Ask Design Mom: Bras for Flat Chests

August 4, 2011

Question:
I’ve just finished nursing my 4th child and have absolutely no boobs left. Really, none. When I put on a size A the cups just cave in a bit on there own. Yes, it is embarrassing a little but it is what it is. Any suggestions for a bra that will give a little something without looking fake (or concave)? — Emily

Answer:
Great question, Emily! I am in the exact same boat and I have a wonderful bra to recommend. The brand is Wacoal, but to find the right bra, you have to find their petite line. Their petite line is totally comfortable, made for very small chests and is built with just enough padding. Try the 32AA. In New York, I would buy mine at Lord & Taylors. In Colorado, I think I found them at Nordstrom.

They’re not an inexpensive bra, but I buy two at a time and rotate them every other day, handwash and air-dry as needed, and they last for ages. Well worth the price in my opinion.

Anyone else out there (small chested, big chested or anywhere in between) have a bra they can’t live without?

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 annabelvita August 4, 2011 at 4:22 am

I’m a pretty large chested girl and I try my best to go a proper shop where you are fitted every year (six months would be better) – my size fluctuates a lot and the bras really stretch over time. Last time I went in I could see that my boobs were about 2 inches lower than they should have been just because the bra didn’t fit anymore.
In the UK, I like Bravissimo for larger chests.

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2 Design Mom August 4, 2011 at 6:22 am

You’re so smart to get fitted regularly!

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3 Giulia August 4, 2011 at 4:52 am

I am on the larger side and I have to buy new bras at least once a year as both back and cup size fluctuates (no weight loss). I either get a proper fitting done at a department stores or measure and order Victoria Secret. I like VC because they make cotton bras without any padding.

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4 Design Mom August 4, 2011 at 6:23 am

I agree. When possible, replacing bras regularly is definitely the way to go.

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5 Ulli August 4, 2011 at 5:06 am

Bravissimo is fantastic and they ship to the US. Figleaves is also AMAZING for all sizes but for both you need to know your size.

I would also recommend finding a “Intimacy” store in your area. They are in larger towns (chicago, Boston ect ect)…but are opening more and more…..the stores is pricy, but at least you will walk away with the correct size and possibly a few brands that you know fit (just remember those names and then go to figleaves.com or barenecessities.com)…:)

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6 Design Mom August 4, 2011 at 6:23 am

I’ll keep my eyes out for an Intimacy store next time I’m in the states.

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7 Swissy August 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Sol Lingerie in Cherry Creek – you can’t go wrong there!

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8 Rebecca S. August 9, 2011 at 9:33 pm

I second the recommendation for Intimacy! I went to their NYC store and it really did change the way I look in clothes. Not a cheap shopping trip, but definitely worth every penny.

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9 Kristin August 4, 2011 at 5:33 am

I have the same problem, and a few years ago found a great shop/site for small-chested women like us. It’s called Lula Lu. Apparently they have a storefront in California, but they also sell online. The best thing is that you can call the shop owner and tell her your measurements and what you’re looking for and she’ll guide you to just the right bra. They carry Wacoal (which, like Gabrielle said, are great).

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10 Design Mom August 4, 2011 at 6:23 am

Very cool, Kristin!

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11 Bridget August 4, 2011 at 5:33 am

Itty Bitty Bra. I know the name is a bit—childish, but it’s definitely an option. I kind of default to the little girl’s section just because it’s easier and cheaper…but as a poor grad student that’s kind of my lot in life just now.

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12 Design Mom August 4, 2011 at 6:24 am

The site looks great, Bridget. Thanks for the link! And I’ve bought in the little girl’s section too. : )

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13 stacy August 4, 2011 at 10:08 am

i tried these, and have to say, i’m not a big fan. i’m slender, but these seem to be made for small children. i’m constantly tugging at them. i’m still on the search…..
thanks for a great post. nice to know i’m not alone on this one.

