In my running around to different stores in the past few weeks trying to get my clothing situation all set for my wedding, I ended up trying a bunch of bras that I normally wouldn’t try. If you’re around my size – 30Gish – you may find that every now and then you’ll fit all right in “regular” bra sizes you find in actual stores. Now this doesn’t happen often, so I’m especially keen on pointing it out when it does!
In what follows, I am going to exhibit some pretty close fits from (surprise!) Victoria’s Secret, Wacoal, and Passionata, and (gasp!) even a Lilyette. At the end, I’ll also throw in a more boutique-y brand, Blush. Interestingly, all these bras are technically in the size range of 32DD-34DDD (sizes which 99% of the time do not fit at all). Obviously, since my bra-velation a year ago, I’ve been avoiding such sizes like the plague, and am now the proud owner of too many dozens of 28GG bras! However, because there is such size variation between different brands, I have learned that sometimes you just need to try things on and see what fits – even if “your size” isn’t on the tag.
First, here is the Lilyette Minimizer strapless bra in 34dd. Please note that I currently wear a 30G in the Freya Deco strapless, even though I would buy 28GG if they sold it (they don’t). The band on this bra is too big for me, although surprisingly it seemed to stay up while I was trying it on. Luckily, this bra comes in 32DDD as well, which might be the better size for me.
You can easily tell that the bra isn’t wonderful for upper fullness (I’m getting quad boob), but it is not terrible either. I can imagine wearing this bra for a very minimized look under strapless summer dresses. It is comfortable, the cups aren’t too tall like some strapless bras, and it didn’t feel like it was going anywhere.
Next is Wacoal’s Embrace Lace unlined bra in 32DD. This is an interesting case, especially because I used to own one of these in 32D before I knew my correct bra size, and I remember it fitting pretty well in the cups, but not feeling extremely supportive. The 32 band in Wacoal tends to run tight, and can function fairly well if you’re a 30 band.
As you can see, this 32DD fits decently in the cups. There is a little quad boob at the tops of the cup. It also comes in 32DDD, which I would try to minimize the quad boob. The bra is very comfortable and pretty (and comes in lots of colors!). The straps are fully adjustable.
You can see that it does give a pointier, or more natural shape than a Cleo bra does. Maybe this would change if I went up a cup.
Below, is the moulded version of Embrace Lace in 32DDD.
Again, very comfy, pretty, and the band runs nice and tight. But the 32DDD gives me quad boob. Delightfully, the next size up, 32G, exists in this bra. I would like to try it! Currently I wear Cleo Maddie in 28GG for my balconnette t-shirt bra, but I like how Embrace Lace has lighter moulding (not to mention the flowers and lace!).
The following bra from Wacoal, the Body by Wacoal front-close T-back bra, doesn’t go past 32DD, in terms of smallest back/largest cup combination. But I couldn’t find any t-back/j-hook/convertible/racerback bra that was unlined in full bust brands (there are indeed some that are moulded or padded), and that was what I needed. So I gave this bra a try:
The design is unexpectedly sexy! Obviously the shape here is very natural and a bit minimizing (spreads out a little to the sides), but with the right clothes on top it can prove very useful. The bra is not very friendly to upper or inner fullness, so you can see some quad boob here. It was not visible under clothing, however.
Here’s the back. Because there is a front close to the bra, there is no way to adjust the band size. However, the 32 band ran very tight and because it is so wide, is very supportive. If you wear 28 or 30 bands and need an unlined T-back this summer, this may be your bra.
All three of these Wacoal bras you can buy on Amazon, but your local Macy’s may also have them.
Because I was looking for an unlined racerback/t-back bra, I also have a Victoria’s Secret bra to share. I *almost* kept this bra and panty set, and if I had, it would have not only been a great wedding lingerie ensemble, but also my first “set” ever (because I am poor, and never shell out money for a matching panty!).
I do not recall the name of this bra, but it is currently in VS stores and goes up to a DDD. Sadly, 32DDD at VS is always too small in the cup, so I tried this one in 34DDD. Because the band is fairly thick (three rows of hooks) and somewhat firm, the 34 band actually fit on the second hook (I think there were four columns of hooks).
