn’t fit correctly, try these problem solving solutions, and if you do have to return it, also think about the problem solvers below when selecting another size.
Bra Rides up at the back
- Loosen shoulder straps
- Let the hooks out to a larger band size around your back.
Bulging out around the side and under arms
- Try a larger cup size
- Try letting the hooks out to a larger band size around your back.
- The shoulder straps may be too narrow for your body build
- Try a wider strap, possibly one that’s padded.
- This is not a good look.
- Try a larger cup size.
- The bra cups and straps are not supportive enough.
- Tighten the shoulder straps.
- Make sure the cup fabric has good but supportive stretch.
- Choose a sturdier cup, and sturdier shoulder straps.
If you enjoyed this post you might also like:
How to fit your bra correctly – and why a thong just won’t do!
Here’s wishing you Bra-Success!
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If you have any questions about buying a bra online, please drop a question in the comments.
Do you have a favourite bra to recommend? Please share with us in the comments section.
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