Congratulations! Félicitations! Mazel Tov! You’re having a baby, or two, or more. Now you’ll be offered unasked-for advice from everyone on everything. What to eat. How to sleep. I’m about to give you the advice we’re asked for all the time at Broad: how to choose a nursing bra. And I have the boobs and the (now grown up) baby to back it up!
When to Buy a Nursing Bra
The Croissant nursing bra has flexible underwires and super soft cups, for maximum hold AND comfort.
During pregnancy, you probably won’t need a specialty bra. Instead, get a supportive bra that feels good and leaves room to grow in both the cups and band. As time goes on, your bra band can get tight as your belly grows and your ribcage expands. You can add a back extender to get more wear out of a bra, but be aware that you may need a few bras in different sizes as your pregnancy progresses. Shopping for a better size when you are about 20 weeks along can help.
Some prefer to shop for nursing bras in their last month, but since it’s hard to predict your postpartum size, waiting until baby arrives isn’t a bad idea. Most find their breasts expand mightily in the first days post-birth, then slowly go back to a new normal for nursing. Your nursing bra should be easy to open one-handed, so test the clips in the fitting room. How you nurse may also affect which nursing bras you choose. With my short arms and big boobs I loved the football hold, with the baby to one side, instead of in front. I lifted my breast out the side or over top of the bra, not using the shoulder clips at all.
There wasn’t a baby handy, so Terry’s demonstrating the “football” hold here with our store mascot, Gordon.
Most maternity retailers stock a limited size range. Some advertise their “plus size” line that runs “up to a G”. But depending on their sizing system, that might not mean much! Those of us with bigger boobs lose out. Demand and receive accurate measuring for all your bras. A good store offers broad size selection and thorough, honest advice on how to choose a nursing bra for your fluctuating boobs. While you’re pregnant, a bra should fit with some extra room in the cup for growth and post-birth engorgement. And if you’re already nursing, don’t forget to take into account when you fed last!
The Tea wirefree nursing bra uses seams to give shape and support.
Some consider underwire the devil’s work. But a well-fitted underwire bra should support and encase breast tissue, never poke or damage it! That said, soft wirefree bras are key for sore or sensitive breasts. Wirefree nursing bras offer gentle support with a secure band, but won’t give the kind of lift, support and separation underwires do. Some pregnant or nursing people prefer wires because without them, sore boobs can swing, sway and bounce — making them more painful than ever. If you’re concerned about mastitis, the wire/wirefree decision should be based on your needs and experience, the advice of your healthcare provider and the guidance of a good fitter.
Cotton is lovely, but man-made fibres hold less moisture near the skin, and can be washed and dried quickly. (Think exercise clothes: bike shorts work a lot better than a flannel sweatsuit!) You’ll want more than one bra, and you’ll need to wash one of them daily for the first few months. Even with nursing pads, leaks — and baby puke, and…other…bodily emissions — are inevitable. Soak will be your new best friend!
Remember: fed is best, however it gets done. Be kind to yourself. Get good advice from your M.D., midwife, or a Certified Lactation Consultant. And find a great bra shop!
Let’s admit it: shopping for swimwear is not everyone’s idea of a fun time. Comfortable, pretty swimsuits for those of us with bigger boobs are even tougher to find. How much swimwear have you tried on that causes your beautiful big boobs to sag, droop, bulge over the top or pop out the side? All the while a salesperson assures you that’s the best they can do. They are, to be kind, WRONG. Great swimsuits for bigger boobs do exist! We know. We are you.
Buy Your Swimsuit Where You Buy Your Bras
Elomi Paradise Palm bikini
Anyone with a sewing machine can pop out an elasticated tube with straps and call it a bathing suit. Not good enough for us at Broad. We demand swimwear designed and made by the same skilled people who make our bras. The best swimsuits for bigger boobs are based on bra sizing, and structured with underwire. So if you wear a 38GG (UK) in bras, that is where you start with swim.The designers for bra companies bring all their technical know-how to make suits that are beautiful and supportive. When the girls look upstanding and fabulous, so do you. And you know it.
