This post is just going to be a random mash up of all the thoughts that have been in my head for the past few weeks. I’m not really feeling up to taking new photos for the blog this week because I recently had an IUD inserted, and I’ve been struggling with a great deal of pain due to my scoliosis that may require physical therapy. In short I’ve just been in bed, leaving me to my thoughts and frustrations (and tons of bodily cramping). I’m just going to warn you that there might be a little bit (okay, a lot) of complaining going on in this post because I am frustrated and exhausted.
My first thought is that there’s a huge drought of information regarding bra sizes above a HH/J cup, and bands above a 34. If you check Bratabase, there are 2,544 bras entered in a 30F. In a 38J, there are only 138 bras. There are even less in my size range. 98 for 36K, 21 for 36KK, and 11 for 36L. This is understandable considering the fact that a 30F is a much more common size (actually the most common on ABTF) than the other sizes I mentioned above. Generally speaking, the quality of advice you receive is a lot better if you’re in the smaller end of the full bust spectrum. Once you get to a larger size range and your options taper off, it seems like people recommend bras in the correct size with no regard to the shape or construction of the bra. Some people tend to forget that a Panache Jasmine in 30F will be vastly different than a Jasmine in a 36K. The only way to remedy this is by being the change you want to see in the world and buying tons of bras in large sizes and writing a plethora of detailed and in depth reviews for the women who may need these sizes, and by explaining the breast shape of the person wearing it and how this affects the fit of the bra. This becomes increasingly difficult because there’s a lot less options to try and review and everyone keeps reviewing the same bras from the same brands.
Once you get past a G cup, all the bras start to get larger in general rather than the cups changing to accommodate the wearer. The straps are wider, the cups are wider and taller, and the bras become much more utilitarian in construction. Some brands choose to change the entire appearance of the bra above a certain size. The reason bras above a G cup are like this is because they’re scaled up from the smaller sizes rather than being drafted for the larger size range. This effect is magnified the higher in cup you are, and is absolutely unbearable if you have a very large cup and a very small band. What this means is that these bras will only fit someone with a very specific breast shape and body type. Since I am plus sized with wide set breasts, this doesn’t bother me as much as someone who’s a little more slender with more narrow and projected breasts. This is where lots of women start to come away from brands like Curvy Kate, Panache, Freya, etc. and start to try Polish brands like Ewa Michalak, Comexim, Kris Line, etc. because they don’t have to rely on sister sizing bras that don’t work for them and then altering bra after bra.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the aesthetic of Polish bras and I love that Ewa Michalak is making cups larger than the average full bust brand (which usually covers 28-38 D-K). I also think it’s great that Ewa tackles the smaller sizes that most brands we’re used to don’t even touch. To date, Ewa Michalak has the widest range of bras sizes; encompassing sizes from 24-60 bands, and AA-P cups. She’s making tons of innovations that the full bust community could only dream of in the past, and seems to understand what the average customer in a size range looks for in a bra. Ewa gains lots of support because she shows how her bras look on a variety of models of differing body types, ages, and general appearances. Ewa Michalak and Comexim are taking over the full bust industry due to the fact that they offer padded bras in large sizes and have narrow wires, which contrasts with UK brands and their fondness for unpadded bras with wide wires. Comexim in particular is gaining popularity by the day because you can pay extra to have the bra customized to your liking. (More on this at A Sophisticated Pair). If I could order Ewa Michalak bras with wide wires instead of their usual narrow wires, I’d have more of them than I could ever wear and I’d pretty much forget any other brand ever existed.
There is only one problem with the popularity of Ewa Michalak and the fact that they offer the largest amount of sizes. They seem to be the only brand recommended for someone above a J cup, regardless of whether their roots are wide or narrow, or whether they have short roots that can’t fill the top of those tall cups. I’ve recently had another sudden growth spurt of an inch and a half, and my breasts are now measuring a UK 36L, leaving me with an extremely limited selection of bras to even try on without sister sizing and altering bands. For the past year and a half that I’ve been browsing bra fitting websites, I’ve constantly been told to try Ewa Michalak bras despite the fact that my breasts are the perfect width for the notoriously super wide wires of Elomi and the Panache Tango. If I tell the person recommending it that I can’t physically wear the brand, it turns into me trying to justify myself and them arguing with me about it. If the Panache Jasmine is too narrow for me at 8.5 inches with a depth of 16.1, Ewa Michalak 36Ls with a width of 6 inches (and the same depth) are going to be painful for me to wear, not to mention too small for me since the 36K Panache Jasmine is now too small. I have very rarely been told to try Bravissimo bras, and there is very little information about them in my size range.
