Being the Odd Woman Out – Part 1

Type in a google search “Plus size, full busted bra blog”. Do any actual blogs come up? Other than the Lingerie Addict, no. And don’t get me wrong, the Lingerie Addict is a great website covering many different topics, including resources for the plus size woman, but Treacle – the author – is not an actual plus size woman writing about lingerie. She does allow The Full Figured Chest to often write and provide perspective. And, while perspective can be gained in many ways, I’ll admit that I want to be able to talk to other plus size, full busted women about what works for them. There should be more women out there, with reviews that are readily accessible!

What I’m saying is that there are not many readily available resources for women like me…..The women who are a 38/40+ band size with a full bust.

When I started to look into bra blogs and really starting to figure out my “true” size, I found that there are a lot of really great full bust blogs. But most of these women are either representing either the (1) middle range, or the also underrepresented (2) small band range. So you’ll find a lot of blogs written by women who are say 32-36 band, G-J cup, and you’ll find quite a few blogs written by women that wear 24-30 bands and various cups…But what about women like me? I love reading those blogs as they really do provide a lot of great information…But at the end of the day, the needs of the plus size, full bust woman are a little bit different. And companies, it does not seem, are readily rising to the challenge of meeting those needs.

Allow me to explain. Popular full bust brands like Freya, Fantasie, Curvy Kate and Panache sizes stop in band sizes 38-40. While most offer an impressive range in cup sizes, I feel as though both ends of the spectrum are certainly being left out. The petite and the plus size. I love seeing reviews of these bras, but it breaks my heart to fall in love with a bra just to learn that the company doesn’t even make it in my size. And honestly, I struggle with the plus size label to begin with. By industry standard, yes, I am clearly plus size. But as I started out at 310 pounds and have slowly lost weight to settle in at 260 pounds, wearing a 40 band – when I used to wear a 46, I feel like there should be more options for me as there were even less so when I was at my highest weight. And yet, I’m still on the cusp it seems. (My own weight and issues with the plus size label are not really the focus of this post, but I feel like it is important to mention the frustration that I feel, even now after losing 50 pounds, that I have when clothing shopping).

I recently went to Nordstrom’s and scoured the racks. Thankfully the store closest to me stocks many different brands, including Wacoal, Panache, Cleo by Panache, Elomi, Freya, and Fantasie. I was so sad that the only brand that I could find in a 40 band was Elomi. There were options to choose from in Panache, Cleo by Panache, Freya, Elomi and Fantasie in 38 bands, but often times the largest cup size was an H (or smaller in the Cleo selection). I had tried a 38 in the Elomi styles and found that they fit, so I wanted to see what I could find in these other brands in a 38. The Panache, Freya, and Fantasie all were too small in the 38. I couldn’t even begin to clasp the Freya OR the Fantasie in a 38, never mind the fact that I was trying to put on an HH cup. I really just wanted to see what the band was like. So disappointing.

In some sense, it’s no wonder that there aren’t MORE plus size, full bust bra blogs out there. It’s probably because the selection is limited!

While I do love Elomi as a brand…. I look to brands like Cleo by Panache and Freya that make very beautiful, more youthful styles. Compare the Elomi Caitlyn to the Cleo Marcie:

    

I know, I know. The brand focus is completely different for Elomi and Cleo. But why do they have to be?! When I put on the Caitlyn, I honestly feel like I’m being overtaken by bra. This is my own experience, and I know that some women really LOVE the Caitlyn. But I love animal prints. And floral prints. And bright colors with sexy playfulness characteristics. Beige, to me, is boring!

It may seem like I’m all over the place here, and I kind of feel like I am. In some sense, I’m talking about the lack of representation of plus size, full busted women in the blogosphere….But I am also talking about how companies don’t recognize a whole market of plus size, full busted women that would love the chance to buy their products, too! And don’t even get me started on the matching panty problem – limited sizes are such a downer!

I know there is very much a movement within the blogosphere to encourage companies to include 24-28 bra bands in their sizing…but what about 40-44 bra bands (or even higher)? Just because I wear a 40+ band, and a J cup does not mean that I want to wear a turtleneck, beige bra. I want a bra that lifts and supports, projects my breasts forward (and not under my arm…), and is cute and sexy! I know that it may get tricky with the mechanics of everything, but it should be possible!

So here’s my call to plus size, full chested women. I’d love to be able to wrangle a group of women, back bands 40-44, cup sizes F+ to join me in an effort to get companies like Panache, Freya, Fantasie, and Curvy Kate to include larger back sizes!

