If You're a Busty Woman, You Need This Model's Bra Advice

Gina Marinelli

A few months back, I sat down with actress Danielle Brooks to talk about her recent collaboration with Universal Standard, however a different yet very familiar topic came up that I find myself speaking about often when it comes to personal style: bras. If you, like myself (or Brooks) are busty, you might relate to the constant self-consciousness about how things fit and how clothing looks on your body’s largest proportion as well as what you’ll wear underneath to stay supported and comfortable.

I’m always struggling with bras. I don’t like to limit myself, so if I want to wear a crop top or a low V-neck I’ll wear it, but sometimes I can’t because my bra will show or I want to wear something that’s low back but my bra will show,” Brooks reiterated a struggle that women—of all sizes—face. “So sometimes I’ll hit up Precious Lee, and she’ll give me good advice on undergarments and stuff.” And with that, we knew we needed Precious’s advice, too.

Of course, Precious may seem like an obvious expert—she’s a face of Lane Bryant’s lingerie line (and full disclosure, she’s vocal when it comes to her love of the brand’s bras, too) and has starred in its viral campaigns including #ThisBody, which marked the moment that she became the first black plus-size model to appear in the pages of Vogue. But if you’ve ever seen Lee walk a red carpet, on the runway of New York Fashion Week, or if you happen to be one of her 88,000+ Instagram followers, there’s another reason we couldn’t wait to pick her brain: Lee’s style is limitless. It’s low- and high-cut. It’s classic button-downs and cropped tops. It’s whatever the heck she wants it to be—a concept that even I struggle with since I’m often too concerned with what I’m wearing under my outfit.

“I love love love sharing the boob knowledge,” Precious (who tells us she typically wears a size 36F/38F in U.S. sizing) says when we get her on the phone, before getting into the nitty-gritty of her best bra advice for women who are busty. Ahead, read on for Precious’s stellar advice, favourite picks, and the one essential bra that’s still missing from this model’s wardrobe.

Speaking as someone who’s also busty, I feel like everyone goes through their own journey of figuring out what works for their shape. But in your own words, what qualifies you as a bra expert?

Of any model that I know, I have the biggest boobs. And there are situations I’ve had to wear strapless, swimsuits, formal wear, and red carpet, and my underpinnings have always been the staples to every one of my looks. I do a lot of lingerie work in general, but being qualified, for me, is finding different ways to go through all different trends and being able to wear the things that I want to wear but still support my boobs being so large. I have a small back and bigger boobs, so I kind of can relate to people with all bra issues.

What’s one of the initial pieces of advice you give to women who are bustier?

There was a time that, for full-busted women—anybody over a size C—they’d have to wear a bra that was not as stylish. So I really think that women should first find a bra that, just in case it shows through your clothes or it peeks through your top, is cute to look at. And I think everyone should get a solid balconette lace bra. It's something that I find myself styling with my clothes a lot.

Any other styles that are musts? 

I also think that every woman should also have a plunging bra. Since we’re specifically talking to fuller-busted women, having any padding is just honestly extra material that is unnecessary.

PHOTO:

@preciousleexoxo

There are a lot of places for women to get a proper bra fitting, whether it’s a department store or a specialty bouquet. Do you have any fitting tips for women to keep in mind when they go?

One thing that I think people sometimes forget—even though they measure the bust—is to literally measure underneath your boobs. That part is super important. It's not just boobs but your ribcage [measurement] that will set the foundation for a great-fitting bra and fully support your breast tissue.

Generally, what brands do you think are doing really well as far as designing for busty women?

Lane Bryant, Panache, Chantelle, and Addition Elle, Ashley Graham’s collection. I did her shows and I usually don’t like underpinnings and shapewear with a built-in bra, but I found that I really like hers because the straps were super adjustable, and if you can adjust the straps, you can decide what kind of boob [shape] you want. Sometimes you want them together, sometimes you’re anti-social. It just depends. I always start off with clients asking them what kind of boob do you want because it depends on the bra. I can make boobs go so many different ways. The company Bare Necessities has a lot of different options; it sells different brands, and I think that’s a cool place to stop by as well.

Every woman pretty much has that one bra that's so comfortable, they probably wear it more often than they care to admit. Is there a bra like that for you?

The Panache balconette Envy lace bra that I was telling you every woman should have. It’s amazing, it’s beautiful, it gives me the yummy shelf boob that I want, but I also can separate my boobs, and they can still be really supported without so much cleavage.

You mentioned that you do want to be able to wear all the trends. So what kind of pieces do you reach for when these trends are not so conducive to a typical bra silhouette, like spaghetti straps or sheer materials?

I think having a bra that’s really pretty and supportive is something that goes a long way. If I’m wearing something sheer, I think it’s actually cool sometimes to show a contrast in colour with the bra. That’s the reason why I have a lot of different tops I tie up or that are sheer or are button-downs. One of my favourite styles is tying up a button-down top with some high-waist bottom.

And you don’t have to have a bra with every one of those [trickier] styles if you get [a convertible] one with a thick band, like the Lane Bryant strapless multiway. The thickness of the band determines so much of the support in the front.

PHOTO:

@preciousleexoxo

A lot of the advice that’s out there for women with large busts can feel a bit old-school. Is there any really bad style advice you’ve heard?

I just can’t deal with people who think that just because your boobs are big you’re supposed to keep them completely covered. You can be a B cup and have them on complete display. And I think that goes over to what people try to make a trend, when they try to impose rules on people, and I’ve just never cared about that. I wear what I want.

Despite all your expertise, is there still a specific bra style that you want but haven’t been able to find one just right yet?

I still have not had the perfect nude for my colour, being a brown girl. I shoot a lot of things that require me to wear a lot of nude underpinning and I’ll pick the colour that’s closest to my skin, but I’m really interested in exploring getting not just the bra but the panties and the shapewear that’s exactly the colour of my skin. I think there are not enough options for women of colour. It’s a chocolate or tan, and there are so many different shades in between those. And it can’t sacrifice support and the actual quality of the bra either. If you have big boobs, you can’t get a bra because it’s the right colour. It has to actually fit, so I feel a struggle finding that perfect colour for myself.

I love your attitude toward wearing whatever you want, but is there any look you still shy away from because of your shape?

I never went braless because I always thought What if I just wore no bra in this T-shirt? Would people freak out? And yeah they would because they freak out when my bra is on. I found out about this bra called Brassybra. It is so amazing. There are other brands that have made like tape bras and little cutlets, but when you have big boobs like mine you need something heavy duty. So I found this company that makes this pad to shape into and make your boobs fit wherever you may want them to. They’re awesome. I’ve done swim shoots with the Brassy bra on. It’s kind of looks like a Bandaid. And you can cut it in certain ways if you want less side boob, less underboob, more underboob, you want them together or separate, it’s just a really great tool to have for women with actual large busts.

Keep scrolling to shop Precious's favourite bras and brands, with an extensive number of sizes available.

Explore: bra, Advice, Models, lingerie

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