Can you help me design a better bra?: I'm part of a... - NRAS


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Can you help me design a better bra?


I'm part of a Design Council Innovation Programme looking at designing stylish, functional and comfortable bras for women of any age who have mobility or dexterity issues. I'd love to hear about your current bra likes/dislikes, and any improvements you'd like to see to help make a bra easier to fasten and put on/take off. And if you do have time to take part in a more detailed survey, please email me at

Many thanks.

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37 Replies

Honestly...I think I need scaffolding! ;-)

Treza42 in reply to Nettac

I struggle sometimes putting my bra on if I have stiff hands. Xx

I find it very difficult with RA in hands to get bras that are easy to fasten .tried front fasting ones but sizes aren't good .

I have trouble fastening my bra. My partner usually helps me

I struggle a great deal putting my bra on as i have problems with my hand, elbow and shoulder joints. I would love a front fastening bra with wide straps that looks pretty and comes in various colours but is available in large cup and chest sizes.


Front opening, loose fit; drugs make you feel sick and last thing you want is tight fit, i frequently take mine off at night! Comfortable material. Hope that's helpful.

I have a couple of front fastening ones that have magnetic buttons so I don't have to really hook them on, just get them close to each other and they snap close. Those have been really helpful, but I bought them back in Canada and haven't found anything similar in London. Also, the ones I have are not the best size. Something with magnetic snap buttons, with no underwire would be nice. I recently also bought these really comfy ones from victorias secret, but they fasten at the back. A combination of the comfort from the latter with the buttons from the former would be perfect tbh.

Thank you so much for your helpful feedback which happens to be right in tune with my current designs! I hope to be able to update you on my progress.

I have front fastening ones but not being very big don't like the granny straps and also don't want to look like a porn star. Its middle of the road but M&S don't do any. The clip together ones are fine just not pretty and I might have RA but not in my dotage yet. Same also happens with bikini tops.

I get swelling of my muscles on my back, it starts about 6inchs from my spine and continues all the way around to the front of my ribs and stops at my breasts. Its on both sides. The doctors cant explain it but by the end of the day its agony. I think bras with a larger surface area are better as the tissue really gets puffy and sore. But I'm young and want my bras to be pretty and attractive too!

Does anyone else get this??

My chest cracks in the morning, please something stylish that can cope with hands for sausages both evening and night. Good straps with decent chunky fastenings would be great. But please something sexy and make me feel good!!PLEASE x

Front fastening and pretty looking.

Honestly, I don't even care about pretty, probably because I've always had abnormally large breasts and nothing has ever come pretty for me. Since RA, it's the fastening that's hard. I need to have surgery to reduce them but I need to be in remission before I put my body through surgery (it's a big surgery). I would love to have more of a t-strap, as it puts too much pressure on sore joints of the neck and shoulders with the normal straps. Nice, wide straps with some cushion. But mostly, the fastening. It's so hard to do with RA hands.

I’ve never been able to get a really comfortable bra. You don’t need front fasteners you just do them up round your waist (don’t know where mine went)! at the front and then swivel them round. I’m afraid I’ve got a drawer full that I never wear. I just can’t bear anything tight around my ribs. The only thing I think might be bearable is a really light weight lace styled like a sleep bra with stretch cups. ToD x

swivel?? caan't xx

ShellyC23 in reply to GranAmie

Me neither, never been able to do that, don’t know if it’s bevause of underwires

GranAmie in reply to ShellyC23

can't swivel as muscles pop easily [intercostals] - but now they're telling me there's a fracture btwn t11 and t12 too. !

A nice pretty fancy straps pretty material Front fashioning please

It’s the shoulder straps I find most uncomfortable. I would love nice wide padded straps that don’t dig into my shoulders. I do mine up back to front then turn it as I have never got on with front fastening bras. My boobs never sit right in them lol.

I'd like to see something that is easy to fasten, either front or back. Stretch fabric with a choice of wired or not and non slip shoulder straps. I think the most important thing is a good range of sizes to help get a really good fit. Bras shouldn't be uncomfortable, you should not notice you're wearing one if you get the proper fit.


I’ve also same problem with my fingers and wrists.wearing bras are so uncomfortable has I also suffer with swollen joints.its a fight to get it on and a relief to get one off.

We have disabilities so we want practically but not old fashioned has a lot of stuff for us are.

It's great that you're giving some thought to this. I hate bras! They give me a neck and back ache because I tense up when wearing one.

I can just about get the darned thing on and swivel it around having done up the hooks and eyes but it's the general lack of comfort that means I resort to sports vests that provide a bit of support because they don't dig in under my boobs the way a bra does.

