Small Bras, Big Boobs

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Lifestyle Staff Writer | Lauren Cartwright | lc607512@ohio.edu | @lauren_loma 

This year’s Secret Swimsuit Special shows model, Elsa Hosk of Sweden as the face of the event. Source: Victoria's Secret via PRNewswire
This year’s Secret Swimsuit Special shows model, Elsa Hosk of Sweden as the face of the event. Source: Victoria’s Secret via PRNewswire

The 2016 Victoria’s Secret Swim Special aired March 9 to give women an inside look at the hottest swimsuits on some of the most beautiful models in the world. After seeing the Swim Special, it becomes obvious the brand lacks one thing — extended sizing.

Many women exalt Victoria’s Secret as the go-to option for lingerie on the market due to the company’s various 1,000 locations and large advertising budget. According to IBISWorld report in 2015, Victoria’s Secret brands have reported control of 61.8 percent of the U.S. lingerie market. This dominant lingerie retailer excludes curvy or plus-sized women who do not fit into the maximum size of an XL/18 and cup size 40 DDD. For swimwear, the size range is smaller, with the largest size being a 38 DD.

Since VS doesn’t carry a wide range of sizes, women have complained that the store’s bra fitters have forced them into an incorrect bra size. Courtney Killpack, once a bra-fitting consultant at Nordstrom, wrote on her blog Fry Sauce and Grits that this situation has happened to her. “They kept on trying to get me to buy the sister size of 32C, which is 34B, even though the band size was big on me.  From my experience they don’t have their focus on trying to help women find correct fitting bras, they’re a large company trying to sell sexy bras.”

Some women have pointed out that even the Angel models almost never wear a properly fitting bra. When looking through a VS catalog, models’ breasts are spilling out of the bra at the top, the underwire is not at the center of the ribcage and the back of the bra is normally riding up instead of lying horizontal. All these signs of an ill-fitting bra are clearly an advertising ploy to show just how sexy a bra can make a woman look. However, this marketing strategy does not accurately depict what a proper bra should look like to serve the purpose of lifting, supporting and shaping breasts, not just to look sexy.

The lingerie brand Intimacy compiled research from sales data and customer surveys of 60,000 women to find that the average American women’s bra size has increased from a 34B to a 34DD within 20 years. As the average boob gets bigger and the average cup smaller, it’s not difficult to see where the issue begins.

Victoria’s Secret is trying to embrace more diverse models on their runways, with women from all over the world and various ethnicities.  But VS can do even better with diversity by including lingerie plus-sizes. According to IBISWorld, plus sized apparel is a $9 billion industry. With the lack of fashionable lingerie for busty women, VS is missing out on an untapped market they could be profiting from. Petitions have been started calling for curvy and plus size lingerie models to participate in the annual fashion shows, as many American women believe the shows promote unrealistic body expectations for the average woman.

VS Angel Monika Jagaciak said in an interview with The Daily Mail, “I think the whole world is more open to plus size [models] and I am sure at some point they [Victoria’s Secret] will be ready for it.”

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