Small Bust Bloggers Speak Out
Story by Elisabeth Dale.
Elisabeth Dale is an internationally renowned breast expert and author, and the founder of TheBreastLife.com. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Tyra Banks Show, BBC World News, NPR, and has been featured in The New York Times, Cosmo, Glamour, Men’s Health, and the Sunday London Times.
Full bust and plus size brands have become better known to consumers and the general public thanks to the Internet and a group of very active full-bust lingerie bloggers. They post photos, reviews of styles and new lines, and report on news in the intimate apparel industry. They also serve as advocates for the specific intimate apparel issues faced by full-busted women.
Small and petite bust bloggers are less common in the current blogosphere. I tracked down four women who shared their thoughts with me on the small bust consumer and market for petite lingerie.
1. The Lamb, Of Lambs and Lace from UK
2. Rebecca Lightbody (Becky or Toots) from UK
3. Marielle of Petite & Plentiful in the Netherlands
4. Denocte of Kurvendiskussionen, Austria
How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to focus on small bust issues?
The Lamb: I’ve been blogging for just over a year now, Oflambsandlace had its first birthday at the end of December. Being small busted myself, it was always my aim to blog about my own personal journey with lingerie and body acceptance but it didn’t occur to me to focus solely on small bust issues until half way through my blog’s first year. It took a few months of submerging myself in the world of lingerie bloggers to even realize that small busts existed below the standard 32A size. I’d never heard of 30 or 28 backs being available in smaller cup sizes and I had no idea about the fit issues specific to small busts that came with different styles of bras. It was shocking and eye opening for me to realize that I’d spent years completely misinformed and this had negatively affected the development of my self-image. So my decision to push the focus of my blog towards small busts was in part to try and hopefully connect with other small busted individuals (be they uninformed or very clued up about the lingerie available to them) and to further my learning so that I could apply my new found knowledge to living with a small bust.
Marielle: I’ve been blogging for little over a half year. I’ve always had a love of lingerie, but was very, very insecure about my small bust. I found out my starting point size (28E) early last year. I stumbled upon a bra fit blog almost by accident, and learned that sizes outside of 32-38 A-D existed. I went to a trial and error fitting period, along with a boost in self-esteem and confidence, and I read a lot of lingerie related blogs. I’ve always had an interest in writing and toyed with the idea of beginning my own blog. I finally decided to make a blog after a plea for small-busted bloggers on Boosaurus’ blog from a reader. I started writing to share my experience, give a positive outlook on having a small bust, and most of all: help other small-busters gain confidence.
Denocte: I started blogging nearly three years ago, and my little blog turns three in May! The main reason was that I wanted to help women find a better connection to their body through a better bra fit. When I was browsing the Internet for bra fitting resources I found a lot of up and coming big cup focused lingerie blogs and it helped me to better understand bra fit in general. But as time went by, I saw that fitting smaller busts is a whole different story. As I got more experience with fitting smaller busts when helping friends and family I experienced that although there might be the illusion that small-busted girls have a lot of options when choosing a bra, this is not really the case. Plus I found out that I’m not alone with my experiences of being ridiculed for having small breasts. That’s when I started blogging. I wanted to help girls and women in general but especially small busted ones to feel more confident in their body, and not doubting themselves when they can’t find a bra that fits in high street stores.
Rebecca Lightbody: I started my first lingerie blog Toots & Booty at the beginning of 2012, however when myself and my co-blogger decided we didn’t want to continue this blog, I slowly started to blog about lingerie on my own personal style blog. I never set out to have a blog specific to small-bust issues. The point of my blog is that it is personal, and being small-busted is a personal issue of mine.
Why do you think there are so few small bust bloggers?
The Lamb: This is a difficult question to answer without really just relying on speculation. It could be that there are just proportionally, less small busted individuals, but I’m more inclined to believe it’s because small busts aren’t really acknowledged to actually exist outside of the well informed wider lingerie blogging community. A year ago, I myself considered anything below a 32A to be flat-chested because I didn’t know any better. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn there are many women out there who don’t feel like they have a bust at all and wouldn’t consider themselves to be an important voice to contribute in a blog. Often the issues faced by the small busted are wrongly (but not maliciously) equated to the issues faced by the full bust and full bust/small back and considered lesser. These comparisons can stifle confidence as, although the range of fit and lifestyle issues we face may be smaller, we still have to deal with them on a daily basis and so shouldn’t be dismissed as “lesser issues.”
Rebecca Lightbody: Well, aside from the fact that statistically there’s far fewer small-busted women in general in comparison to full-busted women, I think it’s because there is a much bigger market for larger-busted women. A small-bust brand is fairly hard to come by, however plenty of brands already cater to bigger cup sizes, if not chest sizes. It’s quite rare to find a brand that caters to anything below a 32A, and even then it might be a “teen” or “training” bra!