Now, there’s a price to pay for quality and skill of manufacture. For one-piece or tankinis $170-220 CAD is about average. We do not carry $750 designer swimsuits that can’t go in the water. (Really. That’s a thing!) Buy swimwear at Broad and you can swim in it. It won’t fall apart, droop or shed spangles. Take care of your suit to make it last. Use those beach and poolside shower stalls for a quick rinse when you leave the water and then do the same thing we advise for bras: Wash by hand in Soak (or another mild detergent) after every wearing. Just include extra rinsing before washing to remove any remaining chlorine or salt. Your suit will thank you for it.
One-piece, Tankini, or Bikini?
Freya Sundance tankini
Once you find a swimsuit that fits, you can wear whatever style you darn well please. Adjustable straps and a built-in bra let you move as fast as you need for toddler chasing or snorkelling. The bra-fitted one-piece is the classic updated by textile tech. Hate your tummy: ruching. Take advantage of the design’s waist control and show off that hourglass. A well made two-piece should give you the same level of confidence. Good tankinis accommodate the most marvelous range of bodies by fitting different sizes top and bottom, as needed. And with a properly fitted bikini top you can raise your arms and jump for volleyball with no underboob popping out. There are matching bottoms ranging across styles from teeny to waist-high. No such thing as “I can’t wear a two-piece”. Go for it.
Remember: you’re not the only one on the beach who has given birth, or who believes planks ought to be walked by pirates and not done as exercise. Drink that daiquiri. Have fun. It’s your body. You earned it. Enjoy it.
Best of Broad is a series of love letters to our favourite bras, undies, and more. This installment was written by our newest Broad (and excellent fitter!) Terry Perusse.
Claudette high waist brief in Coral, from Inspiration Vintage
I got the feeling a few years ago that the classic high waist brief was being abandoned for skimpier models like thongs and teeny bikinis. The only source for high waist briefs seemed to be the department store, where limp, pastel cotton lumps emerged from bags in groups of three or four to hang, discouraged and dispirited, from the waists of wearers. “Is that it?” we said, “Are droopy granny panties the only choice we have?” Well, Broad heard those sighs of woe and collaborated with Inspiration Vintage on the Claudette: in my opinion, a near perfect high waist brief.
Made in Toronto, just for us!
Inspiration Vintage is a small Toronto business, where artisan Renee Soles brings years of experience in the textile biz to the manufacture of her lovely undies and bralettes. Renee offers exclusive models to select stores – and naturally Broad loves finding special selections for our special clientele. We wanted comfort and a vintage look but with modern fabrics. Once the design was worked out, we chose the colours, decoration and trim and then away Renee went, returning later with her lovely garments. It’s a little like having our own special undies elf.
Claudette in Raspberry — just in time for Valentine’s Day!
All of the comfort, none of the droop.
These high-waisted briefs are not NOT your granny’s panties. (Unless your granny has fabulous taste.) Claudette comes in multiple colours, all made of softest cotton and/or bamboo with just a hint of lycra to prevent that awful droop of yore. They’re available in small to 1X, and at $34 are incredible value for such lovely quality. Shavaun and I — and a few clients who will go unnamed — are replacing all our basics with Claudettes, and I can’t wait until the summer when their soft, skin-friendly qualities will be even more appreciated.
Love your undies, and they’ll love you back.
I wash my Claudette briefs the same way I wash my bras: by hand, in the sink with Soak, and then hang to dry. The label recommends delicate wash — which could include a machine — but hang to dry. Remember, the dryer is evil. Say it after me, people: the dryer is evil. Lint represents the life force of your clothes slowly ebbing away. Okay, I exaggerate SLIGHTLY. But keeping your bras and undies out of the dryer will add untold months or even years of wear to their lifespan.
Needless to say, we will continue to offer lots of different briefs and undies to match our bras or for everyday. From sheer and barely there to sturdier shapewear, you can find what you want at Broad.
