Saturday, 24 December 2011

Curvy Kate's Sizing... Letting Us Down?

Today I saw an interesting graphic revealing the sizing for some of Curvy Kate’s upcoming, and long-awaited bras (you can see photos of their Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, and sizing information, here). Especially with the new “Smoothie” bra having been trumpeted as the first ever J-cup molded bra, I think a lot of people will be quite startled and disappointed to see that it doesn’t go up to a J-cup in anything other than 28 and 30 bands.

On the one hand, this is a rare reversal of what the sizing looks like for many bras. Most companies seem content to either end the sizing at the same cup size over every band size...

Masquerade 'Capella' Size Range
....or to go up to higher cup sizes in only the higher band sizes, which doesn’t really make sense. For instance, Bravissimo's bras go up to a J in 28 band, but up to K-L in bigger band sizes.

Bravissimo 'Alana' Size Range
This seems odd as a 30J would have the same or similar cup volume to a 28JJ; it’s obviously a decision they make based on demand rather than ‘fairness’, but it has always annoyed me.

So Curvy Kate’s sizing for these bras does technically make a little more sense—they end the cup sizes at a proportionally equal volume for every band size (except the 28, which would need to go up to a JJ for all to be equal). This does at least convince me that Curvy Kate knows how proper bra sizing works, with cup sizes changing proportional to band size, something I’ve never been convinced that Freya is fully sentient of.

However, Curvy Kate’s decision also goes against what I think of as their whole philosophy of inclusive sizing, and especially the way in which they bring certain types of bras to sizes that have never had them before. I thought that’s what they were trying to do with the creation of a molded bra up to a J-cup. But for those wearing a 38 back, this bra only goes up to a G, which is hardly revolutionary; I know plenty of people who need sizes bigger than that. I’d also prefer if this bra went up to a K cup in a 28 band--that way even if they do cut off the sizes proportional to band size, at least they'd make it up to a GG or H in the 38 band. Curvy Kate’s Showgirl and padded bras have always come in fewer sizes than their unpadded bras, which seems like a real shame as it is often those with the biggest boobs who most desire the shape and support of padded bras, and who have the fewest options elsewhere. I know what I should say—that “it’s a start”—but I wish they would have started this with a bigger bang. I’m sure Curvy Kate wants to make sure to get the shape and support exactly right before they put bigger sizes into production; maybe I'm wrong about this, but I’m convinced that most people who are sized out of the Smoothie would have been happier with a slightly imperfect version rather than none at all. 

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Panache Tango II: Not the Heaviest of Heavy Lifters

I’ve just read a review of the Panache Tango II on My Curves and it reminded me that this is another bra I feel pretty negative towards. It’s a very popular bra that many people depend on daily, but it also seems to let down a lot of others who try it… literally. Every time I’ve tried it, I’ve hated the low, unsupported, pointy look it gave me. I think some people struggle with the Tango II’s shape because the bottom section doesn’t come up to meet the strap, like the far right image on my handy diagram:

For those of us with heavier boobs and certain shapes, the cut and style of the Tango don’t perform as well as we might hope. The really disappointing thing about the Tango II is that comes in so many colors, so many sizes, and a plunge version AND a balconette—so it would be a REALLY handy bra to fit into well! 

Tango II Balconette

Tango II Plunge

When I used to shop at a specialty store in the US, they had lots of things in a 30HH--but the Tango II was the ONLY bra they carried in a 28J, and in nude at that. Despite this it’s a bra that fascinates me because of how polarizing it is, so I decided to do a little poking around out of curiosity. I’ve found one of the best ways to discover a bra’s weak points is to read the reviews on Bravissimo, and especially look for that little “but…” in the positive reviews.
Here are some of the complaints I found in the reviews for the Plunge version of the Tango, pictured again below… though it has good ranking overall, many reviewers slipped in a few jabs.

