Bra Sizing, And Why We Can’t Always Get What We Want

Image by Beija London

It’s time for some bra talk, my dears (and perhaps a little moan as well.) Recently I put up a grumpy old lady rant about lingerie sizing, sparked from an observation of how lingerie brands who target a specific group (eg small back size, full bust) receive so many attacks for not catering to every individual’s own needs, rather than deserved praise for expanding the overall options available. I know this topic has been addressed before, but I did want to post something for the people who don’t currently understand how the lingerie industry works, and why, being a 32GG, you can’t just buy a good fitting bra at any old brand.

Miss Deadly Red wears a black Playful Promises bra
Miss Deadly Red wears a bra by Playful Promises

First off, lets talk about about what the industry calls “core sizing” which is back sizes 32-38 and cup sizes A-D. Straight away you may be realising that this is not that broad a spectrum of sizes, especially by modern standards where for instance, wearers might have had breast augmentation, so you can expect a bigger difference between back and cup size. I personally do not fit into core sizing! However, it does cover 16 different sizes, all of which have a minimum order per style and per colour with manufacturers. All these individual sizes have to be transported, stored, given retail space if it’s a high street store. All this adds to the costs and detracts from overall profitability if a certain size isn’t popular. So once you start adding in sizes that fall outside this core range, you risk investing in something that will leave you with unsold stock and less profit to invest in your next collection.

Lara Intimates Ava bra
The Ava bra by Lara Intimates, worn by The Wicked Jade

Next, it’s not as simple as just scaling up the design from a 34B to a 42KK. A bra supporting fuller, heavier breasts does need different design and engineering to be comfortable and fit well. A great instance of this is a British lingerie brand I love called Beija. Each design has three sizing groups (with indivdual sizes catered to within it) all with variations to make that style better suited to it’s wearer. Their X bra is for petite busts, is wireless and light. Their Y bra is made for B-D cups and features a more typical wired fit. Their Z bra is for DD-G cups, and seems to use more technical fabrics for support, sometimes thicker strapping, which believe me, you notice when it isn’t there! I recently had my first bra headache and let me tell you- spaghetti straps and E cups are not good friends! There can also be cost implications to less common sizes, possibly needing the manufacturer to create bespoke underwires because standard ones aren’t available in that size. Knowing what I know about underwires, this is no mean undertaking. I could write a whole blog post on it, but I imagine it’s very dull fare to anyone who doesn’t have to know this stuff!

Beija London black stripes bra
The stripes bra, by Beija London

So now we understand why some brands will not be able to afford or justify expanding their size range (not to mention that some are clothing retailers who do not specialise in lingerie) let’s look at how a brand chooses the size ranges it does cater to. When a brand starts up they will ask themselves who their target customer is, and this will include a body profile. They may be quite an athletic brand dealing mainly in core size sports bras, they may choose to specialise in the fuller figured woman, maybe women with small ribs and full cups. Whatever the body type of the woman they wish to sell to, they will have to pick a limited range of sizes for the reasons given above. The chances are that they will have done market research with women who match their profile and their size range will be based around that information. Unfortunately this may mean that you fall either side of that sizing, and will not be able to purchase from them. It’s important to know that this is not the brand choosing to exclude you for any reason- they just had to draw the line somewhere, and demand means that right now, they can’t justify expanding it any further.

Gabi Fresh x Playful Promises bra
The Gabi Fresh collaboration with Playful Promises

The good news is that the internet means you’re never far away from finding a new brand that is absolutely perfect for your needs. The best advice I can give is follow lingerie bloggers who match your body type (and ones who don’t- you find amazing styling ideas with these people!) A few of my favourites are-

Fuller Figure Fuller Bust

Comic Girls Need Bras

The Lingerie Raven

Big Cup Lil Cup

The Wicked Jade

These women all have vastly different styles, from luxury fetish to cutesy-everyday, and there are hundreds more, all sharing their finds! Maybe you’d even like to share your own thoughts.

But I guess the real question we’re all asking is how can we encourage brands to stray into our sizes, especially when we’re *just* on the cusp of fitting their gorgeous designs!

  1. People need to stop with the accusatory, angry comments when they can’t buy from a certain retailer. Remember they can’t possibly please everyone and if they included your size someone else would still be feeling hard done by.
  2. Instead you need to make sure that you encourage them in their good work- tag friends who are the right size for the brand and who you think would appreciate them. If they are making sales they have more profit to expand.
  3. When you find retailers who sell your size BUY IT FULL PRICE! I cannot stress enough what a difference it makes to meetings when you show that certain sizes only sell at a discount. This implies it’s not really worth continuing with.
  4. You can absolutely comment to express your wishes, but just think about how you would receive the following comments after you’d worked hard and invested huge amounts of money to release a collection.