Bra fitting is an intimate experience — and not always a positive one. We all have stories of less-than-sensitive fitters bursting into change rooms unannounced, making thoughtless remarks, or even adjusting our boobs “for” us. This sucks, and it shouldn’t be happening. So how should a bra fitting go? And how do you find a good bra fitter?
How does a good bra fitter work?
It’s easy for fitters to be relaxed when it comes to other people’s bodies, because we see so many every day…and we have the advantage of being the fully clothed person in the fitting room. We have to remember that while it’s not nerve-wracking for us, it may be for you. And we’re not fitting bodies — we’re fitting people! So we need to work with the whole person.
This means being patient, asking permission, asking lots of questions, and listening to the answers. A good bra fitter asks before entering the fitting room and before touching your body, listens for your response before proceeding, and explains what’s going on throughout the fitting. And they don’t adjust your body for you, unless you ask for that kind of help! Instead, they show you how to adjust your body yourself.
Questions good fitters ask: May I come in? Can I put my hand here? I want to start by feeling how the band of the bra fits, is that okay with you? Can I wiggle that wire a little to check how it’s sitting? How do you feel? Would you like help doing up this bra? Is that comfortable?
How do you find a good bra fitter?
All of these practices prioritize your right to feel safe, respected, and in control in the fitting room. But how can you tell which bra fitting boutiques work this way before you book an appointment?
Ask the internet. Scout out the boutique’s social media accounts, website, and customer reviews. How does the boutique describe their services? What do other people have to say about them? Try checking in with local Facebook groups or other online forums, too.
Call ahead. It’s completely normal to have questions before booking an appointment. And the staff’s willingness to answer can tell you a lot! If they’re brusque, impatient, or behave as though your questions are strange, they’re probably not going to be super respectful in the fitting room. Answers should be clear and friendly. Bonus marks if the person on the phone asks you questions about what you’re hoping for!
Questions to ask: What can you do to make me more comfortable if I’m nervous? What should I expect in my first fitting? Will the fitter see me naked? Can I wear a shirt in my fitting? Do I have to work with a bra fitter?
Browse. If you can, drop by the boutique to see what the vibe is. Are folks friendly? Do you feel welcome? When the staff talk to you, do they seem pushy, or curious? (Are they telling you what you need, or are they asking?) If the front of house staff steamroll or ignore you, that doesn’t bode well for their other services. Trust your gut!
It’s not always possible to be this choosy about where you shop. Maybe you live somewhere with only one bra fitting boutique, or none! Or maybe most of the shops aren’t accessible to you for one reason or another. But at the very least, these tips should help you have a sense of what you’re getting into when you arrive for your fitting. Good luck!
For a long time, we were skeptical about bralettes for big boobs. But over the last year a few have come along and proved us wrong. One of our favourites? The Adriana bralette by Parfait Lingerie.
What makes it work?
A bralette that works for big boobs can seem like an impossible-to-realize dream. Part of making that dream come true is having realistic expectations and changing your criteria for success. Unlike an underwire bra, a bralette’s primary job isn’t support — it’s comfort and cuteness! That said, fuller busts still require a little more from a bralette than small busts.
The Adriana bralette meets full-bust needs with smart structural details like an extended band, seamed cups, and side stays. The extended band makes sure the bralette stays put all day, while vertical seams shape the cups and give a little lift. The side stays — flexible boning just outside the cups — give the band more structure and hold.
What makes it great?
Adriana suits small to medium-full busts, as well as small bands and some plus sizes, with band sizes 30-42 and UK cup sizes D-G. The band runs about a size small in this style, so most folks will want to size up for comfort. (If you do this, remember to go down a cup size to keep the same cup volume! For example, if you usually wear a 38FF, try a 40F.)
The wirefree cups offer light compression, plus a little stretch to accommodate slight size differences and fluctuations. A j-hook lets you convert the straps to racerback, making Adriana easy to wear with different tops and extra comfy for those with small or sloped shoulders.
