The 5 Keys To Finding A Sports Bra When Curvy
70% of women in the US are above a D cup. According to Plunkett Research, about 68% of women are a size 14 dress or over which is a 44 band .
While there is a push for inclusivity and diversity in the market, truly serving women of all sizes requires investing in more SKUs and sports bra designs that are engineered for differing weight distribution.
Brands have caught on that curvy women are an opportunity, but they haven’t raised the bar on design and quality. So we've assembled these 5 tips to help curvy women navigate this challenge. By knowing what to watch out for, you can find the right bra design and size for your body.
1. Avoid “One-Design-Fits-All” Sports Bras
Most companies use inexpensive materials designed for smaller busts that do not need much support. In these instances, they can get away with simple cost-saving designs that essentially involve sewing a few pieces of fabric together.
Companies will then take that design and scale the cup up or down (this is called grading) for basic size combinations for that design. These simple designs simply do not scale for larger breasts, which require more support from the bottom. This can come from wire and molded cups, but for those looking for a wire-free solution, it requires a unique material and design to achieve lift and comfort.
In any case, different design and construction is required for larger breasts vs. smaller. Another way to think about this- a different mechanism would be used to carry a 3 pound weight versus a 12 pound.
2. Look for Features that Support Healthy Weight Distribution (and reviews that back them up)
With most sports bras, close to 90% of the weight falls onto the band in the front. Straps can dig in leaving horrible red marks and indentations in shoulders. This discomfort is one of the most common complaints about bras and sports bras. So when we designed the Bloom Bra, we brought together the celebrity corset maker of Oprah Winfrey, experts from the shipping and packaging industry, and female minds from NASA.
We believed that women didn’t need to live with this discomfort, and we could engineer a better bra design. The Bloom Bra’s patent-pending, adjustable straps and lifting shelf pull all of the weight into a point at the nape of the neck and then distributes it across a mesh panel in the back.
If the product is not specifically engineered for curvy women and large breasts, or if customer reviews don’t specifically attest to a comfortable fit in sizes near yours, be wary of purchasing.
3. Start Thinking About Your Sports Bra as an Investment in Your Health
The lack of a comfortable, supportive bra is too often a reason why women aren’t as active as they’d like to be. At Bloom Bras, we believe nothing should stand between you and your fitness goals.
We designed the Bloom Bra with 36 unique parts to serve the needs of women 28C - 56L. For example, there is a front hook and zipper to remove all the frustration of pulling bras on over your head. And when we learned that underwire can cut into lymph nodes and block healthy circulation, we opted for soft, strong, state-of-the-art materials to create better support without any underwire at all.
When a bra has over 36 parts to its construction, it is more expensive to make than the standard sports bra that has on average 6-8 components. So unlike fashion, where it’s easy to find inexpensive alternatives to luxury brands, when it comes to finding a good sports bra, you will get what you pay for.
Our customers frequently report that investing in a Bloom Bra pays huge dividends for their health on everything from better posture to less back and shoulder pain.
4. Be Aware of Vanity Sizing and Return Policies
Many women are surprised to find out there is no standardization across the industry , so a 44DD in one brand will not necessarily translate to another.
To make things more complicated, companies like Victoria's Secret are famous for vanity sizing . They prey on the general American desire to have a smaller waist and a larger cup. This has trained entire generations to believe they are a different bra size than what an unbiased fitting would show.
The takeaway from these sizing issues is that women will likely need to try on multiple sizes to find “the one” and they’ll need to be prepared to return those that don’t fit when shopping online.
At Bloom Bras, we offer free returns and exchanges so that women can rest assured that our customer care team is committed to helping them find the perfect fit.
Wherever you buy your bras, be sure they have a flexible customer-friendly return policy that will allow you to easily return any bras that aren’t right for you.
5. Size Yourself for Best Results
To combat the lack of standardization and vanity sizing, the best thing you can do is to size yourself at home. Once you know your size, you’ll be able to order online with far more accuracy than basing off of past purchases. Here's how to do it:
- Grab a tape measure and a pen and paper
- Take the tape measure around the back and across the nipples. Write that number down
- Take the tape measure around the back and across the rib cage just beneath the breasts (this is your band size). Write that number down.
- Take the larger number and subtract the smaller number to get your cup size. So if you have 41 and 35, that equals 6. A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5, F=6, etc.
The Bloom Bras Sizing Calculator can also do this calculation for you. Just click "Find My Size" to get started. We offer free advice, exchanges and returns, so just send us an email or a message on social media for help.