Are there really that many options?

I was inspired to write this post after continuously seeing a few articles that I felt belittled the plus size, full bust community. I’m not going to point fingers, and this is probably a bold statement to make…..But I was offended and ticked off when I read a post yesterday that not only called out those that cry out for more plus size/full bust options, but also stated that there are clearly many options for plus size, full busted women. Where some are offended, others are not, so please keep in mind that this viewpoint is mine, and this posts reflects my own reactions and my own beliefs.

Let me start with an explanation of what sizes mean to me – and I do not mean to pigeon hole anyone….This is merely how I view sizes and make sense of them

“Plus” sizes:

  • A size 18 or larger in tops and bottoms
  • Band sizes 38 and larger

“Average” sizes:

  • A size 10-16 in tops and bottoms
  • Band sizes 32-36

“Petite” Sizes:

  • A size 0-8
  • Band sizes 30 and below

It’s obvious that my perceptions of size are different from industry standards, which look a little something like this:

“Industry Standard” sizes:

  • 4-14 clothing

“Industry Plus” sizes:

  • 16+ clothing

Where do my perceptions come from? 

I think one of the most influential things in my perceptions of size comes from the world around me. The reality is that some 50% of American women wear a size 14 or larger (loosely relative to a 36 band). And I see this everywhere. When I go to the mall, when I go out to eat, to the movies….you name it. Maybe it’s where I live. Or where I choose to shop. But I know that almost 80% of the women I see on a daily basis are clearly what the industry calls “plus size”.

I think it also doesn’t help that for the longest time, I thought most women wore 34 bands (ooh, my poor bra education!), even when they were quite thin.

I was also raised in a predominantly obese family. My aunts all wore sizes 26-30, and even my own mother was overweight.

Let me just get it out there: No, there’s nothing wrong with being plus size. 

So what’s my problem and purpose of this post? 

I’ve said it before, and I will probably say it again….There really aren’t that many options for plus size, full busted women. Especially not US based brands.  A lot of articles that seem to belittle this idea often tout brands like Cleo by Panache, Parfait by Affinitas, Claudette, etc., etc., etc… But a quick look at each brand’s website will show you that most bands stop at a 38, and even at that, the cup size offerings are limited. To me, stopping at a 38 doesn’t really even tap the sizes needed by the Plus Size community. If 50% of American women wear a size 14 or larger, that means there’s a lot of women who wear plus sizes (and probably plus size bands) who need larger than a 36 band – even though many full bust companies stop at a 38 band.

I know this post is quite a bit of a rant, kind of like my post “Being the Odd Woman Out – Part 1”. While I’ve never considered myself to be a minority, in the lingerie industry, I feel like I am. And I don’t like feeling that way.

I hate to be so negative and so blah, but I’m itching for more sensitivity from writers whose work is seen by a lot of people. I only hope that as we share information with the purpose of providing plus size, full busted women with options, that those options reflect a wide range of sizes so that women that are larger than a 38 band who are searching for help actually have companies to choose from that DO make their sizes 🙂

Because really, if plus size full bust companies stop at a 38….then what are band sizes bigger than a 38 considered? I’d hate to ask, as I’d probably be offended even further.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Happy Wednesday Folks! 🙂

6 thoughts on “Are there really that many options?

  1. I agree with this post! It’s too reductive to lump women into “average” and “plus size.” It bums me out when I see bras touted as being “full-bust! D-G!” when in fact they’re American D-Gs, which means they still only offer four different letters, or when full-figure brands stop at a 38 band, which is ludicrous. Again, I’m really glad you’re making your voice heard, because there AREN’T that many options. The more I research the different markets for different posts, the more I see that. Yes, there are MORE options than there used to be, and it’s great, and there are more options on the way, but there are vast markets of women who are still hugely underserved. Could I go into the average mall in America and be guaranteed to find pants, shoes, a blouse, and a bra to fit me? Absolutely, 100% not. Keep up the good work, seriously. Your voice is the voice of thousands of women who want more and want better.

    • Thank you Sweets. Kinds words, here 🙂

      And I know exactly what you mean… I think my UK 40J translates to a US 40M? N? I don’t even know. It’s something like 40 10D. Which is really just as terrible. Either way, I can’t find that size here in the states.

      I think by writers belittling this need for more plus size, full busted bands, that that’s really telling plus size women that (1) their needs aren’t important and (2) their size doesn’t exist, and why would it, so stop complaining.

      Which makes plus size women feel worse about their bodies 😦

  2. I think it’s a very interesting point how where you live and what you see everyday shapes your view. For instance, I have a hard time seeing an American size 6 or 8 as petite, because it is such a common size where I am. Anyway, I think that people deserve to have their needs catered for, regardless of if they are average, larger than average or smaller than average!
    When I think of plus size full bust brand, I think of Elomi, Goddess, or the upcoming Sculptress line by Panache, not of Cleo, Parfait or Caudette. I do believe that there is some choice, but not that much and that a lof of the options are slightly frumpy.

    • Hi Astrid!

      I’m a master’s psych student, so I’m always trying to figure out why/how I feel the way that I do, and relate that in my posts…Because I think where we live, how we are raised, and the people we surround ourselves with really influences how we feel about our own bodies and other people’s bodies 🙂

      Yes, I feel you on the frumpy notion. When I first tried Elomi three years ago, it was a frump-fest 😦 At least now Elomi has some really great styles like the Briony, Betty (gorgeous!) and the Hermione.

      I appreciate the size range that Goddess provides, as they are definitely catering to the plus size, full bust market….but I still find many of their styles to be very “ho-hum”.

      Sculptress has yet to be fully revealed, but what I have seen, I have liked. Unfortunately, I am sized out of all of these new styles except for the new “Bellise” – a balconette, as I definitely need a 40J in Panache. This is assuming that the sizes will be with the same standard as the Superbra line.

  3. I have read that as America (in particular) has grown (gotten fatter), that people who are now a healthy size are considered skinny because they look that way compared to their neighbour. This goes along with my next point….”petite” is not a size range (or even a height issue)!!!!! Petite means body proportions. Shoulder to underarm, bust to hip, and leg and arm length. You can be a size 8, but need long legged pants. You can be a size 16 and need short inseams! Even when I was a size 8, the armholes were too big, the rise was too long….add in 20lbs weight gain, and I’m still short, with petite vertical proportions, but needing a 14-16 in width. Well, designers think a 14-16 person is tall and round all over 😦
    Some stores sell “Petite Plus”…large widths, but shorter proportions. They do tend to be geared to shorter women (short inseam, in particular), but it’s a start, though a very hard thing to find. When I was at my heaviest, I tried shopping at a plus size store that said they had petite sizes. I was told that shirts, shorts, and skirts don’t matter since it’s just a hemline issue. Wrong!

    • Yeah, I chose the word petite because I couldn’t find the word that I wanted to use and I wanted to choose the least offensive word possible. Some don’t like the words “thin” or “skinny”. I wouldn’t have used the words “healthy” or “normal weight” because I think those can be offensive too.

      Thanks for your comment!

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