I usually love the bra fitting community, but the larger I grow in size the more distant I feel from the average user. I know more about bra sizes outside of my own range than I know about bras I can comfortably wear myself. I can fit dozens of women either online or in real life, but I can’t for the life of me find the perfect bra since I keep growing out of all my options. I feel like there’s a second and smaller community within this whole bra fitting community that’s comprised of women above a J cup. Since the majority of full bust brands stop at a K cup, that leaves a lot of us scrounging for the last few available options. It also forces us to learn how to sister size and sew bras to be “good enough” for us to wear until something better comes out. For most of these women, Ewa Michalak has been a godsend. Curvy Wordy finds a perfect fit in the majority of Ewa Michalak bras, and many other women have been finding great success in Ewa as well as other Polish brands.
So where am I left in all of this, with my large band and wide, short roots? Either Bravissimo or custom bras. Bravissimo carries up to an L cup, however the majority of reviews of the popular Alana recommend sizing up at least one cup to get a good fit, effectively reducing the range to a KK cup (without sister sizing from a 38L or 40L). I still plan on trying the Alana when finances allow, just because it’s pretty much my last option that isn’t super narrow. If the Alana doesn’t work for me, I’m resigned to trying Ewa Michalak and sizing up several cups (going into the FB range, which is nearly twice the price) and running the risk of spending a great deal of money on a bra I may not be able to sell as easily. When I compare the measurements of a 40M Ewa Michalak to my 36K Panache Tangos (which have the perfect width), the Ewa still comes out smaller even though it sister sizes to a 36N which is 4 cup sizes larger than I’d hypothetically need.
I try to be accepting and welcoming of all body types, but it makes me jealous that women with smaller breasts have a much easier time finding bras to fit them than I ever will. I don’t blame them, they didn’t choose their size just like I didn’t choose mine. I’m only 20 years old and I’m sized out of almost all my options, and I’m still growing at an average of 2 cup sizes a year. If I continue at this pace and remain at the same weight, I’ll be a 36M by next year, and a 36N at the age of 22. Some may call me lucky and insist I have nothing to complain about, but I feel alone in a community I used to feel more welcome in before I grew larger than a J cup. In real life, I’m told I should just get a reduction despite the fact that my breasts do not cause any medical problems and I do not desire and cannot afford a breast reduction. Online I feel like the only one in my size range that doesn’t have narrow roots and many people are stumped when it comes to offering me advice. Unfortunately, lots of companies are taking notice of the fact that the majority of their customers are narrow rooted and have started altering their cuts to suit them since tons of companies have received dozens of bad reviews for being “too wide and shallow”. Some seem to forget that we all have different breast shapes and what works for someone else may be a disaster for others, and that a good lingerie brand has a variety of cuts for different breast shapes. For the past few months I’ve been stalking eBay and other websites for older Panache cuts (Tango, Melody, Ariza) that seem to suit my shape better than the newer models (Floris, Jasmine.)
I’m getting to the point where I’m going to have to find someone to make custom bras just for me, or I’m going to have to take apart existing bras to make patterns of my favorites in larger sizes so that I can still technically wear the bras that work for me. Sometimes I have idealistic thoughts that I could design and create my own lingerie brand that starts at a GG/H cup so that I can fill a market that’s mostly forgotten about, but the fact that I’m not the best seamstress and I don’t have the time or money to take that risk is putting a damper on that. I believe Comexim is on the right track because they offer a slew of alterations to fit a wide variety of breast shapes, but again they have narrow wires and don’t go up to my size range. Hopefully they expand their range in the future. As full bust brands in Poland create new innovations, the British greats (Panache, Eveden brands, etc.) have a lot of work to do to catch up. Hopefully they don’t forget about wide rooted women like me who can’t be content in narrow wires. Panache bras are near perfect for me, save for being too small and having some scaling problems at the upper end of their range.
My current bra wish list is as follows:
- More bras up to a 36L or sister sizes of it
- Wide wired bras in very large cup sizes
- Fully adjustable straps that aren’t too wide set
- Straps wide enough to not fold over and cut in
- Bands that don’t stretch out easily above a 34 band (more true to size large bands)
- Cups that aren’t super tall
- Wings that don’t run into my armpits
- Bands that don’t curl up due to my tummy
- Gores that don’t come up to my collarbones
- Wires that don’t run into my armpits despite being the right width
- More padded bras
- More sturdy fabrics to avoid pokey nipples or loss of shape throughout the day
- Large cup bras that provide a better shape
- More brands that offer alterations
Essentially what this boils down to is that there needs to be a brand that redesigns it’s construction after a J cup the same way some brands change after a G cup. Most full bust brands assume that people in the J-K range need these huge utilitarian bras that provide a lot of coverage, when brands like Ewa Michalak are proving you don’t need either of these to give the wearer unparalleled shaping and support. I’m hoping that there are more K+ options available in the next 10 years. This could very well happen considering that the iconic Panache Tango was only released 13 years ago, in 2002. In my lifetime, we’ve grown leaps and bounds as a community and we have more options than ever before.
Note: All links and images that are not my own are for informational use only. I am not being paid to promote or talk down on any brands, nor do I use affiliate links.