The Hunt for a Comfortable Bra

…with suggestions from my fellow chronic illness bloggers

(Apologies to my male readers, this one isn’t likely to interest you)

When you have a chronic illness and have to rest a lot, comfortable clothing is really important. I live in loungewear.  Underwear is equally important, but where I have a real problem is with bras. In the last few years, I’ve got away with only wearing a bra when out of the house or in company. And in winter, when I can wear layers of baggy clothes I’ve got away without one altogether. However, since last year when my functioning dropped, I’ve put on a bit of weight. Menopause has also changed my shape a little and I’ve found more of a need for support. The trouble is, as a result of the M.E, I have very tender lymph glands in my side boob (especially since my relapse last year) and if anything is tight there at all, I’m in pain within minutes.

Since my relapse and because of lockdown I’ve done most of my shopping on line, which isn’t great for things that you really need to try on. I’ve got so tired of buying bra’s that I have to send back or give away, or hanging on to something in the hope that I can manage a couple of hours of wearing it before the pain gets too bad, if I need to.

I have to add that the illness isn’t my only problem. I’m an odd shape. I have a very wide back/ ribcage and am not very well endowed. I’ve nearly always been a AA cup or can just about get away with a slightly smaller size in an A cup if I only need to wear it for a short time. Most of my life I’ve lived in crop tops rather that bras. Now though, even crop tops are putting too much pressure on my lymph glands without offering the support I need.

One of my friends raved to me about getting a bra fitting at M&S and how great it is to get a proper fitting bra, and I felt really covetous. So 3 weeks post 2nd vaccine, when I’d reached maximum immunity, I decided to combine a trip to town for an eye test, with a bra fitting.

Unfortunately, the eye test was exhausting so by the time I got to the bra fitting I was rather foggy. I did walk away with two bras, but with two different cup sizes. Anybody without brain fog might have questioned that, and indeed I did point out to the fitter, that I didn’t fill the A cup but she kind of brushed over it and encouraged me to buy it anyway. (I thought you were supposed to be able to trust M&S?) The problem was, it seems there was only one bra in the whole store in my size! I’ve since searched their online store for another of the same make in my size but it seems that that one was a one-off, end of line or something! Another problem is that the one that did fit isn’t even cotton. It’s supposed to be a super soft comfortable material but it starts to itch my skin if I get a hot flush and sweat. M&S, you have let me down!

At first, I was a rather upset at being sold one bra that doesn’t fit and another that isn’t really great, from the one institution that is supposed to be the most trustworthy in the UK. I got over it by deciding to turn it into an opportunity for good. I’ve searched out all the bra’s I’ve hardly worn in the last few years because they just weren’t comfortable enough and packaged them up with the new one that doesn’t fit and sent it off to smalls for all, a wonderful charity that send underwear to people in need. They even have a wish list on amazon where you can buy pants (underwear to those of you from across the ocean) for kids and ship it straight to them. One of the important reasons for sending bra’s is that women in Africa are less likely to be raped if wearing a bra (something to do with perceived status). So please, if you end up buying a bra that doesn’t fit you properly or you have bra’s that you just never wear, could you think about donating them to this wonderful cause?

Anyway, back to my hunt for a comfortable bra and where I’m at right now.

After asking my fellow chronic illness bloggers, I tried following one of the recommendations and brought a 3 pack of inexpensive cotton bralettes from New Look. They didn’t quite do the job as they were a little loose where I needed support, but I’ve managed to sew them to fit better.

I’d still love to find a comfortable bra that I don’t have to customise myself so if anyone knows of where I can get comfortable size 40AA bra please let me know.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the suggestions for comfortable bra’s that I got from my fellow chronic illness bloggers.

pinterest image for a hunt for a comfortable braBecky has written a whole blog post: Lockdown Lingerie: 5 wire free bars for chilling and living at home

Rachel suggests sizing up on an M&S flexifit

Megan likes M&S non-wired and organics basics.

Heather (from Canada) likes a soft bra from a store called ‘La Vive en Rose’

Carrie-Anne likes her lounge bra from Sainsburys

Jenna gave me the suggestion of bralettes from New Look

 

 

I’ve been nominated in 3 categories for Wego Health awards. I’d really appreciate your support in endorsing my nominations, which could help get me to the finals. Winners get a paid trip to the awards ceremony in Boston in October. Now that would be exciting! You can endorse me HERE.

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