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Yesterday, I was reading a piece by talented lingerie fit expert Kimmay Caldwell over at LiveAbout and it got me thinking. We talk a lot about brands and their size ranges – most specifically, why some brands carry a limited number of sizes, while others design for a wide range of sizes – and often the reasoning behind why a lingerie brand waits to expand or never expands their sizing isn’t as simple as you might think.

As someone who regularly sees the behind-the-scenes of the lingerie industry, I think it’s important to acknowledge that there a lot of factors that can delay a brand from launching a new line or expanding their current product offerings or size range.

While that may give you some peace of mind, you might still find that the brand you like doesn’t sell lingerie in your size – and for some people this is unfortunately very common. You’re definitely not alone if you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “Why don’t they make this [insert item here] in my size?”

Here’s one possible reason that you might not even realize: cost.

Cost is often one of the biggest factors – and a major reason why some brands never go beyond their core sizes or styles.

This is what I’ve learned

Producing new patterns, hiring new fit models, and purchasing new materials is expensive for any lingerie brand. Newer, independent lingerie brands may choose to start out with a small, core product launch and expand their line over time. Larger, more established lingerie brands may be nervous to take the leap into a new-to-them market, such as plus size lingerie or full bust lingerie, when they know very little about the market they’re considering going into (market research can only do so much). They have to get funding from somewhere to expand their product offerings and they might be hesitant to pull it from a successful line and invest it into a new one.

This may explain why a few brands have delayed expanding their sizing, but when you see a big lingerie brand like Victoria’s Secret (who had $7.4 billion in net sales on their own in 2017) decline to expand their sizing, you start to wonder why a lingerie brand would avoid growing with the market if cost wasn’t a factor.

Full disclosure: I used to shop at Victoria’s Secret.

But then I gained 30 pounds and my bra size changed. I went from wearing a DD to DDDD/G – and suddenly I was sized out of options. It’s not a secret that Victoria’s Secret bras only go up to a DDD. My local Victoria’s Secret had such a small selection of DDDs in store that I had to start shopping elsewhere for bras. And you know what? I was better off in doing so.

The power of change

For a long time, Victoria’s Secret dominated the lingerie market share. Full-busted people waited patiently year after year for Victoria’s Secret to expand their sizing beyond DDD cups, but that still hasn’t happened. Sure, it might change one day, but for now, they are struggling to stay relevant.

Fortunately for consumers, the demand outweighs the supply and there are new lingerie brands launching every year with the intent of filling those gaps in the market.

Lingerie brands like The Little Bra Company, ThirdLove, Torrid, Knix, Playful Promises, Aerie, Parfait, Savage x Fenty, and many others have stepped up to meet the demand and, in doing so, proved that there are other alternatives to Victoria’s Secret out there.

Related: How To Stay Body Positive While Bra Shopping

alternatives to victoria's secret

Serving a niche

It can be a good thing for a lingerie brand to exist in its own niche – especially when it’s empowering and serving the needs of its customers. For example, socially-conscious intimate apparel line TomboyX launched with the intent to create “underwear that any body could feel comfortable in, regardless of where they fell on the size or gender spectrum.” Their genderless line focuses on fit, function, and comfort with a healthy dose of style mixed in. Plus, their comfy bralettes and briefs are available in sizes XS-4X – an impressive size range from a company with a heart of gold. Compared to glamourous, vintage-inspired inclusive lingerie line, Playful Promises, the two brands couldn’t be more different style-wise – yet they exist perfectly in the lingerie space, proving that a lingerie brand can stay true to their customer base while serving all sizes. Victoria’s Secret might just learn a thing or two from them.

Finding a new favorite brand

Unless things change, there’s a good chance Victoria’s Secret won’t embrace the full busted or plus size markets. But that shouldn’t discourage you if you’re full busted or plus sized. There are plenty of brands out there that do design for you and want you to feel sexy, accepted, and adored. Size inclusive lingerie brands like Parfait, Playful Promises, and Curvy Kate have an array of beautiful lingerie designed to boost your confidence and release your inner goddess. Wear-anywhere lines like Knix and Origami Customs prove that a great fit and quality lingerie can go hand-in-hand. Lingerie can be whatever you want it to be. You don’t have to settle!

What’s next

Lingerie shopping should be a fun, enjoyable experience. If shopping at Victoria’s Secret makes you happy, keep shopping there. If it doesn’t, there are many other places to shop for lingerie. While you’re shopping, remember: Lingerie brands value your feedback. If you’d like to see a design or size from a lingerie brand, tell them! Leave a comment on social media, send an email, make a phone call – they’re always looking for ways to improve and better serve their customers. This also applies if you see a bra that you like that doesn’t come in the color you want or if there’s a style that would be better with a few changes. Why not reach out and let the lingerie brand know? In the meantime, take a peek at the brands I mentioned and see what the lingerie space is up to. You might just find a new favorite lingerie brand!

Related: How To Encourage Lingerie Brands To Make What You Want To Buy

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We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

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Published by

Katie Donnelly

Katie Donnelly is a full-time freelance writer, content manager, and founder of Katie Rose Creative. An experienced bra fitter, Katie has helped hundreds of people shop for lingerie. Her favorite bra is the Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra.

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