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14 Maria @ Busy as a Bee in Paris August 4, 2011 at 6:11 am

gabrielle, after nursing three children, i too have had a hard time finding bras for my very small breasts! but i finally found the perfect bra while vacationing in california this summer at costco of all places! they’re maidenform brand, thick uniform padding and solid underwire. they also criss-cross (or not) at the back for those with small shoulders to avoid straps falling off of shoulders! and i now even have a little cleavage (when i wear the bra criss-crossed!) with these miracle bras that have changed my sillouhette for the sexier! i think it goes without saying, my husband loves them too! can you tell i’m excited about these? i paid 18 or 19 dollars for a set of two. now, a better question, is it possible that my breasts will ever return to their original shape and size???? ;)

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15 Design Mom August 4, 2011 at 6:20 am

Congrats on the awesome find, Maria!

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16 a little luxe August 4, 2011 at 6:16 am

Isn’t that the worst after nursing! I’m there with you! Here is a great website with lingerie for small chests. Really pretty things.

http://www.lulalu.com/

Good luck!

Jennifer

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17 Design Mom August 4, 2011 at 6:19 am

Oh my goodness! I’ve never heard of Lula Lu till you and Kristin (above) mentioned it, but I just checked out the site and it looks like such a goldmine for people like me. Thank you so much for the recommendation!

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18 Angela August 4, 2011 at 6:53 am

For bigger chests, the Lane Bryant Back Smoothing Bra is AMAZING. It gives the best silhouette under tee shirts and sheer dresses…super smooth with no back chub. :) A good bra is everything.

http://www.lanebryant.com/back-smoothing-bra/p25870/index.pro

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19 NolaLeBlanc August 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Lane Bryant is also great is you are big busted and not necessarily big boned. I can’t fit into the clothes they sell, but I love their bras.

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20 Tara August 4, 2011 at 7:12 am

For those interested, Wacoal is great for medium and large sized chests, too! DM, I do almost the exact same rotation as you, and I tend to need to replace these pricey bras only once a year or so (or less if I am rotating in different sizes for pregnancy and nursing). Their D and DD sizes fit well, are comfortable, and do a bit of reducing if you need that…and when my breast size greatly decreased after nursing my first children (twins), their bras continued to be my top pick.

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21 Christy August 4, 2011 at 7:25 am

I have bin trying to fix my bra problem too. After breastfeeding six children my chest is sooo much bigger than my old b cup and all the ones I have tried on just are not right. So I will continue my jurney and check out some of these sights. Thanks to everyone for there ideas and brest of luck to all big or small. ;)

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22 Karyl August 4, 2011 at 7:38 am

Scoooooore! Thanks ladies, this is perfect since I just stopped breastfeeding about a month ago and have the same problems. I just went to lulalu.com and ordered 2 Wacoal petite bras on sale. Saweet! :-P

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23 Melissa August 4, 2011 at 7:42 am

I agree with Wacoal being a great brand and I have the opposite problem!

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24 Sam M August 4, 2011 at 7:50 am

The Lane Bryant t-shirt plunge bra is the only thing that will actually hold them up after nursing my daughter.

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25 Genevieve August 4, 2011 at 8:09 am

Awesome question and suggestions! I’m heading over to lulalu.com to order some petite bras!

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26 Clare August 4, 2011 at 8:57 am

I am an in-between chest size (I measure 33) and had a really hard time finding the right bra, since they don’t make a 33 that I know of! I absolutely love all of Gap Body’s bras- I wear a 34D (not the easiest size to find) and they have so many different styles that I love. I think the T-Shirt Bra is my favorite. A handy tip: your bra should always fit on the loosest set of hooks when you purchase it. Then as you stretch it out by wearing it, you can prolong its life by moving to the tighter hooks.

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27 .ivy August 8, 2011 at 7:57 am

Excellent tip on the hooks! That’s what I do too. =)

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28 Sabina August 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm

You can always have a larger band size taken in by a seamstress/tailor, which I’ve had done before. (The lingerie store I use has one on staff).

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29 Amy in VA August 4, 2011 at 9:28 am

Hallelujah! I was beginning to despair over finding anything out of the tween section. Thanks for the information.