“My boobs are naturally very high up and round, this bra totally transform them! Compared to the balconette version this is better in terms of shape for me, the balconette makes my boobs look like a triangle from the side, this is less triangle like but still very unflattering. It pushes my boobs down and really, there's a pointy shape to this one too… Lumpy under clothes but that's to expect from this bra.”

“I really didn't like Tango. It looked ok from the front but it was awful from the side. It gave my boobs a horrible pointy shape. I couldn't have left the house in it, unless I was going to a fancy dress as Madonna! I'm sending it back.”

“This bra is great if you want to wear a low cut top but don't want to appear too 'cleavagey'. It does make you look a bit pointy though!”

“Meh. This bra is OK but gives me conical breasts which is not a look I'm too fond of.”

“Lovely colour, durable fabric, I'd like it give a bit more of a round shape to my boobs, but it compensates for it with the support it gives.”

“I loved this bra when I first bought it as it was my first ever Bravissimo bra so wearing the right size felt amazing! However I've now noticed the shape is a bit strange, making my boobs feel pulled apart and slightly outwards, my friend has the same bra and she mentioned the weird shape to me. It's still a good bra however.”

The thing I find the most interesting about these reviews is that most of the reviewers seem to sort of shrug and concede that at least it’s serviceable. I can’t help but think that many of them would prefer a different bra, but have just accepted that this must be the best thing out there. That makes me sad.

And for the Balconette:

 “…it doesn't give the most spectacular shape - it's a little on the frumpy side for me; I would prefer to have a higher, more rounded shape. But I'm giving it 4 stars as it fits my breasts very comfortably and it is very sturdy and reliable…”

“This bra gave me a set of boobs I couldn't recognize as my own! TORPEDO!!! So ugly, not what I wanted! Torpedo facing north but still not as north as my boobs do naturally without a bra... Terrible fit to honest! It squished me down a bit leaving me with a mini quad-boob effect (very subtle). From the side it looked like a triangle! I'm not even exaggerating! From the front it looked okay though.”

“I know a lot of women rave about this bra. …It is very comfortable but it just doesn't get my boobs front and center- it makes me look too wide.”

Obviously not every bra is perfect for everyone, but I think the Tango II is the best example I’ve ever seen of a polarizing bra—one that inspires love, hate, and “meh”. And while I know many people genuinely love this bra and the shape it gives, I wonder if some of the reviewers, even the somewhat positive ones, might be happier with different options.

I was also interested to learn, if this bra is the Tango “II”, what is the Tango 1? It seems like the original Tango is this, the “Tango Classic”:

Not exactly the most lust-worthy bra out there. I’ll be the first to admit that the updated, decorated and colorful Tango II has a little more spice, at least, compared to this most basic of basics!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Reviews: Various Freya Bras At Debenhams

Here are my thoughts on the various Freya bras I tried on during my last visit to Debenhams. Most of these bras are also available for sale elsewhere online, at Bravissimo, etc etc. Since there are very few 28 bands, maybe none, displayed in Debenhams stores (they have lots online though) I was mostly trying on these bras merely for the novelty of it, so I didn't expect any of them to fit in the band, just the cup. I hope my thoughts will be useful anyway, to those of you who can fit into these bras' size ranges.


I’ll start with the best of the Freya bras I tried on. I really like the look of this one, and it is even nicer in person, with the tiny spots and orchid embroidery working well together (who knew?). Freya loves pattern mixing in their bras, and while I think it sometimes looks like a lot of crazy, it comes off well in this bra.

Unfortunately, the size range for this bra is very small (30-38 D-GG), so I did the best I could by trying on a 32GG. The cup fit well, although the band was obviously huge on me, so I think I would fit well in a 28HH if they made one. The shape was really nice and rounded and the center gore was low—although in my experience, this probably wouldn’t have been preserved in the hypothetical 28HH, and so it might not have looked so nice.
If you do fit in the Trudie’s size range though, it seems like a lovely bra to try out.

