Clothes Lists

Best Sports Bras for MtF Bodies

Sports bras are a necessary part of any MtF wardrobe: they’re comfortable, concealing (if you want), and provide needed support as your boobs grow.

But finding the right sports bra can be a challenge, especially for trans women. As I’ve written about before, the post-pubescent male ribcage is wider and deeper than the equivalent cis female’s. Additionally, trans female breasts tend to be a little lower and more widely spaced than cis female counterparts.

This generally makes finding bras that fit a challenge, and while sports bras are inherently more forgiving than underwire bras, they still can be uncomfortable if not fitted properly. Common problems include:

  • The band-to-cup size ratio is too big, leading to a fit that is often loose for trans women with larger bands but smaller cups.
  • The shoulder straps are too short, leading to the bra riding up into the armpits during the day.

So here are my favorite sports bras that fit well for MtF body shapes.

Jockey Seamless Sports Bra

My go-to is the Jockey Seamless Sports Bra. It is super soft and has wide, removable cups. The double layer in front provides plenty of coverage and lift without the cups if you want a slimmer look. Though it’s advertised as ‘seamless’ there are still visible seams on the shoulder straps, though the main band is pretty low-profile.

This sports bra is a racer-back style, and best of all the straps are deep enough that it won’t dig up into your armpits. The cups are also plenty flexible while still providing good support for smaller breasts.

Balanced Tech Printed Performance Seamless Sports Bra

If you’re looking for a great strappy sports bra for lower impact activities, the Balanced Tech Printed Performance Seamless Sports Bra is a great choice. It comes in lots of nice prints, and has a good amount of support for a light sports bra.

The extra wide band at the bottom is why I love this bra; it doesn’t ride up and provides a surprisingly comfortable fit without being too constricting. The adjustable straps make it easy to position low enough on your chest so it doesn’t ride up into your armpits.

This one does tend to run on the small side, so you’ll want to size up when you order.

adidas All Me Sports Bra

My third recommendation is the adidas All Me Sports Bra. This is another ‘light activity’ sports bra, but a really good choice for A to C cups. This is a great bra for when you don’t feel like wearing a bra; it doesn’t have a lot of fabric so you almost forget you are wearing it.

I really like the straps instead of the full racer-back, though they aren’t adjustable. But they have plenty of length and stretch without too much pull, so the bra doesn’t ride up. Sizing is just about right and the pads are removable.

I’d love to know what your go-to sports bra is!


Best Bras for MtF Breasts

Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes, regardless of whether you grew them in puberty or more recently. Just like there is no ‘standard’ breast shape for cis women, there is no standard for trans women either.

That said, there are some general anatomical differences between cis and trans women that can effect the shape of the breast and fit of the bra. Generally, trans women will have broader shoulders and a wider rib-cage, leading to different breast-to-band ratios (the metric used to determine cup size). The wider rib cage also means that trans breasts are generally farther apart, with more space in between, than cis women’s breasts.

Trans breast shape can also be different, with most trans women stoping at Tanner Stage 4, while most cis-women get closer to Stage 5. This matters less than overall rib cage size for Bra fit, however, as the breast will generally deform to fit the bra cup.

The last factor for most trans women is breast size. Without breast augmentation, most trans women will see their growth stop somewhere around an A or B cup. Combined with the larger chest diameter, this can make finding an appropriately small cupped bra hard at the larger band sizes, since cis women tend to have proportionally larger breast to band ratios.

How to accurately measure your bra size

I see a lot of confusion out there on how to find your bra size. Since most trans women (especially early on) don’t want to get fitted at a store, it can be a really confusing process, and the bra industry largely assumes you already know your measurements.

Bra sizing is determined based on two measurements, the band and the bust. Band is measured around your chest just under where the breast starts to protrude outwards. Bust is measured around your chest at the nipples (usually the widest part). For both measurements, you’ll want to round up, rather than down (you’ll see why later) to the nearest whole number. Band sizes are generally spaced by 2” increments, e.g. 34”, 36” etc. Again, you’ll want to round up.

Cup size is determined by subtracting the bust size from the band size. The difference between the two is the cup size; 0 or less is an AA/AAA, 1” is an A, 2” is a B cup, etc. BUT, and this is what most people miss, you have to add 4” to the band size in order to get an accurate bra size. So a 36A bra has a true band measurement of 32” with a bust measurement of 37”.

Finding a bra that fits

The problem for trans women is that the increased size of the rib-cage will throw off the cup volume measurement, because the chest itself takes up more space than is assumed in the standard bra sizing tables. So while your measurements might show you are a 40B (36” band and 42” bust) your boobs will be swimming in your bra cups, and you might actually find a 42A fits you better.

That said, there are a couple of companies that specialize in bras for small-cupped women, which tend to fit the shape of trans bodies better. Here are a few of my favorites. (Note I’m currently a 36AA, so small cup size is harder to find than band size for me. Many of you ladies will have the opposite problem of struggling to find a larger band size.)

  • Lulalu: This is my go to brand for bras. They have a great selection of small cup bras, both wired and wire free, starting in AAA cups. The band sizes are definitely on the smaller end, but the underwires are generally flatter and farther apart and fit the wider chest of trans women better. The matching panties are great too 😉.
  • Pepper: Also a great choice, and I own a few of their different styles. Bra cups tend to run a bit bigger, starting at AA cups up through B. Band sizes are also a bit bigger, and you can find a 40AA in some styles.
  • Little Women: A British company that caters to small chested women. Lots of great styles, but sometimes hard to find in stock.

Things to look for when bra shopping

Part of the fun of having breasts is wearing all different types of bras. As you build your collection, there are generally some things to think about, especially as you’re trying to find the perfect fit.

  • Look for wire-free. Generally, underwires in bras designed for cis women are going to be less comfortable for most trans women. This is because the underwire is designed for a smaller rib-cage, and you’ll find it digs into the outside of your breast in an uncomfortable way. Wire-free avoids this problem by ditching the wire entirely, with a soft yet firm band of fabric underneath the cup supporting the breast. This will fit your chest shape much more naturally and be a whole lot more comfortable.
  • When in doubt, go bigger band and smaller cup. As mentioned above, if you struggle with the sizing of standard bras, you can move up in band size and down in cup size to get a better fit. The breast volume on a 34B and a 36A is exactly the same, but the ratio of band size to bust size is different. This tends to provide a better fit on the trans female rib cage.
  • Pullover styles are your friend. As sexy as a underwire Demi cup might look, for everyday you may find a pullover style bra more comfortable, as the band will stretch and size won’t be as important. There are plenty of pull overs that are sexy, lacy, and all the things you might look for in a bra, while also being a lot more comfortable and forgiving of trans body shapes.

I’d love to hear what bra brands and styles you find work best for you in the comments!