This post was really kind of inspired by a great undertaking that Christine at Boosaurus took upon herself last week. She has a post up right now for smaller bust resources, and is working on a plus size blogger round up as well.
In her choice to make a list of plus size bloggers, Christine kind of ran into the problem of…..well….what classifies someone as a plus size bra blogger? On the “higher end” of band sizes represented in the blogs, we have Georgina of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust (34/36), XL Hourglass (34/36), The Curvy Pear (34), All the Epic Proportions (36), Yours truly – me (38/40), and Bra Nightmares (40).
**If you’re a plus size bra blogger and not listed here, PLEASE comment and let us know who you are!!!**
Christine’s question was “Should 34 bands be included as plus size?”
Of course, this is a topic close to my heart, being a plus size woman. I won’t say that my size defines who I am, but it certainly makes a difference in the things that I can and do wear, as well as the lingerie options that are available for me to try. So, to me, there is a clear divide between average band sizes and plus sizes. Where is the divide?
My natural inclination is to say that plus size bands start at a 38 and go up, with “average” sizes being 32-36, and smaller band sizes being 30 and down (to 24 or whatever else is needed). Barring limitations on construction and the fitting of bras in different band sizes, I do have reasons for thinking that this is how band sizes should be classified. Let’s not forget my growing up in American culture. This is actually a jump for me, because if you had asked me a year ago where I thought plus size bands started, I would have said a 40 band.
When I worked at Lane Bryant, we sold mostly 40, 42, and 44 bands (and they only carried the occasional 36, some 38’s and up to a 46 band), and most customers came in purchasing sizes 20-24, with of course the occasional shoppers looking for smaller or larger sizes. Hopefully we have all learned at this point that clothing size is *not* indicative of band size, but it stands to reason that someone who accurately wears a size 26 top probably isn’t wearing a 34 band. When our 46 bands didn’t fit some of the customers, we would send them to Catherine’s, which carries up to a 50 band I believe.
If you search some of the major online retailers, here are the band sizes you’re given when you look for “plus size” bras:
- Bare Necessities: Starts their plus sizes at a 40 band up to a 56.
- Fig Leaves: Surprisingly offers up to a 54 band, but doesn’t designate what is plus size. A search on the site leads you to many brands that offer up to a 40 band, so it’s likely that they consider 38/40 bands to be plus size
- The Butterfly Collection: Seemingly includes some 36’s, most 38’s and absolutely 40 bands in their plus sizes.
- Bra Stop offers up to a 46 band; no clear distinction
- Large Cup Lingerie only carries up to a 40 band
- Her Room is a bunch of junk, putting the name “plus size” next to sizes 0 and what not, but I’d assume based on the brands that they show when you search for plus size bras that their idea of plus size starts around a 36/38 band size.
- Fresh Pair: no clear distinction, but they do carry up to a 52 band
At this point, I feel comfortable saying that a 34 is definitely not a plus size band, and a 36 is really on the cusp. For reference, someone that wears a 36 band most likely (and I’m not saying definitely) wears a clothing size 12-16. Keep in mind, these are US sizes, so that’s anywhere from a 16-20 in UK sizes. Again, this is just a guestimate. Sizes vary depending on height, weight, and build.
Now if you take this even more beyond and search for brands that are specifically designated as “fuller figure” – which means that the bras aren’t just scaled up in size but are made for plus size bodies, brands such as Elomi range from a 34-46 band, Goddess 36-48 band, and Elila 34/36-50 bands just to name a few. I’m still very much looking forward to the Panache Sculptresse line.
Okay, so that’s different, right?
**Let me just say that I have a problem with websites specifically listing a “plus size” section and then only stocking up to a 40 band. What the hell is up with that??? Is a 42 band too big to be plus size? They’re totally cutting off more than half of the plus size market.**
I think that as part of this conversation, it’s really kind of impossible to ignore culture in the discussion of sizes. For example, most of the brands listed here (and retailers) are from the UK or a location that is not the U.S. The most common size in the US? A 14 (UK 18); and beyond that is plus sizes. In the UK? A size 14 (US 10). Thanks google searches. Also, if you have more facts about common sizes, please feel free to share or contradict 🙂 Google can only do so much.
Because of the size differences that exist in the US and the UK, it would seemingly make sense to say that the UK defines women as plus size at a smaller starting point than the US does. That’s not to say that one answer is right or one answer is wrong (although, my idea of a size 10 woman is certainly not plus sized in the least – I would say that she is average).
SO, basically what I am saying is that, because of culture, a 34 band might be considered plus size in the UK, but not in the US.
Tell me again how we make the distinction between small band sizes, average band sizes, and plus size bands?????
I suppose in all reality it doesn’t really matter how you label your band size – what matters is if your bra fits (should you choose to wear one). But, for the sake of experience, personal feelings, cultural analysis, etc…. I would say that plus size bands start at a 38 and go up, with average sizes being 32-36, and small sizes 30 and down. I could concede that a 36 is kind of that in between size.
***What do you think? How would you break up band sizes??***