Best bras for big-busted women

Finding the perfect bra can be a challenge. Finding the perfect bra when you're busty can be darn near impossible. At a size 36D, I've spent many hours in the dressing rooms of Victoria's Secret, Soma, and other big name lingerie retailers, watching my girls spill out of way-too-small demi cups. I've spent even more hours navigating the racks in an attempt to avoid unnecessarily padded D cup water bras and cringed while sales associates tried to squeeze me into a a 38C because it was the "same" as my regular size that they didn't carry.

Seriously, what does it take for a busty girl to find a bra that fits? Not to mention, one that doesn't exude the same amount of sexiness my 85-year-old Catholic grandmother would deem appropriate. So I turned to the experts in my quest for finding a bra that was busty-girl friendly. Here's what they had to say.

Curvy Couture - Flawless Smooth Wirefree T-Shirt Bra

For bustier gals, finding a great t-shirt bra can feel a lot like stumbling upon the Holy Grail.

Curvy Couture's Flawless Smooth Wireless T-Shirt Bra is a favorite of Orit Hashay, CEO and founder of Brayola, a personal bra shop that helps women discover their next favorite bra, without having a fitting. "Not only does this bra provide amazing support and all-day comfort, it totally disappears under clothes," she told me. "No more bumps, lumps, or even a glimpse of your bra."

Curvy Couture Perfect Plunge Bra

Let's face it. Many bras designed for bigger-busted women just don't cut it when it comes to sex appeal.

Model Melinda Parrish is also a big fan of the Curvy Couture brand, especially when it comes to bras that make her a little sultry. One of her favorites of the line: the Perfect Plunge.

"This is the best date night bra," she told me. "With its low center front and smooth cups, this plunge provides both support and wears well under more revealing garments, and a variety of fabrics! Looks great by itself too."

Wacoal - Awareness Seamless Full-Figure Bra

Speaking of sexy, I love a bra that looks smooth under a tight little black dress. For that, Hashay recommends Wacoal's Awareness bras. The Awareness Underwire Bra features cups with a hidden inner sling for shape and support, as well as hidden underwire for added comfort.

Hashay likes the seamless version of this bra even more. "It's made with double layer cups that are molded, which support and shape without bulk," she told me. "It is designed with lined cups with plush BodySuede Ultra fabric and free of padding with support panels and hidden underwires between inner and outer cups for extra comfort. Plus, did we mention it comes with a breast self-exam?"

As part of a breast cancer awareness campaign, Wacoal also donated $2 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for every Awareness bra sold. Comfort, style and the opportunity to support a great cause? Sign me up.

Wacoal Red Carpet Bra

If you're on the search for a strapless bra that won't leave you (or your girls) hanging, Wacoal also measures up. In fact, Kate Brooks, the editor of TheBraGuide.com, who also happens to be a professional bra fitter, often recommends the Wacoal Red Carpet Bra to her clients.

"Busty women often have trouble finding a strapless bra that works for them," she mentioned. "This bra by Wacoal was made specifically for bigger busts, so the right size will fit like a glove. It doesn't slide down throughout the day or evening, and it gives a lot of coverage for a strapless bra."

Panache Tango Balconette Bra

If you're anything like me, then you've probably never met a demi cup bra that you liked. While usually adorable on other women, I have never found a demi bra that won't leave me with a boobage spillover by the end of the day. So when bra fit expert Dionne Morrison, who also owns the boutique, Baba's Lingerie, recommended the Panache Tango Balconette Bra, I immediately jotted it down on my mental shopping list.

This bra gives the perfect demi lift while covering just enough to reveal a sexy fit, explained Morrison. "This underwired unlined bra is made from a sheer microfiber mesh fabric and has leaves motif embroidery," she told me. "It is available up to size K as well."

Panache Andorra Bra

Lingerie expert Kim Caldwell, who's also the face behind Hurray Kimmay, had great things to say about Panche bras, as well. Her favorite is the Panche Andorra. "I love it because of its small band options (down to a 28!) and full cup options (up to a J!), but also because Panache is known for great support," she told me. "One of the best aspects of this bra, however, is the gorgeous lace. It can be hard to find a beautiful lace bra that is also really supportive. I have fit many women into this bra, and it's a favorite among my full bust clients."

Darlene Campbell, founder of Hourglassy.com also recommends this bra to her clients. She told me, "Seamless bras are hard to come by for women who wear beyond an H cup because molding such a deep cup for breasts that extend so many inches out from the chest is impossible technologically. At some point the fabric must yield to gravity. That's why most H+ cups rely on seams." She added, "For Hourglassy's former columnist Mia Carroll, who wears a 32J, her throw-on-in-a-hurry-never-have-to-think-about-it bra is the Panache Andorra. It lifts beautifully, and its stretch lace across the top of the cups is both pretty and functional in the way it contains voluminous breast tissue."

Elila Soft Cup Lace Bra

Want to channel your inner pinup model? Caldwell suggests giving the Elila Soft Cup Lace Bra a go. Retailing at just $33, it's one of the most affordable bras on our list. "Elila makes bras for full figured women — up to a 54 band, and some bras up to an N cup," Caldwell told me. "Some full busted ladies want a non underwire bra that still offers structure and lift. Elila is the answer! They have inner engineering and smart designs that are super supportive without an underwire. Plus, their price points are low and they're designed in NYC!"

Lulu Unlined Plus

If it's lace you want more of, Bianca Karina a plus-size style, travel, and food blogger, recommends the Lulu Unlined Plus Bra available at Adoreme.com. This is a sexy, lined balconette bra, featuring red lace, a double-lined hook, and fully adjustable straps. "This balconette bra gives me lift, plus it separates the girls and keeps them separated. I don't think my boobs have had this much air in years," she told me. "I like to wear this bra under loose tanks so that it can peek out for some added risqué style."

Shefit Perfect Lounge Bra

I'll be the first to admit that one of my favorite parts of the day is getting home and taking off my bra. Do I love frolicking around the house bra less? Not really, especially when I'm waiting around for a pizza or sushi delivery. The truth is, I just haven't found a bra that's worth lounging around in, at least until now.

I recently had the opportunity to test out Perfect Lounge Bra by Shefit and I must admit, this one's a game-changer. "Most seamless bras offer the same — nonexistent — level of support as a t-shirt," Sara Moylan, the founder and creator of Shefit, told me. "We've created an uber-comfy, yet supportive option."

Besides intentionally designing the rib band slightly tighter than standard to give a curve-hugging fit, Moylan worked with a design team to engineer shoulder straps that are significantly shorter, providing a comfortable lift for bustier chests. "If you've ever thought you actually sag more when you put on a seamless bra, the support from the Perfect Lounge Bra is for you," she said. "Honestly, it will be the one thing you'll want to put between you and that favorite comfy t-shirt."

The perfect fit

It might take a little digging, but there's certainly a lot of options out there when it comes to quality bras. Once you find what works for you, Hashay suggests sticking to it. "It takes a specialized intimates designer to create a bra for busty women," she mentioned.

Dr. Karen Erickson, a spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association, agreed, explaining to me that finding the right bra is about much more than aesthetics. "A bustier woman needs a bra to support the weight of the chest, and distribute it to the strong back muscles," she said. "The cup needs to have coverage, and the width of the band under the cups should be wide enough to provide support without cutting in. The straps should be wide enough to carry the weight without digging in."

Finally, Hashay added, "Your bra is something that's with you all day, and there are some days that are longer than others. Knowing that, comfort is everything and the first step to compromising comfort is not having a proper fitting bra." Luckily, now all of us have the option of finding the perfect fit for perfect comfort.