One of the questions I’m asked most frequently, especially during an event like Corset Week is, “Where can I buy a nice corset?”
It’s a question I totally understand. Even the most inexpensive (but still quality) steel boned corset will cost you at least $100… and as you get into custom measurements and quality fabrics and special add-ons (like fan-lacing or lace overlay), the price can skyrocket to triple that — at least.
So to make things just a little easier, here’s the official Lingerie Addict list of 50+ places to buy your next corset. The first 10 are good sources for off-the-rack, ready-to-ship pieces. The next are expert corsetieres who can build a corset from scratch to your specifications. An asterisk by a name means I’ve made a satisfactory purchase from that corset retailer or corset maker before.
I really want this post to be a resource that people can use for a long time, so please feel free to not only share this post with your friends but to also leave reviews of the corset businesses you’ve bought from in the comments. After all, there’s no lingerie addict like an informed lingerie addict.
This article was updated in March 2015 by The Lingerie Addict’s in-house corsetry expert, Marianne Faulkner. The above is Cora’s original introduction. To get you started, I’ve compiled twelve of my top articles on buying a corset. Each brand has also been updated to include a location; for a larger index of corsetieres across the world, please consult Lucy’s Corsetry’s Corsetiere Map.
Now that we know how to choose the perfect corset for any occasion, it’s time to learn which corset shape is the best fit for your body type. Whether you have a full bust, small bust, long torso, short torso, wide hips, or no hips…there’s a style out there to suit you. The second piece in an excellent 2-part series by Marianne Faulkner, this is a timeless article with tons of useful information. For more about Marianne, please visit her website popantique.com.
So you want to wear a corset, but you want to know what corset style will work best on your body. To really be certain, you should try them on, of course, but the following tips can serve as a guideline.
First up, three common bust issues. Both the gamine and the extra-curvy frequently express concerns that corsets aren’t for their figure type, and then are amazed at the transformation or support provided by a well-made corset.
For the large of bust, you may find that an overbust corset is more comfortable than a bra. Overbusts supports your breasts from the waist up, distributing the weight and easing the pain of bra straps cutting into your shoulders, or a band around your rib cage. Alterations or a custom corset may be necessary, as the bust apex (fullest point) on a ready to wear corset will probably be too low and create the dreaded “quad boob” effect. A style with gussets (triangular insets) at the bust can provide shaping and support to the buxom better than a silhouette shaped solely by regular seams. Any corset will also provide you with extra back support.
Conversely, if you are small busted (B cup or smaller), try a flat front style. Depending on the shape of your breasts, this can actually add the illusion of multiple cup sizes, as anyone who’s ever worn a ren faire bodice can tell you. If you are in love with a corset but the bust is too loose, you can order one with alterations or pad the bust of an off-the-rack.
If your bust is asymmetric, the popular sweetheart silhouette is likely to exaggerate the fact, unfortunately. Go with a straighter neckline and/or flatter bust, and buy cutlets or bust pads to fluff up the smaller side. Take some time in front of a mirror to determine the best placement of the cutlets to create the illusion of symmetry.
If you’re small hipped, I’ve got good news: pretty much any corset will improve your hourglass. A sharp hip spring will make the biggest difference, but it also runs the risk of being too large in the hips. A corset that nips in under the ribs, rather than compressing them along with your waist, will add to the wasp-waist effect.
On the other hand, those starting with a natural hourglass will absolutely need a sharp hip spring. Low-end corsets are often less curvacious than a curvy girl’s natural figure.
Corseting lends itself well to full-figured types, but if you’re starting with a rounded belly, the displaced flesh still has to go somewhere. A longline style, preferably adjusted to your torso length, will minimize this effect. Wear your corset with a panty or pantyhose that slightly underlaps the bottom of your corset to encourage a smooth line.
