Bra shopping is not my favourite past time. There, I said it. Like most busty women I feel like I have imposible breasts that are out to ruin my life (not to mention my bank balance) but every 6 months I find myself on the usual merry-go-round of trying things on and forking over lots of cash. The last time I was properly fitted was in Macy’s in New York. I was a 44 FFFF. I didn’t even know that size existed! It’s been over 6 months since then and I was in need of a sports bra so it was time to do it again. I asked you on facebook if you’d be interested in a review and you gave me a big resounding YES. I just figured if I was going to get my boobs out I may as well do it in the name of research!
So I headed off to Debra’s in Penrith with Stephanie as my assistant. It’s half an hour away from my house and I knew they’d have large sized stock, well that’s what they’re known for. I’d been there before, a fairly large store with a wide range from itty bitty titties to big bazookas like mine. We walked around the store for a bit and then I introduced myself to the staff and explained that I wanted to look for plus size sports bras and that I’d be taking photos for my blog.
The service, I hate to say, went downhill swiftly. It may have just been the person who was assigned to me (so don’t just write them off just yet) but I didn’t feel like I was being listened to. Only one sports bra fit out of the two or three brands they had in store so then I was given lacy bra after lacy bra, even a floral chemise, all completely opposite to the styles I said I was interested in. It suddenly felt like up-selling was she was interested in doing. Just because I’m plus size and things are more difficult to find, doesn’t mean I’ll just take all there is on offer simply because it’s available. Sorry for the rant but almost two weeks later and it’s still irritating me. Oh and before I forget they had a wide range of swimwear too for busty and plus size women incase you needed something short notice.
Panache Sport – Black – 18GG $74.95
So this is the one bra in the entire store that fit me, oh and aren’t I lucky, I’ve graduated from a FFFF to a GG. It fits like a dream and I love how it looks like a crop top unlike some that left me looking like a fembot. It sat nice and snug across my ribs and the height of the cups really helped to keep my girls in place. As soon as I put it on I knew it was for me.
- Wide padded straps disperse pressure on the shoulders for extra comfort.
- Encapsulates breasts for ultimate support.
- Smooth moulded inner cups reduce friction and improve comfort.
- Firm underband anchors the bra to the body.
- Underwires are wrapped in silicone and sewn between the fabric layers for comfortable support.
- Super smooth shape with flat seams looks great under sportswear.
- Lightweight micro fibre fabric wicks moisture away from the skin and breathable mesh panels help to keep skin cool.
- Adjustable straps for a secure fit.
- Racer-back option provides more freedom of movement.
- Padded hook and eye for cushion comfort.
- Reduces breast bounce by up to 83%.
- Goes up to H cup in some colours.
I was really glad that despite the lack of selection for my size and the lady serving me I was able to find a bra to do the job well. Stephanie couldn’t get over the size of my boobs and thought it would be hilarious to show you all exactly how big they are. Yep, little sisters are adorable aren’t they! I wasn’t satisfied though, I couldn’t do a plus size sports bra review with just one bra so we headed off to Debra’s in Wentworthville another half an hour away hoping they would have a larger range in my size.
Panache Sport – Purple – 18GG $74.95
As soon as I walked into the store we were welcomed warmly and after explaining what I was trying to achieve I was introduced to one of their loveliest fitters who I wanted to hug, go to lunch with and chat endlessly about fashion and bras over cups of tea. She showed me her favourite sports bra which was of course Panache Sport which I’d just bought in black at the Penrith store but she had a purple one… so I bought that too.
I’ve been wearing the bras ever since I bought them home and I can’t get enough. I want to throw all my other bras away and go back and buy new ones that fit properly. The difference a well fitted bra makes is amazing and I feel stupid for not investing sooner. I’ve been wearing them as normal bras through the day but due to the raised bust line I have to think about what tops I’d wear with them, I can’t just chuck something on. That said I don’t care when I’m working out. They went really well through the wash, I haven’t got any heat rashes or chaffing and weirdly enough the underwire is the best I’ve ever had, the silicone covering definitely makes a difference. I love wearing them as racer-back as it pulls my shoulders back and I have better posture. Oh and when I run, I mean really run, they stay in place… Magic! I LOVE THIS BRA.
Now I’m very aware that the Panache sport, while it does go up to a H cup, only goes up to a size 18. I was surprised as I honestly thought I was a 20 or even a 22. PLEASE GET FITTED. I wanted to be able to show you brands that go bigger so here is the Elomi Energise Underwired Sports Bra. Sure, it’s not a sports luxe as the Panache but it holds my breast firmly and secure with very minimal movement. The wires meet in the middle, flush with my chest, fully separating my breasts and they felt like they were almost moulded that way kind of like Barbie boobs. The bust line sits nice and high with no chance of boob spillage or popping out at the sides.
This bra doesn’t make you look like Madonna, as you can see my breasts have a rounded natural shape that still looked good under clothes. The straps don’t do racer-back which I found disappointing but overall it looked like it would definitely do the job. Busty Samantha from the SWIM Lookbook has this bra and absolutely loves it. I personally preferred the Panache which is why I bought two of them but I was so please to find bras that had not only a larger cup size but also across the back.
This is obviously not all the plus size bras on offer but this is all I could find when I went to Debra’s that day. I paid for both of the bras myself, I wasn’t compensated in any way and Debra’s didn’t even know I was coming. In future I will keep my eyes and ears open for further opportunities to review bras if that’s something you’re interested in. Until then check out Bra Queen for reviews and lingerie updates.
When you’re heading out to buy a bra follow these tips:
- Allow yourself plenty of time, this isn’t something you should do when rushed.
- Before you leave the house shower and deodorise, you’ll be getting quite personal with the fitter and you don’t wait to stain garments.
- Arrive with an open mind and an idea of what you want from a bra: push up, lace, moulded cup, thick straps, etc.
- Ask for a fitting. The fastest and most pleasant way of buying a bra is with help from someone who knows what they’re doing.
- Try something new. Bras come in different shapes, how will you know what’s best until you try?
- Be honest. If you hate the look/colour/shape once it’s on say so that way the fitter can narrow down your selection.
- Budget to buy at least two bras as your size may have changed and you’ll need one to wash and one to wear until you can budget for more.
- Buy a lingerie bag or if you have big boobs like me buy two. They will save your bras in the wash.
- Buy new bras every 6 months, they aren’t designed to last forever.