This is a stunning unlined bra, and the matching thong (size small) is silky, light, and flattering (I kept the thong). One thing to note is that VS bras have straps that are usually way too long for me, and not fully adjustable. This was also the case for this bra, but the straps did fit in the racerback conversion. I would only be able to wear this bra as racerback, and even so I wouldn’t have much room to adjust the straps even further. I ultimately returned this $50 bra for that reason. Victoria’s Secret, make fully adjustable straps (and like… 18 other requests…)!
This unlined bra gave a natural rounded shape, and gave a projected, “big boob” look under a shirt. I wouldn’t say the bra felt as supportive as full bust brand bras, however.
Next I have a series of bras from the newer brand (by Chantelle) called Passionata. Passionata, like Chantelle, does not have the widest size range, but in certain styles can go as high as a U.S. G or H (U.K. F or FF), and as low as a 30 band. However, I have also discovered (and others have said the same), that Passionata tends to run a band size small, and a cup size large. I tried these bras on at Nordstrom.
The “one band size small” tendency was not the case for this first bra, but it indeed did run large in the cup. This bra, below, is the Let’s Play unlined balconette bra. I am wearing 32DDD here, but the band is too large. Luckily, they also sell 30G, which I haven’t tried yet. The cup size is perfect, and allows for upper fullness.
The geometric pattern and big black bow in the middle make this a good looking number! The bra has narrower wires, and gives a rounded shape. The straps are fully adjustable.
Next is Passionata’s Bloom Demi mini bustier in 32DDD. This bra fit perfectly. The 32 band ran more like a 30 and the cups ran large:
Super sexy style (with those mesh windows!, great colors, narrower wires, a round shape, and fully adjustable straps. Preference-wise, however, I do not like the length of the bra on me. It is too short to have the flattering effect of a true long line, and instead has the effect of overwhelming my petite upper frame.
The Passionata Seduction longline, below, has a length I prefer and find flattering. This bra has moulded cups, cool split straps, and a lacy band. I kind of love this bra, but am not sure how practical it would be… Especially since this summer I only want to wear light, unlined bras, since I am too weak for the heat! Here is Seduction in 34DDD:
The band was too big, but this bra also comes in 32G and 30G, and I’m fairly certain one of those sizes could work for me. The cups seemed a teeny big, but that may be more from the too-big band. The wires are narrower and the shape is round. I like how the top of the cups are staying away from my armpits.
Finally, here is a style from the American brand Blush, which goes up to a US F cup in some styles. I will show you how I fit in two different sizes. This first size, 32DD, I bought over a year ago when I didn’t know my true size. I was very happy with it because it didn’t have quad boob, and it was sexy. In fact, I would say it is my go-to sexy bra, and it is my husband’s favorite.
The 32 band fits well on the second set of hooks, the back is lacy (a rarity in full bust brands!), and the straps are fully adjustable. The straps are also very thin – nowadays I do not own a bra with straps anywhere near as thin as this bra. So this bra is the bra I turn to in order to wear summer dresses that have thin straps.
Technically this bra is too small. The wires seem too narrow for me, and the gore doesn’t fully tack. The stretchy lace on the top of the cups allows for upper fullness, and insures against a bit of overflow I have (overflow which doesn’t get worse over the day, and is not visible under a shirt). I really like this bra, and find it comfortable (no chafing in my armpits!).
Here is Sweetest Sin in two cup sizes larger: 32F.
The 32 band again runs tight, but it is wider: it has 3 rows of hooks. The straps are wider for support, and the shape is natural and rounded. The wires are still pretty narrow in this size. The neckline comes to a v in the center and works with some v necks.
I bought this bra on Amazon for under $20!
The cups of Sweestest Sin are stretchier than the cups of full bust brand bras, and thus are a bit less supportive. The 32F actually has less uplift for me than the 32DD.
Well, that’s all I got for now! What’s the moral of the story? Try bras of all different sizes – you may find that unexpected sizes of different styles of different brands could surprisingly work for you. Would I prefer any of these bras to bras in my normal UK size? Hmm. Not sure. Some might be useful for different purposes and different silhouettes. Some of them I am waiting on to try a better size (like the Passionata bras – I’m definitely a new fan of this brand!). But for the most part, I am happy to be able to explore as many options as I can from a wider variety of different brands.