Pop Quiz! Do you know the average American woman's bra size?
If you answered d) 36DD, you're correct. But if that number sounds a bit larger than what you remember hearing a few years ago, then you're also correct.
5 years ago, the average American woman's bra size was 36C. 10 years ago, it was around a 34B. But now, according to the New York Times, WWD, NY Daily News, and prominent bra retailers like Tomima of HerRoom, 36DD is the new average and that means full bust bras are here and they're here to stay.
Fortunately, the lingerie industry is ahead of the curve (no pun intended). Not only are there more new brands specializing in bras for voluptuous women, well-established companies are also expanding their size range to accommodate this new average.
But before we get into the list of the best bra brands for full figured women , let's make sure we have the terminology straight. Though they're often used interchangeably, "full bust" and "plus size" don't mean the same thing. "Full bust" refers to the actual letter cup size, and it starts at around a DD/E cup (when bra engineering gets a bit more complicated than the standard A-D sizing). "Plus size" refers to the band size and starts at around a 38-40 band.
To give you a quick example, a woman in a 34H bra would be full bust, but not necessarily plus size. Conversely, a women in a 40C bra would be plus size but not necessarily full bust. While there are some brands that specialize in full bust or plus size only, very often the same company will make both...which is why I'm talking about them together in this blog post.
I firmly believe every woman deserves beautiful, comfortable, and affordable lingerie. And I don't believe that needing a full bust or plus size bra means you have to resign yourself to plain styles in boring shades of beige. And since I get tons of e-mails every week asking about pretty bras for curvy chicks, I have a feeling you feel the same way.
The 10 brands listed here are not only specialists in the world of full figured lingerie, they're also companies with great reputations. And if you don't live close to an independent lingerie boutique, don't worry...almost all of these brands are sold through online retailers with equally great customer service like Figleaves, Bare Necessities, ASOS, and HerRoom. After all, I know it takes some trial and error to find the perfect bra.
So with that out of the way...let's get started!
Bravissimo--Though Bravissimo is more of a web boutique for D-L cup women, they also design their own in-house line of bras. Their bras are known for vibrant colors, fresh prints, and reasonable prices. A UK based company (one of several on this list), their bras start at £26 or around $42 US. The size range is 28D-40L.
Cleo--Cleo is Panache's fashion conscious line. Another UK based company, the Cleo range retains Panache's famous fit, but offers trendy colors and playful prints along with it. I think Cleo's bras are especially good for teenagers who need comfortable support but also want stylish fun. Bras start at a 28" back and some styles go up to a J cup.
Curvy Kate--A relative newcomer to the industry, Curvy Kate launched in 2009 and has quickly become a leader in full bust bras. With cup sizes from DD to K and band sizes from 28-44, they've definitely got curvy girls covered. Plus, their jewel toned bras are to die for.
Elomi-- As a subsidiary of the company that also owns Fantasie, Freya, and Fauve (three more names you'll see on this list), Elomi certainly knows what they're doing when it comes to plus size bras. Their look is sophisticated without being stuffy, and they're stocked at all three of the online lingerie stores I mentioned earlier in this post.
Fantasie--Another brand held by Eveden, Ltd. (the company behind Elomi, above), Fantasie is like the slightly older, somewhat more serious big sister to several of the trendier brands mentioned here. Their bras start at 30D and go up to 40G with prices beginning in the low $40s.
Fauve--Though Fauve is part of the Eveden, Ltd. family, their lingerie has a completely different feel from the other lines. Namely, it looks very, very European. With lace overlays, embroidered detail, and even complete bridal sets...this is very much a full bust line for the elegant woman. While there are a few standard sizes available in some ranges, sizing mostly starts at 30D and ends at 40G.
Freya--Of all the brands on this list, Freya's the one I've heard the most good things about. Much like myself, Freya doesn't believe that fit is an enemy of fashion, and their bras are cute, flirty, and more than a little romantic. Sizes start at 28D and bra prices start at $42.
Masquerade--Similar to Fauve, Masquerade is another brand heavy on the European detail and styling. Simply put, their bras look opulent, luxurious, and glamorous. Band sizes start at 28 and go up to 38. Cup sizes start at D and go up to H.
Miss Mandalay--There are a few brands on this list that make jealous of my full bust sisters, and this is one. founded in 2005, Miss Mandalay is the curvy girl's answer to finding beautiful bras that fit beautifully. The size range is 28D to 38GG with room to grow if there's more demand for more sizes.
Panache--Owned by the same manufacturer that produces Masquerade and Cleo, Panache is another leader in full bust bras. Their "superbra" selection offers both core essentials and seasonal sets in up to K cup making this a great brand to start with if you're new to full bust bras.
And that's it! What do you think of this list? Was your favorite bra included? Do you learn about any new brands to try? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.