“Only up to a FF? That’s supposed to be big? What about H cup and over? Nothing for me, as usual with most companies” (actual comment taken from a specialist brand’s post)

“Love this! @Mybigbustedfriend” this would look stunning on you. Can’t wait till they start selling K cups, I’d wear this style all the time”

Playful Promises lingerie
Playful Promises

Speaking as a designer, we all do our best to meet the varied and high expectations of our customers, don’t forget, at the end of the day, we really want to make a sale to you! So let us know what you want without making us feel defensive about our limited resources, or the things we haven’t been able to do yet. Support the brands who are trying to meet your needs, and offer your feedback about what you wish you could buy from them!

Finally, a list of designers that I think deserve recognition for trying to cater to a broad range of sizes! (please note that I have not personally bought from all these brands or been paid for promotion)

Helen Kukovski– Stocks sizes 28AA- 44K but will also custom make you a bra at no extra charge!

Curvy Kate– Awesome lingerie brand specialising in D-K cups with a great range of styles.

Playful Promises– On trend, and a brand whose inclusivity is renowned! Sizes 30A to 44H

Lara Intimates– A sustainable brand, that uses deadstock fabrics with a zero waste policy! Size 26A to 36I

 

 

 

What can I do?

Buy your size bra full price

Choosing Your Ideal Corset Style

Miss Deadly Red wears the Rosette pink Seirian Luxe

Image credit- Sally Sparrow Photography and Miss Deadly Red

I understand the struggle. You’ve fallen in love with a corset style and are eager to make it your own. But in the back of your mind, a niggling doubt; how is that going to sit on my full hips? What about my petite torso length? We’re always on hand to help with any questions you have but here is a quick quide to our standard size styles* and how to choose the best one for your needs.

*Naturally all our bespoke corsets are made through a consultation process which would deal with your unique build by starting from scratch with your figure as the canvas.

Petite Torso/ Short body

If you find that a lot of “OTR” (off the rack) corsetry digs in under your breasts or into your thighs when you sit down then the chances are that your torso is shorter than the industry standard. This can be the case even if you’re average height or above! It’s all about the spacing between your waist to bust and waist to hips. If you look at our individual corset listings we do put the most important corset lengths at the bottom of the longer description as you scroll down. You can use this to double check a style’s suitability for your exact figure but usually short bodied customers benefit from a waspie style like these

The Seirian and Seirian Luxe are ideal for the most petite frames as they measure just 5.5cm above the waist at the centre front, but the Adara and Eirlys are both still only 11.5cm above and below the waist at centre front and will be suitable for many figures.

 

Extra Curvy Hips/ Hourglass Figure

If you’ve been blessed with a full hourglass figure you may find that many standard size corsets are not roomy enough for comfort. Do remember that we are happy to tweak measurements on our corsets for a small fee if you really want a certain corset style but we have designed something especially for your needs! Our Vala Edwardian underbust is widely acclaimed as our most comfortable style yet thanks to the distinctive generous hip spring that takes the pressure off your curves and really makes your waistline pop! This style also features a dished rib shape to leave more room for your ribcage if you find that is typically a pressure point for you.

The Vala is waiting to smooth your curves in blissful comfort!

Long Torso

As a taller woman I know that sometimes things sitting at the wrong height can be uncomfortable and also unflattering! Our full underbust styles are cut cleverly to suit figures with an average to long torso. That’s not to say that our waspies aren’t suitable for you, but if you’re looking for greater coverage then these styles will be your friends!

The Perle Luxe, Perle in black mesh and Perle in ivory mesh all use the same base pattern which has a high hip (ideal for more movement) and a slightly higher length above the waist than our Vala. If you also want more hip coverage and room for generous curves then our Vala is the perfect choice for you!

Athletic/ Less Curvy Figures

It can be so annoying to find a corset that is comfortable and flattering at the waist but isn’t in contact with the hips or underbust! We can check over your natural measurements against our detailed sizing charts if you get in touch but don’t despair if they aren’t perfect for your sizing as we are happy to tweak the measurements on our patterns for a small fee! This will give you the style you want most with a close fit you will love. However many clients find that waspies will fit better than full underbusts without alterations as they don’t extend to the fuller parts of underbust and hips, so we can look over those sizes with you as well.