 

26 thoughts on “Being the Odd Woman Out – Part 1

  1. The Lingerie Addict is one place where so many people start research. Have you considered emailing Treacle about doing a guest post yourself? She welcomes all viewpoints and I’m sure would love to have a contribution from woman in your size range. When I was replying to her small bust interview questions one thing I mentioned was the lack of bloggers in the larger band smaller cup range. I had known previously that there were few bloggers in your size range, but I did not realize how limited your options are for bras. As part of that sub 30 movement of bloggers, I had no idea that you were facing a similar problem at the other end of the scale.

    Anyway, I wanted to make sure you knew that at least one person learned something from your post. And on a side note, your bra drawer tab at the top is a cute idea. I love it.

  2. You’re so right – there are definitely certain sizes that are under-represented in both the blogging world and the bra market. 38+ bands (of any cup size) are certainly one of them!

    Have you seen the blog Bra Nightmares? She’s around the 38/40 H range – but I think you and she are the only other 38+ band bra bloggers I can think of (full bust or otherwise!). Here’s hoping you’ll have more join you!

    • Yep! I have seen BraNightmares (her blog is listed on my blog roll).

      I suppose my thing is…..how come there are no bra blogs for say….a woman who is a 44HH or something like that???

      I, too, hope more women join up!

      Also, I am so excited about your blog giveaway!!
      -Nicole

  3. I think it’s an important market that does need more loud voices. 😉 Just to give you a few names, though:
    http://branightmares.blogspot.com.br/ (wears somewhere between 38-44 backs depending on the brand)
    http://broodsbigbrasblog.com/ (she’s more of a 36 back but she does show the briefs in a size 22)

    One thing that DRIVES ME NUTS is that Lane Bryant goes in the right direction (they carry at least up to a US H cup, which I think is like a UKFF?). However, they just don’t go nearly far enough. I was a 40K at my highest (goodness knows if that was the right size or not!) and I remember that the Lane Bryant bras were normally what I had to use+alterations. The store was so great in many ways but they just needed a wider range of bra sizes.

    Also, have you tried out Ewa Michalak yet? They sometimes come out with brighter/floral print/leopard print bras and they’ll make larger back sizes too.

    • Hi June!

      I worked at Lane Bryant for 2+ years through college, and I loved the direction that they were going in….but you’re right…they never seemed to extend passed an H cup – which is really not *that* big IMO. I loved that they worked to provide options for the full figure woman, in some “extended cup sizes”, with beautiful prints and nice styling options. There was never an issue of finding matching panties.

      I really want to try EM bras but I am so hesitant about the cost plus shipping from Poland. When I do decide to take the plunge, I know that I will definitely have to contact them for sizing advice because I really can’t afford to order a few different sizes.

      -Nicole

    • Carla,

      I would definitely suggest Panache! Although, if you have a high tummy (like me), you might want to shy away from Panache. They have a pretty heavy band at the bottom which tends to irritate my tummy. Curvy Kate is nice, but I feel like fit is a bit trickier as they tend to run about a half cup – full cup size smaller. The shape can be a little weird too.

      Good luck! Please let me know what you find!
      -Nicole

  4. Prima Donna is an amazing brand that covers a 40+ band size, with the majority of their styles going to a 44 band, and a select group to 46. Cup sizes stop at H or I depending on the range. Goddess is another fantastic brand (not quite the high fashion or quality of Prima Donna) but go to a 58 band in some styles and J cups.

    • Hi Kim!

      I feel like PrimaDonna is kind of hit and miss. For me, as a 40J, I feel like the options are kind of limited (from what I have seen). Also, PrimaDonna definitely hits that upper price range that makes it a little less accessible.

      I appreciate Goddess for their range (size and price wise) but they honestly don’t appeal to me aesthetically. I know that in my size I may benefit most from a full coverage bra, but I don’t want it to *look* like a full coverage bra, if that makes sense.

      -Nicole

  5. Hey, it’s great that you have started this blog. There isn’t much out info there yet for your size therebouts, so your reviews will be invaluable for many women! Also, I second the Ewa Michalak suggestion.

  6. I know how you feel, being a 40H in CK myself! I recently wrote a post about how much it hurts me to hear things like full bust women are not plus size women. http://branightmares.blogspot.fi/2012/07/vasynyt-vihaamaan-tired-of-body-hatred.html

    I really love that you are blogging! I think that if you came to Twitter or Facebook, you would feel a lot more welcomed since a lot of the interaction happens there! Even though I’ve felt the odd one out for a while (being the only blogger in my size range), I love how much love and support bloggers give each other in the social media, no matter what size.

    I guess I write less blog posts now because I’m so active especially on Facebook. 😀 It really feels good to unite with ALL women in the bra blogging community.

    And I really share your feelings about the plus size full bust bra designs! I could never wear the Caitlyn myself, and I think that CK’s unpadded bras come way too high in the central gore. They peak out of even my work tops! I have yet to try Elomi’s plunge models, but the only style that has really worked for me is Ewa Michalak’s plunge styles. In my size they aren’t very low, so I get lots of support. If you ever decide to order from EM, I’d be happy to help you out with the sizing! I wear 44H, so the sizing is really different from UK sizing in bigger bands.

