When the body changes – the best bras for the mature woman
A lot happens to the breasts over the years. They change with weight changes, pregnancy and breastfeeding as well as the menopause. Here we take a closer look at how to find the best bra models when you’re going through the menopause and for the years that follow.
Few women over the age of 50 want to wear the same type of underwear as they did when they were 20. Not only has the body changed but so too has their taste and priorities. Older women often seem to be forgotten by the clothing industry, but never by us at Miss Mary. We believe that just because you are more mature (and wiser) you shouldn’t have to settle for boring underwear. We design beautiful bras that specialise in comfort and support and also work for older age groups. Here we share our top tips on what you need to consider when your breasts change.
Miss Mary specialises in creating and making comfort bras like this one pictured above – non-wired STAR bra with wide comfort shoulder straps and cups in comfortable cotton lace with cotton lining that allows the garment to breathe.
How the breasts change as you age
In your 40s and 50s, your body starts to produce less oestrogen and progesterone, and as a result you enter the menopause. During this period, which can last up to 10 years, many women experience physical and emotional changes. Symptoms of the menopause can include hot flushes, sweating, restless leg syndrome, mood changes, sensitive and less firm skin, and palpitations.
During the menopause, the breasts also change. Hormone changes cause breast tissue to be replaced by fat, which makes the bust flabbier, and the skin becomes less elastic and looser due to reduced collagen production. Many women also feel that their breasts become more sensitive and feel tender.
“It’s not uncommon to increase two cup sizes during the menopause.”
Double-check your size
You may start to notice problems with your favourite bra suddenly feeling warm, like a sauna, or starting to chafe and cut into the skin. Go through your underwear drawer at home and check which bras still fit well and are comfortable. Maybe you have changed size without even realising it? During our adult life we change bra size a handful of times, and almost always during and after the menopause. For about one-fifth of all women, their breasts become bigger during the menopause. It’s not uncommon to increase two cup sizes or even more. For most, the curves redistribute themselves a bit over the years, and the back, upper body and posture may also change.
It’s a good idea to check you bra size at regular intervals.
The first thing to do before wondering which model to buy is to check your bra size. Your old bra may fit well, but it may have stretched and therefore no longer correspond to the actual size on the garment label. Find your size by following our instructions here.
“The requirements for bra support change as you get older and the bust becomes less firm.”
The SMOOTHLY bra has extra support with firm moulded non-wired cups.
Requirements for more support
The requirements for bra support change as you get older because the bust becomes less firm. A bra with good lift means that you avoid skin irritation that can result from skin against skin. An underwired bra provides extra lift and superior support. Other properties that provide good support include a wide back and/or firm material in the cups. If you have a pacemaker, or don’t want or like to wear an underwired bra for other reasons, there are many non-wired bras that provide good support and lift. QUEEN, pictured below, is one of the most supportive non-wired bras in our range.
STAY FRESH – the perfect T-shirt bra. It provides good lift and support thanks to the underwire and extra wide back. The cups are made of elastic functional material that breathes and feels very comfortable against the skin.
The best bras for hot flushes or heavy sweats
Hot flushes are common during the menopause and can last for many years. Choose a bra in breathable material, such as cotton or special functional materials developed for, for example, sports. Avoid padding in the bra, unless it is a spacer material or similar that can breathe. Our cotton cups are unlined. Those that have lined cups have cotton lining so they can breathe.
“With breathable material, the bra gets less hot.”
One of the most tiresome and visible symptoms of the menopause is sweating periodically, even if it’s cold outside. If you suffer from this, a bra in a functional material is optimal. It wicks moisture away from the body without the material feeling damp against the body. We recommend the non-wired bra KEEP FRESH or, if you prefer a bra with an underwire, STAY FRESH. Both of these models have cups in functional material.
The best bras if you have extra sensitive breasts
If you have extra sensitive skin or nipples and don’t like the feeling of a seam straight across the cup, choose a moulded bra without seams or a one with lining with a French seam on the cup. Most seams don’t chafe, but sometimes you can be extra sensitive.