For a long torso, stick with a short-hip rather than longline corset. An underbust will break up the span of your torso more. Pair your corset with full-length skirts or those cut to mid-thigh to add length to your legs. If you go for an overbust, make sure your nips are covered! Also check that the the bust is high enough to provide you with flattering support and lift.
Those extremely short of torso are also liable to require alterations. If buying off-the-rack, make sure you can sit down – the boning should not poke into your thighs. An underbust should not prod the bottom of your breasts. Overbusts may have the bust placed too high, and it may poke too high into your underarm as well. A waspie is a safe bet. For a longer underbust, you’ll have more wiggle room with a pointed silhouette, which is long at the center front and back but shorter at the sides.
A corset with wide straps, such as a halter or cross-back style, will minimize wide shoulders. Underbusts and overbusts both are available with straps. If going strapless, a sweetheart neckline will flatter more than a boxy flat-front.
My final bit of advice is to check with your corsetmaker about the sort of posture encouraged by their corsets. If you have a swayback or a shelf butt, a corset designed for flat-backed upright posture (pilates posture, as I think of it) may buckle at the back waist. If, on the other hand, you are flat-backed and your corset is not, you may find yourself tipping your pelvis backwards to accommodate, or feeling a slight pinch at the small of your back.
Photo Credits: All illustrations property of Marianne Faulkner.
Today’s amazing Corset Week feature is from Marianne Faulkner of Pop Antique. An independent corsetiere and corset model, Marianne’s article is all about how to choose the right corset for your needs…whether that’s tightlacing, everyday wear, or a fancy evening out. You can find Marianne on Pop Antique and on Facebook. Come back tomorrow for Part II, which focuses on buying the right corset for your figure.
So you want to wear a corset, and you’re wondering where to start. At first glance, they all seem kind of the same – curvy pretty things with laces up the back. Well, your body type and corseting intentions should guide your choice of corset, just like they would for any other garment. A corset worn for a specific costume or event is probably not the same corset you wear to get the appropriate silhouette in your vintage day dress. Feel free to skip ahead until you see a paragraph relevant to you.
Let’s begin with the corset’s origin: a foundation garment, molding your body to a fashionable silhouette. For 20th century vintage or even under contemporary garments, a cotton underbust will be your friend, coupled with a good bra. Opt for internal, rather than external, bone channels. See if you can upgrade to a “busk cover” as well. Detachable garters are a valuable, and generally inexpensive, add-on; I recommend three pairs. If you are actually dressing for a particular historic period, don’t assume that all corsets are created equal. As the centuries turned, the silhouettes did, and your outerwear will neither fit nor look right if you are mixing and matching your foundations.
One popular misconception – and I do mean popular, the uneducated love to tout this “fact” – is that corsets are uncomfortable and terrible for your body. To the contrary, a well fitted corset is actually excellent back support, may even work out your core muscles as you wear it, and encourages good posture. If you struggle with back aches and poor posture, a corset may help combat them. The higher the back, the more supportive the corset. Add straps and it can pull back those rounded shoulders, too.
This being the Lingerie Addict, perhaps what you have in mind is more decadent than utilitarian. For a bedroom corset, it goes without saying that you should feel comfortable and confident in whatever style you select. That will depend on your own personal taste and body. When it comes to taking it off, though, you may hit a bit of a stumbling block – a real corset doesn’t have a quick-release button, unless it’s one of those steampunky affairs with swing-hook closures. Make the process part of your seduction. Whether you’re unlacing yourself or having your partner assist, use the action to heighten the anticipation. Definitely do avoid closed-front corsets. Order a style with built-in or detachable garters for additional sexy functionality. This is the place for sumptuous silk duchess and lace overlays.
If you’re thinking of starting waist training, there’s no better place to start than a basic underbust corset. Several ready to wear corsetieres have curvy and comfortable styles to get you started until you’re ready to upgrade to a custom corset. More panels will mean a better and more comfortable distribution of the shaping (and boning). Cotton will stand up better than silk to the rigors of frequent wear.