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30 Heidi August 4, 2011 at 9:38 am

Thanks so much!! I have the same problem, of course, I’m pregnant now so I won’t be buying any itty-bitty bras until I’m done nursing. I bookmarked the sights everyone mentioned and I will definitely be ordering some bras later! I can hardly wait to see how much more my boobs will shrink…

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31 corrin August 4, 2011 at 9:42 am

I don’t have children, but I’ve had large breasts since middle school and the key is a great bra fitting. I go to Intimacy once a year, get a proper fitting, and buy several good quality bras. I always give my bras a day or two to “rest” between wearings and handwash with lingerie soap. Intimacy does fittings and carries bras for every size and they really stress that no matter what the size a properly fit bra makes all the difference. I sing their praises whenever I can.

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32 Christina August 4, 2011 at 9:45 am

Thanks for posting this. I’m about to stop pumping for my triplets and the non-existent post-breastfeeding boobs have been getting me down in the dumps a bit lately. I was an A cup to start with and have been quite enjoying being a C cup as a nursing mom! It’s good to know that a lot of moms deal with this because it seems that most women are too embarrassed to talk about it so it cones as a bit of a shock to first time moms. So thanks again!

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33 kaela d. August 4, 2011 at 9:49 am

i’m top heavy at a 5’2″ and a 36D …..i recently found victoria secret’s Nakeds collection. LOVE IT. most bras for big chests have lots of padding and feel bulky..i actually don’t feel like I’m wearing a bra when I have this one on. the Body By Victoria collection is really good too…awesome soft material, not the bulky heavy feel of cotton (big boob gals know it gets hot). i have to stock up every time i can catch one of their semi-annual sales! it’s like xmas for big boob ladies! haha

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34 Amy D. August 4, 2011 at 9:52 am

After trying many brands, I went back to Gap Body and found my all-time favorite: the uplift (or ultimate uplift) bra. They are comfortable, well-made, reasonably priced, and great for the post-nursing shrinkage. :)

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35 Heidi August 4, 2011 at 9:57 am

We were just discussing this exact same thing at a GNO this week! One friend swears by a brand called Mystere and the style called Gigi. I think she said she gets them from Bloomingdales online cause they don’t have AA in the stores.

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36 Ann August 4, 2011 at 10:03 am

I like “Chantelle” for t-shirt bras and “Aubade” for something pretty.

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37 Michelle August 4, 2011 at 10:08 am

Victorias Secret just launched the “Miraculous” bra. It’s the most padding they offer. I don’t leave the house without it!

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38 Carina Miller August 4, 2011 at 10:25 am

spanx brallelujah!

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39 Anonymous August 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

I’m size 32aa, literally flat chested, as well. This is a great push up:

http://www.barenecessities.com/panache-atlantis-ultimate-lift-gel-t-shirt-bra-5946_product.htm?pf_id=Panache5946&search=32AA

I don’t wear it very often because it’s a lot of gel padding. At the end of the day, it feels like I’m taking my chest off.

For every day bras, I recently discovered aerie.com (from American Eagle). They have size 32aa and are very reasonably priced.

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40 elz August 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

GET FITTED. I was 2 band sizes and a BUNCH of cup sizes off. After I got fitted at Nordstrom, I tried a bunch of bras. My favorites- Chantelle, Soma, and Simone Perele. I’ve had great luck finding bras at super discounts at Nordstrom Rack , barenecessities.com, and ideeli. I also got SUPER lucky and found an Agent Provacateur bra on sale a few months ago-LOVE.

My sister is of the small chested variety and loves Itty Bitty Tit*y brand.

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41 sarah August 4, 2011 at 11:14 am

i love aerie bras….they will fit you in the store, and you can return them anytime, worn, no questions asked. you can try on all of their styles (i believe they have 10-12 right now) and see what works best on you. fun fun colors and styles. they are all i wear after nursing and shrinking to nothing!

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42 victoria August 4, 2011 at 11:17 am

I love the aerie katie bra! I’m between a and b and they run a bit smaller so the b fits perfect on me! They are lightly lined but the cut of the bra makes you look a size larger then you really are. And they are sooooo affordable!