This is a longer-running style and Freya only makes it in continuity colors now (black, white, and nude). I used to own a red Rio in 30GG and remember it being a good fit, although the straps were shiny and slid off my shoulders every five minutes, so I nearly never wore it. The shape it gave was unusual and not like any other Freya bras I’ve tried—rounded, but also more narrow and “upfront”.

In Debenhams, I tried on a black Rio in 30H. It “fit” me but I was unpleasantly surprised by how it looked on me. It was just ugly! The weird mesh material looked kind of like crocodile skin in black. (I had found it looked sort of “sporty” in the red, although my boyfriend was repulsed by the appearance of the fabric.) 

Also, what is with the weird metal “decoration” in the center of the cups? Sure, bows are a bit common and dull, but I’m not sure this is the right way to branch out. It’s like the bra was decorated with office supplies.

The shape was also really terrible from the side. 

I think I could have improved it by shortening the straps a lot and going up a cup size or two, but I was so turned off by the whole concept of this bra that I didn’t really care. I do think that it would look better in different colors and/or smaller cup sizes but this isn't one I'd recommend to a friend.

I like this bra in theory because the pattern covers all three sections of the cup—I find this is often more flattering than a sheer upper section in larger cup sizes. As you can see, it looked pretty nice from the front in a 30GG:

The shape was bad from the side, though. You can see how it cuts in slightly at the top but then has too much fabric at the apex, giving it a pointed shape. Partly it’s because the cup is too small, but this happens to me a lot due to my full-on-top shape so I’d avoid this bra if you share that shape. Even if they made this bra in a 28HH, I don’t think it would work for me.

However, one thing I loved about this bra was that the pattern continued all the way around the back band. It seems like a lot of bras' patterns end on the cup or a little ways onto the band to be replaced with a solid color, and I think continuing the pattern looks more purposeful and consistent.

The Freya Zara is from a past season, but I believe it’s the same bra as the newer Tara bra. (Zara, Tara, thank goodness the names aren’t too similar… Good lord, why don’t they just call them the same name??) …Anyway, I actually thought this one was really cute.

Sorry it's so blurry :(

The center gore was low, although once again I rather doubt that this would be the case in the size I really need.

Unfortunately, the cup was way too small for me in the size I tried. Not a surprise, really, as I knew I was trying on the wrong size, but it was so small that I can’t give any solid advice on the shape or whether it runs true to size. It looks like it has potential to give a nice shape in the right size, though.

I didn’t take a photo of this one as it was such a bad fit, so this is just a stock photo.

The weirdest aspect of this bra was that it looked completely sheer on the hanger, but when I put it on, it was completely opaque--it looks opaque on the model too. I think that has to do with the pattern and the double mesh layer. Anyway, for better or for worse, it’s not sheer at all.
Even though I tried on the Eloise in a 30H, which might have fit me, I had no luck with it. The top section of the cup was extremely tight and squashed me and cut in. It reminded me of an exaggerated version of the way the Freya Arabella fits. This one isn’t a good bra for full-on-top boobs.

Obviously I didn’t have any tremendous successes with these bras, but some of them (the Trudie and the Zara) were nice. I also like the fact that Freya has changed up the look of their straps, so they are a little less utilitarian-looking but still thick enough to be comfortable. Freya isn’t hopeless as a brand, but I do want to note that none of the bras I tried on are available anywhere in my actual size. Shame, they were starting to grow on me!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A Funny Thing Happened in Debenhams...

For my UK readers, it won’t be a shock to learn that you can buy bras above a D-cup in almost any high street store. Most department stores and lingerie stores seem to go up to F, G, or even beyond. But for my US readers, it’s probably more shocking to learn that you CAN buy anything above a D cup in anything other than a specialty store. True, Nordstrom does offer the odd Freya or Panache bra, so I like to believe that it is getting better, but there’s still a long way to go. Nordstrom’s website certainly doesn’t make it easy for me to even figure out what sizes they offer--they allow you to search bras by style, color, price, and brand, but NOT by size!


