If you're pregnant, planning to fall pregnant or your weight tends to fluctuate over your menstrual cycle or due to medication…let me introduce you to a little lifesaver called a bra extender.
A two-hook bra extender in black
What are bra extenders?
Bra extenders are literally an extra piece of band with eyes that you can hook onto your current bra band to lengthen it. It has a set of hooks at the back to attach it to your current bra's eyes. Pretty straightforward stuff – you can't get it wrong.
Hooking onto a bra. The bra's eyes are black and the extender's hooks are steel – so you can see where it starts and begins.
Why would you need a bra extender?
You may be wondering why people don't just buy a new bra if they need a longer band? Well, for starters, many women fall outside commonly produced sizes. You may be able to find a cup size that fits in store but need a much longer band than is available. In that case, bra extenders are an easier option over spending time and money hunting down bras in a hard-to-find size. You will also find that over time bands stretch and you may not need the extender anymore after a few months of washing.
Remember that cup size is in proportion to band size. If you are a 36B but your weight fluctuates and you find you sometimes would be more comfortable with a looser band, you would be a 38A (same cup size as a 36B but with a longer band) which virtually doesn't exist in most stores. However, even if your weight fluctuation doesn't put you outside of commonly-produced sizes, having bra extenders on hand to wear if you feel you need extra give every now and then is an economical option over having to stock up on bras of different sizes.
Bra extenders are almost as essential in pregnancy as stretchy jeans. If you find your current cup size still fits but you need a looser band, then you can just opt to wear an extender with your bras. Or, like me, you may find that a usually well-fitting band might be nausea-inducing during pregnancy and prefer to wear an extender with your new bras during your nauseous period, going without whenever it subsides.
You may also find that you will need to wear a nursing bra even at night when you are breastfeeding (especially if you tend to leak a lot). A band that is well-fitting during the day can suddenly feel suffocating when you're lying down at night. I personally find wearing an extender at night makes my bras feel a lot more comfortable and has saved me the effort and cost of searching for sleep bras.
What type of bra extender do I need to buy?
There are many kinds of bra extenders out there. Obviously to buy one you first need to match it with the bra(s) you want to wear it with. Check how many hooks there are (width, not length) – one hook, two hook, three hook or more? What colour do you need? The standard colours that are easy to find would be black, white and nude/beige.
A two-hook bra extender in nude/beige.
There are extenders with elastic and the standard ones without. The elastic ones may be helpful if you need extra length or your weight really fluctuates up and down a lot. Otherwise the standard ones will definitely suffice. At the end of the day, bras bands are meant to be well-fitting to provide support. Just make sure your band is not overly loose and riding up over your breasts as that would defeat the purpose of wearing a bra.
A two-hook bra extender with elastic in white.
A three-hook bra extender with elastic in black.
Where can I buy bra extenders?
Most bra shops and department stores will stock bra extenders. However, if like most people time is your enemy, you can also easily find them on online shops. Bra extenders are a great little "wardrobe hack" which are very inexpensive and have been a staple part of my wardrobe through pregnancy and breastfeeding. It's one of those things that you may not know exists until someone tells you…so, well, now you know!
For two-hook and three-hook extenders, you can get them very from eBay HERE (for folks within Australia) for only $1.99 each or $3.95 for three. For the elasticated version, check them out HERE for $2.20 each or $3.95 for three.