For the corseting equivalent of daytime casual, an underbust style can be worn as outerwear. If you are flat-stomached, a short underbust (often called a waspie or waist cincher) can be worn much as you might wear a wide belt. Select a bold print or contrasting color that will complement the rest of your wardrobe, or perhaps even a wool suiting. You can also pair the contemporary “sweetheart” silhouette with your favorite fitted jeans.
Now, if you’re dressing up for a special event, this is the time to go all out. Order your corset with that extra trim or that plunging neckline. Leave your black underbust at home. Look at your favorite corsetiere’s menu and consider their more unusual silhouettes, such as ribbon corsets or corset bodies. Peruse the decadent laces or the fancy brocades. If you have the moxie to pull it off, get a special occasion corset and not just a bread-and-butter style. You’ll find other excuses to wear it, trust me.
If you’ve made it through this post and are still unsure about where to start, it’s hard to go wrong with a black cotton underbust corset with detachable garters. This style will be the most flexible for a variety of outfits and uses.
Photo Credits: Model in all images: Victoria Dagger Bedroom corset: Dark Garden, photo: Ryan Chua
Daywear waist cincher: Pop Antique
Daywear overbust with jeans: Blooddrop, photo: IGP Photo
High-back with straps: Dark Garden, photo: Ryan Chua
Special event corset: Dark Garden
Underbust with garters: Dark Garden, photo: Max Johnson
Waist training underbust: Pop Antique, photo: AVA Photo
Corset Week kicks off with this wonderfully informative guest post from Catherine of Kiss Me Deadly and Sam of Fairy Gothmother. In this article, Catherine dissects the differences between authentic corsets and the cheap imitations.
Lulu and Lush (a.k.a Fairygothmother) has been a corset shop for over 12 years now, selling its own designs and other brands exclusive to them. The shop has the largest supply of corsets in London, and possibly in the whole of the UK. As it happens, they are also the shop that sells the most Kiss Me Deadly, so we have a deal…Sam (who owns Lulu and Lush/FairyGothMother) provides the knowledge, photography and a steady video hand. I provide the sarcasm and a willingness to make silly faces on film. So that’s why I am writing this and not her–she is both too sensible and too nice.
Lulu and Lush is a high end label. Their corsets might involve some saving up if you’re not in a well paid job, though there are some other, more economical shaping garments. So if you see a Lulu and Lush product at another retailer (and sometimes they do sell them to other people) at £20 rather than at £200 . . . well, you’d jump at it, wouldn’t you?
And Sam sympathizes. If what you want is something that looks vaguely similar to a corset, then that’s ok…go ahead and buy that £20 piece of tatt. If you want a corset though, if you want a beautiful piece of art that will completely change the shape of your body and the way you feel about it, and if you want to wear it lovingly to death on every important occasion . . . well then here’s why you will come back to Lulu and Lush.
Here are two of pictures that you’ll see all over the net – often entitled “Princess Corset”.
On the left is a Lulu and Lush overbust corset in black satin – very classic, very chic, and generally people get between 2-4 inches of waist reduction wearing it…often more. It’s also doing a great job cleavage wise. This shape is used for some of limited editions, too. It’s available in patterned silks and brocades, or Lulu and Lush staff can create elaborately Swarovskied and beribboned versions on an individual basis.
On the right you can see the Lulu and Lush image of a corset by Miss Katie, an individual corsetiere who works from her studio in London. It’s made using two tone taffeta in a burgundy red (which shines very dark, almost black) and is trimmed in cream and burgundy. Miss Katie’s workshop isn’t always open (its just her and she’s a mum. there are limits, people!) so people usually come to the shop to try her styles and put in orders if their size isn’t in stock.
Both of them are shot by and on Morgana, and clearly this is a problem! She seems to be the premier corset model/photographer and that means people just cannot resist the temptation to steal her exquisite pictures of immensely detailed corsets and use them to sell any old rubbish.
