Monday, November 21, 2011

Shut out

If you're an "odd" bra size, you're probably used to feeling left out. Maybe you've given up expecting to find your size in stores at all. If everyone was wearing the correct bra size, I think this would be a more common problem... after all, there are somewhere in the range of 96 possible bra size combinations for any given bra (and that's just for back sizes 28-38, in cups A-K)! And yet, even some of the most inclusive bras at Victoria's Secret, Target, and regular department stores only carry around 19 sizes (with band sizes under 32, cups under B, and cups over D-DD usually left out). Even stores with an extensive range like Nordstrom carry around 45 sizes tops, with many of those sizes only having one option, and still whole sections of the population are left out. More commonly, only sizes 34A, 34B, 34C, 36B, 36C, and 36D (a mere 6 sizes!) are offered in many stores. That's quite a significant difference from 96, and helps explain why VS and other stores use incorrect fitting methods to make sure their customers buy something rather than being correctly fitted into something that they don't carry. Surely they realize that there's more than 6-19 types of boobs/bodies/figures out there?

However, even the big-name big-bra brands aren't immune to a lack of inclusiveness. Even the ever-popular Freya, Fantasie, and Panache often seen to be stopping short. If you do a search on Freya's website, the choices go drastically down the higher your cup size goes, especially in a 28 band. For example, a search for 28FF presents you with 23 available options. A search for 28GG gives you 11 options. Selecting 28HH gives you 5.

A few examples that leave me feeling "left out":

Freya Lacey

Love the look of this bra, and it goes at least up to a JJ cup...  in every band size except for 28, where it stops at a G cup.

Freya Faye

I applaud you, Freya - the Faye bra goes all the way up to a J in a 28 band, excluding only JJ and K cups. However, as is the case with many bras, the style/cut changes when the bra is over a G cup. I was able to try on this bra at Bravissimo. A 28G was nice and tight in the band and too small in the cup. A 28GG, however, was FAR too big in the band and loose in the cup. It felt like a completely different bra! Cue disappointment and frustration.

Freya Nieve Longline Bra

Yum! However, this longline version has a rather disappointingly small range of sizes. The regular balcony version has a much wider range, the same as the Faye, so I guess there's still hope for me there, unless the style changes drastically in GG+ cups like the Faye.

Bras I Hate made some interesting points about Freya as a brand. I have to say, I tend to agree with the fact that Freya seems to work best for boobs around the DD-F or G cup range, but doesn't fare as well above this, or for those under a 30 band. Possibly this has to do with the cut/style changing for GG+ and under 30 bands (still not quite sure why that happens). I've been thinking for the past few months about moving on from my fixation with Freya. I realized that I keep wishing/thinking/hoping/expecting that Freyas will somehow work for me, if only I could find one in my size that didn't change drastically when going from a G to a GG cup.

If I move away from Freya as I have from most Panache (wires too wide for me) and Fantasie (cup shape not ideal for me, and I don't know of any 28 bands), where does this leave me? I keep hearing praises of Ewa Michalak, and I've decided that the next bra order I make will be from there. There's some brands I haven't explored much, like Curvy Kate. And I'll keep a lookout for Cleo bras that are similar to the Poppy, like the Juna bra.

With 96+ size options, and many stores only choosing to carry less than 20 of them, it's no wonder so many people have misconceptions about bra sizes and how bras should fit. I think companies are getting more aware of the need for more options as more and more people find out their correct bra size, so here's hoping that stores will slowly but surely begin to stock more sizes and offer better fitting advice!


  1. I avoid Freya because of the loose backs but I was sorely tempted to get the Nieve longline in a 30F, which is pretty stupid considering I have a 26.5" underbust. I still want it though :(

    I decided to take the plunge and order some Ewa Michalak bras recently in my usual 28FF size. I find it irritating that the 28 back is not part of their standard range and must also be custom ordered. Based on Cheryl's recommendation over at Invest in Your Chest I went for a 28G in the plunge style I ordered and a 28FF in the half cup style. Unfortunately the cups on the 28FF were too small, so I have been left with a non-returnable bra I can't wear unless I want to have twice the usual number of boobs.

  2. Upliftedthoughts - I find myself lusting after Freya bras that don't even come in my size all the time! I hope they make a longline bra in a 28 underbust... but I definitely hear you about the loose backs. I have about a 27.5 underbust and find many Freyas too loose.

    Thanks for sharing your Ewa Michalak experience! I'm hoping to order in a 30/65 back first to see if I can better gauge my cup size that way and still be able to return. Who knows, maybe I'll even find that 30-band Ewa Michalaks are tight enough for me...

    I wonder if you can put the 28FF bra up for sale on ebay or offer to sell it to perhaps another blogger who's that size? I'm sure there are people out there who want to try that size, but are hesitant to order from Poland.

  3. I really like this post :)
    I haven't tried on the Faye, but I did try on the non-longline version of the Nieve and WHOA, it is bad. Sounds a bit like how you described the Faye. It was really really loose in the band while simultaneously just feeling sort of weak, like the cups didn't have any shape to them whatsoever. It was full price at Bravissimo but felt like a factory second. I definitely wouldn't go for that one if I were you. It looks a lot like their blue and black Antoinette from a few years back though, so if you like the look of it you could see if any old Antoinettes are on eBay....

    Curvy Kate is good in my opinion, although you have to make sure the cup size is big enough or you get this weird downward-pointing shape. For me that meant a cup size up from what I considered my "real" cup size. But at least they make a 28 band up to a K cup in EVERY nonpadded bra, and up to J in the padded styles.

  4. Bras I Hate - Thanks for the tips! Guess I'll be staying away from the Nieve, then....

    I do want to try more Curvy Kate. The only one I've tried was a Thrill Me... I remember the band being quite loose even in a 28. But I think that one's known to have a loose band?
    I'll definitely have to try some of the other styles.

  5. The sizes I wear are 40H and 42GG. You cannot imagine how often I feel left out by all those bras where the largest size is 38G. There are a lot of girls online out there complaining about the lack of choices in 28G+, but I can assure you that those are a picnic compared to the choices available in 42GG and above.

  6. Maria - you're so right; I've often noticed how even bras that have "wide" size range only go from 30-38 back sizes (and stop at G). That leaves out not only girls under a 30 back, but everyone over a 38 back as well, as well as over a G cup!

    There needs to be push not only for smaller back/larger cups, but definitely for larger backs/larger cups as well. Thanks for pointing this out!