Best Bras for Women 50 +
Did you know that as many as 75 percent of us are wearing the wrong size bra? Getting the right fit and style can be tricky, and, in my experience, it is very difficult to get good help when you shop for a bra. I have gone to specialty stores that only sell bras—you’d think they’d be able to get it right, I’ve taken elaborate quizzes online and have made appointments with “experts” who are supposed to be trained to find the perfect style and fit.
At this point, I have tried all sorts of bras and have a pretty good idea of what I like and what works for me. However, the process was very much trial and error. Each time I came home with a bra I didn’t like, I did more research on my own to learn, myself, which type I should look for, and how to know if the bra fits properly and gives me the smooth look I am after.
I don’t own a huge collection of bras, I have my “everyday” bras in flesh tone and a couple in black. Because I wear halter tops and strapless dresses, I have a few specialty bras-a convertible bra, a strapless bra, a bralette, and a couple of bandeau bras. I do like pretty bras though, and I think it’s important that older women have a beautiful bra if at all possible. Unfortunately, many of the bra companies that offer full coverage bras don’t think in terms of providing beauty along with thick straps and wide side support panels.
You really don’t need many bras unless you just like to collect and wear them. And, once you’ve found your holy grail bra, you can celebrate and just purchase more as you go along—at least until they discontinue them!
Clearly, you can do as I ended up doing, trial and error until you find the right style and fit, or you can try a professional trained to help you find a comfortable bra. I have had three professional fittings at this point and learned a lot from the experience. I can’t say I came home with my perfect bra though—but here are a few things I learned from the experiences.
A Professional Fitting
What You Should Look For…
- Make sure your consultant is able to recommend bras from a variety of brands rather than just one. When I was pregnant, I went to a large department store that advertised that their staff had been specially trained to help their customers find the right bra in the right size. However, they had actually only been trained to work with one specific brand. I ended up with two very expensive bras that I hated because they were all they had in my size in the brand the clerk had been trained with.
- Make an appointment, if you can. On one occasion, I was invited to a “complimentary fitting appointment”. I showed up at the appointed time to find the place absolutely mobbed. The fitter was helping me and eight other women. It was crazy. I ended up leaving without buying. It was stressful, to say the least.
- Run through your own set of stretches (see the tips below) to make sure the bra will move with you. Don’t just take the pro’s word for the fit and comfort–it needs to feel comfortable and move with you.
- Don’t let yourself be pressured to purchase just because someone is helping you.
How to Get the Best Fitting Bra:
- Do the “bend forward” to make sure your breasts fall properly into the cups of the bra, as you clasp it, or lift your breasts into place. There should be no “spillover” under your arms, or in the cleavage area. The straps should lay comfortably and adjust easily.
- Take the time to adjust the bra properly.
- If you are small chested, the cups should not gap.
- Bring a form-fitting t-shirt to try on over the bra. Make sure there are no unwanted lumps, bumps, or seams.
- Look at yourself from the side to make sure the bra looks good in profile.
- Make sure you don’t have “back fat” around the back of the bra. There are many new styles that help eliminate this
- Don’t be afraid to try a different band size or even a different bra size. Manufacturers size bras slightly differently and often specialize in bras for a specific audience, such as women with large breasts, elderly women, or luxury bras that are simply meant to look pretty.
What You Should Do Before You Go Bra Shopping:
- Figure out what types of bras you need. I have two strapless bandeau bras one black and one white. I use them under low-cut dresses and tops for a little extra coverage. Sometimes I wear them under a button-down shirt tied at the waist. I have one strapless bra that I actually love after trying many that were terrible. I have two good t-shirt bras—these bras must not show under my tighter shirts, and they must be comfortable as this is the bra I wear every day, a couple of pretty bralettes and finally, I have a few matching bras and panty sets. The key takeaway: think about your wardrobe, the type of clothing you wear most, and focus on getting bras that work with those clothes. Then build from there.
