Thanks to some weight gain over the holidays, I bumped up another cup size to 28G. But now that it’s been a couple months and I’ve been taking advantage of my new apartment building’s free gym, my boobs don’t seem to be going back down. I think I’m stuck with them. However, that’s not so bad, considering that it meant I had to do major bra shopping recently (that’s right, had to). Because I’m cheap, I only buy bras online (in fact, I’ve never purchased a bra in person, or even tried one on, since discovering my correct size), which means lots of shopping around and lots of exchanges and returns to get the best price and the right fit. As such, I’m going to briefly review all the different online stores I’ve tried.

In no particular order:

Figleaves is easily my favorite UK-based online retailer. They carry more styles, brands, and sizes than anyone else. And while the website is nothing particularly special to look at, it’s very easy to navigate and has lots of filters (size, brand, price, style, etc) to narrow down your options. There are also tons of customer reviews. The one thing it’s missing is a wish list feature.

With myriad sales and exclusive newsletter promotions, Figleaves is the most consistently low-priced option out there. If there’s a bra you have your eye on but you don’t want to pay full price, sign up for their mailing list and you’re pretty much guaranteed a sale or coupon before long. Additionally, shipping is ridiculously inexpensive ($4.95 flat rate no matter how much you buy), and you don’t get charged shipping again when doing an exchange. Note, however, that while the site says it takes 5-8 business days to receive your order, I find it’s more like a couple weeks (so about 10 business days). International mail just doesn’t go that fast.

Returns and exchanges are also extremely easy. Figleaves has a NJ outpost to which you send returns, which are then sorted and sent back to the UK. So you don’t even have to pay international shipping! And you receive an email telling you it’s been received once it hits that outpost, so it eliminates the worry that your return may get lost in the mail. While they don’t have a way to reserve the new item for which you want to exchange the reject, you can call them and simply add the new item to the order you already received, which again avoids paying shipping a second time. Then they issue a refund when the first item reaches the UK.

Another UK retailer. Bravissimo has an excellent selection, and their house brand is full of really cute, pretty, and sophisticated options of very high quality. You’ll also occasionally find Bravissimo-exclusive items from other brands. While the sales aren’t nearly as frequent or cover as many items as Figleaves, Bravissimo does have a mailing list that’ll apprise you of when the rare sale happens, and then you’re liable to find great choices for really slashed prices. There are lots of customer reviews, and they’re presented very nicely.

Bravissimo also offers flat-rate shipping, but it’s significantly more than Figleaves at £7.95, or about $12.50 US. Still, if you’re placing a large order, it’s not bad. It, too, takes about two weeks to arrive. The Bravissimo website is very attractive and easily navigated, with an ample selection of filters. Returns are very easy, as well. You first call the company to reserve your replacement if you’re doing an exchange, then fill out the form that came with your order and mail everything back in. For a refund, you just fill out the form and mail the bra back with it. This does require you to pay international shipping, though.

A third UK retailer on my list. This one has the lowest prices by far, but the selection is definitely more limited. It seems more like it carries previous seasons’ colorways, and as such the sizes may be limited too. But what you do find is nearly always at least 25% off, and sometimes as much as 80% off! You just can’t beat that. The site is fairly attractive, and once again easy to navigate and with useful filters. However, while customer reviews are present, there aren’t very many, and certainly not enough to serve as a good sizing guide like with Figleaves and Bravissimo. I’m not sure why so few customers leave reviews on this site. Additionally, each different color of the same bra is a separate listing, so you can’t really view all the different color options next to each other.

Shipping to the US is similar to Bravissimo at £6.95, but it’s free if you purchase at least £75 worth of merchandise. Once again, it takes about 14 days for delivery; and again, returns are simple and straightforward with no questions asked and no second shipping charge for exchanges, though you are responsible for the international return shipping.

