If you run in body-positive communities on the internet or see a lot of ads on Instagram, like me, you've likely been swayed to buy stuff from a brand called ThirdLove in the past few months.
ThirdLove, a visually sleek and notably minimal brand, prides itself on body positivity and its true-to-size bras, which it claims fit better and more comfortably than any others on the market. Due to my lingerie experiences as a plus-size woman with significantly asymmetrical breasts, I've consistently scoffed at the claim.
Being above a size 36C is one thing, but having boobs that verge on being an entire cup size apart is another entirely. Because of this, wearing bras at all has been a harrowing necessity for most of my adult life. I've been constantly reminded of this physical "imperfection" by the way my bras are too shallow on one side and too deep on the other.
ThirdLove is the first bra retailer (or at least the first I've ever noticed) that claims to cater specifically to my asymmetrical needs — so, finally fed up with the pure discomfort of my million ill-fitting bras, I caved in and tried one.
The first and most important part of finding a ThirdLove bra is taking the brand's extensive Fit Finder quiz.
Normally I scoff at quizzes such as these because I base all of my clothing purchases on hard, physical body measurements. But I have to admit that this quiz really nailed it, and that's probably because of the sheer amount of überspecific questions it asked not just about my body but about my other bras as well.
I could automatically tell how much this brand was dedicated to proper fit just by the way it asked me about my other bras.
The quiz took into account every single factor that determines how well a bra fits. It asked me about my regular bra's sizing, how my breasts fit into its cups, whether the band feels too tight or too loose, how the shoulder straps behave, and even how old it is.
Most important, ThirdLove's quiz factored in something that's never occurred to me while bra shopping: my breast shape.
Because yeah — the shape of boobs heavily affects how a bra might fit. The thought had never occurred to me until taking the quiz, but it alone brought to my attention that the tear-drop shape I've got going for me might be the reason I find myself spilling out of most bras — it's like I've been stuffing a square peg in a round hole.
And — hallelujah! — the quiz even accounted for women such as myself who have significantly uneven breasts. Fun fact: A statistical majority of women have differently sized/shaped breasts. I am one of them, and it makes shopping for and wearing bras absolutely insufferable.
After I answered each of the quiz's questions, ThirdLove recommended what I saw as a pretty standard T-shirt bra in a size that made me doubtful.
Specifically, it suggested I buy the 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra ($68, ThirdLove) in a size 38C. That's the size of most of my other bras, and that's what had me scared — because my problem with the lingerie industry is that its sizing, despite my very consistent body measurements, is usually way off.
The other thing that made me flinch? The price tag. As someone who didn't think it was necessary to spend more than $30 on an undergarment, almost $70 for one bra felt like way too much. That wouldn't last for long, though.
Before I continue, let me clarify something very pesky about bra shopping while plus-size for those who have not dealt with this issue firsthand.
Many clothing brands, but mainstream lingerie brands especially (hi, Victoria's Secret), do this cute little thing where its plus sizes run so small that they fit a lot more like straight sizes, rendering a lot of bras above a size 36C or D rather pointless.
I own bras as small as a 36C and as large as a 40DD, and they all fit just about the same. And before ordering from ThirdLove, even my "best bra" was agitating at best. That being said, I was very anxious about whether or not the recommended 38C would be true to size.
Upon the very second I opened my recommended ThirdLove bra, however, I knew subtle body-shaming was not an issue I would encounter with this brand.
I'm not sure if this is just me or if this is actually the fault of bras, but most of the time, when I look at one, my first thought is usually "Whoa, those cups are way too small to be a C; I'll never fit in there." Or, it's "Whoa, those cups are so big they look matronly."
The ThirdLove bra, at my initial glance, hit that perfect spot in between.
Though the 24/7 T-Shirt Bra ($68, ThirdLove) looks rather basic at first glance, it is anything but.
It's also accessible to everyone! The cup sizes on this ThirdLove bra range from A all the way to I (yes, I) and even include a halfway size between A and B. The band width, on the other hand, is available in 30 to 48.
Finally, a bra that's inclusive of the statistical majority of women! I could scream-cry with joy.
The band in the back isn't as thick as I'd prefer, but its high stretch level compensates for that almost entirely.
Most of my bras fit too tightly (despite that I usually buy a size larger than what size charts recommend), and because of that I've become accustomed to seeking out bras with very thick bands for the sake of preventing uncomfortable back rolls.
But because this bra a) actually fits true to size, and b) is made from very soft and flexible fabric, the back fat issue really solves itself.
And I'd be remiss not to mention both straps' unique texture.
Though both shoulder straps lie totally flat like any other bra's, the top of this bra's straps are ridged, a feature I'd never seen on lingerie before. I'm assuming this is ThirdLove's way of ensuring that the straps stay in place underneath clothing, because I immediately noticed a difference in the way this bra's straps actually stayed in place during my daily routines.
Putting this bra on for the first time felt like real-life magic to me.
What you're witnessing in the photo above is real documentation of me trying the only bra I've ever felt 100% comfortable in for the first time. I felt so good in it, in fact, that I was fine taking my shirt off in front of an entire production crew.
Like I noted before, this bra manages to avoid the demi trend, wherein all bras have low-cut cups designed more for show and less for support. Though cleavage is 100% attainable with this bra, its cups still ride just high enough to keep my girls in check without visible spillage — an issue I have often.
Also, if breast-baring cleavage is what you look for in a bra, ThirdLove does carry some more ~scandalous~ options designed for low-cut necklines and... well, having fun in the bedroom.
Here's some hard visual evidence for you.
In the photo on the left, I'm wearing my 38C ThirdLove 24/7 T-Shirt Bra ($38, ThirdLove). You can visibly tell that both of my breasts are fully covered and supported while the straps sit comfortably without digging.
On the right, I'm wearing my other everyday bra, a standard T-shirt fit in a 38D (yep, I sized up on that one) from a brand that I'll just say rhymes with "schmaerie." That bra makes the difference in size between my boobs a lot more noticeable — I'm spilling out in one cup and barely filling out the other. Oh, and let's not forget the tight, digging straps that still somehow manage to fall off my shoulders.
From the bra cups to the shoulder straps to the fit of the back band, ThirdLove's on-point sizing and comfort features make a noticeable difference to the way my clothes look, too.
Whereas my black bra made me extremely conscious of the way my skin and breasts stuck out at every angle underneath my tighter shirts, the ThirdLove version makes me feel secure in the way it manages to remain smoothed out underneath even my tightest clothing.
It's really impossible to understand how much your undergarments affect you daily until you find stuff that fits properly.
Until trying the ThirdLove bra, wearing a bra was nothing more than a grueling daily task I felt forced into by society rather than a luxury or a basic necessity. For every waking moment I had to wear a bra, I was made painfully aware of my body's unevenness, and the fact that that unevenness made bras so uncomfortable led me to see my breasts as imperfect and inconvenient.
It was a harrowing and consistent pressure to fit into society's idea of what a "good body" looks like. Seriously, I've contemplated breast augmentation for the SOLE SAKE of making bras more comfortable.
But now I've experienced bra bliss and finally understand the extreme physical and mental benefits that investing in a good bra can provide.
Let me tell you, I will never opt for a cheap, ill-fitting bra from a mainstream lingerie retailer ever again. After wearing this bra all day and every day for more than a week now, I fully regret ever flinching at its $68 price tag.
Not only does a well-fitting bra make you feel better about the way you look, but it also provides the physical ease that comes from lack of digging, spilling, sagging, pinching, and sliding.
I know the point of a bra is really to contain your breasts rather than liberate them, but that's certainly not the case with ThirdLove. TLDR: I stan.