I spoke with Kate (not her real name), a reader who is dealing with conditions that cause chronic pain, about her search for bras she can wear comfortably. Her size is 32C. Here, she talks about what she looks for in a bra and why underwires don't work for her.
BOTB: What is your disability, and how does it affect your ability to wear a bra comfortably?
Kate: I have three medical conditions that affect my bra fitting: chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, and acquired partial lipodystrophy (APL). The CFS and fibro keep me in bed most of the day, put me in tons of pain, and make my skin extra sensitive. Laying on pillows makes bras ride up, and pain and sensitivity makes me less tolerant of slight discomforts in a bra. The APL means that I don't have fat on my torso, so there is no fat between my ribs and where wires are on a wired bra. I get huge bruises even from wired bras that I'm told "fit well."
BOTB: Do you feel like you can talk with bra fitters about your condition (either in real life or online), and have they been helpful to you in finding something that works?
K: I tell bra fitters relevant parts of my conditions. People are nice, but often don't know how to respond, or run out of ideas for me fast. Most wire-free bras (especially in the smaller sizes) are either sports bras or look like training bras. Also, bras in the smaller sizes seem to have huge padding. I just want a normal-looking, pretty, and functional bra that fits well and doesn't injure me. Usually people just give up. A Bra That Fits on Reddit helped me find one bra, and that's the only bra I've ever had that fit.
BOTB: If you could have a bra that offered everything you were looking for in terms of both comfort and style, what would that look like?
K: My ideal bra in terms of comfort and style would be one that is wireless, doesn't hurt me, keeps my boobs from moving around too much, doesn't ride up, allows my boobs to look their natural size (not padded), keeps the world from knowing when I get cold, and looks good under a t-shirt or dress. As my boobs are quite shallow and wide, it's also nice if there's some support along the sides to keep them from flopping sideways.
BOTB: What's your favorite bra that you're wearing these days, if there is one, and why do you like it?
K: My one and only successful bra is the Natori Yogi. Not beautiful, but very comfortable and functional.