How to Find a Bra That Fits and Flatters If You're Over 50, According to Experts
Here are 5 expert tips that'll ensure your bra is comfortable, functional, and stylish.
Finding a fabulous bra is never easy, but it gets especially tough as we age. Gone are the days of choosing everyday bras that feature cramped push-up padding or itchy lace (for the most part, we save those for special occasions now). Once you reach your sixth decade, you're more likely to prioritize comfort and function—and ensuring your bra fits properly is the first step. Not sure where to start? Fear not. Ahead, bra experts tell us the secrets to finding a bra that fits and flatters over the age of 50. Hint: you'll probably want to upgrade some of your older bras, stat.
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Get a fresh fitting.
Just because you've been purchasing a 40D with a demi cup for the past decade doesn't mean it's your true size or most flattering cut. One of the biggest bra-fit mistakes Lee Padgett, founder and CEO of Busted Bra Shop in Detroit, sees women over 50 make is buying the same bra again and again without assessing if there's something better out there for them.
"Come in for a fitting, or arrange a virtual fitting—get some help from an expert," Padgett advises. "We can help find bras that will address your needs." Most lingerie experts suggest getting refitted every six to 12 months.
Assess your size correctly.
If you're not able to get a professional fitting, there are a few tricks to ensure you purchase the proper size.
According to Helena Kaylin, bra design expert and founder of the bra company MINDD, you'll want to start with the band, as a common mistake is choosing a band size too big, which can lead to an improper fit in the cups and straps.
The band should sit in a straight line around your body—not higher or lower in the front or back—and the gore, or the piece between the cups, should sit against your skin. If the gore floats away from your torso, then either the cups are too small or the band is too big. If you can slip more than one finger between the band and your skin, the band is too big.
Next, you'll want to assess the cups. When you have the correct cup size, your tissue will fit perfectly into the cup, and the underwire will sit flat against your body. If there is spillover or bulging from the top or sides, or if the underwire is floating away from your body, then the cup is too small. If the cups are wrinkled or gaping, then the cup is too big.
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Check out new bra innovations.
With new innovations in the lingerie industry, you can find a bra that suits your unique needs and looks beautiful—and you shouldn't stop your search until you find just that.
"Look, things change as we age, and every woman changes in their own way," says Padgett. "The amazing thing for bra wearers in 2022 is that bra manufacturers have started making bras for more body types than they have previously. Those bras can be found in specialty boutiques, often run by a local woman over 50."
Nowadays, you can find everything from cooling and breathable bras that ease the sensations of menopause to front-clasp bras that make getting dressed easier for women with limited mobility to wire-free bras that feel like you're wearing nothing.
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Wash your bras regularly.
No matter how good the fit of your bra is when you purchase it, it won't remain that way if you care for it improperly. The first step: washing your bras at the correct interval.
"By not washing your bra after two wears it really impacts how it is going to perform and feel on your body," says Kaylin. "As we get older and go through menopause—myself in my early 40s—my hot flashes would have me sweat through my bra, so make sure you are washing it after every wear; you will feel so much more confident overall."
To maintain their elasticity and extend the life of your bra, hand wash them with lingerie detergent and let them air dry.
Replace your bras regularly.
Even if you care for your bras impeccably, they still have a limited life span. According to Padgett, you should evaluate the fit of each bra in your drawer every six months and have between four and six great-fitting bras in your collection at all times.
Most bras will only last you about six months or 180 wears. Key signs it's time for a replacement are if the straps, band, or cups are stretched, the fabric is deteriorating, or the underwire is poking out or uncomfortable. If you've changed sizes, you'll also want a fresh piece. It's a new opportunity to find a well-fitted, flattering bra that makes you feel your best.