    • Thanks!

      When I do decide to order from EM I will definitely talk to you about sizing. I emailed them last night and they said “use our sizing calculator”. Well, I just want to know if the PL style is really going to work for my shape and so on. I was kind of disappointed and felt brushed off.

      I do have a Facebook page; Fussy Busty. I’ve been starting to be fairly active under my real name, but I will definitely figure things out more with my blog page.

      Thank you for your support! 🙂
      -Nicole

      • Yeah, they often aren’t very helpful. The best thing to do is ask other women in your size that have tried them.

        I wear 44H in EM and in that size the PL’s are very supportive! The central gore doesn’t come as high as in, say CK’s, but it is not too low at all. Go check my FB page and you’ll see a good picture of me wearing them in that size!

  7. I feel much of the same. When I started my “bra journey” I was a 38band, but have realised I am probably more of a 32-34 band. Here in the “blogosphere”, sub-32 seems to be the norm. Very often I’ll see a great bra on a blog, and they’ll say “Up to J-cup!” and I’ll get all excited, just to realize it is only J-cup in 28bands, and already when we get to 32-34, we are down to GG-H. That’s why I really appriciate the few bigger bloggers out there, like branightmares.blogspot and fullefigurefullerbust. Btw, it’s interesting how different bodies can be, I find: I weigh only 15lbs less than you it seems, yet our measurements are apparently very different. Also, although Georgina from FfigureFbust is actually slightly bigger than me at her underbust, her band and bra seems to be affected much much less by her weight than I am. So in that way I find your and branightmares blogs much more relevant to me. I am working on a post about some of the band issues a fat person like me (i.e rolls, squishy and not toned) has. Maybe that will also be relevant to a lot of those who miss posts and bloggers more relevant to the ladies who are big all over 🙂 (it might be a few weeks though, I have to order some new bras, and I’ve just started uni, so I have to adjust to a busy schedule!)

    • I started typing a reply and WordPress got snarky and deleted it.

      Anyways…Hi!

      And yes, I feel your pain about the J cup dilemma. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Curvy Kate Thrill Me sets….and yeah…they come into a J cup….but only up to a 34 (or is it 36?) band! Which leaves the rest of us out. I also am excited about the Curvy Kate Smoothie as that is touted to go into a J cup – but that is also in limited band sizes.

      I love reading Georgina’s blog and I love her spirit. I don’t really think of her as plus sized, perse. I think that has a lot to do with my American-ness and growing up in a mostly overweight family. I would love to have the figure that Georgina has! To me, her shape is what I consider ideal.

      You’re right that body differences are interesting. When I lose weight, I always lose it first in my under bust/waist area and legs. I carry most of my weight in my tummy and my breasts and have very muscular thighs and calves from being a runner (if you can believe it!).

      I’m looking forward to reading your next blog. I too am squishy and have rolls in some places, which makes bras feel a little uncomfortable at times. I have had fitters at Lane Bryant tell me that my band size is too tight because I have a roll around my middle in the back and they think this is from the bra band. But in all honesty, if I go up a band size, the band rides up allllll day long and doesn’t give me the support that I need. I have, what I lovingly call, chub. 🙂

      Good luck with university! I’m right there with you… I’m finishing up my master’s as it goes and have finals in the next few weeks.

      All the best,
      Nicole

      • Show girl bras are only up to J-cup in 30 bands! 😮 And so it sistersizes up to a 38G. I can’t tell you how I’ve wept at those! I don’t get why they don’t make them bigger 😮 I know Georgina had a trial bra of the Tease me in 34J, and it seemed to work just fine! And I hear women everywhere who wish some of the padded Curvy Kates came in more sizes, so to me it seems it would be a win/win!
        I agree that Georgina has a great body, but that also means that a lot of her fashion advice just doesn’t work for me (again, rolls being a big factor here), even though we are roughly the same size (I think Georgina is 48-35-48, and I’m 50-33½-49). But, it does help a lot, that I know if she has reviewed something, it is more likely to be in my size, than if Thin And Curvy reviewed it.

        Rolls because of band is exactly what my next post will be about! I too have had fitters say “Oh, that band looks to dig in, you probably need a bigger size”, but really, that’s just how my back looks: I have the appearance of “a band digging in”, even when I’m wearing nothing. And I think a lot of fitters, even the good ones, are mostly trained with women with smooth backs, and firm underbusts – and that is just completely different!

