Fitting Into The Highstreet – A Guest Post

26 Apr
If you have been wearing a bra for over 10 years, (and I have for 45) and you have, shall we say, boobs that give a natural cleavage, you are probably wearing the wrong size bra.
I have ALWAYS known about back sizes and the importance of them. Catalogues always explained about how to ‘measure’ for a bra, but  the cup sizes available were very limited.
‘C’ cup was often the largest for about 30 years of my bra wearing days.
It increased to ‘D’ or ‘E’ about 10 years ago. That meant to find a bra that had cups that would encase my boobs I had to go up a couple of back sizes.
About 8 years ago I went to our local small independent Lingerie shop to be fitted, yes fitted, by eye, no tape measure in sight, and came home with a 34F instead of my trusted 38D!  It was a bit of a shock and I had to get used to the support of a bra, a tightness that had not been there before.
We are, by nature, creatures of habit and comfort.  When we find a bra we like/fits/is comfortable we stick with it.  Plus, we are at a financial disadvantage too – we often have to pay more for our larger boobs and would need to part with at least £25 for a new bra – not something most of us can do very often.
Realistically – and be truthful ladies – we only need/wear between 4 and 6 bras. Generally speaking, when reaching for a bra to wear in the morning, we go straight to our trusted, smooth, comfortable non nipple showing bra.  We then maybe have one or two ‘pretty, lacey’ bras for evenings. And quite often if you don your Maidenform/Spanx you don’t even get to wear the pretty ones.
So what do we want and need?
I don’t want to walk into a department store and see hundreds of pretty, lacey, sheer, multicoloured types of bras going up to a ‘C’ cup.
I  would prefer less of that type of choice and, I would rather have a larger range of sizes, starting at 26/28/30” backs and in cup sizes over a G.  All I want is something that gives a smooth outline, not necessarily ‘moulded’, pretty colours – all the rainbow colours and beyond!   Just something that I can try on – and a choice.  It’s unlikely that you will be able to get the perfect fit after trying on just one bra, and so ideally you want to have a choice of ten or so.
Most of us, don’t want lace, sheer, bows and lots of seams that give a bumpy effect under our clothes. How many of you only ever put on your Deco bra?
I always put a jumper or tee shirt over each satisfactory bra to see what it looks like under clothes.  Yes it’s a faff but it is the only way to get a true effect, and to determine as to whether you really need another frilly bra.
Most of the time, we cannot buy successfully online. Someone else’s comments are only a guide as our boobs (even your own 2) are different, hang differently, with skin poking out in different places and wires that aren’t quite the right fit as someone else, even with the same bra size. Just think of the multiple visits to the post office, queuing to return the non-fitting bras!
We need local shops and department stores all around this country and every country that have a full range of sizes and some choice within those sizes. We don’t all have the luxury of living in or near London!
Go to your local store and tell them what you want and need, or write to the buyer.  If they want to run a business, and not lose all their custom to the internet,  they should start to listen.
And remember –  it is not our fault we were wearing the wrong size bra. We had no choice but the choice is slowly getting better and we should persuade our shops to take that into account.

8 Responses to “Fitting Into The Highstreet – A Guest Post”

  1. Gleepface April 26, 2013 at 12.53 #

    I dream of the day this is a reality. I have lost a spot of rib weight recently and am edging ever closer to 26F territory. I might as well give up and just go around braless, breasts flapping in the wind, as the chances of me finding that without an enormous rigmarole of custom orders and subsequently selling on all the ones that inevitably don’t fit are slim to none.

    I have often thought about opening my own shop, even just online, specialising in smaller back sizes through to larger cup sizes, as I reckon I might get further demanding things from companies as a retailer than as a customer. Sadly I don’t think this is the most realistic dream.

  2. Josephine Leog April 26, 2013 at 12.53 #

    Totally agreed! That’s why we are expanding our product size range now up to cup I to be able to provide what we pledge as “Perfect Fit” for every beautiful woman regardless of their size and shape:)
    By the way, we are a Malaysian lingerie brand concocted by a team of women determined to promote the important of wearing the right-sized bra!

  3. shapeplusstyle April 26, 2013 at 12.53 #

    I’ve managed to convince a colleague who I’m certain is in the wrong bra to visit Bravissimo on her day off today. She’s been wearing the same size M&S all her life and when she told me she wore a 38B I nearly spat out my wine – there’s NO way. Hopefully she’ll see the light today in Covent Garden x

  4. TheAbsurdCurvyNerd April 26, 2013 at 12.53 #

    Stores (at least I know here in the US) also need to start carrying the full range of sizes that their bras come in. I’m tired of going to department stores and finding a great bra that I know comes in a 28 band or over a G cup online/in the UK but can only be found in-store in 30-38 D-G! Then they claim there’s “no demand” for those sizes. I imagine there’s no demand for them because they’re not fitting people into 28/below or G+ in order to sell what they have in stock. It does women a great disservice to sell them bras that don’t fit. Even offering free band alterations on bras that they don’t sell the full range in would be a start.

