When I was 27-years-old, I had no kids and held a part-time job at Victoria’s Secret while I worked my way through graduate school classes. Part of the reason I chose Victoria’s Secret out of the wide range of choices I had at my local mall was because I realized that many of the stores were run by teenagers, and I wanted to hang out with girls my own age. The other reason was because of the swag. Girls who work at Victoria’s Secret get free or discounted bras every single month and every time a new line is introduced to the store. By the time I quit my job a year later, I had a drawer full of beautiful, lacy lingerie that fit me like a glove.
Later that same year, I gave birth to my firstborn son. I waited until long after I was finished nursing, but eventually I had to admit to myself that the barely-worn beauties in my drawer were not going to fit me again. It was time to search for a mom bra.
Strangely enough, my son is nearing his fifth birthday, and I feel like I’m still searching. I wear bras on a daily basis, and I’ve cycled through different brands — some expensive and some cheap on-the-fly decisions made in a pinch when my underwire is jabbing through to my skin — but I’ve never really loved what I’m wearing. I’ve just merely tolerated it. I’ve also never done much research into bra-buying. It’s one of those chores that happens so infrequently that I try to avoid thinking about it, like getting cavities filled at the dentist or getting a pap smear at the OB/GYN. Regardless of my avoidance, I’m still stuck wearing a bra every. single. day. I’ve finally decided that I’d like my bra to be more than a garment that I rip off the moment I arrive home (or let’s be honest, sometimes I even Houdini out of it while I’m in the car on the commute home).
I want to find a bra that I like…even, dare I say…LOVE?!
So I turned to my mom squad, including both local moms and moms who I only know via social media. I asked them the slightly personal question: what are you wearing under there? Here’s what I found:
Moms are wearing a variety of bras, some brands that I’ve never even heard of like Tru&Co, Calvin Klein, Lane Bryant, Maidenform, Lululemon. They range from pricey to embarrassingly cheap (like Rachel H. who has been wearing a $3.99 bra from Walmart that mysteriously fits her like a dream and repurchasing it every few months when it inevitably wears out). Erin W. laughed at me for even suggesting Victoria’s Secret, which, in her words, is only for perky “20-year-old boobies.” Lyssa Z. admitted that after having five kids, her boobs have evolved to what she likes to call “sunnyside up eggs: stretched-out skin that pools at the bottom of most bras and oozes out of the middle,” making it look like she has “quadra-boobs.” Her recommendation is the Wacoal Basic Beauty T-Shirt Bra by Bare Necessities to keep everything contained. She wasn’t the only one who recommended Bare Necessities.
Keely H. reluctantly decided to go wireless. After her second baby, she “went back to [her] wired bras and started having terrible breast pain (shooting tissue pains) on one side.” Her doctor recommended losing the wire, and it changed everything! Megan R. agrees: “I’m convinced that wired bras are from Satan.” She recommends Bali Cool Comfort from Bare Necessities for firm support without the wire.
Other moms are searching for wireless support as well. Caitland O. says: “So I loathe bras without underwire, but Target sent me a few trial bras from the new Auden line and I’m in love with the one of the ones without underwire and it is HEAVEN.” The price tag isn’t bad, either! I had multiple moms recommend the new Auden line.
Aerie was another surprising favorite. It was the second most popular choice among the moms I polled. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never set foot inside of an Aerie. In my mind, I had classified it in the same category as Victoria’s Secret, not necessarily because its products are super sexy, but because I assumed it caters to the skinny-mini crowd and doesn’t offer any support for the rest of us. I was pleasantly surprised to find many photos of real women modeling their product. I think I owe them a visit! The Sunnie was a crowd favorite at Aerie, coming in both wired and wireless options. Autumn L. also loves some of their non-conventional bra options, like their Chill Twist High Neck Bralette. Their website features real customer images, and many shoppers have opted to wear the bralette as a top on its own!
ThirdLove is an option I’ve been seeing pretty often in my social media newsfeed, and I wondered if it would be a really popular choice. Several moms were on the fence just like me, wondering if they should try, but nervous to purchase an online option without the ability to try it on first. I saw mixed reviews for those who had tried ThirdLove. The nice thing about it is that there is a free trial involved, so if you aren’t totally happy with your fit, you can always return it for a refund (minus the cost of shipping). Amber L. says that ThirdLove makes one of the best strapless bras that she’s ever owned. That’s really saying something, considering I would almost rather go braless than strapless!
But far and away, the most popular mom choice was Soma! Many moms reluctantly admitted this or apologized when recommending it. There is apparently a deep-rooted stereotype that Soma is a “mom” store or even a “grandma” store. However, Soma bras were recommended three times as often as any of the other brands mentioned in this post. Carla I. says that she has even purchased them to sleep in. Haley W. recommends the Enbliss. Trinity T. says that they have great sales and 20% off coupons. Grandma bra or not, I’m sold!
Regardless of brand, many of the moms I talked to discussed the importance of knowing your true size. Katie B. recommends grabbing a tape measure and looking at this Reddit page detailing how to measure yourself to determine your true size. Mary Beth U. stresses the importance of finding a professional (not a clerk in a department store) to measure you and custom-order your size, like this local Knoxville woman who has been fitting women for bras for nearly 50 years.