        I was quite young last time I was leaner (I’m only 20 now, and I think my leanest since puberty was when I was 16), so I think my shape would be quite different if I lost that weight now. I have recently lost 10lbs, and it went from my underbust (from just under 35 to just over 33), and my bust became bigger! Which I put down to breast migration, so there is sure to be a limit to that.

        What are you taking a master in, if I may ask? I am studying chemistry… Fitting lab coats could be a whole blog post on its own!

        Best regards
        XL Hourglass

        • Yes yes! I have the same back rolls! No matter what I wear, I have a squishy back. Even with spanx!

          I am finishing up my Master’s in Psychology. Chemistry sounds fun but very hard! Good luck this term! 🙂

          All the best,
          Nicole

  8. I really, really, REALLY enjoyed reading this post. I think the more lingerie blogs there, the better. And while this isn’t a point of view I have personal experience with, I absolutely believe it’s an important perspective to have when we’re talking about bras and body image and all that good stuff.

    I would love to publish a guest post from you on The Lingerie Addict. That’s really the whole point of guest blogs to me…it’s about sharing information and advice or even just an opinion that I don’t have access to, because every woman can’t cover every thing.

    Can’t wait to read more…you’re on my Google reader now. 🙂

    • Treacle,

      As nerdy as it sounds, I am so honored to have you read my blog!

      I would love to do a guest post for you. Any specific topic you would be interested in? XL Hourglassy and I have been talking much about fit issues with not only lingerie but clothing that plus size women face, and how this sometimes puts us in an awkward position with fitters at the store.

      Please let me know!
      -Nicole

  9. I love this post, Nicole, because you’re right. There need to be more options for women in fuller-bands. We sell more bras in the 40+ band size range than we do in the 28 or 30 range, and it would be wonderful to have more styles to recommend. One of my customers wears a 48HH or 50H, and there’s practically nothing out there. Furthermore, the problem you describe about the bra taking over you chest is one I’ve seen with most plus-size bras but also with full-bust cup sizes too. One of the reasons I liked my Curvy Kate bras was because I felt like they weren’t quite as high as some of the other styles I’ve tried. Your message is getting out there, and I enjoy reading your blog!

  10. Pingback: Are there really that many options? | Fussy Busty

  11. This was a really good post which hit a lot of the points I’ve been raging to myself about lately. I’m a 40GG/38H and I currently live in the UK, so I’m very fortunate in that I have a pretty wide range of non-frumpy bras to choose from. But I’m always on the lookout for nice things for my little sister, who wears a bigger back size (though smaller cup), because she hates bras and doesn’t think they can be pretty or comfortable. Which is obviously nonsense, but the dire lack of bras really doesn’t help.

    And you perfectly articulated my feelings on Elomi – there’s such potential! But the majority of their bras are just awful and I would never wear them. I feel like if they made more things along the lines of the Betty (which is one of my favorite bras of ALL TIME), I (and others!) would be more interested, you know? It shows that you CAN make nice, sexy, supportive lingerie in bigger sizes and not end up with something that looks like a shiny melon-sack. (What is *with* all the satin? And the floral prints? I genuinely don’t understand. Even my grandmother wouldn’t wear that.) And their swimwear, sigh. I know I’m fat, but that doesn’t mean I want my only options to be a high-waist brief and a swim skirt! I’m desperately glad that I fit Curvy Kate, because I would *hate* to be resigned to Elomi swimwear.

    I also understand that Panache are coming out with a line intended to compete with Elomi (called, um… Sculptresse?) so I have – perhaps misguided – hope that they’ll bring a bit more of a stylish feel and maybe even force Elomi in that direction.

    (Re: the blogging thing – I, too, have noticed that it tends to be smaller- and medium-backed ladies who blog, but I think there’s a combination of factors at play. I’ve often thought of starting one myself, but have been a bit hesitant to put myself out on the interwebs. Possibly I ought to reconsider, because I have a metric crapton of bras…)

    • Hi Jennifer!!

      I had to laugh when you said “It shows that you CAN make nice, sexy, supportive lingerie in bigger sizes and not end up with something that looks like a shiny melon-sack. (What is *with* all the satin? And the floral prints? I genuinely don’t understand. Even my grandmother wouldn’t wear that.)”

      You know, that is EXACTLY how the Elomi bras look – shiny melon sack. As much as I don’t like the aesthetic of Elomi bras, I find that they really are the bras that fit the best and work the best with my body. This isn’t to say that I get the most lift or ideal shape from these bras…Just that they are the most comfortable and functional for what I do (nanny small children all day 9-7p).

      I would have to agree that whenever I look at Elomi’s swimwear I die a little on the inside. It’s very plain and looks like you’re wearing a bra and panties (boo!). I look forward to getting some Curvy Kate swimwear next year 🙂

      You should definitely start blogging, especially if you have so many bras. I’d love another perspective to read from!!

      All the best,
      Nicole

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