While engaging in one of my least favorite activities the other day — bra shopping — a woman standing next to me began grumbling. She was having surgery next month, and her doctor — male — told her to pick up a front-opening bra. “Where am I going to find one of those?” she asked. “Any store,” he said.
Well, maybe. Bras that open in the front aren’t exactly jumping off the racks, as you know if you’ve looked lately. You might get lucky, but the odds are against it. Hanes has a few on their website, though buying fitted bras-by-mail is a dubious enterprise at best. Availability at your local store, as my fellow shopper discovered, may be spotty. If you’re having surgery (or you’ve been injured) anywhere near your upper extremities, though, the last thing you want to tangle with is a back-closing bra.
If a “leisure bra” will fit the bill, the Vermont Country Store offers one that opens with conventional hooks in front, and another one that uses a zipper. They won’t be as supportive as a structured bra, but might be more comfortable than a standard bra if you’re recovering from surgery. The hook model comes in sizes 38 through 40 with a choice of cup sizes (M: C,D,E or L: F,G,H). The zip model (top, left, above) comes in Small (34-36) through 4x (46-48), cup sizes C to DD.
Or you can modify any style you like. Sewing and fabric stores usually sell replacement hook-and-eye tape to repair bras. Pick up a set and cut your bra up the front and sew the new hooks in the front.
This one, from Hanes, is just about perfect for alteration, since it has decorative strip up the front, with the sides already finished. Some careful snipping, a few stitches, and you’ll be getting in and out of this one as easily as wearing a cardigan. It isn’t available larger than a 40 B-C, though.
No fabric store nearby? Are you more intrepid than most? Try a lingerie supply shop. Bra Making Supplies not only sells the hook-and-eye tape, but also everything else you might want to make your own bras. Could be easier than shopping (and more satisfactory), in the long run.