Denocte: The full bust bloggers boomed the last few years - and that’s awesome. I remember Georgina of FullerFigureFullerBust being one of the first that got my attention, she started about the same time I did. The massive response she and her colleagues are getting shows how desperately needed advisors for full-busted women were and are. At the same time at the beginning of this full bust empowerment I heard a lot of what I’ve heard my whole life: “Why do you even need a bra”, “you have no idea how hard this is” - all going down in a guilt tripping spiral. And this is what is still set in a lot of girls’ minds. “I’ve got small boobs I have to fit in store sizes”, “I don’t deserve really nice lingerie because my breasts are too small.” I once had a sales lady tell me to look in the children’s department. And of course there are a large number of small-busted girls who really are comfortable with buying off the rack high street bras because they like them and they fit.
And it took some time to appreciate that bloggers can blog about small-busters too! We can talk about fit - like the full busted ones, we can talk about design, we can talk about body issues. We are not immune to lingerie talk and fitting topics because of our breast size. I think since having a small bust is still seen as the “easy” way, there is not yet a need for advice as desperately as it was in the full bust community.
Marielle: I think it’s partly because people with fuller busts are more likely to search for their real size, due to for example back pain and fitting problems. I know in my case, back when I was wearing 32A’s and B’s, I waved away any fitting problems I had due to the smallness of my chest – I was convinced I was the shortcoming, not the bra. This sense of insecurity, of the problem being you and not the bra, is sadly very common. “I’m so small, why would I even need a bra” is an often-heard phrase. Another contributing factor would be fear of speaking out - It’s not a competition who has it worst, but it’s still common to see full bust readers lash out at the writer and say that they have worse problems and that those with a small bust should just be glad they don’t have their problems.
What do you think the lingerie industry can do to improve small bust selections?
The Lamb: What I’d like the industry to do and what is realistically viable for them are different, unfortunately. It would be lovely to see all big lingerie companies embrace small sizes and consider the fit problems faced by those with small busts when designing their ranges. But this is very unrealistic for several reasons and I respect that there just doesn’t seem, at the moment, to be a big enough market to warrant this kind of investment. But what they could do is help spread awareness of small busts. They could drop their “teen” ranges, designed and named solely for this demographic and in the sizes that many fully mature women wear and stop equating a small bust to an underdeveloped one. They could choose to use small busted models in their campaigns or product photos and they could educate their in store bra fit specialists on the sizes below a 32A and where a customer could go to purchase these.
Rebecca Lightbody: I would definitely like to see the lingerie industry using smaller back sizes. I hate the fact I have to compromise sometimes and buy a 32A instead of a 30B. It just doesn’t fit well. I’d like to see small-busted ladies in lingerie campaigns more often too! I hate the fact that my size is represented as something that is “in development”. When I search by size on some sites and find that there’s only training bras, designed with a sickly “little girl” aesthetic it makes me feel less womanly. I deserve to feel sexy, like any other woman.
Denocte: Change their styles and patterns. The common high street lingerie often seems to me as if they tried the bra in one standard size, 34C maybe, and the rest is just bad grading. That doesn’t work for full busts and it doesn’t work for small busts either. Common issues here are: wires too narrow, cup seams tilted inwards that give you quadboob, center gores too wide. What’s easiest to fit in my experience are half-cup bras.
A lot of small-busted women (not all, but a lot) need wide wires and shallow cups - something that’s hard to find in high street stores. Another issue is the constant need for super push up padding. There are brands that add a ton of padding in every A cup bra, half a ton of padding in B cup, and light padding in C cup. This doesn’t only get to your body confidence (“here, before you go outside please add this padding so you look acceptable”) but also takes a lot of choice away from you. Maybe I don’t WANT to wear padded bras? Or maybe I only want to wear them with that nice dress I just bought?
One UK High Street Store that has really good small bust bras in a broad range is for example Boux Avenue. I don’t know what they do, but they do it right.
But what is really lacking, both in the industry and in the blogging world are bras and Info on them for women who need a bigger bra band but small cups. Hard to find ones and even harder to find information on them.
Yes, my size might be present a lot more in mainstream fashion. But that doesn’t mean the patterns and cup styles actually work. So a company that is working a lot on fitting issues instead of design only, like full bust brands Cleo or Freya developing patterns for smaller busts is a major “yay!” for me. “It would mean a lot. The last few days when Cleo expanded their sizing range to B and C cups there was a lot of backlash in the boobosphere, and to be honest, this simply hurts.
Marielle: I think before anything truly beneficial can happen the industry needs to break away from the rigid 32-38 A-D sizing, but that is still a far away dream. For now, a bigger knowledge of shapes of small breasts would be beneficial, as shallow breasts are very common among those with small chests. Developing and offering a variety of non-padded, padded, push up bras for smaller sizes would also be great to see, as now selection is mostly limited to bralettes, heavily padded bras and push up bras in smaller sizes.
Catch Up on our Small Bust Feature, Parts 1 and 2
Part 1: Elisabeth Dale gives readers an in-depth overview of the Small Bust Lingerie market. If you missed part 1, read the full article HERE.
Part 2: Elisabeth Dale gives Retailers 6 Tips to Grow their Small Bust Lingerie Sales. Knowledge you can put to work at your business. Read the full article HERE.