The US is still miles behind the UK in terms of mainstream availability of “uncommon” sizes—which are really very commonly needed. Victoria’s Secret gets a lot of flack, which they deserve, for putting their models in ill-fitting bras and fitting people very poorly, but it’s not only them—it’s cultural. “DD” is still used as a synonym for “huge boobs”. That seems so laughable to me, knowing that even my J-cups are big but not absurd, and DD is really a fairly average size.

So coming from the US, it’s been a really novel experience to be able to simply stroll into a department store and find GG, H, HH, and J cups on the racks. Of course, having the double curse of a cup size AND a band size on the borderline of where most companies stop making bras, I still can’t find much in stores in my preferred size of 28J, but there are plenty of 30H or 30HH bras to try on for a laugh and to get a closer look at the style. That’s what I did in Debenhams recently. The visit in general was a mixed bag, as I’ll describe below, but since I’ve only been in the UK for a few months, I was still so dazed to even find these sizes in a mainstream store that I found myself wanting to rave about the experience.

The negative aspects of my visit to Debenhams:
The bigger cup sizes are all spirited away in a small room that is actually up a small flight of stairs from the normal lingerie department. It was reasonably well-marked, but I might not have thought to look for it if I hadn’t read Invest In Your Chest’s post mentioning that Debenhams had expanded their sizes.
The two salesladies in this room, who were behind the desk chatting, didn’t offer to fit me or help me find anything. When I asked to try on some bras I’d grabbed for myself, one of them said “Oh, I didn’t even see you there!” This despite the fact that the room is pretty small and I’d been moving all over it and making quite a racket knocking all the bras off the hooks as I pulled out sizes from the back. Even after seeing me, they didn’t offer to fit me. I didn't think to ask, so I don't know if they would have done the fitting properly--a project for another day!

The positive aspects:
They had a good selection of bras in a variety of sizes, particularly Freya bras. They even had a small sale section of past-season bras for pretty good bargains.
They also have their own range, Gorgeous by Debenhams, and I decided to try on a convertible multiway plunge even though the biggest size I could find was a 32G. To my very great surprise, this bra was a pretty good fit on me!

I would obviously have preferred a tighter band, but it definitely felt more like a 30 than a 32. It was also REALLY low-plunging, which could be great for certain clothes, and the straps converted to halter style or criss-cross. I’ve literally never tried on a convertible bra since my 34DD days and I was really tickled to find something that more or less fit. I wouldn't consider this a great bra for me (though if they made it in a 28 band and higher cup sizes it would be GENIUS) but it is the best option I have ever found to wear under criss-cross or halter neck clothing. It even gave a reasonably nice shape from the side!

The best part was this bra was on sale for £8. It’s still up on their website here if anyone is interested! I normally would never recommend buying a bra in a "sister size", but since the band runs a little small and it is SO HARD to find halter necks for big boobs, this could be a good option for some people.

Unfortunately, this Gorgeous by Debenhams multiway bra was the only passable item I tried on. All of the Freya bras, even the ones that technically fitted me, looked terrible. Next up—reviews of these bras! In the meantime, for more high street bra fitting fun, check out Fuller Figure Fuller Bust’s hilarious and depressing post here!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Review: Bravissimo's Current Offerings

The last time I went into Bravissimo, I tried on their Demi Diva and Parisian Plume bras, which I reviewed here. I also tried out several other bras, some I liked and some I hated. For anyone actually near enough a Bravissimo to go in, I would really recommending making the trip and trying things on there, but for those of you who are forced to order online, I hope it will be helpful to see how these bras compare, at least on my shape.

Bravissimo Bubbles Bra

This is literally the only bra I’ve ever found that made my boobs look like elf shoes. I’ve seen round, I’ve seen droopy, I’ve seen pointy, but I’ve never seen this. This… is an elf shoe.

I also found the pattern to be very ugly in person—like something they’d use as a border around the pages in an 8th grade chemistry textbook. I know some people like it, but it really turned me off. Also, the fabric is really stiff, sort of like the fabric used to make waterproof backpacks.