If you see a picture of Morgana and the corset only costs £20 (~ $30) or so . . . . what you will get sent is almost certainly not what is shown in the picture. In fact, because of the way this sort of retailer operates, they may not even have it in stock and probably won’t have the option to have it made for you the way we do. When we tried to order these in the UK, everyone said they had to go and get them from overseas! Therefore these knockoffs were bought in the USA instead and had customs paid on them when they were shipped by courier. Obviously, the retailer who sold them must forever remain nameless!!!
So, what do you get for your money?
It’s hard to show you some of the differences in a photograph so I’ll do my best to describe. For my ease, I’m going to call the original “Real Corsets” and the ones sold using stolen Lulu and Lush photographs “Fake Corsets”.
The 1st obvious difference, picking them up, is weight. Real corsets are fairly solid, and they have a heft to them! That’s because they are made with steel boning – flat steels for shape and stability on the busk and round the grommet, and spiral steel to give you that curvy yet flexible waist nipping in effect and so on. The fabric on a Real Corset also feels good – especially if you’re a fabric snob which many of us independent brands are, and proud of it!
Fake Corsets have approximately the same shape in terms of the pieces of fabric, but they feel completely different. The closest thing I can think of is those modern tents you get now. You know, the ones with the plastic hoops and the shiny plastic fabric? Sadly though, when you start moving these corsets, they don’t suddenly turn into a surprisingly large tent. Instead, you just realise that you could easily break them. That’s because the steel they’ve used for the front and back is so thin, even I can twist it up. And have you seen the lack of muscle on my arms? I nearly broke these corsets getting them onto Annette.
And as you all know, cheap plastic bones will not do the same job that spiral steel does. They will bend out of shape easily and then stay that way. That’s why Fake Corsets get those dints in at the bottom of your rib cage after one wear…when you bent over or sat down, the bones bent out of shape, and won’t go back ever again. If you buy a Real Corset, over time it moulds to your shape instead, so you get ever more waist reduction off them. The Lulu and Lush overbust is particularly sturdily boned, with an unusually wide busk that really helps with shape.
All that said, the good news is that the Fake Corset should keep you waterproof, which might be handy if you do events that involves quaffing (editor’s note: I think this is British for drinking). I’m not sure this material would pass any fire safety tests, though. It would definitely melt and stick to your skin (synthetic fabrics melt, natural fabrics burn). I would like to try the burgundy shiny plastic fabric in a serious light, because I think it might be the same stuff they use for high visibility safety clothing!
Let’s take a quick look at what we call the styling on the more elaborate corset. Miss Katie contrast stitches her corsets for aesthetic reasons, but it’s handy for showing how flat the fabric is and how straight the stitching is, both of which are great indicators of a high quality corset. That’s absent on the Fake Corset. Miss Katie also uses a lovely quality ribbon done in pleats, whereas on the Fake Corset the ribbon quality and width is downgraded to meet the target price. It’s simply slightly ruffled…this uses far less ribbon overall and is easier to do, both of which again are about making it cheaper to produce.
Words really cannot express how much I loathe those fabrics by the way. They are worse on the inside. Real Corsets usually come with a lining, often cotton coutil, which performs a variety of functions. It stops you from sweating through onto your beautiful outer fabric (they hire me to handle all the super glamorous writing, by the way) making it more comfortable to wear, increasing its durability, and supporting the shaping properties.
Fake Corsets don’t bother with a lining. If you wear them to a hot, humid event, you will sweat like a great big drippy thing. It will be grim and because of the plastic fabric, it will stick to you like a fake leather sofa. And nobody wants to be a fake leather sofa. It’s just not sexy.
So here you can see the inside–lined corset at the top, unlined Fake Corset at the bottom. You can also see that the shape, laid flat, is very similar, but I’m guessing you are clever enough to also spot that line of tape around where your waist is. This stops your seams from straining when you put pressure on them by squishing yourself several inches smaller in the waist, and that means your corset will last for years and years and years.
