last updated August 23rd, 2023
As women age, the shape of their breasts changes. Therefore, it’s important to factor in shape, size, and style when selecting a bra to create a perfect fit for an older woman. Thankfully, there are many great bra options available for aging bodies, as it’s still very possible to love your bra despite your body, and possibly mobility, changing.
Aging changes our bodies dramatically, and breasts are no exception. A beloved bra from just a few years ago may not be so comfortable anymore as time passes. Reduced arm movement may make a traditional back closure bra a bit of a contortionist act. Elastic that was once taught could now be stretched and sagging, pulling everything down in undesirable ways.
Our bodies are changing as we get older, and it may be time to upgrade to a well-fitting, comfortable bra that makes you look and feel good. The same goes for lingerie for older women – you deserve it!
8 Things to Look For and Think About When Shopping for Bras for Older Women
What makes a good bra for an older woman is not all that different from the criteria for a younger woman. Most women are looking to be comfortable and well-supported in a long-lasting bra designed to be worn under everyday garments. With this in mind, we’ll get into some important attributes to think about and look for below.
It is possible for comfort and appearance to go together if you pick the right bra. There is little to be gained by choosing a bra that gives you the support you want without being comfortable in it- especially if you intend to exercise in it as well.
Quality bras are constructed with thoughtful, informed design, durable materials, and closures and fasteners that won’t wear out. A quality bra will often cost more than a poorly constructed one, but will very likely last much longer.
Support is what a good bra is all about. The size of your breasts determines, to a large extent, the kind of support you need. If you have smaller breasts, you may not need an underwire bra. Bras should support your breasts not from the straps, but by the cups and side panels. Your bra band should stay in place and feel secure without feeling too tight.
The straps support about 20 percent of your breast weight. Your straps should lay flat without digging or sliding off your shoulders. Ensure they are wide enough to support your bust without leaving indentation marks. Larger breasts need broader straps that don’t have as much stretch to them.
The ideal amount of breast coverage depends on personal preference and the situation you are in. A demi-cup could be suitable for an evening out where you may be wearing a lower-cut top, but for recreational activities such as yoga, hiking, kayaking, etc you may want a more full-coverage sports bra.
The back hook and eye closure bras that we’re all used to are all well and good. However, front-closure bras are also a great option to consider as you age as they are much easier to put on. Front-closure bras come in a wide range of options including zipper, hook and eye, Velcro, or snap closures. There are also excellent pull-on bras that avoid having a closure all together, which is great for those wanting an all-around smooth, seamless fit. However, they might not work well if you struggle to, or cannot, get your hands over your head. Whichever type of closure you go with, make sure the fasteners are covered with cloth to prevent uncomfortable chafing.
Bras come in various fabrics, commonly including nylon, polyester, cotton, and Spandex. Each material has its own feel and fit associated, and it’s often personal preference when determining your preferred fabric. Most bra options are fairly lightweight, but the more structured they are, the heavier they are. The bra cup and band fabric should allow for little movement. It should also be easily washable and immediately comfortable.
Cotton bras are easy to wash and soft on the skin. Although they work well for smaller breasts, cotton bras may not have enough strength to support larger busts. It’s also important to consider that the fabric tends to shrink and stretch after washing and wearing.
Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and spandex allow for sweat evaporation via moisture-wicking fabric. Good quality bras made from these materials dry quickly, retain their shape, and are durable. They also tend to be lighter in weight than cotton bras.
- Cups and Molded Cups
Your breasts should fit within your bra cups comfortably and smoothly, with no gaping or spillage over the top or sides. Molded cups, sometimes called a “padded bra,” or “smoothing bra” may be the most comfortable bras for some women. They are smoother feeling under clothing and made of a thicker, padded material to provide more frontal coverage, and they typically do not contain seams. They provide a more rounded shape, which may benefit women who want to give their sagging breasts a lift. The downside to these bras is that they may not come in as large a size as other styles, and they can be warmer in hot weather.
Proper Bra Sizing
Many people find that over time, the shape and size of their breasts change, resulting in an improperly fitted, uncomfortable bra. A few reasons for bras no longer fitting correctly could be:
- Menopause, which changes the size and shape of our breasts.
- Skin irritation or chaffing, as our skin becomes thinner as we age.
- Gravity, which takes its toll on our breasts, making them settle lower and ‘sag’ more.
- Limited upper mobility, which may narrow the ideal bra choices.
Our bras should change as our bodies change. There are excellent bra options perfectly suited for elderly women that can be ordered through the links below and likely delivered to your door within the week. It’s time to find your new comfortable, favorite bra! But first, we need to make sure you’re confident in your bra size so you know the correct size to order.
