I’m really glad you responded! I think your comment actually gets at a few of things I was saying in my original post.
First of all, just to be super clear, I’m not telling anybody how they should feel. Being upset, angry, pissed off…all that’s valid, and I’m not here to tell anyone their feelings are invalid and should change in any direction.
What I am saying is that “I’m pissed off this brand doesn’t make my size” and “This brand doesn’t make my size because they hate people like me,” are two completely different things and there’s a good chance the latter isn’t true.
So, let’s use the example you gave of Kiss Me Deadly. From your post, it seems you think they’d “only” need to add 38 B-DD (they carry the latter two, but let’s assume they don’t for this story). That’s 4 new sizes (38B, 38C, 38D, and 38DD). However, Kiss Me Deadly only makes 15 sizes. So adding 4 new sizes, even if it sounds inconsequential, would actually mean growing by at least 25%…which is huge if you’re a small business owner. It’s not an impulse decision.
That’s one of the things I was trying to get at in my post. It’s not just throwing in an extra bra or two, it’s growing the entire company, from top to bottom, by a significant amount.
Also, a lot of people don’t know this, but lingerie manufacturing is more or less grouped into three basic categories: small bust (A, AA, AAA), mid-range (B, C, D) and full-bust (DD and beyond). I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this but brands which make full bust bras don’t make small bust bras, and vice versa. Nor do many mid-range brands make bras on either side of the spectrum.
Some people want to attribute that to incompetence but bras aren’t dresses. You’re not simply grading up a basic pattern where it’s okay to have an approximate fit. Bras are basically structural engineering, and the needs of A cup are different from the needs of a C cup are different from the needs of a G cup. As you move into different sizing categories, the bra itself fundamentally changes. That’s why full bust brands have specialized full bust pattern makers… because it’s more than just making a small bra bigger.
Finally, KMD, like most British brands, does fit a bit smaller, especially if you have an American body. It’s something I hear pretty regularly from designers across the pond…Americans apparently have larger bodies all around. What that means is the “average fit” over there is different from the average fit over here and since they sell most of their bras over there, the products are sized accordingly.
As far as why Elle Macpherson or some of the other large, multi-national corporate brands don’t grow their size ranges, I have no idea. Probably for the same reason they’re slow to catch on to everything else.
On the small bust part of the spectrum, bra sizes start around 28A / 32AAA.
On the full bust part of the spectrum, bra sizes end around 40L.
And on the plus size part of the spectrum, bra sizes end around 58J.
Now, I haven’t sat down and added up how many bra sizes total that equals, but…
But I feel like this conversation is ignoring that some of us aren’t even asking for THAT many new sizes, just conventional sizing. For example a 38b-DD is pretty standard yet many indie brands ignore this size. Or, like Kiss Me Deadly, have a smaller than average fit that renders a 38” fitting much more like slightly large 36”. That pushes a massive number of consumers out of your range. In her post the owner of Kiss Me Deadly said they design for a slightly larger consumer as their target audience is in her 30s. A 36” is not a larger. I would also appreciate if maybe these brands could talk about “sister sizes” or using bra extenders if they don’t make your size and if these are viable alternatives for a certain size. I get that it is perhaps unfair to imply that indie brands hate large women but at the same time larger would SHOULD BE REALLY PISSED OFF that most brands ignore them. There are larger brands that could afford to make larger sizes and don’t. Would Elle Macpherson really be ruined by making a 38?
Well here are my thoughts, I think indie brands are taking a disproportionate amount of heat in what is really an industry wide problem. The problem, as I see it as someone on the larger end of “straight” sizing, is that most large brands turn out the same boring bras over and over again but they’ll make a large range of sizes. Then bloggers, magazines, pin-ups etc. rightfully go crazy over these stunning indie brands who really do something exceptional. We save our pennies, get ready to special order these brands, and then often times find out our size is impossible to find. These leaves a lot of women annoyed and frustrated. It’s not always as simple as “find a brand that specializes in larger sizes” because you’ll find those brands often start at a D cup. So if you wear what is actually a very common size like an American 36C your options are extremely limited once you leave the high street.
The blame falls on consumers for not supporting and buying more exciting lingerie lines and styles and on an industry that has for the longest time refused to allow women over a certain size to have quality sexy lingerie leading many women to just give up.
I speak for myself and say it’s often REALLY frustrating reading the Lingerie Addict and seeing gorgeous items I just cannot find. And it’s doubly so because I wear a pretty average size so it feels like it shouldn’t be that hard. There are a lot of us in this grey area of not fitting into indie brands catering to straight sizes and also not being large enough to fit into curvier bras.