You’ll also have noticed that they are laced differently. Real Corsets are laced with good quality wide ribbon or strong cord for more serious cinching. The corset is laced so that you can pull on the loops that are at your natural waist to tighten the corset, especially round the waist. The Fake Corsets have a narrow bit of low quality ribbon, which will not stand up to strain, and is laced up to the top. Good luck with getting that on yourself, if you didn’t already twist the busk up.
Here is a close up of that backlacing. On your left, the Fake Corset has a plastic bone followed by some standard quality eyelets. On your right, the Real Corset has steel bones on either side of the eyelets, which are reinforced to allow for the pressure you’ll be putting on them when you wear it.
Now seems like a good time to look at how they look when worn. We had a bit of a brainfreeze on the holiday Monday we planned this, and forgot to do some shots, so here are stills from the video. On the left is a Real Corset. This is the first time it was ever worn by Annette, and it wasn’t tight-laced. Even so, you can see that it’s got a much better curve to it than the Fake Corset on the right. You’ll notice that the Fake Corset also doesn’t do a lot, bosom wise.
You can see the same issues with shape and cleavage with the Miss Katie corset. On top of that, the burgundy fabric shows what a difference good quality fabrics, boning, lining and stitching make. The Fake Corset has almost got a scrunched effect when its on. Annette looks positively pained by this stage!
Let’s taker a closer look at the issues with the bust line, because otherwise all my friends will be insufficiently jealous of my job and might start believing me when I say it’s mostly admin and sums rather than looking at pretty things on beautiful women. Plus, you can see even more clearly that Annette is supported and shaped in the Real Corset, whereas the Fake Corset is more of a wrinkly covering.
Now, we don’t have a picture of the absolute best bit of the Fake Corsets, which is the quite astonishingly hideous alleged thongs (g-strings, dear Australians) that came with them. You’ll have to watch the video for that. But I think we can summarise this without them.
You can see that despite superficial similarities in the pattern and styling, the fact is that Fake Corsets are constructed entirely differently to Real Corsets. Fundamentally, they DO NOT SHAPE. You can see that they basically flatten things out rather than making you extra curvy. They also do not last!
So, if you want something that looks vaguely like the ghost of a tormented corset, for an event where you are likely to encounter liquids but no fire, and you don’t mind only getting to wear it once, the Fake Corset is a highly cost effective option.
If you actually want a hope in hell of changing your shape, and a garment you can love and wear repeatedly, and still be getting complimented on in several decades time…well, hello. Welcome to corset snobbery; it’s an addiction, but we love it!
We’re kicking off the fresh content tomorrow with a feature article from Kiss Me Deadly & FairyGothMother about the difference between authentic and knock-off corsets, but I know I have a lot of new readers here this year (yay!), and I just want to make sure that we all have the same background and context.
I started Corset Week in 2008 because 1) I love corsets and 2) there isn’t very much information on corsets written from a customer’s point of view. I remember what it was like to try to figure out how to buy my very first corset. What shape did I want? How much should it cost? Where in the world should I buy one? Corset Week is just a way of sharing some of the corsetry information I’ve picked up over the last several years with you.
If you’re brand new to Corset Week, I recommend getting started with a few of these articles from the very first Corset Week. And, as always, feel free to share your advice in the comments section. See you tomorrow!
Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes my carefully planned lingerie ensemble needs just a little something extra. Not another piece of lingerie, necessarily, just an item that can evoke that sexy, sultry, seductive boudoir feel. If you get what I mean, then this list of 10 boudoir accessories is for you. Though none of them are lingerie, they can all help your lingerie look better than ever.
Do you have a favorite? Did we leave something off the list? Share it in the comments!
After some really serious thought over the past several months, I’ve realized it’s time to bring on a few regular, monthly columnists at The Lingerie Addict.
