Some of the signs of ageing are visible – more laughter lines around the eyes, worsening eyesight, a bigger tummy and drooping of the skin around the cheeks, neck and jaws (sob!).
However, you might never have thought about how your breasts age too. They’ll look and feel different as you age. It’s time to check out comfortable bras for older women. Give your bust the support it needs without giving up on style!
You might think there’s less choice when it comes to comfortable bras for older women. You may recall the type of bras worn by your mother or grandmother. Perhaps you expect to find the type of bra you might see in an ‘early settler’ museum, undyed, made with buttons and decidedly unfeminine!
Thankfully bra shopping really has changed. You don’t need to rely on the (often limited) choice available in your local store. The internet means you can access bras from all over the world, at very competitive prices.
The Life History of Your Boobs!
In your 20s and 30s, your breasts will change whenever you gain or lose significant amounts of weight. Weight changes are common in the years after moving away from home. This is a time when a lot of people learn to cook for themselves and start work or college.
Also, many women will begin their family in their 20s or 30s and breast size will naturally increase during pregnancy and decrease after pregnancy. After a few pregnancies, the breast skin has stretched and there may even be stretch marks. You can also get oestrogen-related lumps which are totally normal.
From your late 40s onwards, breast changes become more noticeable. Your boobs will be less dense and the collagen starts to flag, meaning the skin is less elastic and this leads to sagging. Crash dieting, smoking and high-intensity exercise can all hasten breast sagging.
Later in your 40s, the perimenopause begins (around 5 years before your proper menopause). Symptoms include irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats and loss of breast fullness.
During the menopause, your ovaries start to produce dramatically less oestrogen. This dehydrates your breast tissue. Your breasts go through a process called involution, where fat starts to replace the normal breast tissue. Fat is softer than breast tissue so the breast won’t feel the same as it did before.
To complicate things, the replacement process is a bit hit-and-miss – some bits of your boob will be turned into be fat and some will remain breast tissue, resulting in a bumpy or lumpy feel.
So as we age we lose collagen in our skin, our levels of oestrogen drop (oestrogen loves to store fat, especially in the breasts) our skin in less elastic and the Coopers ligaments that hold your breasts the chest wall will have stretched and weakened over time.
All of this makes a perfect recipe for sagging, lumpy boobs! Please remember that this is unavoidable and a normal part of ageing, otherwise 80 year olds would have the perky boobs of a teenager!
OK, So What Can I Do?
- Get the Right level of support for your boobs
- Measure correctly (85% of women are wearing the wrong size!)
- Try bras on and test, test, test!
- Get easy to use comfortable bras for older women – front-closure bras are a dream!
- They’re machine washable but hand wash them anyway to help them last longer
- Don’t be afraid to shop around, there ARE nice bras out there!
- Get the best quality bras that you can afford
Get the Right Level of Support For Your Boobs
If you have a larger cup size (D and above) then you’ll need to support the breasts well to slow down the rate of age-related sagging.
Poor support can lead to shoulder pain and back pain. Good support will lift your breasts without squashing them. Separate cups are best. Underwire provides support too.
Before you buy another bra ever again, get measured! Either measure yourself (you need 10 minutes alone with a tape measure and a good mirror) or have a friend help, or go to a store where the assistants will be used to measuring people and will know exactly what to do.
Knowing your correct bra size will save you time and money.
Since you know your boobs will change throughout your life it makes sense to get them measured every so often. Many women are still selecting bras based on their size 10 or more years ago!
- Put on your best-fitting bra (not a padded one) so that your breasts are supported when you measure.
- Measure under your bust (at the level where the bra band would be) to get your Band (underbust) size.
- Measure around the fullest part of your bust to get your cup size. Round up the measurement to the nearest number if you need to. Look at the chart below to see what size you should be (contact me below if your size is not on here).
Bra Size Chart (in centimetres)
Try on Bras and Test, Test, Test!
The bra band takes 80% of the weight of your bust. It shouldn’t be loose and you should only be able to put 2 fingers under it too check the tightness.
Always fasten it to the nearest clips because over time when it becomes less elastic you can use the farther away clips to get a tighter-fitting band again. For large busts, a bra with triple fastening (3 rows of clips) is better than double fastening (2 rows of clips).
When you put on the bra the band shouldn’t ride up your back. The centre of the bra, between the cups, should lie flat against your chest. There should be no boob ‘spillage’.
Check for spillage by leaning forward so your boobs fill the cups and pull forward any breast that might be trapped under your arms. When you stand back up is there overspill from the cups or are your boobs secure? Bonus, this manoeuvre will also give you the best cleavage possible!
Don’t forget to examine the bra straps too since they take the other 20% of your bust weight. They need to be broad, adjustable and not pinch anywhere.
Front-Closure Bras are A Dream!
For most of our lives, we put on bra by putting them around our chest, fastening them and then swivelling the cups round to the front and popping our boobs in! Why? This requires dexterity of arm and hand movements.
These movements can be a problem at any age but it’s often worse for older women. You can be hindered by eyesight problems, arthritis and tremors to name a few.
So what happens when you can’t see the small clasps or clips anymore, or you can see them but your fingers can’t grip the fasteners properly? If you’ve got decent movement in your arm you might op for an over-the-head type of bra. These aren’t the easiest to put on or take off and usually flatten what boobs you have since there are no defined cups.
Remember that you’ll have to do this at the start and end of each day. Choose the easiest option for your situation.
The fastenings for bras that close at the front are varied:
· Hooks and eyes
Some of the Best Comfortable Bras for Older Women
PrimaDonna Women’s Eternal Embroidered Underwired Support Coverage Full Cup Bra
This terrific bra has got the lot! Full cups and underwire to give you the perfect support. There’s also pretty embroidery detail. Available on Amazon. Up to 50D cup and in 3 colours.
Primadonna Deaville Full Cup Bra
Primadonna’s best-selling bra. Gorgeous and sturdy, with a wide range of colours and up to a 46F. Available here.
Delimira Women’s Full Coverage Lace Plus Size Wireless Non Padded
Wire-free with broad, comfortable straps. Pretty detailing on the edge of the full cups. Up to a size 48E and in 3 colours. Available on Amazon.
Glamorise Women’s Full Figure Magiclift Original Wirefree Support Bra
Wirefree but cushioned inner cups provide support where its needed. It comes in sizes up 56J and in 10 colours. Available here.
Glamorise Women’s Posture Back Support Bra Everyday
A wonderful bra with front fastening and straps that can be adjusted at the front. Up to a size 50H and in 2 essential colours. Check it out here.
AMOENA Women’s Patricia Compression Vest Bra
This is a zip front bra with velcro on the straps. The easiest possible bra to put on. Only available in white and in up to size 52 B/C. Available on Amazon.
This list is by no means exhaustive but I hope it sparks your interest in what types of comfortable bras for older women are out there. Your boobs have worked very hard for many years – it’s time to cherish and pamper them!
Have you found a great comfortable bra you’d like to tell me about? Please leave any comments or questions below.
Found of Plus Size Shapewear