Soft lining means that there’s very little lace actually against your body, so if your skin is sensitive or easily irritated but you long for lace, the Adriana is worth a try. And the extended band gives a fun crop-top look that’s almost a shame to cover up with a shirt. (It would look amazing with high-waisted jeans and a leather jacket!)
Take a chance!
We regularly stock the Adriana bralette in classic black, and we’re so excited to get it in the new mulberry colourway later this fall — think a dusty blue-purple. If you’re interested in the bralette trend but have been skeptical, Adriana’s a great start. Take a chance! You just might be surprised.
Earlier this year, I got a chance to try out the Skyla bralette set from Hamilton, Ontario’s Rosalie Wynne. This small company isn’t yet working with retailers, but since we get so many questions about bralettes for big boobs, Sam purchased the set for herself and for me in the name of research. Spoiler: I loved it so much, I wore it for my mini boudoir shoot!
Photos by Alice X
I usually wear a 30E in UK sizing in brands like Panache and Wacoal, so that’s what I ordered from Rosalie Wynne. The cups fit beautifully, but I find the band fits best on the tightest set of hooks. Admittedly, I do prefer to wear my bras snug, but I’d still say this bralette runs about a size big in the band.
While we’re talking bra sizes, what size range are we working with? Small-band babes, rejoice! Rosalie Wynne’s bands start at 26 and go up to 36, with cup sizes up to I, which is more like a G in UK sizing. So far, there are no plus size bands available. (Looking for a plus size bralette? We’ve got a post coming up for you soon!)
No wires, very few seams, and a triangle cup mean this bralette offers very minimal shaping. You can definitely see a difference in silhouette between wearing Skyla and wearing nothing, but it doesn’t shape or support the way an everyday underwire bra does. (Which is fine! It’s not meant to!) The result is a softened version of my boobs’ natural shape, with very slight compression and lots of roundness at the sides.
Skyla has convertible straps that can be worn straight or crossed. The straps are not especially wideset, and would probably be fine for narrow shoulders, but folks with sloped shoulders will appreciate the convertibility.
Leaving aside all the technical stuff for a moment: I love this bralette! It feels like something fairies spun for me with their own tiny, magical hands. I wear it to the laundromat, to the movies, around the house, and basically every chance I get. It somehow elevates whatever I’m doing to a fancier level while simultaneously feeling like the comfiest jammies.
The matching high-waist briefs are gorgeous, but less comfortable for me personally. I chose a size small based on Rosalie Wynne’s size chart, and while the bum fit is fantastic, the waistband digs in after a few minutes of wear. I think it’s just not a great match for my body shape and sensitive tum–Sam, whose figure is much more hourglassy than mine, ordered the same briefs in her usual size and finds them super comfy! The mega-high rise is glorious, and the wide elastic waistband is surprisingly soft.
I’m on the smaller end of full bust sizing, so to learn how Skyla works for bigger boobs, Sam (who usually wears 32GG in UK sizing) ordered herself a 32I in this bralette. Here’s what she found:
“Overall I love this bralette! I find the band loose and usually wear it on the middle set of hooks. The low center and flatter shape of the cups means my projected, center full and softer breasts sometimes spill out of the center of this bra, but I don’t care because it’s so comfortable and pretty.”
Should you buy it?
I wholeheartedly recommend the Skyla bralette. For me, it’s the perfect blend of comfortable and sexy. And it’s always a bonus to buy from a local designer! Check out Skyla, and more of Rosalie Wynne’s beautiful lingerie here.
This weekend, Broad Lingerie turns two years old! Here’s a look back at our second year in business, including some of our fondest — and slightly less fond — memories.
Our first ever customer survey.
When we turned one, we sent out our first customer survey to find out what you wanted to see in year two. So many of you responded, and you all had strong opinions! There were a few common threads that helped us plan Broad’s future — including an online store that we’ve been hard at work on. In the meantime, we fulfilled some of your simpler requests, like…
More full bust clothing!
Thanks to your survey responses, we knew our next step: more full bust clothing! Our collection of Bolero dresses expanded, we continued our love affair with Exclusively Kristen’s button-up shirts, and we started carrying Urkye’s stretchy, boob-friendly wrap tops. (Keep an eye out for new arrivals as we head into spring!)