As of today, there are 940 posts on The Lingerie Addict, and 900 of them were written by me. Yet 1 of the most important lessons I’ve learned from all that writing about lingerie is that I don’t know everything about lingerie.
So what I’m looking for is writers who have a perspective on the industry that isn’t currently covered on the blog. Like a lingerie designer who wants to give a behind the scenes look on the industry. Or a curvy woman who can talk knowledgably about lingerie to fit a bigger bust and fuller figure. Or a burlesque dancer who wants to talk about the “lingerie lifestyle.”
Those are just a few quick ideas, of course. I know you’ll bring your own awesomeness to the table. ;)To apply, please send the following to firstname.lastname@example.org–
1) a C.V. detailing any previous writing experience, lingerie expertise, or other credentials you feel are relevant. Please include links to any blogs, websites, or social media profiles as applicable.
2) a writing sample that illustrates the individual point of view you’d bring to The Lingerie Addict and the subject matter you’d like to cover. Think of it as your very first blog post.
3) a brief explanation (around 250 words) of why you want to write for The Lingerie Addict
While business owners are absolutely encouraged to apply, this position is not for people who just want a platform to advertise their business. Giving awesome content to Lingerie Addict readers is what comes first.
Please send all info to email@example.com by June 24th. Finalists will be notified by June 30th. I can’t wait to read your applications!
Though Gil Elvgren is one of pin-up’s most recognized artists today, there were plenty of other illustrators painting glamorous portraits around the same time as he. One I’ve recently re-discovered is Enoch Bolles.
Born in 1883, Bolles were a versatile illustrator who created art for products as diverse as raisins and cigarette lighters. But what he’s most remembered for today (and what’s most relevant to this blog) is his pin-up work.
Bolles illustrated over 200 covers for Film Fun magazine and another 300 covers for other risque pulp publications. His trademark sexy, skimpy costumes went on to the define certain key aspects of the pin-up look for the next several decades.
What do you think of Enoch Bolles art? If you like the images shown here, I’ve posted several more to The Lingerie Addict Facebook page. Click the link and take a look!
Editor’s Note:This has become one of our most popular blog posts of all time here on The Lingerie Addict. If you’re new to TLA, welcome! Please check our Full Bust and Plus Size categories for more articles about lingerie brands that may interest you. I’d also take a look at articles written by our columnist Holly as she’s TLA’s resident expert for both plus size and full bust lingerie. ~ Cora
Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links.
Pop Quiz! Do you know the average American woman’s bra size?
a) 36B b) 36C c) 36D d) 36DD
If you answered d) 36DD, you’re correct. But if that number sounds a bit larger than what you remember hearing a few years ago, then you’re also correct.
Five years ago, the average American woman’s bra size was 36C. Ten years ago, it was around a 34B. But now, according to the New York Times, WWD, NY Daily News, and prominent bra retailers like Tomima of HerRoom, 36DD is the new average, and that means full bust bras are here and they’re here to stay. (Update: According to a survey by the lingerie retailer Intimacy, 34DD is the average American woman’s bra size as of 2013. Of course, any survey based on retail data is going to be at least a little bit skewed, but the general agreement, among both retailers and manufacturers, is that full bust and plus size bras are more necessary now than ever before.)
Fortunately, the lingerie industry is ahead of the curve (no pun intended). Not only are there more new brands specializing in bras for larger cup sizes, well-established companies are also expanding their size range to accommodate this new average.
Credit: Vogue Italia. Girdle/Garter Skirt via Hips & Curves.
But before we get into the list of the best bra brands for full figured women, let’s make sure we have the terminology straight. Though they’re often used interchangeably, “full bust” and “plus size” don’t mean the same thing. “Full bust” refers to the actual letter cup size, and it starts at around a DD/E cup (i.e. when bra engineering gets a bit more complicated than core or standard sizes, which is what the A/B cup to D cup range is called). “Plus size” refers to the band size and starts at around a 38-40 band. This article contains brands that extend into and offer options in both sizing categories.