The good things about this bra? It gets mostly good reviews on the website so I know the shape works well for some people (NOT for my full on top shape) and the pattern is continued on the straps, which is cute, especially if you like colorful stuff. Here's what it looks like on their website... SO different from how it looked in real life.

Bravissimo Bettie Mae Bra

I was pretty impressed by this one. I feel like it’s Bravissimo’s answer to the Freya Deco, but this one comes in a MUCH better range of sizes:

Deco size range

Bettie Mae size range 
I love the fact that the H-J cups are selling out fastest--maybe this will prove to Freya that people wearing these sizes can and do wear plunge bras successfully! 

The fit was good on me—I didn’t have any cutting in, although I was worried it might begin to cut in throughout the day as the velvet ribbon is fairly stiff. It’s also different from the Deco in that it’s not really molded, just padded. Like the Curvy Kate Thrill Me and Tease Me bras, the padding is soft and thin and can be folded like a non-padded bra. Personally I prefer this to the stiff molding in the Deco, so if you, too, are a little freaked out by bras that stand up on their own, this might be a good alternative. My only complaint was that it felt a little weak as I am so used to nonpadded bras with no stretch and this one is a little more forgiving. I think people who like padded/molded bras will love this, though.

I also think this orangey coral shade is an odd one to start with, but I suspect this bra will prove popular enough to be made in other colors later.

Miss Mandalay Vava Bra

Photo on Bravissimo's website
Wow, this ran smaller than anything, ever! I tried it on in a 30HH as there’s no 28J. I would have needed a 30K or something to get my boobs halfway into this one.

On me! Yikes!
It’s very, very stiff and non-forgiving—the opposite of the Betty Mae. If you like the colors and pattern of this one, size up a cup size or two if you can. Otherwise, skip it!

Bravissimo Alana Bra

Ah, the ubiquitous basic bra that fails heinously on me. I haven’t really seen many reviews of this on blogs, but there are tons of positive reviews on the website and it’s their best-selling bra. I can see why—it comes in lots of colors, it’s simple but not boring, and once you know your size in it, you can just buy the new color every season. Honestly, I’ve always dreamed of being able to get a good fit in a big-shot continuity style like this. Unfortunately, the Alana is a no-go for my boobs, and I suspect others with a full-on-top shape will also struggle with it. The upper section is just SO TIGHT!

To be able to fit into this bra, your entire breast needs to be mobile and cooperative enough to be completely INSIDE the bra—it is meant to support the top as well as the bottom. I suspect that’s why they say on the website that the cups run slightly small—because the cut requires people with fuller boobs to size up to avoid massive quadraboob. Because of my shape, I usually need cups that go partway up the breast and rest gently against my boobs. The Alana hopes to serve a larger role in wrangling my boobs. That’s sadly never going to work for me. I technically could size up to get a better fit, but the Alana only goes up to a J in a 28 band, even though it goes up to an L in other band sizes… fail. So if the supposedly ubiquitous Alana is no good on you, don’t feel bad, it doesn’t work for me either.

Bravissimo Boudoir Beau

Since most of Bravissimo’s own-brand bras are modeled after the Alana, I never expect any of them to fit. But, SURPRISE! The Boudoir Beau fits amazingly in my normal size, 28J. I didn’t even need to size up!

Best of all, it gives a really round shape. 

I also find this bra very beautiful. The lace overlay is something that’s easy to find in smaller bras but very rare in larger cups. Although it did cover a lot of my chest, I thought it still looked good. I like red with gray, too. If the Alana fails on you, try this one! You might have better luck—the top section is a lot more stretchy and forgiving. In fact, as I recall, the Boudoir Beau actually predates the Alana. 

That just about sums up everything I tried on--unfortunately, a lot of the bras they sell don't come in my size or a close size. I was still pleased to have a few successes, though.

