This blog doesn’t normally focus on clothing and I don’t plan to change that, because I’m not especially interested in fashion/fatshion, at least in the sense of liking to read about it. (I’m interested in clothes that I’m going to wear, less interested in reading about what clothes other people have worn.) But I’m making an exception to make a hopefully-practical recommendation. I don’t see a lot of links to HerRoom on Fat Acceptance and related blogs, so maybe you will find a good new place to get bras if I write about them! (I’m not being paid by them, I swear!) And they have some interesting articles about the pros and cons of different styles and how to get a bra that fits well! And I will talk about how I don’t like department-store bras! (This post is expanding upon a comment I made on a Captain Awkward post.)
HerRoom is one of the best places to go if you’re willing to buy online but want a lot of information about the bras you’re buying. They have, in addition to the company-provided pics, standardized pics on a dressing form, a pic of one of their own models wearing it, fitter’s comments, even videos of a lot of the sports bras in action so you can see how much bounce you get. They carry a LOT of different bras in a lot of sizes, including many good quality ones that can be hard to find even if you wear an easier-to-find size.
In addition to all the information they provide about the individual bras, they have some great guides to bras in general. This one (it’s multi-part, but that’s the first part) is pretty thorough, and this one has some good information about how the design of the bra can affect fit and support. In the interest of Doing My Research before posting this, I also looked at the Tomima’s Blog section, which I haven’t done in the past. Caution: the “Lingerie Patrol” posts are pretty negative. In some ways they’re also practical. They basically spot problems/”problems” in celebrity lingerie and talk about how to fix them, so both the negativity and the practicality are kind of built into that category, although there were a few times where I felt like there could have been more restraint on the negativity and the point would still have been made.
Most of the guides are sort of hidden away and you have to click on the “bra fitting made easy” at the bottom of the sidebar to get to them, but there’s a lot of stuff on the sidebar once you click on that. There’s even a lingerie guide for men, which I was expecting to be about buying lingerie as a surprise gift for women, but turned out to be for men buying women’s lingerie to wear themselves. (It might be useful for male-bodied women as well. [Or it might not; I’m not an expert on this subject.])
I’ve been a few different sizes, and when I was a smaller cup size, department store bras were fine (maybe part of it was I didn’t know that better stuff existed). Then for a while, I was a wearing a size that was hard to find, which was when I started using HerRoom. (Cup size just big enough to be hard to find in conventional stores + band size below the cutoff for Lane Bryant = no brick and mortar stores seemed to have my size.) Now I’m wearing a size that they have some of (but not a big selection) in stores like JC Penney, but the support is inferior if you get bras from somewhere like that. You basically cannot find seamed cups at all, and even the contour cup ones seem to be less supportive than the contour cup bras I can get online. Seamed cups tend to be more supportive, and since the skin on the bottom of my breasts and on my chest wall next to them is one of my body’s favorite places to sweat, a sheer seamed cup (rather than a thicker molded cup) can really help if I’m going out in hot summer weather–the sweat can actually evaporate.
Also, this Enell bra is my favorite sportsbra. You can get it at HerRoom, but I first found it at Title Nine. Unfortunately, it only covers a relatively narrow range of cup sizes–C to DDD–so if you’re above or below that, you’re out of luck.