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. 


  1. It's a shame that profitability is what it all comes down to, but I do think they're missing a trick. Any woman, not just those with a 26/28 back, who knows they can go to a particular brand and buy any style they like in their size will rely on that brand in future and probably purchase from them more often. When it comes to the small back, large cup market there's so little choice to start with that a company is practically guaranteeing themselves a customer base if they can offer all their styles in these sizes.

    I totally agree with the fit issue. Not only should they want to provide us all with a good fit, they should be promoting it with their models. When Freya advertise their bra styles which start at a 30 on a tiny model who looks like she needs a 26 back (and certainly nothing larger than a 28), I feel like I'm being lied to. Their fitting advice is good but when they use models like that, women with 28 backs will think they can't possibly be a 28 if even the model doesn't wear one. If a bit more honesty existed in this respect they might find more customers will realise they need a 26/28 back and will go to these brands to buy it. And if they're anything like me, they will actually buy MORE lingerie because they are amazed and delighted about the way the right size makes them look and feel.

  2. It's kind of funny how this whole sizing business started anyway: If you ask any of those usual size charts, I should wear a 36 or even 38 band, while I really need a 34 or 32 band to support my heavy breasts (34H/32HH). And this also only works with well constructed bras. For a while I was totally in love with the Freya Arabella, but I could not find a size that fit me. :(

    So if you're thinking about all the women who officially should wear 34 or 32 bands but end up buying 30 and 28 instead because of this stupid vanity sizing, you can imagine that there are women who have to shorten or stabilize their 28 bands in order to have anything to wear.

    So either, brands should go back to how sizes were supposed to be or get some new sizes produced. The latter is probably much easier to achieve and - more importantly - to promote, so I can't see the problem there, really.

    But I have the impression that we have to look to smaller companies for solutions - like Curvy Kate, Panache or Bravissimo who do a really great job on the larger cup sizes-development

  3. I feel like manufacturers should be engaging much more directly with their customers over the sizing issue, because at the moment it seems like a very one-sided discussion. I mean, Panache have confirmed that they're going to introduce a 26 band (in Spring 2013), but as far as I know they haven't told us how small the 26 bands will actually be, or how to figure out which size you need. Freya, meanwhile, have claimed that their 28 bands aren't getting bigger despite all the comments on B4J suggesting that they are.

    I would love to be able to talk to one of the people involved in grading/construction at a major brand, and ask them "how exactly is size X supposed to fit?". Or, "what would you suggest for a woman who wears size Y and has [insert fit problem here]?". The most helpful and detailed fitting advice I've heard has all come from independent bloggers and forum members, i.e. ordinary people who wear bras and have an interest in fit. I'm not sure that reflects very well on the fit/size information supplied by the manufacturers themselves.

    I feel like that was a bit of a rambling comment - sorry! I just find your posts very thought-provoking.

  4. Undressedtoimpress, so true about the models. That's one of the most laughable things about it--that Freya, Fantasie, etc don't even MAKE most bras in a 28 even though they obviously made one (or something smaller!) for the model. Why sell your product on a body the product isn't marketed towards?

    George, agreed about the problems of size drift. I've also heard from some people that longer bands are stretchier than shorter ones (I think because of the proportional nature of the stretch in elastic?) and so someone who measures 38 inches around her underbust might be most comfortable in a 34 or 36, and so on. Until there is wider access to actual in-store accurate fittings, it's really a shame that there is so much inconsistency in sizing.

    En Bouton, I think about the same thing. I always wonder if they are having staff meetings where they discuss what sizes to produce.. "Oh, those K-cup women won't want this pretty bra. We'll give them this nude contraption and they'll be happy" I do understand the concepts of supply and demand, but when only certain, usually more basic, bras come in the upper cup sizes and upper/lower band sizes, it definitely comes off as a judgment on what certain "should" wear even though it's most likely not meant that way.

  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles to find 28 backs. I don't believe for one second that there isn't a high enough demand for 26/28 backs.

    Although brands like Freya, Bravissimo and Debenhams Gorgeous will end up getting all my bra pocket money, it doesn't leave me with many options when shopping :/

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