Saving The Princess

About a month ago I wrote a review of the Curvy Kate Princess bra, and how even though I loved the way it looked, I couldn’t get the right fit. Since then, I decided to commit to owning the red Princess I got from Brastop and try a few alterations that would make it wearable for me.

Altering a bra can always feel a bit risky because once you’ve done it, you can no longer return the bra if it still doesn’t work. For instance, I wish I would have returned my Panache Melody instead of altering it, as it still doesn’t fit right and it doesn’t look good on me. But there are other bras that I’ve managed to truly transform through alterations, taking them from ill-fitting to perfect, so I’m still willing to take the risk sometimes.

The first thing I did to the Princess was cut the tiny ribbon that goes across the top of the cups. I had found that no matter what I did, this ribbon cut into my boobs, but I also noticed that the rest of the embroidery and detailing in that area was actually slightly stretchy, so cutting the ribbon fixed the problem entirely. I cut it in the upper corner next to the strap, and since it looked a little odd with it taken out entirely, I just left the ribbons threaded through but unattached at the top. With the bra on, it lays where it should and isn’t very noticeable.

The bra technically fit me after cutting the ribbon, but I still wasn’t a huge fan of the shape, so I altered the center gore, as I do on almost all of my bras to make them fit better to my shape. 

I’ve found that this alteration looks much neater in Panache and Cleo bras because the center gore is wider to begin with. In Freya and Curvy Kate bras, the cups are already placed so close that putting them closer together makes the underwires overlap each other and get a bit warped:

This wasn’t the end of the world for me, though, as the center gore did still lie on my breastbone, and the alteration made the shape from the side look AWESOME:

For comparison, here's a photo of an unaltered Curvy Kate Princess in the same size (28J) but in black. Notice how much less lift the bra gave. 

My final problem was that the band was now too tight. I find the Princess has a fairly tight band anyway (a good thing!) but the alteration on the center gore took off almost two inches of that length—so it was technically now a 26 band! Since I do measure about 28” around, the tightness was painful, so I decided to investigate the world of bra extenders. I was able to find some very cheap ones on eBay that came in lots of colors and options of 2 hooks or 3 hooks. I ordered a red one and I’ve been using it with my Princess. 

This final step made my Princess truly flattering and wearable and I’ve been wearing it more than any of my other bras. I don't know if I would buy the Princess again, as I had to do so much work just to make it fit me, but I'm really glad I committed to altering this one. I just love the look of red lingerie--I think it can be much sexier than black, as black is so often used as a basic or continuity color. I’m really glad I was able to make this bra work for me, and I hope this can be encouraging for anyone with stubborn boobs and the desire to have fun with scissors and thread. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show-It's Complicated.

I have a confession: I watched the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show last night (a bit belatedly). I actually enjoy watching it for its pure cheerfulness and gaudy excess. 

And that’s weird for me because I normally really dislike things that portray and glorify only one type of extremely skinny body. In fact, I still hate this about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I really, really wish that they would choose some curvier women to be their Angels—some with boobs, some with hips, some with both. I just personally would love to see that variety and I think those bodies could set off the lingerie as well or better than the very similar bodies they use currently.

I’m not saying that I dislike skinny women or think they can’t be beautiful. They are often beautiful. Like Behati!

But I think that the kind of blog posts I’ve been seeing a lot lately, saying that it's unfair to hate on or reject skinny bodies in favor of curvy bodies, are often avoiding a point that I think needs to be made. The glorification of skinny, bony, and in some cases, even starved-looking bodies has been a major trend in fashion for many years now, and can be a trigger for many people with tendencies toward unhealthy behavior or eating disorders. I don’t see an equal self-harm response on the part of skinny women to attempt to look like curvy women. I’m sorry, but I just don’t view it as the same thing. A very skinny, less curvy woman might love her body, or she might feel jealousy and wish for a different body—same as any body shape might feel—but the difference is that the very skinny woman can look in almost any fashion magazine, or at almost any runway show, and see her body type reflected there. Despite not eliminating the possibility of body insecurity, this is still not the case for most other body types who rarely or never see their body type glorified.

