As little as a five pound weight loss or gain can completely change your bra size, and I am often asked by women in transitional weights how to navigate bra buying. Because bras are expensive, no woman wants to invest money in an item she can only wear a short time, so today I want to discuss ways of maximizing your lingerie budget while on a weight loss journey.
Almost every week, a customer will ask if there is a way to determine how weight loss will impact her bra size, and I wish I had a firm answer. Depending on your body type, your bra size may not change, or you may experience fluctuations in the cup, band, or both. Since the weight loss process is so variable, there is no definitive way of knowing how your bra size will be impacted. Nevertheless, in general, most women lose weight in keeping with their body shape. Breasts are composed of both glandular tissue and fatty tissue, and losing weight tends to impact the fatty tissue the most. Consequently, if you gained weight and gained cup sizes, losing weight could mean a drop in breast size, but if you were always on the busty side, losing weight may not drastically reduce your breast size. For example, I have always been between a GG and a H cup at every weight. When I was at my heaviest, I was around a 36GG, and at my lowest weight, I was a 28H.
In addition to impacting the size, weight loss can also change the shape of your breasts. Women who have lost significant weight often report a loss of firmness, especially at the top of the bust. Because of the shape change, it’s entirely possible for you to lose weight and wear the same bra size as before but not be able to wear the same styles. Typically, the loss of firmness creates fit challenges with molded cup tee shirt bras as well as unpadded styles which are cut open toward the top (such as the Cleo Marcie).
With this in mind, I want to start with your budget. Women with higher discretionary incomes can certainly replace bras as frequently as needed, but to maximize a tight budget, you will have to space out purchases further. Remember clothing needs to be replaced too, and I highly recommend planning a comprehensive budget for how much you can spend on new clothes and undergarments. Even though the weight loss rate will vary, I find it helpful to trim the budgetary fat and skip extraneous purchases to save money for clothes and bras. Eating out was the first thing to go for me, which only helped the weight loss.
For women planning to lose 20 pounds or less, I recommend purchasing one everyday bra you can wear under everything. Healthy weight loss plans allow for two pounds per week, which gives you time to wear and enjoy the bra before it no longer fits. If the weight loss slows, add another into rotation. If you are looking to lose between 20 and 60 pounds, I recommend purchasing two bras to start as the loss will be more progressive. Make those last as long as possible before buying new ones. Finally, if you have quite a bit of weight to lose, I recommend relaxing some of the pressure on yourself and purchasing two to three to start and then add new ones into rotation as necessary. It took me about 15 months to lose 65 pounds, and it can be quite a mood boost to have a couple of bras to wear. However, if you are losing weight via a gastric bypass or other weight loss surgery, you may want to purchase one bra at a time. My bypass customers experience drastic weight loss within the first several months, often dropping a size every few weeks, and in this case, it’s better to purchase a single bra as needed until the loss stabilizes.
Other Bra Buying Tips:
- Ask the retailer if there are any current or upcoming sales and plan purchases around those to lower the cost of replacing bras faster.
- Pick versatile styles which work under all of your clothes to maximize how often you can wear the bra.
- Examine the cup shape and materials for one that is forgiving of weight loss. Ideally, a cup made from a flexible fabric is best because it can contour to the changes in your breast shape and size.
- Err on the side of a tight band and use an extender if necessary.
- Find an excellent seamstress or apply DIY tricks for altering bras as you lose weight: Tightening the Band, Tightening a Band with Ribbon, Shortening the Band, Reducing Band Width, 10 Rules for Alterations, Bratbase Comprehensive Round-Up, Converting a Regular Bra to a Halter, Moving the Strap Position 1, Moving Strap Position 2, DIY Alteration of Fantasie Rebecca
Finally, weight loss is never easy and rarely fast, so be kind to yourself and recognize the small victories without agonizing over the scale. If the process takes longer than expected, don’t hesitate to treat yourself to something new, and take a few minutes each day to look in the mirror and find something positive you love about yourself right now. The scale does not define you and can never represent how wonderful you are.