How to Measure Bra Size
Many women are wearing the wrong size bra, and it shows. As women age, their breasts lose their fullness, so it’s important to take new measurements periodically. Older breasts tend to be more teardrop in shape. If you’re experiencing sagging breasts, the cups or bands might be too big.
If you find you have a double-boob look, that means the cups are a bit small. Side boob bulges also indicate the same problem – the band and cups are too small. If your breasts seem out of proportion to the rest of your body, the band is most likely too big, and the cups are too small. If your bra moves around often, you likely need a smaller band size for added support.
I will tell you how to measure your bra size, but the best way to truly find out is to walk into a store like Nordstrom, Soma Intimates, or Victoria’s Secret and ask a sales rep to measure and size you. She will pull out a tape measure, wrap it around the widest part of your chest, and then tell you your exact size, at which point she’ll typically offer you options to try on right there, in store. However, if that is impractical or uncomfortable for you for any reason, try this process:
To begin, you’ll need to take some measurements using a tailor’s tape measure (soft fabric). If you don’t have one, here is our pick from Amazon, however a normal tape measure should be okay if you’re willing to be patient and potentially get some help in taking these measurements.
The first measurement is your band size. Run the tape measure around your back, under your breasts. Make a note of the measurement and add three inches to it.
So if your under-bust measurement is 32 inches, add three to get 35. However, band sizes are even numbers, so you’ll need a 36 bra. The band should fit comfortably on the loosest hook. The other hooks are there to compensate for material stretching over time.
Now you’ll need to determine your proper cup size. Run the tape measure around your back again over the fullest part of your bust. Subtract the band size from this measurement.
Then, use this chart to find your cup size. If you have a ½ inch in your measurement, round up. So, if your band measurement is 36 and the bust measurement is 40, you’ll need a bra with a D cup.
|Difference||No difference||1 inch||2 inches||3 inches||4 inches||5 inches||6 inches|
Once you’ve determined your proper size, you’ll want to look through our list of the best bras for senior women for the most current and comfortable options.
Fit, fabric, construction techniques, and many other factors differ between manufacturers, so plan to try a few different brands and styles of bras to compare them against one another. Ordering a few online to try on, and planning to return those that don’t fit properly can be a helpful suggestion for those hoping to find their next favorite bra within the comfort of their own space, rather than a physical store. Personally, this is how I prefer to shop!
Without further ado, here is the list of our favorite bras for the aging woman:
1. Playtex 18-Hour Ultimate Lift Wireless Bra
- Make the most of your curves! Lift panels in cups five beautiful natural-looking shaping
- TruSUPPORT bra design delivers comfortable 4-way support-in a gorgeous floral jacquard fabric
- BUILT-IN COMFORT AND GREAT SUPPORT – TruSupport 4-way wireless support system with higher sides, fuller cups, wider straps, and a smoother back.
- NATURAL-LOOKING LIFT – Magic Ring construction with panels that support from the bottom up.
The Playtex 18-Hour Wireless Bra is made of 100% nylon. The bra offers added back support to help with posture and side support for added lift. The straps are cushioned and can be adjusted. Important to many women, the cushioned straps prevent digging and shoulder discomfort as the bra resists sliding.
This bra makes the top of our list since it is reasonably priced and, based on the tens of thousands of reviews, has made many women quite happy with their purchase.
2. Just My Size Easy-On Front Close Wirefree Bra
- Plush lined hook and eye front closure for wardrobe versatility and dressing ease
- Cushion Comfort Strap to help ease shoulder pressure
- Wide cushioned straps ease pressure on shoulders
- Three-piece seamed cups lift and shape for smoother curves under clothes
- Wirefree comfort with a hook and eye closure
The Easy-On Front Close Wirefree Bra from Just My Size is crafted from a nylon/polyester/spandex blend. The front closure is the standard hook and eye design, making it familiar yet more convenient for many women. The straps have wide cushions making them comfortable for long-term wear, and the inner cups provide additional support. This bra comes in white, black, and nude.
3. Leading Lady Women’s Cotton Front-Closure Leisure Bra
- Luxuriously Soft: The Meryl front-closure bra graces your skin with smooth soft cotton that feels amazing. The breathable construction of this soft cotton blend will keep you cool and comfortable all day long.
- Deluxe Comfort: Tired of the discomfort of underwires or straps that dig in? This bra is wirefree with padded straps that prevent digging in, and a wide back design that keeps the band from riding up.
- Materials: 90% Cotton, 10% Spandex
- Luxuriously Soft: This front-closure bra is made of soft, smooth cotton for a relaxed, snug fit. The breathable construction of this cotton blend will keep you cool and comfortable all day long.