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43 Jessica August 4, 2011 at 11:41 am

I just stopped nursing my son. He’s nice and plump, but alas my breasts are not. I have been dreading going bra shopping. I didn’t even know that petite bras were an option!!! I am seriously hunting the Wacoal bras down today. Thank you!

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44 Cindy August 4, 2011 at 11:43 am

The Biatta molded cup bralette (available at Lulalu), is the first truly comfortable bra I’ve found. I used to wear the Wacoal AA bras, but the Biatta is pretty, looks attractive on, stays absolutely in place, and gives you some coverage when you wear thin tops. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about it. I have a stash of extras, just in case they should stop making them.

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45 steph t. August 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

here, here.
i think i’m the official president of the itty bitty titty committee.
i need help.
i’m so tired of wearing too large bras that gap where there’s nothing to fill it.
sigh…
it’s mostly b/c i used to fit them at some point in time (before nursing 3 kids) and i’m too cheap to invest in a good bra.
probably b/c i just keep going back to the point… when they’re so small, do i need something supportive?
or just something to hide the nipples?!
ugh!
but now that we’re probably done with babies i think i need to purchase 1-2 good bras.
thanks for all the great links and comments…
sure helps for us smaller gals.
:)

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46 erica August 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I found a lovely 32 A Natori bra with a flexible and very soft underwire. Unfortunately I can’t find any more of them at Nordstrom! Patagonia’s Barely Bra is nice for everyday.

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47 erica August 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Lol, I found my favorite bra on Natori’s site http://www.natori.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ISC_Category=NatoriBra%20-%20Sheer%20Mesh%20Contour%20Convertible%20Tank&ISC_ParentCategory=Bras&ISC_SubCategory=BrasWireless#

Pre-baby, support wasn’t an issue for my 32 A/AA chest. 2.5 years of breastfeeding has changed my tune. This bra is so comfy and pretty, and great for summer.

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48 Becca August 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I’m at the opposite end of the bra-size spectrum, but I second the Wacoal recommendation. They’ve been the best fit by far for me, and they hold up very well. In addition to Nordstrom, I think I’ve also seen them at Dillards.

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49 Vicki August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Wacoal is the best. It is all I could comfortably wear pre breast reduction.
Now I just need to find a nursing bra that is as comfortable. Sigh

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50 Becca B August 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm

The Xhileration bras at Target for $9 are my fav. I’ve been wearing them for 5 years and they fit perfectly on my body. I’ve bought different sizes for different times (nursing, pregnant, and not…) and each time they fit wonderfully.

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51 brannon August 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm

The Coobie bras are great for those who are less than a full A cup. They just pull over the head, but have just enough padding to keep things smooth. I love them!
http://shopcoobie.com/

And Lululemon’s sports bras and tanks also have thin padding in them – they are fantastic!

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52 elisabeth August 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm

i was a perky small b cup before kids, and after, paper thin and saggy A’s… the best bra i’ve found for me is the “very sexy multi-way” from victoria’s secret. it’s actually a strapless, with straps that change around if you want to add them. the padding is those gel-like pads which feel more real, and they are in the bottom of the cup, so they push up the breast tissue so that the chest is full where it should be, instead of having that gap at the top. it lays flat against the skin w/o smooshing, or poking out so you can tell it’s strapless. it’s $50, but worth the investment. i love mine!

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53 Cheryl August 4, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I’m a 36 H (yes, H. Not by choice, but by nature). The only bra I wear is Prima Donna (Belgian, I think), as nothing else fits. Expensive, but so, so, so worth it.

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54 Sara August 4, 2011 at 7:36 pm

You might try brands like Panache, Elila, Elomi, and Rosa Faia (by parent brand Anita). Not sure if you’ve had any luck with them, but they all reach up to H cup with a smaller band like yours.

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55 dawn August 4, 2011 at 5:03 pm

This is of little help to US residents, but if you’re visiting the UK, the ubiquitous high street chain Marks and Spencer has a great lingerie line. Their bras are pretty and the size range is wide. I also have to vote for Wacoal for petite bras.; they understand that small, post-BF breasts also need support.

