So I work in a large chain store that has an impressive lingerie department. The lingerie area is spacious and vast in every store the chain owns, and while about 80% of the stock is for 28-36 AA-D bras, there is one corner with a range of well-made bras in DD-J sizes that also cover a larger range of back sizes, and only for about double the price of the smaller bras! The store has a smaller range of AA-D bras in their own brand, but only because they sell about a dozen other brands in those sizes for a variety of budgets (the DD+ range has a choice of their own brand, or one other brand only). This store is the only one in my town that sells larger cup sizes, and one of only a handful of stores in the country that stock bras above a DD, not to mention being one of the rare places not-on-the-internet that a 38H like myself can get a bra that isn’t beige and frumpy.
Today a customer came in, picked eight different bras up in a variety of colours and styles, all of which fit her well (I assisted with the fitting) and looked good, all within her budget and all almost, but not quite, matching her requirements. The one with the lace style she liked was only in five different colours, and although she quite liked two of them she really wanted a deeper blue. The one that was the exact colour she wanted was too plain. The two that were both appropriately lacy and in a deep blue also had either stripes or spots, and she didn’t want a pattern.
In the end she reluctantly chose the two bras that had the lace she liked and almost the right colour. And then at the till, she decided to rant about how we “used to have such a great selection, but now it seems you only sell bras for women with huge, ridiculous chests. There’s nothing left for women like me.”. She left with her purchases, but she definitely left less than happy.
I wear a 38H. The shop I work in is the only one in my town - the only chain operating in my county - that sells my size in anything other than beige. Even then, the selection is 1/5th the size of the smaller-cup smaller-back range. Even then, it’s twice the price. Even then, my choices when it comes to bras still often come down to just finding one that fits and looks okay, and several times I’ve been in after work and found no bras in stock in my size. The first time I bought a bra from there and got treated by the staff like I was just a normal customer with the same right to wear something pretty as everyone else (long before I worked there) I was so happy I cried, and didn’t even care that the bra I ended up with was a colour I didn’t much like - it was relatively pretty and it fit! The idea of being able to choose a single style and then specify the actual colour variation you want is like a fantasy for me. Meanwhile this customer could walk into any women’s clothes shop on the high street and know that every bra sold in every shop will be made to include her size.
Thin privilege is when you’re so accustomed to the world being perfectly designed to exactly match your needs that the slightest increase in choice for someone not-you is perceived as an attack on your right to have everything catering exclusively to you. Thin privilege is when you’re so offended that someone offered the fat person a slice of bread to eat that you choke on the banquet laid before you. Thin privilege is turning down a dozen pretty bras for not being quite perfect, and then complaining that it’s all the fault of the big-titted fatties for expecting to be allowed to wear clothes.
*I know that not all plus size women have large breasts, and not all thin women have small breasts. But this does seem to be a situation correlated with thin privilege and shape privilege, where people with bodies that meet the fashionable ideal (slim, small-chested) are given access to a dizzyingly large range of options compared to those of us who don’t. Consider that the average UK woman wears a size 16**, with straight shops often stopping at a 16, sometimes even a 14. The average UK woman also wears a DD bra, and yet most standard bra ranges stop at a D or DD.
**In as much as our terrible clothing size system can be used to describe any woman as wearing “a size”.
I feel this submitter’s pain in reverse. I am VERY big, but I have no boobs. I wear a 48B bra, and that’s pushing it. I could probably wear an A-cup just fine, but there’s even less of a selection of plus size bras in an A-cup. I know there’s a limited selection in large cup sizes (I’ve heard the cries of my more top heavy friends), but it’s worse when you’re a big woman with small breasts. Big women are expected to have big breasts. If I were a D, or even an F, I’d have an easier time finding bras than I do. I stopped wearing bras altogether a few years back because I got utterly fed up with not only going through hell even finding a bra in my size, but also the fact that when I DID find one, it was always outrageously expensive and ugly. In my size, I get the choice of three colors, TOPS: white, black or beige.
And don’t EVEN get me started on plus size panties! I have to wear mens’ underwear (boxer briefs, if you’re curious, which I know you’re absolutely not, but oh well, now you know, sweet dreams!) because along with having no tits, I have no ass or hips, either, and big women are expected to have big asses and wide-set hips, so even though the waistbands of the panties will fit me comfortably, the fabric is baggy as hell on my butt.
The moral of the story is that clothing manufacturers, ESPECIALLY womens’ underwear/lingerie manufacturers, need to recognize that not all big women are built the same way and should try to accommodate us all instead of treating those of us who don’t fit into their precise ideal of how a big woman’s figure should be like we are less sexy or feminine. If you’re like me and you’re smaller than a D-cup, or bigger than an F-cup, you shouldn’t be denied the right to wear pretty things in the colors and styles that you want.
With automation technology being as advanced as it is today, why is there no company out there that can make reasonably priced custom pieces? It would be ridiculously simple. Have a website where the customer keys in their size, chooses their body type (band and cup size for bras, waistband size for panties and whether they have more or less butt, hips, thighs, etc) and the style of bra or panty (for example, I’ve been GAGGING to own a push-up bra pretty much since my tits grew in, but because, again, the plus size underwear industry believes all big women have big tits, I’m yet to find any company that makes a push-up bra in my band size, so I would be able to go onto this hypothetical webshop and select that I want a push-up style bra.). Next, the customer would select, perhaps, features they want. Maybe they could choose from a variety of bra strap styles, band styles, etc. Last, they could select a fabric type, color or print. Then, a machine could just cut out a sewing pattern according to the customer’s selections. Then, it just needs to be assembled and shipped. If I had the start-up capital, I would start this company myself!
Anyway, /end rant. LOL