A post shared by Broad Lingerie (@broadlingerie) on Sep 30, 2017 at 2:31pm PDT
Sam wrote for The Lingerie Addict.
In June, The Lingerie Addict published Sam’s piece on what it’s like to own a lingerie boutique. Sam got real and spilled the beans on the work that goes into making Broad. If you missed this when it went up, and you want a little peek behind the scenes, you can read the piece here.
Baby’s first vandal.
This is one of those slightly less fond memories. Last spring, someone smashed our window, along with the windows of many other businesses in the neighbourhood. It was a jarring start to a Sunday morning, to say the least! But it wasn’t all bad. So many of you lovely Broads called, emailed, or dropped by to check on us and offer support. And when Sam’s sister set up a GoFundMe to help cover the store’s insurance deductible, you really stepped up! We couldn’t be more grateful.
A post shared by Broad Lingerie (@broadlingerie) on Apr 9, 2017 at 8:51am PDT
Mini boudoir shoots.
In January we teamed up with local photographer Alice Xue to offer mini boudoir shoots. We were overwhelmed by the response. We had 12 spaces available, and they sold out in less than 24 hours! It was so much fun to help folks pick out lingerie for their shoots, and even more fun to see them unleash their inner model. This is definitely something we look forward to doing again!
Thank you all so much for making our second year a success. We can’t wait to see what year three brings!
It snuck up on us, as love often does. But now we’re head-over-heels and we want to shout it from the rooftops: the Elomi Matilda plunge bra is the one! Here’s why.
Matilda’s lower centre wires are fantastic for close-set or more centre-full boobs. Where taller wires might poke you or not sit quite right, this plunge style just stays out of your way. The lower neckline also adds a touch of sexy to your everyday look. Who says we can’t have it all? I’m especially fond of the way Elomi highlights this shape with a line of embroidered dots. It’s modern and cool, and a nice change of pace from the usual lace. (And for those of you who like your lingerie less frilly, let me just say that you won’t find a bow on this bra.)
The j-hook is an extra piece on the back of the straps that lets you convert Matilda into a racer-back. This makes it easy to wear with a variety of necklines, and it’s also way more secure and comfortable for people with petite or sloped shoulders. No more fighting with slippy straps!
Matilda in black and “cafe au lait” (a soft, pretty beige) are permanent fixtures in Elomi’s lineup. These are awesome basics. But if you want something a little more exciting, you can have that, too! Previous seasons have brought us fashion colours like purple and denim blue, and this winter was brightened up by a flame red option.
That size range.
I can hear you already: “Matilda sounds amazing, but does it even come in my size?” Lots of full-busted folks are used to feeling left out of the fun stuff. There’s no one bra that fits every size and shape, but Elomi has expanded Matilda’s size range to include quite a lot. This bra comes in full bust and plus sizes: 36-46DD, 36-44E-FF, 32-42GG-HH, and 32-40J-JJ.
Ready to fall in love? Come visit us! We’ll be happy to make the introduction.
Best of Broad is a series where we rave about our favourite things. Last time around, we talked nipple covers — perfect for sheer Matilda! Click here for more.
It’s that time of year again, when many of you are preparing to abandon us for warmer climes. We’re jealous, but we understand. We’re such good sports, in fact, that we want to help! So here are our tips on what to pack for your next trip.
A good swimsuit.
Mesh bags make packing so easy!
I’ve written about swimsuits before, so you already know my feelings on this subject: bra-sized swimsuits or bust! (I’m not even a little bit sorry for that joke. I’ll probably make it again someday.) A swimsuit with a built-in bra, in your bra size, is so much more comfortable than a suit that’s only made in small, medium, and large. You get a more customized fit and far more security — no wardrobe malfunctions here! — not to mention a more tailored look. For ultimate comfort and customization, I recommend a bikini or tankini.
Mesh wash bags.
