Monday, March 17, 2014

Explained: Straps on 28 Bands, Cross Grading and the Lack of 26 Bands

Following on from last week' post, today I'm answering more of the questions posed via our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

The thing I don't understand about bras is... Why there aren't more plunge bras or bras with short gores in my size! 

This is a great question and one I get asked about a lot. Lots of plunge bras stop around a G/GG/H in 28-38 bands. Over that size you really struggle to find plunge styles and this has a lot to do with the mechanics of creating a plunge bra for heavy or voluminous breasts. 

Plunge bras don't work for a lot of women (women with soft or center heavy breasts find plunge style don't give enough support or cause a lot of spilling). This is because with such a short gore and acutely angled cups, plunge styles have to rely on the sides and band to give lift and support. If you need support at the center then a plunge style will never work.

Plunge styles over an H cup (US J cup) are usually seamed bras because the seams contribute to supporting the breasts in a way molded cups can't. You can find non-plunge styles with a shorter gore but there definitely needs to be more options for H+ women who need a shorter gore.

Sizes sizes are cups that have the same volume (approximately) but different band lengths, e.g. 28G, 30FF and 32F are sister sizes.

The thing I don't understand about bras is... The fact that a 28G and a 32F have the same wire width, like seriously I'm not as wide as someone who wears a 32 so my wires should be narrower.

This is a great point about cross grading sizes. By that I mean that the proportions of a woman with a smaller band can be very different from those of a woman with a larger band. However, this can also be affected by wire shape. It might be that the 28G styles you're trying on have wider wires than you need and on a woman with a wide 28G breast shape it would work well. Some brands and styles use narrower wires than others.

Wire shape and length has been one of the biggest topics of the last 18 months and I think we'll start to see another shift in wire shapes from manufacturers in the next 5 years. 

The thing I don't understand about bras is... Why no manufacturer makes 26 bands. 

You and me both! We've carried 28 and 30 bands for years now and we carry on buying them because we have hundreds of clients who need these band lengths. And yet, many of our reps tell us that very few of their customers (boutiques/stores) buy 28 bands because they don't have any customers who fit them. The fact that few boutiques carry 28 bands translates into lower sales in those sizes so manufacturers don't prioritize shorter bands.

I think a lot of boutiques don't fit bands correctly (hence the reason so many women are in the wrong size because stores put them in a bra with a band that's too big for them). If fitters had a better understanding of how bands should fit then there would be a great demand for short bands and the need for 26 and 24 bands would become more apparent.  

I really like that the Dessous style by Claudette has closer set straps so the fit is better for 28 bands
The thing I don't understand about bras is... Why are shoulder straps so wide on 28 bands.

Another great question! Are you sure you lot haven't been rifling through my bra wish list!? What I wrote above about the slow take up rate of 28 bands by stores and boutiques has a direct bearing on your question. Because 28 bands are hard to justify from a sales point of view for a manufacturer (to give you an idea, manufacturers sell about thirty 34 bands for every 28 band ordered) there is less budget to diversify the styles that are available in a 28 band.

For example, if you are a 34 band you can find bras that are full cup, plunge, balconette, tear drop shaped, smooth, seamed, close straps, far straps, convertible and longline because there are thousands of orders from stores for these sizes so brands can afford to diversify the styles they offer in a 34 band because demand is proven.

If more stores bought 28 bands then manufacturers would see a proven market and would invest in diversifying their styles. It's completely crazy that 28 bands tend to be on styles with straps not positioned for narrower shoulders. I think Claudette's Dessous is one of the few styles that truly accounts for the shoulder fit of a 28 band client.

The thing I don't understand about bras is... Why the wire is always a finger or two width below my breast

This is usually one, or a combination of, three things: Wearing your band too low, or cups with wires that are too narrow for you and your torso shape. Because each of these is a blog topic unto itself I recommend clicking on each of the links to find out the cause of your bras sitting low on your body.

The thing I don't understand about bras is... No matter how many I have, I always NEED MORE

Because bras that fit are not only comfortable but they're a joy to put on and look at! If you need more bras because they never seem to fit you then that's a bad thing but if you always need more bras because there are so many great ones out there then you're my perfect customer! xx


  1. Thank you!! One comment I will make about the Dessous bras is that on my body I find them to fit pretty well with the wires and straps, but the band it slightly too stretchy and the cups seem to be a bit minimizing. That lack a bit of volume in the cups for their size.

    1. The cups are a shallow style on the Dessous for sure. The stretchiness of the band was addressed with the AW13 styles and made much firmer. It would be great to have more cup styles on the wire frame of dessous. xx

  2. "The thing I don't understand about bras is... Why the wire is always a finger or two width below my breast.

    This is usually one, or a combination of, three things: Wearing your band too low, or cups with wires that are too narrow for you and your torso shape. "

    On me, I don't think this is due to to wires being too narrow; I suspect it's because the larger cup sizes often don't have enough depth (which ties into your notes higher in the post).

    When I was a larger band/smaller cup (i.e. 36F), this was never a problem - the underwire sat right where it was supposed to. As I lost weight but not cup volume (it actually increased a bit - I measure 30HH/32H), I found that the underwire on all of my bras would end up 3/4" or more too low, regardless of how often I repositioned it. At first I thought it was due to an hourglass torso, but now I'm convinced it's because larger underwires wrap too far around a smaller band, causing the cups to pull to the side. There just isn't enough depth where it needs to be (i.e. in front of my body, where my bust actually is).

    As it stands, I have one bra with almost enough depth - Panache Jasmine. I wish I could find another option, particularly with a lower gore.

    As always, I enjoy your posts!

    1. Your experience is so helpful KL. The cup wrapping around too far would definitely still be helped by the wires being narrower so that you had a greater cup length to wire width but you need the volume to remain the same. If you like Jasmine then Envy is worth trying. Lower gores are hard to find over an H cup period, let alone on a 30 band so I feel your pain on that one! Thanks for reading and especially for sharing your experience xx