Looking For An Everyday Corset

Generally speaking, a less dramatic corset style tends to be a good everyday choice, our Perle or Adara shapes are ideal! However the Perle is made from polyester mesh which is quite delicate compared to traditional corsetry fabrics and can increase perspiration so is not the healthiest thing to wear against your skin consistently. But we are always happy to make a standard size corset in your custom choice of fabric for a small fee which will vary depending on the fabric choice. But our Perle made in a cotton coutil fabric would answer a lot of requirements for a regular use corset! Though not strictly an everyday corset you may also like to look at our Eirlys waspie, made in silk mesh which is an excellent lightweight choice for summer tightlacing!

2017 Winter Gift Guide

Well The Weather Outside Is Frightful…

Whatever you’re celebrating this Winter, everyone loves to open a touch of luxury! Our gift guide this year showcases some of our new styles, including a growing range of ready to wear corsetry and some very decadent fetish inspired lingerie. Arranged for every budget, we hope you unwrap some of our handmade treasures this year.

But My Dear, You Look So Delightful…

Budget £10-£50

 

Gift Vouchers

Did you know that our gift vouchers start as low as £10? Choosing a size dependent gift for someone can be difficult, so if you’re stumped or have missed our shipping deadlines then you can purchase the value of your choosing and receive a code that can be used online within 24 hours.

Accessories

Speaking of size dependent dilemmas- our chokers (£20) and masks are one size fits all! With colour selections to personalise your order, a seductive treat to open is just a click away.

Our corset storage bags are just £20 and are the perfect gift for a corset addict! They allow you to organise your collection and hang them up in the wardrobe away from tangled laces and other nightmares. Colour code the bag to the corset with our custom colour options!

We have two lingerie harness styles to choose from as well! The Morgan harness is our newest addition, with a refined bondage look, featuring a triple drop of ascending size ovals. For a more delicate style, try our En Régate harness. These pieces start at £35.

Since We’ve No Place To Go…

Budget £50- £100

Accessories

Looking for something seductive and decadent? A French lace mask and choker set (£57) could be your answer. Match your colours and metalwork for a luxurious package, sent in one of our branded gift boxes.

New for Winter this year- the Isolde neck corset (£80) is the ultimate in fetish indulgence. Made in couture silk mesh with silk satin accents and double O ring detail. The swooping shape and elegant design will make this a treasured gift for years to come.

Lingerie

All our lingerie separates come in under £100! Why not try our new Adara suspender belt style with a pair of silk stockings? or our Acquiesce harness bra, which can be styled over clothing or worn alone for a sensuous encounter.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Budget £100-£200+

Lingerie

We have released three exciting new lingerie sets for Winter, starting from £155 for a bra and panties. Look at the Caron, Adara and Inira styles for boudoir inspiration. Caron and Inira can be mixed and matched for a personal set!

Corsetry

We offer standard size corsetry with custom colour options from £200. Choose from our Perle mesh underbust in ivory or black or our brand new Adara waspie. All have multiple fabric and trim options to personalise your order, and our sizing chart makes it easy to get the right fit for first time wearers! Why not add a matching corset storage bag to complete the gift?

Bespoke corsetry is not out of the question for gifts, but it can be tricky to plan if we don’t have an existing pattern for your recipient! But fear not, our gift vouchers can be used towards a bespoke order and will give your loved one a wealth of choice across our site.

If you’re still not sure you can always contact us to ask for some recommendations for your budget and preferences, we’re happy to help you find the right gift! Have a magical holiday, friends.

Heartland- A Love Letter To Wales

Adara suspender belt back

Coming Home

Heartland is born from a challenging year of personal change and upheaval. A significant part of all this is the move back to my home, my heart, Wales. I was born here, I’ve never strayed far from the border, and every time I am lost in her landscape, I am filled with energy and contentment. Wales is a country that breathes poetry, that nourishes the soul, that overwhelms the senses, whatever season you greet her in.

When trying to express a direction for the new collection, it was this love that I came back to, I wanted the theme to reflect the passion, the boldness the inspiration that I find here. The Heartland collection uses traditional Welsh names to identify the styles, each with a delicious meaning that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as the designs themselves.

Inira- Meaning “Honour”

Shop the Inira frame bra
Shop the Inira thong

A striking lingerie set, encompassing a harness bra that frames and flares around the body with detailed thong in lustred satin. Large oval rings clutch at clusters of straps, making the bra ideal for layering over clothing for a distinctive fetish fashion appeal.

Options- available in scarlet or black, with you choice of silver or gold metalwork.

Adara- Meaning “Bird Catcher”

Shop the Adara quarter cup bra
Shop the Adara Panties
Shop the Adara garter belt
Shop the Adara waspie

The standout look from Heartland, featuring a sensuous collection of quarter cup harness bra, alluring panties and our first garter belt which overlaps and entwines in the most seductive fashion. Crossing straps and cut-away areas highlight the body in elaborate lace flourishes. This collection also includes a made-to-order waspie with many custom options, allowing you to collate a matching set that you can truly treasure.