- Deluxe Comfort: Tired of the discomfort of underwires or straps that dig in? This bra is wire-free with padded straps that prevent digging in, and a wide back design that keeps the band from riding up.
If you are between sizes, then the Leading Lady Women’s Cotton Front-Closure Leisure Bra has you covered as it can accommodate small fluctuations in size with no problem. It is made from a cotton/spandex blend and is one of the best cotton bras for older women. It has a front hook and eye closure and comes in a variety of colors and prints. It is extremely comfortable and is a favorite sleep option for many.
4. Glamorise Women’s Full Figure MagicLift Front Close Support Bra
- 50% Polyamid, 40% Polyester, 10% Elastane
- Patented Magiclift no-wire design
- MAGICLIFT TECHNOLOGY: A cushioned band lifts, shapes, and supports without a wire.
- FRONT CLOSURE: Hook-and-eye closure with 2 columns & 4 rows increases with size.
- Material: 50% Polyamide Nylon, 40% Polyester, 10% Elastane
For a fuller figure that desires more support, check out the Glamorise Women’s Full Figure MagicLift Front Close Support Bra #1200. It’s made from 100% nylon and has a front hook and eye closure. It provides full coverage support without an underwire. The inner bust band is also cushioned for comfort. This bra comes in a wide range of sizes up to a 58I and is one of the best support bras for elderly women.
5. Women’s Zipper Front Closure Sports Bra from WANAYOU
- Zipper Upgrade: Replaced with the well-known zipper brand SBS, and added the zipper self-locking function to prevent the zipper from sliding down.Soft and High Elasticity :Material:92% Polyamide / nylon + 8% spandex
- Front zipper closure-Easy to put on and take off with zipper front closure. Anti slide Zipper protect from sliding down when doing exercise. Protective layer of clothe covers the zipper on the inside to prevent scratching your skin.
- Front zipper closure- Easy to put on and take off with zipper front closure. Anti-slide Zipper protects from sliding down when exercising. A protective layer of cloth covers the zipper on the inside to prevent scratching your skin.
- The zipper on this bra also has a self-locking function to prevent the zipper from sliding down on its own.
- Material: 92% Polyamide/nylon + 8% spandex
If the hook and eye front closures are cumbersome for you, then you might want to consider this Women’s Zipper Front Closure Sports Bra from WANAYOU. It is made from a nylon/spandex blend and has removable pads. It provides medium support for smaller to medium-sized breasts, making it a noteworthy option for smaller-chested women. It has a racerback design for added posture support and comes in a variety of colors and prints. It’s also breathable, making it one of the best sports bra options for older women.
6. MAXMALLS Every Daily Bras with Front Closure
- Imported Lace Button closure [Lace Fabric] Polyester92% Spandex8% Lining :cotton100% Back :cotton93% spandex7%.
- [The design concept of cotton bra] no steel ring, comfortable, natural, relaxed; front button design for easy wearing; u-shaped back design that reduces wearing pressure and makes shoulders more comfortable.
- This button bra features a no steel ring, a comfortable, front closure snap design for easy wearing, and a u-shaped back design that reduces wearing pressure and makes shoulders more comfortable.
- Materials: Polyester 92%, Spandex 8%. Lining: Cotton 100%, Back: Cotton 93%, Spandex 7%.
The MAXMALLS Every Daily Bras with Front Snap Closures provides another front-closure alternative to hook and eye. This bra has four sturdy snaps. It is manufactured with a polyester/spandex/cotton blend. The u-shaped back reduces the pressure on the shoulders for a more comfortable fit. It comes in pink, red, beige, grey, and purple. This is a bra for smaller-chested women who don’t require much support, and it’s not recommended for exercise due to the snap front closure.
7. Cottonique Women’s Hypoallergenic Drawstring Bra
- ALLERGY-FREE CONSTRUCTION—For women with severe allergic contact dermatitis or multiple chemical sensitivity, it's important to have organic materials next to your skin. Our Women's Drawstring Bra fits great with adequate support, working perfectly fine under casual summer clothes. It also provides adjustable fit, removing all the harmful materials for women to have uninterrupted comfort.
- FUNCTIONAL FEATURES—If you're tired of dealing with nasty metal hooks and coarse elastics that give way to discomfort and irritation, our Women's Drawstring Bra could just be your new favorite! This comfortable piece features an adjustable 100% organic cotton drawstring, allowing women to experience hassle-free adjustability without having to deal with flare-ups.