So please may I have: wide straps, a deep 'yoke' (?) underneath the cups that doesn't feel like a vice; a fastening that isn't sharp and likely to dig in (currently I have to put something soft under the hook and eye to stop it hurting); available in black, white and nude, half cup and full cup; a fabric that moves with me, and please make it look feminine - but if lace, it's got to be soft. That's all 😉 Thank you!

This is great and these are all on my list of design feature 'must-haves'.

I buy a 46G/H. My main gripe is the girth of bras . I've bought the same Elomi or Goddess bra and the length of the sides can differ by up to 4 inches .

Getting the right cup is great but when your body is flaring the swelling makes your bra super tight . The cup size never relates to the length of sides i.e. the reason I wear a large cup doesn't mean I've got boobs like a silicone bimbo and a lovely neat figure , I have back fat and the circumference of my bra needs to be in proportion . I'd also like to see a bra extender to match the colour available cos I like pretty too . Xx

Hi I am 55 and have dexterity and strength problems in my hands and shoulders so fastening a bra behind my back has been impossible for 30 years. My solution was to fasten at the front then twist around and haul up over sore shoulders which was also difficult so now I have front fastening bras with ultra soft straps and a racer back which stops straps falling off the shoulders. It is a spanx brallelujah which I found in TK Maxx and is not available in the UK!!!! Please, please keep up the good work to improve design for those of us who struggle.

AdrienneJC17 in reply to Joodee

Interesting to hear about a bra that worked for you, but oh so frustrating that no longer available here. It's crazy that there's no go-to brand for bras that are essentially functional but also pretty and comfortable, and this is exactly what I hope to change.

The most important thing to have one that fastens at the front. I can no longer fasten mine because of pain in my arms and back. I can fasten it at the front but then I can't manage to move it round to the back. Is there another way of fastening like velcro at the front as as someone above mentioned a magnetic fastening? I am tired of asking my husband to do it up and undo it every day and often go without wearing one, but then I feel quite uncomfortable like that.

Front fastening for sure, padded, stretchy straps and padding around the underwire so neither dig into our skin. My bra is the first thing I take off when I know I don’t have to go out again. The current ones are a nightmare if you have back pain and breathing problems. I understand that they have to be somewhat tight to provide support but I hope you can come up with a comfy design that isn’t tight.

I don’t think I’ll ever go back to wearing a bra but have an assorted array of ones with:

1) Underwires that dig in

2) Barbed wire lace

3) Cups that look good but feel like armour plating

4) Longer line bras that roll up & dig in (painfully)

5) One black reasonably comfortable bra as long as it has 3 extenders!

6) The all stretch pull on bras that feel like they’re trying their best to impersonate an Anaconda & squeeze the remaining life out of you.

It would be a miracle if you could come up with something even slightly better than those. I’ve been ‘fitted’ for bras and have ranged in size from 36D to 42A or ‘we don’t really have any call for your size)! It fills me with dread at the thought of buying any more. I’d rather be free. ToD xx

Rest assured that all the problems you've identified I'm working hard to eliminate and hopefully do significantly better than "slightly better".


Like most of the others have said:

- Cotton would be great without it being too hippy or granny

- I need sports bras because 20 years of carrying laptops has sloped my shoulders, and nothing, no matter how wide or rubber will stay up. The sports bras cross at the back and keep me from having to move my straps back up every 15 seconds (literally)

- No under wires - I need support but can't handle the metal bits

- Front fastening for someone larger than a 32 A, and shorter than 6 inches. When I do find a front fastening, it is either two hooks, or it is hugely long and my torso is not that long.

- Wide straps that won't dig in so much into my shoulders

- Not too narrow of a band either. If it is too narrow, it can just act like a really painful tourniquet, and as I said, if too wide, it is down to my belly button almost..

- Pretty and a variety of colors would be awesome...


Soft, with EASY front fastening pleeease

GranAmie in reply to GranAmie

just adding .. lacy sleep bras wd be good but sized , not just 10-12, 16-18 etc etc

I am a full figured gal and about a year ago I found a bra that hooks in the front. You can't find these in regular stores and in fact I purchased the ones I have from a specially bra shop. I didn't know what I was missing until I got these. I would like to see more bras that are designed for women who are overweight or have big breast that have the hooks in the front so they're easier to reach. And that's especially for people like me who has arthritis in my hands.

One other issue I have with bras is this: at least one bra strap will constantly falls down. It does it from the time its brand new. At the bra shop I get my bras from the owner makes a little doohickey that holds the two straps together so they can't fall off the shoulder.

As already suggested front fastening but wide shoulder straps instead of thin ones that seriously dig in to sore shoulders would be good and more than the usual 3 rows of hook or eyes for the swollen days

And I forgot cotton lace as well if that’s possible with stretch I don’t want much so it lace with stretch pretty straps and front fastening would be 💕 💕 lovely 😊

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