I actually ordered from this company a few years ago, and haven’t ordered since. I don’t remember how I found it, but it’s less a lingerie store and more a sex shop that happens to carry DD+ lingerie. It’s pretty racy stuff, but still practical and quite cheap. However, the fit was terrible, so I sent back the two bras I tried–and never heard from them again! I never received confirmation of the return and never got my money back (luckily the items I bought only added up to $20 thanks to a super clearance sale). Unfortunately, delivery confirmation/tracking for international packages costs something like $30, so it’s not worth paying for, and as such I have no way of knowing whether they ever received the return or not. Though considering none of my other dozens of international returns have ever gotten lost in the mail, I do not recommend buying from Ann Summers from outside the UK.

On to the US retailers! Bare Necessities is a bit more limited in 28 bands (there are currently no more than 10 items in any size from 28DD to 28H). Sales are a little more infrequent, but you can usually find a 10% discount by Googling “Bare Necessities coupon”. The site is simple and attractive, though I’m not crazy about the filters in the left column. I prefer being able to apply more than one filter at once. Bare Necessities has ample customer reviews, and they’re presented really nicely: with a star rating system and little sliders indicating a scale of different fit issues, like “fits large/small,” “minimally supportive/very supportive,” etc, and it lists the reviewers’ bra sizes, which is ever so helpful.

Shipping to anywhere in the US is free for orders of at least $70. Delivery isn’t especially fast or slow–it’s 7 to 10 business days. I have never made a return or exchange to Bare Necessities, so I can’t really speak to that, but they do give you 60 days to return an item, compared to most stores’ 30. You’re responsible for the return shipping, but will not be charged to ship the replacement item.

So far my favorite US online retailer. While the site is less attractive than some of the others and the selection is somewhat limited, I simply can’t ignore that nearly every bra has a few dollars knocked off the price, and after your first order you get a 10% discount code to use on all future orders (plus you can use the permanent BBSAVE10 code for 10% off your first order before you even get your personalized code). There’s also free shipping for all orders in the US and Canada, regardless of how much you spend–finally! And delivery only takes a few days. There are very few customer reviews, though I do appreciate that Breakout Bras lists the manufacturer’s suggested washing instructions and their own instructions if they’re any different.

There is a major problem with this site, though: The filters don’t always work. I find I’m better off searching for a particular brand by using the search field, then clicking through to see if my size is available, rather than selecting my size from the filters. Returns are again hassle-free. Just fill out a form and mail it back with the item. You are responsible for the return shipping. Since shipping is always free, I opted to place a second order for the item for which I wanted to exchange the reject, instead of doing an official exchange. It just ensured they wouldn’t run out of my size, and I got my replacement faster. The refunded money was back on my credit card within about a week of the returned item reaching the company.

Lion’s Lair is actually a store in Florida, but I found them online when I was searching for bra-sized swimwear a few years ago. This was when I was first figuring out my real size, and Lion’s Lair ended up really helping. You can’t order online, they require you to call to place an order. This is to ensure you’re buying the correct size. There are measuring instructions on the site, and they ask you to measure yourself before calling. While the site itself is pretty outdated and ugly, the selection of Freya and Fantasie swimsuits is excellent, so that’s what drew me to them initially.

One of the suits I ordered was on backorder, but they sent me the first one right away without charging me additional shipping for the second. It turned out that I needed a different size, and the exchange was easy enough, though it must be done over the phone and there’s a $3 restocking fee (so keep that in mind if you usually order a range of sizes to see what fits best). Shipping is a flat $9, or free for orders over $100. The Lion’s Lair site is nothing great to look at, and certainly isn’t the simplest to order from, but the fantastic customer service really makes up for it. They were incredibly helpful the first time I called when I had no knowledge of my sizing, and they invite you to call once you receive your order to discuss the fit. The fact that they insist you call first to discuss sizing and fit makes me trust them as a business, and I would not hesitate to order from them again.

There are definitely more online bra stores out there, but these are the ones I have experience with. Though, honestly, my #1 resource is still eBay!