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56 sissy August 4, 2011 at 6:54 pm

i have also nursed 4 kids and am PROUDLY an A cup.
I find that Calvin Klein makes fantastic padded, push-up, underwire bras that make me look like i actually have boobs!
and they wash and wear so well.
good luck!

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57 craftyashley August 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm

I have this awesome bra. But the label/size/washing instructions have long since worn off. It is way too old and in need of replacement, but I don’t know the brand/size/etc. Maddening!

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58 Sara August 4, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I actually work at a small bra boutique, and we get this question all the time! Like Gabrielle said, the Wacoal Petite line is awesome (as are most all Wacoal bras). My personal favorite for all sizes up to about a DD is Chantelle, also a French brand. Le Mystere makes a great style called “Tisha” that really makes the most out of anything you’ve got, and starts at a 30A.

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59 LH August 4, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I found some great deals at Dillard’s department store recently-I can’t vouch for the small cup sizes, but they had many 34/36 DDD/F (I find different brands really fit very differently!) on clearance for less than $10, and they carry all those sizes all the time—they’re just normally more like $50-$70

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60 Torey August 5, 2011 at 12:18 am

As an A or AA or AAA (is that the smallest ever size?) when I’m not nursing. . . I’m still trying to figure out how you push non existent tissue up to make it look like you have breasts? Honestly, when not nursing I might as well be a 12 year old boy. Last time around I just did the “wear a molded cup bra and hope it looks like it’s real” thing. While the “made for petites” bras look nice. . . do they work even if you have NOTHING??? I’m not kidding, I’ve been tempted to go to a masectomy store and buy fake boobs.

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61 Abeth August 22, 2012 at 11:34 am

I am so there w you. Post nursing, pretty much all nips. Lol. And petite bras dont seem to work bc I am tall and have a wide chest. :(

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62 Tia August 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm

For the bigger sizes, I can’t believe no one mentioned Soma. As a natural 32DDD, I have an impossible time finding bras. Soma is my saving grace! They aren’t super expensive, and their bras are so comfy. They are linked with Chicos, so if you have a Chicos store you can go in person. Otherwise their online selection is good too.

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63 Sally August 6, 2011 at 4:04 am

I live in Australia where there’s not much choice for smaller girls – finding a store that sells bras in an AA cup size is near impossible. I have found Calvin Klein bras to be the best for smaller sizes. They tend to run smaller than most other brands which is good for me. They wash really well, don’t stretch too much and last a long time. The only problem here is that they cost at least $80 each! Last time I was in America I stocked up as they were soooo much cheaper! I’m actually moving to San Francisco soon and I’m looking forward to trying out some of these other brands mentioned on here AND saving a whole lot of money on my bra purchases :)

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64 heather m August 6, 2011 at 7:44 am

I’m a big-chested girl, and the ONLY bra brand I buy is Wacoal. They are by far the most comfortable and they last forever. Well worth the money. For any-sized chest, they are arguably the best choice. No matter what size they are, we want them where they belong. :)

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65 Cammie August 6, 2011 at 11:31 am

I LOVE this post and discussion. I resulted to wearing the size L (girls section of Target) xhilaration shelf bra because of my totally unformed shape. I lost all of my chest after nursing 3 and there’s just a lot of skin left. These work best for me, but I’m going to check out these recommendations, it’d be nice to wear a “real” bra :)

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66 .ivy August 8, 2011 at 8:00 am

I don’t have a go-to brand to recommend, but I like shopping at breakoutbras.com. The owner (Melissa) has reviewed EVERYTHING they sell and they also have great customer service. I found my absolute favorite nursing bra ever (a Freya) because of them!

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67 foodmomiac August 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I am in the same boat. I love the bras from The Little Bra Company. And I second the recommendation for Coobie bras (especially the strapless one!). Also, I have some pullover bras from Hanes that are actually super comfortable and look pretty darn good under a t-shirt.

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