The K cup bra market has expanded a lot in the past six years. Unfortunately, it seems to be some kind of a last frontier. So, if you happen to need a larger cup: what are your options? The way I see it you can choose between going braless, wearing ill-fitting bras, altering your bras, wearing custom-made bras… and wearing one of the few bras on the market available in a KK or L cup. If you know of any option other than those listed below, please mention them in the comments and I’ll edit the post as needed.
For most women in that size range, it is not really a 24/7 option! However, if you feel more comfortable braless for lounging, I don’t see why you shouldn’t! Be sure to check out the Lingerie addict’s post about going braless.
Wearing an ill-fitting bra
Due to the serious lack of options, it can prove litteraly impossible to find a ready-made bra in the right size and cut. I can understand your frustration, when told that you shouldn’t compromise on fit, but wearing an ill-fitting bra is the least satisfaying option, so please consider one of the suggestions below and don’t get discouraged if it takes you a bit longer than other women to find a good fit. Fitting very large cups is challenging, but it is worth it!
Panache offers the Melody both in a balconette and a full cup version up to a KK in band sizes 30 to 40. It is the successor to the Harmony featured below, which has been discontinued but can be found on the cheap on eBay.
Bras I hate and love has great reviews of both the Harmony and the Melody balconettes, so I won’t go into details, but basically they’re supposed to be the similar, but most people find it fits them differently. Both are pretty decent bras if you can wear wide wires. You will probably need to alter the center gore (I know I do!), but it is an easy fix as the bra is a partial band. The balconette is quite open on top (No quadboob, yay!) and the center gore is quite low compared to other balconettes.
It is a pity that Panache was quite quick in offering a KK option, but hasn’t launched any other models in this size. However, because of its very accomodating lacy stretch, you might find that you can get away with the very popular Jasmine in a K cup if you need a KK.
Bravissimo was also quite early in offering its best-selling Alana bra up to an L cup in band sizes 32-40 and up to a KK in band size 30 (the 28 only goes up to a J), but like Panache, they haven’t come out with a lot in this size range afterwards. They did have the Oriental Bloom, which I’ve reviewed last summer, but it quickly sold out. Let’s hope it encourages them to bring out more models! As for the Alana, there are countless reviews on Bravissimo website, but the things to bear in mind are that it fits small in the cup, so that most people have to go up one cup size, that it offers very good support and that the rigid top panel might not be ideal for full on top breasts and might create quadboob.
Also consider trying bras which are known to run large in the cup and/or small in the band. Such bras include Cleo Chloe (both large in the cup and smallish in the band), Cleo Alexa, Bravissimo Dotty spot (large in the cup, especially the aqua/red version), Curvy Kate swimwear…
Now, made to measure bras might be out of you price range, but some company will let you custom order sizes that they don’t sell enough to mass produce.
You can order PL bras (padded plunges) from Ewa Michalak up to a 75LL (34LL) and sister sizes. You’ll have to send her an email, pay an extra fee and your bra won’t be returnable. Figuring out your Ewa Michalak size is no easy task. I would advise against using the caculator they have on their website and go with your usual band size. Most people find they have to go up one or two cup sizes in the PL. (I need to go up two). Ewa Michalak has also launched a padded balconette, but it is only available up to a 70KK (32KK) and sister sizes, so for once, you are in luck if you need a smaller band. Bras and body image just made a comparison on how both styles fit her. On me, the PL gives the dreaded “basketball shape” when new, that is perfectly round with no visible apex, but it takes a more natural shape (still very round and uplifted, but not as cartoonish) after a few wear and washes.
Louise Ferdinand is an independant designer based in the UK. All the pieces are handmade in the UK, so the price point is a bit higher than what I normally spend on a bra, but I love the clean classic style of the brand and the lovely material that they use. I’ve reviewed their Angelina set last year. You can custom order any bra in JJ-KK cup by e-mailing the company.
If you can afford it, made-to-measure bras are an awesome option. Bespoke is usually costly, but the price range can vary quite a bit between big names and your local corset-maker. Bridal shops are a good place to explore in a search for an affordable bra-maker.
Altering your bras
Sister sizing means that the cup volume of 30KK bra is equivalent to the one of a 32K, 34JJ 36J… you get my drift. You can get a bra with the cup volume you need in a larger band size and alter the band to fit your body. However, I would advise only going one or two band bigger than your actual size, because 1) it will be easier to evaluate cup volume when trying it on and 2)altering a 36 band bra to fit a 30 band frame usually implies also altering the straps, not to mention that the cup might be too tall for you.
There are lots of tutorials around on how to make your bra band smaller, move the straps’position, and take in the center gore. Bratabase lits a few of these and more here.
If sewing is not your thing, you might want to get acquainted with a good seamstress, or you could chose the lazy way and use a Rixie clip like I do with my Cleo.
For inspiration, blogs from ladies who sometimes need to cross the K cup threshold:
Coming up, a poll on what K+ women really want… Stay tuned.