  5. Jenny April 27, 2013 at 12.53 #

    I totally agree. I hate ordering online (unless there’s free shipping and free returns!) because most of the time (all of the time so far for me) you lose money on shipping and returns and what else? Not only is your wallet sad, your face is too. It’s so sad to order a bra, wait for it 2-3 weeks to just find out that it will never fit you. Local stores with a good selection of sizes and designs and colors would be much more preferable. And oh, skip the extremely high prices as well. Here in Sweden it’s not that uncommon to have to dish out 700 Swedish Crowns (about 69 British Pounds) to find a bra in your size with good quality. Despite the high costs, you’ll probably not walk out with a bra you’re 100% satisfied with, because the selection of colors and designs are limited.

    It’d be awesome to have a Debenhams store in Sweden! I’d love to have one in Gothenburg, it’s just an hour drive away from where I live and I could cope with that. I’d love to be able to see the Gorgeous bras in person and try them on. What I love about the Gorgeous range is that the bras are so cheap and they’re so youthful and vibrant! There’s something for everyone in the Gorgeous range (provided that they have your size). It certainly wouldn’t help every woman find her size, but it’d be a huuuuuge improvement! I’d be showered with options because I’m a 28F/28FF and even though they don’t sell most of their bras in those sizes, I would be able to buy 30E’s and 30F’s! (I’m no stranger to altering bands, it’s quite easy actually.)

    I really hope that someday there’ll be a store with reasonable prices in Gothenburg selling absolutely stunning and cute lingerie with a big size range!

  6. Pink Haired Princess April 28, 2013 at 12.53 #

    Completely agree. I used to be a 34F and back in those days (around 12-14 years ago), it was near impossible to find a bra in my size. Now of course I see loads of brands going up to E’s and F’s and even G’s, but now I’m a 38H or HH, so it’s back to square one with no shops offering a choice in that size or even one in that size! I go into debenhams and see notices for ‘fuller/bigger, up to ‘x’ cup’ but usually a G is the largest I can find. I’m forced to buy online and it would be nice not to have to send things back, re-order, or to feel and try-on before purchase. I do have a lingerie shop locally and the woman is so helpful and always offers to order me in anything I want in my size, but it would be nice to have the choice without the hassle.

    • Kath April 29, 2013 at 12.53 #

      OK so I’m going to come at this from a completely different angle, being the owner of a small lingerie shop in a very rural area I know first hand how difficult it is juggle space, ranges and sizes. It is so hard to stock a full range of sizes and in a variety of colours due mainly to space restrictions, costs and the fact that many fashion ranges (think non black, white or skin) have to be ordered 6-8 months in advance. I could stock some ranges in every colour possible and I guarantee someone would always ask for it in a different colour. The only way that we are going to be able to extend our ranges to the limits of size ranges is through consumer support and by being able to have an impact on the styles and sizes that the branded lingerie companies make. We have one supplier that has recently dropped a range that has done really well with independents but hasn’t sold in the high street stores. I suspect this is due to the lack of fitting advice given on the high street. It has however left us with a gap in our range that we’re struggling to fill with another product. It’s a shame that brands are led by the high street stores where I’m sure the majority of women buy off the peg without being fitted. We are lucky enough that we are able to offer 28 bands and up to a K cup but we still struggle to find 40+ bands in cups above a G and we have many customers that would love to see us stock them but because people on the high street tend not to realise that cups go above a G it is assumed that there is no need for them!

  7. Jacqui Lowe-Jackson April 29, 2013 at 12.53 #

    Most specialist lingerie shops carry a good range of sizes – at Just Bras we carry from AA – K cup and 28 – 48, however, as you know not all bras are made in all sizes and for us some sizes or styles sell through better than others.

    When we find a certain size is not selling through we don’t re-invest money to hold stock in that size – this is particularly true of 28 band bras, we fit using the same method as Bravissimo and Rigby and Peller and band size 28 is a rare bird for us (there are businesses online who do already specialise in small back and big boob sizes). But we try to keep at least a couple of bras in even the least popular sizes so we can fit and then order what the particular customer would like.

    Not all customers who are the same size suit the same bra – as in Freya Deco (in fact there are some shapes this doesn’t work on at all – we keep this in stock as well as Panache Porcelain plunge and balconnet, Lepel and Masquerade all do moulded cups if that’s your preference) ….. but customers have as many different needs as there is sizes, shapes and personalities!

    Most shops display bras up to G cup because they hang better on display but do keep all the sizes stocked. In fact everything a bra shop sells won’t be on display anyway because there is just not enough room. The outlay of running a lingerie business is pretty high – you would need at least £60,000 worth of stock at wholesale cost and the mark up isn’t particularly good. We’ve been in the lingerie industry for the past 8 years and love it, maybe a lingerie shop is a little bit like a hairdresser once you find one you love you return again and again. We listen to our customers and always try and help them even when they are looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack like red strapless up to HH must be under £20!!! LOL

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