- Go through your current bras and note which are the most comfortable, and which don’t work. If, for example, your bra straps are cut in, you may consider a wider strap or a camisole bra. Same with bras that cut in on your back creating lumps. If you have trouble with fasteners, look for bras that open in the front or pull over the head—some even have a zipper in the front. There are so many bras to choose from these days!
- Think about the qualities you like in the bras you own—do you like wider straps? Do you like bras in different colors? Do you need a bra with special features such as removable pads?
- Consider the fabric—do certain fabrics cause skin irritation? Do foam cups make you too hot? Do you need extra support? Do you hate underwire bras? Asking these questions of yourself and writing down a few notes will help when you get to the store or start looking on your own.
The Types of Bras You Need:
When considering the bras you need, take a look at your wardrobe–do you wear strapless clothes or clothes that need a strapless bra? If not, you don’t need a strapless bra. Bralettes are super comfortable, but may not be right for women with large chests-they don’t always offer the best support–but they can be great if you like to put on a little loungewear outfit in the evening.
If you struggle with clasps or mobility, you may want to try a “comfort” bra or one with a front closure. There are even some bras that zip to close in the front.
- Bandeau Bra: Bandeau bras work best for C-cup size or smaller. They are a great strapless option. I wear mine with a strappy slip dress, or under a button-down shirt tied at the waist. I’ve found it’s best if there is some padding or a little gathering at the center so you don’t get a “uni-boob” look. Spanx has a cute one with a little lace at the top.
- Strapless Bra: the best strapless bras are made to stay put—one of the worst things is a bra that slides down. It is important to work on getting a good fit.
- Bralettes: Bralettes are very comfortable and pretty, but most don’t offer a lot of support. I wear them at home when I want to elevate a lounge look. Bralettes can be worn on their own or peeking out from a white button-up shirt in the summer. While most bralettes don’t offer much support, several companies make bralettes for larger busts.
- Everyday T-Shirt Bra: This is my favorite bra for everyday wear. I am willing to spend a little more to purchase a good bra in this category because this is one that gets a lot of wear.
- Comfort Bra: A few thoughts on “comfort bras”. Yes, they are comfortable, but when you try on the bra, be sure to try a shirt over it. Some make you look like you have a “uni-boob” this was a bra category I ultimately gave up on because I couldn’t find one that looked as good as it felt. However, Spanx just came out with this bra that I plan to try soon.
- Front Closing Bra: If you struggle clasping a bra, choosing front closure bras is a great way to go. If you have trouble with hooks, some bras come with zippers in the front, making it easier to close the bra.
- Convertible Bra: A convertible bra has been top of my list since I tried one, it has adjustable straps so I can wear the bra with different types of tops. I look for this feature in my everyday bras since I wear different tops all the time, and having this feature really helps both in offering convenience and on the budget–you don’t have to have a whole drawer full of bras if you have a good convertible bra.
- Push-Up Bra: A favorite of small chested women, (myself included) push-up bras give smaller breasts a little extra plumpness and cleavage due to the addition of extra padding at the bottom and sides of the cup.
- The Balconette Bra features a lower cut than a full coverage bra, with wider straps. They are great for both larger and smaller breasts and are often quite beautiful.
- The Triangle Bra: The triangle bra simply offers triangular-shaped cups, and is great for small-busted women. They are often unpadded and offer a small amount of coverage and support while being attractive and comfortable to wear.
- Best supportive bra full coverage bra, extra support—look for wide straps…wider straps help bear the weight, and help in reducing sagging, back pain, and having the bra cut into your shoulders.
- Best sports bra: Easy on and off. breathable fabric, full coverage, support.
Shop These Favorites:
Triangle Wireless Bra
Full Coverage Minimizer
Invisible, T-shirt Bra
Fleur du Mal
So, what’s the best way to find your perfect bra? First, take stock of your shape and figure out what styles will work best for you. Second, try on as many bras as possible to see what feels most comfortable. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Friends and family with a similar body shape are a great resource when it comes to finding the perfect bra. And don’t forget the professionals! The right professional can often help get you into the perfect bra. Have you found your favorite bra yet? Let us know in the comments below.