KEEP FRESH non-wired bra has moulded cups in functional material that breathes and doesn’t become damp, perfect if you suffer from hot flushes or sensitive nipples, or sweat a lot.
Underwear that makes everyday life easier if you suffer from stiffness or aches
If you feel stiff and have difficulty making some twisting movements, a front-closure bra can help. Then you don’t have to do it up at the back, or at the front and then pull it round into place and then put your arms through the shoulder straps. With a front-closure bra, you just put your arms into the bra as if you were putting on a jacket and then fasten it at the front.
The LOVELY JACQUARD front-closure bra is extra easy to take on and off without any twisting movements.
Another option if you find twisting movements difficult is to wear a body instead of a bra. Most bodies close at the crotch, but you don’t have to do that. Instead, you can step into the body just as you would a swimsuit. A body is comfortable and gives a smoothing and snug feel, something many older (and younger) women like. If you have sensitive skin, a body is perfect to wear to stop trouser waistbands and belts chafing directly against the skin, leaving marks.
Shoulder straps that are adjusted at the front make everyday life easier and means you can avoid unnecessary twisting movements. Pictured is the ROSE bra.
Some bra models have shoulder straps that are adjusted at the front. These are recommended if you want to be able to adjust the shoulder straps without having to make unnecessary twisting movements.
“A camisole with an in-built bra allows you to avoid unnecessary twisting movements but still get all the advantages of a bra”
If you can’t or don’t want to wear a body, a camisole with an in-built bra is another option. This garment doesn’t need to be fastened at the back but is put on like a normal camisole. Match it with a pair of high panties for the same snug feel as a body. It has a high comfort factor and gives a smoothing feel all around.
The GRACE camisole has an in-built non-wired bra. Put on the camisole by simply pulling it over your head, perfect if you find twisting movements difficult.
Shoulder straps that relieve the shoulders
Many years of wearing (ill-fitting) bras can cause chafing and dents in the shoulders. Relieve the shoulders by choosing a bra with wide padded shoulder straps that are extra gentle on the sore skin on the shoulders. Bear in mind also that the band should fit properly so the shoulder straps don’t end up lifting the bust.
“Many years of wearing (ill-fitting) bras can cause chafing and dents in the shoulders.”
LOVELY LACE SUPPORT is a non-wired cotton bra with wide padded comfort shoulder straps that are gentle on the shoulders.
The best bras if you have loose skin
If you have a lot of loose skin, the extra coverage of a bra with furely, making the transition from cup to fll cups is optimal. The higher cut of full cups catches the breasts secuabric smoother. A bra with a lower cut can squeeze the skin making the breasts feel like they are falling out even if you’re wearing the correct size. All our non-wired bras have full cups.
BRODERIE ANGLAISE non-wired cotton bra has unpadded full cups that catch the whole bust and provide good coverage and a high level of comfort.
Another tip if you feel that the skin is generally less firm is to wear a bra with a wide back or a side wing by the armpit. The specially designed side wing consists of an extra piece of fabric that is folded and helps to smooth out any muffin effect and loose skin by the armpit, making the bra even more comfortable.
KEEP FRESH bra with a specially designed side wing that smooths out the skin by the armpit
If you like to wear underwear with a more luxurious and festive feel than most cotton bras offer, we recommend FLORAL SUN, which is shown in the picture below. It is a wonderful model with exclusive embroidery and lace created in exclusive design collaboration with Swedish couture master Lars Wallin who has designed many creations, including for the Swedish royal family. The bra offers great support, wide shoulder straps, an extra wide back and the same high comfort factor as the rest of our range.
Just because you’re getting older doesn’t meant your underwear has to be boring. The typical Miss Mary customer dresses for herself. She is confident in herself and likes beautiful, quality underwear that provides support where it’s needed, has a fantastic fit and is so comfortable that she can’t feel it. Some of the market’s leading pattern designers and bra experts work at Miss Mary, carefully creating new models with meticulous sensitivity to fit and comfort. If you’re unsure which model would suit you, our customer service are more than happy to guide you through our range. They are experts at helping women remotely over the phone, by email or chat. No questions are too big or too small or too silly.