- Adjustable straps
- Chemical-free, Synthetic-free
- Materials: 100% Cotton
For those who need a little help getting dressed, this Cottonique Women’s Hypoallergenic Drawstring Bra is comfortable and allows for easy assistance. It’s made from 100% chemical-free cotton and can be machine washed. The back is ribbed for more flexibility, making it a comfortable and highly adjustable option to round out our list.
While the bras mentioned above are all excellent choices, it would be remiss to not include my personal favorite bra, which offers light to medium support in my favorite style, but comes in a wide range of cuts, fits, and fabrics. The brand is sold in Nordstrom and Target and is also available for purchase on Amazon, making them an excellent comfortable, and convenient option worth considering!
With that said, here is our 8th and final selection:
8. True & Co Women’s True Body Lift V Neck Bra
- V-shaped neckline on front and back.
- Keeps shape and retains stretch, even if you wear it everyday.
- Seamless, yet supportive.
- Machine washable bra with a V-shaped neckline in the front and back.
- Wire-free style pulls over with ease. Removable pads included.
- Made from a smooth, buttery fabric in a heavier weight for increased support.
- Materials: 77% Nylon, 23% Elastane
This bra is a phenomenal option for those looking for a second skin feel, and are willing to prioritize comfort over support. While still being plenty supportive, this bra is extremely soft and comfortable due to its seamless construction and buttery soft fabric. It retains its shape very well despite being wire-free and holds up well in the washing machine making it easy to care for. The straps are not adjustable on this specific style, but the company offers a great range of styles to choose from if that’s high up on your list of essential criteria.
Other Considerations When Choosing a Bra
Physical and Medical Conditions
If you have arthritis or other upper mobility issues, choose a front closure or zipper bra. Sports bras can be challenging to get on and off.
If you play golf or do yoga, you will want to choose a bra that maximizes movement ability without chaffing or constriction. You may have to sacrifice some support to have full freedom of movement.
If you are on a budget, check for bras on sale or promotions. Remember that a pricier bra may last longer than a less expensive one, especially when it comes to support.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best bras for senior women who have no muscle left in the breast?
For those with little or no muscle tissue left in their breasts, a bralette or similar type of bra that is light in support can be a great option.
What is the average price of a bra for a senior woman?
Pricing can range anywhere from around $10 to over $100 for a well-constructed, properly fitted bra. The average price of a basic bra is about $30.
What material are bras for older women typically made of?
Bras are made of a wide range of materials. Today, the materials most commonly used in bras are cotton, spandex, nylon, and polyester.
How many bras should I own?
The average woman owns 8 bras, but 4 is the suggested number of bras to own according to experts. The number of bras you should own depends on how often you exercise and sweat in your bras, and how often you do laundry, among other factors.
What is the best way to care for my bra?
It is typically recommended to wash your bra every 3-4 wears, or more after particularly sweaty days. There are multiple ways to wash and care for your bra. While hand washing is commonly recommended, it is also perfectly safe to put your bra in the washing machine in a mesh bag on a cool, delicate cycle. Hang drying is always best, and in most climates, bras hang dry pretty quickly.
Do you have a recommendation for the best sports bras for older women?
In addition to the 5th option above, this zipper front sports bra from Champion is an excellent option for those who are frequently engaging in high-impact workouts. This highly supportive sports bra comes in a wide range of sizes to a 42DDD. There is a hook-and-eye clasp in the back that adjusts for a comfortable, custom fit, and there is also a front zipper for easy-on, easy-off changing. Lastly, this bra boasts motion-control cups featuring a supportive underwire, stretchy fabric, and breathable mesh panels for consistent airflow during your exercise.
In conclusion, finding the perfect bra is important for the overall daily comfort and well-being of senior women. As we age, our bodies change, and it becomes even more crucial to choose bras that provide proper support, alleviate discomfort, and enhance confidence. The best bras for older women are those that prioritize comfort, offer adjustable features, provide adequate coverage and support, and are crafted from breathable and gentle fabrics.
Whether it’s an underwire bra, a wireless bra, a front-closure design, or a bra with wide shoulder straps, the key is to prioritize individual needs and preferences. By investing in well-fitting and supportive bras, you can expect to enjoy improved posture, reduced pain, and enhanced self-assurance, helping you to feel your best at any age.
Amanda Lambert – Contributing Writer
Amanda Lambert is an Aging Life Care Professional and consultant with over twenty years of experience in the elder care field. She has worked in home health, mental health, and guardianship. She is a Care Manager Certified, Aging Life Care Professional, Master Guardian Emeritus, and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Utah. Amanda has co-authored two books related to aging: Aging with Care: Your Guide to Hiring and Managing Caregivers at Home and Choose Your Place: Rethinking Home As You Age.