I also think that there is a difference between a healthy skinny body and an unhealthy one. I’m not going to name names here or suggest that any certain person is healthier than another, because I don’t know them or their lives, and I’m not a doctor. But some people are skinny because they're naturally skinny, some are skinny because they're athletes, and some are skinny because they are engaging in extreme weight-loss behaviors. I'd like to think that the Victoria's Secret Angels are the first or second kind, but after reading Adriana Lima’s description of her weight loss plan, I have to suspect the opposite. Losing weight by severely restricting calories and over-exercising can be very, very unhealthy and so it is difficult for me to focus on a show celebrating lingerie and women’s sexiness when I am wondering about that. 

My point is that, even though there is no call for body-hating on skinny women and calling them “twelve-year-old boys” and so on, there is also the little fact that some women who are that skinny DON’T look like that naturally. Apparently not all of the Angels do, otherwise they would not need to resort to the extreme diet and workout plans they reportedly rely on before the show. And I think that's unnecessary, because I believe that just about everyone looks best at their "natural" weight--the weight they settle at when they go about their lives not obsessing about weight loss and dieting. I would be so much more capable of appreciating the skinny bodies in the VS Fashion Show if I knew they were healthy and natural.

I do enjoy seeing the colorful, frilly, bizarre costumes the Angels wear in the show. The rainbow knee socks. The mermaid costumes. But this year I really struggled with the lack of diversity in the Angels’ body types. Of COURSE the Angels are “Real Women.” But so are ALL women, including those whom Victoria’s Secret would not choose for its runway… and I think it’s those women who don’t hear that often enough. 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Does it Really Matter if There’s a High Demand for Smaller Back Sizes?

Posts about sizing on Busts4Justice and Invest In Your Chest got me thinking about the relative rareness of small back/big cup bras. Over and over, I see people requesting more 28 backs and the introduction of 26 backs on the Facebook pages of D+ companies. Over and over, the response is the same—there isn’t enough demand to justify it.

I’m no economist, but I truly believe that these brands should want to produce 28 backs not based on how profitable they are, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. Think of it this way: if they are making up to K cups, then their whole company is founded on the belief that a proper fit is important. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they just sell us horribly ill-fitting bras at mainstream stores? If they are focusing on making the most money possible, shouldn’t they just make sizes 32-38 A-DD, teach customers to add +4 to their band size, and use super-skinny models to shame us all into buying their crappy products? If fit is important to a bra company, they should consider it paramount to make sure that everyone is able to find a size to fit and support them.

Sure, I like to buy pretty bras, and I would buy more of them if there were more available in my size. But it’s much more than that—it’s a physical, possibly even moral issue. If no one made bras in size 28J, I WOULD have to get a breast reduction whether I wanted one or not (I don't). I would HAVE TO. The back pain I would suffer without a supportive bra would be impossible to deal with. The blog Thin and Curvy points this out in this truly brilliant post from a while back: THE RIGHT BRA CAN PREVENT SURGERY. Everyone deserves a good fit, but for the upper reaches of cup sizes, a good fit can be life-altering.

That’s why I feel so scornful of companies that continue to make tons of D-G cups while ignoring bigger cups and smaller backs based on how little money they’d make off them. Fine, if they want to turn it into an economic issue, I just won’t buy from them. But the sad fact is that I don’t single-handedly have the economic power to convince anyone of anything. I’m sure Freya couldn’t care less whether I buy their trendy floral creations. I’m sure Panache wouldn’t even notice if I stop buying their bras that leave scars and lacerations on my body.

At least we’ve got Curvy Kate. They seem committed to continuing to produce their non-Showgirl bras in 28 D-K (EVERY bra, not just the ugly ones) even though I have read that they don’t make as much profit off these sizes. I really respect them for this commitment to supporting women and I really, really hope I never have to eat my words about this.