Cups runneth over? Here are the best bras to buy for bigger busts

The struggle doesn’t have to be real with these fashion tips

Instead of strapping into uncomfortable over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders in boring shades of beige or grey, explore new brands for larger busts. Photograph: iStock

Instead of strapping into uncomfortable over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders in boring shades of beige or grey, explore new brands for larger busts. Photograph: iStock

 

Finding a bra that is both supportive and fits with your style doesn’t have to be a tricky shopping experience just because your cups runneth over a size DD. For years, women who were blessed in the chest were forced to compromise, buying out of desperation rather than desire. While adorable lacy, triangle, and strapless styles always seemed solely for the smaller cup set.

But now instead of strapping into uncomfortable over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders in boring shades of beige or grey, several lingerie life-saving labels have broken the mould and allowed women to have the same choice when buying a bra. No matter the size.

One such brand bringing empowerment into undergarments is Katherine Payne – the force behind Katherine Hamilton, a UK brand of luxury larger cup lingerie that’s just launched in Brown Thomas.

Borne out of frustration at not being able to find lingerie that fitted her, the former health worker saw first-hand the depressing nature of shopping for bras, stumbling into the big-cup market thanks to a suggestion by a former partner. “I complained to my then partner that I couldn’t find anything, that I had been searching all over the internet, all over the world, no one is doing it and he said why don’t you just design your own?”

Katherine Hamilton Bra €125, Brown Thomas
Katherine Hamilton Bra €125, Brown Thomas

Payne took matters into her own hands and decided to construct her own dream underwear, teaming up with a full-bust bra expert to take care of the technical side, while she stuck to design and sourcing. The results are luxurious silks and delicate lace constructions, but it’s not just purely aesthetics. Developing their own underwires, they brought in women across their size ranges, mapping their breasts and creating a narrow underwire that fits snugly, nips you in with no spillage, and creates a forward projection. It is coupled with lightweight, delicate tulle lines that provide full support and a no-bounce technology, particularly important for bigger cups. “I try and create products that look more petite and look like they are for smaller busted women but they are still offering all of the support and structure.”

With confidence linked to clothing, Payne’s clients often felt demotivated until they find her designs. “I’ve had emails from a few women who have decided not to get a breast reduction because none of the bras they’ve tried are comfortable or made them feel confident.” Which is something that Payne can relate to having been drained by previous shopping experiences. “Before I knew what size I was and that I was wearing the wrong size bra, I used to cry in the changing rooms because I thought there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t have nice bras, why weren’t they comfortable?”

Tears and low self-esteem spurred Payne on to create the label, and making women feel good in their lingerie is the motivation behind the brand. “The emotional side of not being able to enjoy your body and your shape as it’s not being catered for with nice clothing. It’s just about everybody being allowed feel beautiful in their underwear.” 

The bras range in price from €125 to €150 – a higher price point. But, despite being made from sumptuous fabrics they are still pieces that can be worn everyday. “I wanted something elegant as well as pretty, something that felt special, and something that could be worn everyday. And that was something important to me as I never had lingerie that made me feel worth it or proud of having bigger boobs, and now that’s all I wear and it makes a difference to how I feel.” 

Katherine Hamilton Bra €150, Brown Thomas
Katherine Hamilton Bra €150, Brown Thomas

When shopping for that beautiful set of lingerie that fits just the right way, Payne advises to start with the band of the bra, where fundamentally most of the support comes from: “The band is one of the most important starting points. Is the band snug? Is it staying completely horizontal all the way round your rib cage?” Payne asks. “So many women are wearing bands that are too big and what happens is the weight of their breasts will pull the bra down at the front and the band goes up at the back, and it just doesn’t offer the structure and you’re not getting the lift.” 

Once you have the band fitting correctly then you can look at the cup size and whether you need to go up or down, depending on the fit. “Other key areas to look out for is where your underwire is sitting. Is it flush to your chest? If it’s lifting off, your bra cups could be too small. These are the fine tuning that a bra fitter can help you with if needed, but if you’re shopping at home for a bra then always remember the band.” 

Four other size-inclusive lingerie brands to shop for

Fenty x Rihanna

Lace bra €63, Fenty x Rihanna
Lace bra €63, Fenty x Rihanna

Rihanna’s size-inclusive lingerie range goes up to a size 44D and features dainty pieces in embroidery and colour pop hues.

Third Love

T-shirt bra €76, Third Love
T-shirt bra €76, Third Love

If you ever found yourself in-between cup sizes, Third Love offers half sizes as well as going up to a 48I. 

Beija

Lace bra €65, Beija London
Lace bra €65, Beija London

This lacy style – and other pretty bra styles like it – are from London-based lingerie brand Beija, who’s size range runs from A-G.

Gossard

Plain pink bra €49, Gossard
Plain pink bra €49, Gossard

Sweet, sheer and smooth, the Glossy bra from Gossard has come a cult classic thanks to the comfortable fit, large cup sizes and affordable price point. 

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