On the small bust part of the spectrum, bra sizes start around 28A / 32AAA.
On the full bust part of the spectrum, bra sizes end around 40L.
And on the plus size part of the spectrum, bra sizes end around 58J.
Now, I haven’t sat down and added up how many bra sizes total that equals, but there’s a lot of cup sizes and a lot of band sizes that come between 28A and 58J.
Yesterday’s reblog on why indie brands aren’t able to make all the sizes that are out there touched a few nerves, and I understand that. Sizing has always been a controversial issue within the lingerie industry, and it’s become even moreso lately. I understand getting angry when it seems like you’re being ignored. And, I hope I don’t come across as patronizing, but I agree that feeling upset is a valid reaction.
However, reducing the conversation on why indie brands can’t make every size to an overly simple explanation like “They hate these sizes” is, well, overly simple.
It ignores all the other factors that go into a running a lingerie business (and there are many), and makes it all about a company’s will and desire.
While there probably are at least a few brands who don’t make larger (or smaller, for that matter) sizes because they just don’t like them, I’m equally certain there are even more lingerie brands who would like to make those sizes but can’t because of the realities of their production costs. Bras are complicated. And expensive. And there are plenty of companies who’ve “crunched the numbers,” and found out that, at least for right now, they literally cannot.
While it’s easy for people on the outside to offhandedly say, “Well, just make more sizes,” when a company expands their size range, they’re not just making 1 or 2 new bras. They’re growing their company at every stage: from the designers they hire, to the patterns they make, to the fabric they purchase, to the amount of factory time they reserve, to the number of pieces they order, to the amount of import tax they pay, to the number of sales reps they bring on, to the number of the boutiques they market to, to (perhaps most importantly) the amount of risk they take on if things don’t sell. Taken together, that means growing a company by 30% or 40% or 50% (or more!), and that means a lot of money….before you’ve even sold a single new size.
(And that’s not even getting into the other things indie brands often have to consider, like ethical manufacturing - which is harder to find and costs more - , and competitive pricing with companies who are measuring their units in the millions instead of the dozens. See: Economies of Scale).
It’s not about making customers who are larger or smaller feel bad and I’m pretty sure it’s not about hating their money. What it is about then, for many indie lingerie brands, is figuring out how you can make bras (a fairly low margin item, as clothing goes) for as many people as possible, but still stay in business.
The same market forces which unfortunately keep some of your favorite brands in the B-D range also keep Curvy Kate successful in the D+ range and Lula Lu successful in the A and below range.
Specialization isn’t an enemy of the lingerie industry. It’s the very thing which allows for there to more choices from more brands for more consumers.