These are meant to protect delicate clothing in the washing machine, but they can do so much more. I like to use them to separate dirty laundry from clean while traveling. If I have to live out of a suitcase, it’s at least an organized one! Mesh bags are also good for keeping multiples of the same small items together, like undies and socks. No more missing socks, and no repeats of that time your suitcase sprang open and sent your thong collection flying through the air like so much lacy confetti.
Our favourite bralette, by Montelle. So soft!
Nobody wants to do laundry on vacation, but sometimes it just can’t be helped. If you want to get another day out of that shirt, but it’s looking (or smelling) a little worse for wear, all you need is Soak and your hotel room sink. And since you don’t have to scrub or rinse, does it even count as doing laundry?
Soak, or any delicates wash, can also help preserve your swimsuit. Rather than letting chlorine or salt water sit on your suit, give it a gentle rinse and a wash after each wear. You’ll be surprised at how much this extends its life!
If you’re more of an outdoorsy, adventure vacation person, this may not apply to you. But if you like to lounge, you’ll love a bralette. It’s just enough to make you feel put together, while being comfy enough for an impromptu nap. Bralettes are also great for air travel. There’s no underwire to ping while going through security, and like I said, nothing to get in the way of a nap!
Ready? Have fun! And send us a postcard, would ya?
We’re busy preparing our orders for next winter, and it occurred to me that before working at Broad, I never would have known what went into this process. In case you’re curious too, here’s how a lingerie store picks bras.
A re-enactment of actual events. (Yes, this is Sam’s thinking face.)
Lingerie is split into two groups: basic, and fashion. “Basic” refers to core, permanent pieces of a brand’s collection. These are styles and colours — usually black and beige — that they’re making all the time. “Fashion” refers to lingerie that’s made in a limited quantity, for a limited time. (Just how limited depends on the company.) Fashion lingerie can be a completely new style, or a basic style in a fun new colour. Because basic styles are always in production, we can order them any time. But fashion orders require a lot more planning! Brands base their fashion production on retailer orders, so we’re often ordering eight months in advance.
Brands also divide their pieces by season: fall/winter and spring/summer. This impacts what we have access to at any point in the year. For example, even if we really wanted to stock it, we’re unlikely to find a pale pink floral in a brand’s fall/winter collection.
We flip through catalogues, meet with brand reps, and — the best part — see samples! This gives us a feel for the fabrics and colours, and because Sam and I are close enough to the usual sample sizes, we also get to check the fit.
Remember flipping through the Sears holiday catalogue as a kid, circling everything you wanted? Yeah, that’s what we do for work.
If we’re interested in ordering a basic style we haven’t stocked before, or a repeated* fashion style that we didn’t try in earlier seasons, online reviews are a huge help. Sam also has a group of other lingerie professionals she can turn to for advice and feedback.
Another important part of our research is you, our customers! We talk a lot about what you ask for in fittings, and we keep an ongoing “customer requests” file to stay on top of what you’d like to see at Broad.
This is where budget comes in. We keep tabs on our top selling sizes, and we order more of those and fewer of the sizes that tend to linger. We also pay attention to what winds up on the sale rack. To stay in business, we have to sell most of our stock at full price. If a certain type of bra only sells at a discount, we won’t order it again. Because retailer orders help determine brand production quantities, that can eventually lead to a brand discontinuing the style. This is one time where “voting with your dollar” is real! If you don’t buy it at full price, we won’t buy it. If we don’t buy it, they may stop making it.
We also try to pick things to suit a range of sizes and tastes, so Sam makes awesome colour-coded charts to be sure we’re not overweighting any one category. For example, ordering a billion t-shirt bras, or ordering a bunch of 30 bands and not enough 40s, or too many blue bras. There’s a lot to consider when we’re choosing bras for the store. It’s hard work and it’s exciting! But the best part? Seeing those carefully-picked pieces find their people.
*If a fashion style is very popular, a brand may repeat it in following seasons in a different colour or print. Sounds like a basic style, right? Even though it’s being repeated, it’s still a fashion piece because it’s made in limited quantities, for a limited time.