Options- Lingerie available in Black or ivory, with your choice of silver or gold metalwork. Corset has extensive custom options.

Caron- Meaning “Loving”

Shop the Caron bralette 
Shop the Caron cage panties

A full bralette set with cage back panties. The triple strap waist belt on the panties frames the waist and echoes the bold styling on the strappy bralette. Made in a lustrous satin with strap and mesh features.

Options- available in black or ivory with your choice of silver or gold metalwork.

Morgan- Meaning “Seashore”

Shop the Morgan harness

The ideal style-up for an outfit. The ascending sized ovals create an arresting effect peeping out from under clothing, and team up well with a corset ensemble. A fetish inspired look that can be built upon or played down depending on your style.

Options- available in black or ivory, with your choice of silver or gold metalwork.

Lingerie And Corsetry Gift Guide 2016

Close up of corsetry gift voucher

I know it still seems a long way away but Christmas gift giving is just around the corner! Luckily our gift guide is here to help you choose thoughtful, independent, handmade luxuries for the corset lover or lingerie addict in your life. This year we have gifts starting from just £20, and even if you are looking at overseas shipping, it’s not too late to wrap up an Orchid creation to go under the tree, even if it’s one of our beautiful gift certificates! But act swiftly to beat the busy post times that are fast approaching!

£20-£40 Gift Guide

This year we have been designing furiously to make sure that there are plenty of options in this price bracket! First up, we have our Trinity collars, available in black, ivory, or black lace and burgandy with your choice of gold or silver fittings. These pieces have proven really popular and give an instant edgy style boost to an outfit. We even have a new release for Winter with a more dramatic triple drop with rings of ascending size in vibrant indigo blue!

Shop Here

We are really proud to offer mesh corset bags, made to match our custom colour Perle corsets, though we can take custom size and colour requests to suit an existing corset. These handy little bags allow the corset to be hung up in the wardrobe or stacked in a drawer, with an easy view of which piece is inside and no lacing tangling with other clothes! A lovely finishing touch to an order, but a great gift in itself.

Shop Here

Our lace and mesh masks have gained a lot of attention since we brought them out this month! Delicate gold or silver lace overlays with a choice of black or ivory mesh for a seductive, sultry boudoir piece that lets you gaze upon the world through precious French lace. We also have a matching vivid blue eyelash lace mask ready to ship, that matches our indigo collars perfectly!

Shop Here

 

£50-£100 Gift Guide

It’s easy to put a smile on someone’s face with one of our lingerie harnesses- available in black, ivory, scarlet, indigo and new for Christmas- baby pink! Choose silver or gold fittings and style on top of a day to day outfit or with a favourite lingerie look to give it a new lease of life. Personally, I really like these on top of a plain fitted t-shirt or vest top with jeans, they look stylish and sophisticated but a little bit naughty!

Shop Here

A gift set is a wonderful thing to unwrap, and the combination of our indigo collar and lace mask, beautifully presented in a branded box is just the thing for a romantic present. These pieces are feminine, elegant and striking with their bright colour way and seductive styling, and one size fits all so there’s no concerns about guessing her measurements!

Shop Here

We sell gift vouchers in £100 denominations, ready for your recipient to choose from our range of accessories, lingerie and corsetry! We offer a bespoke service on our corsetry, allowing the customer to select every element of their design to fit their tastes and requirements. A perfect option for overseas buyers and those who aren’t confident about choosing sizing as a gift.

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£100+ Gift Guide

Lingerie is the classic gift to give a loved one at Christmas, and our wide range of styles use luxurious components such as silk, and French lace with contemporary styling that strays from flattering wrap-around briefs into daring cage bras. Many of our styles are adjustable and come in small, medium and large, making it easier to choose a great fit, but we are on hand for advice if you need it!

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Corsetry is where it all started for us, and you can treat your loved one to one of our Autumn/ Winter range of waspies, featured in this September’s Vogue! These pieces are standard sized so you can simply choose the usual waist size your corset lover wears, or use our handy sizing chart to work it out for yourself. Again, we are on hand for any advice you may need.

Shop Here

Bespoke corsets are hard to give as a surprise gift but booking a personal fitting with gift certificates for a bespoke piece (and maybe a night away in one of Shrewsbury’s premium boutique hotels while you’re visiting us!) allows the recipient to experience the full pleasure of designing and commissioning a corset from scratch, with an experienced and inspired corsetiere.

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