To give you a quick example, a woman wearing a 34H bra would be full bust, but not necessarily plus size. Conversely, a women in a 40C bra would be plus sized but not necessarily full busted. While there are some brands that specialize in full bust or plus size only, it’s not unusual for the same company to make both… which is why I’m talking about them together in this blog post.
I firmly believe everyone who wants it deserves beautiful, comfortable, well-fitting lingerie. And I don’t believe that needing a full bust cup or plus size band means you have to resign yourself to plain bras in boring shades of beige. Since I get tons of e-mails every week asking about pretty bras for larger sizes, I suspect many of you feel the same way.
The 10 brands listed here are not only specialists in the world of full figured lingerie, they’re also companies with great reputations. Furthermore, if you don’t live close to an independent lingerie boutique, don’t worry… almost all of these brands are sold through online retailers with equally great customer service like Figleaves, Bravissimo, Bare Necessities, ASOS, Amazon, HerRoom and Nordstrom. After all, it takes some trial and error to find the perfect bra.
So with that out of the way, let’s get started with the list!
Bravissimo: Based out of the UK, Bravissimo is one of the most popular lingerie stores specializing in full bust bra sizes in the world. In addition to carrying brands like Panache, Curvy Kate, Freya, Fantasie, and Tutti Rouge, they also design and manufacture their own in-house range of bras. Bravissimo is an excellent resource for vibrant colors, fresh prints, and fashionable designs. They carry band sizes 28-40 and cup sizes D-L. Sale bras start around $25 USD (converted from British pounds), and their most expensive styles retail around the $60 mark. Bravissimo also carries basques, babydolls, and swimsuits.
Panache, Cleo by Panache, and Sculptresse by Panache: Panache is a globally recognized brand specializing in fuller bust sizes. Cleo by Panache is the “juniors” line and features bright prints and colorful fabrics. Sculptresse by Panache is the plus size range and is the newest member of the Panache family. This is another UK-based company; you’ll find that most of the bra development for larger cup and band sizes is happening outside of the United States. Including all three ranges, the Panache company offers band sizes 28-46 and cup sizes D-K. There are also swim and sport lines.
Curvy Kate: Curvy Kate launched in 2009, and quickly grew to become one of the leaders in the fuller bust bra market with innovative marketing campaigns like their “Star in a Bra” contest. Their aesthetic is all about targeting a more fashion forward customer, and they offer cup sizes D-K and band sizes 28-44. Many newcomers to the world of full bust lingerie start with the Curvy Kate brand.
Elomi: No list of plus size and full bust brands is complete without a mention of the Eveden Group. Owned by Wacoal, the Eveden group consists of five brands… and four of them are dedicated to the plus size and/or full bust size spectrum. Elomi offers bras in cup sizes DD-JJ and band sizes 34-48. Elomi shines when it comes to mature, understated basics and staples. Their look is sophisticated, not twee. As is true of several other names on this list, Elomi also makes sports bras.
Fantasie: The second Wacoal Eveden brand in this blog post, Fantasie is known for their elegant fabrics and exquisite attention to detail. A common complaint of many full bust bra lines is that their ranges tend to be very bright and very cutesy… which is not what everyone wants. Fantasie offers a graceful, refined alternative to that aesthetic. Bra bands range from 30-40 with cup sizes ranging from D-J.
Freya:The third Wacoal Eveden name on this list, Freya is most famous for their Deco style, one of the most popular (and most positively reviewed) full bust bra styles in the world. If you’re only able to experiment with one bra from this entire list, make it a Freya Deco (it’s the first photo just below). Freya produces bras in band sizes 28-40 and cup sizes B-K.
Parfait by Affinitas: As you’ve likely already noticed, bras for larger cup and band sizes can be expensive. A good part of this is because crafting a supportive full bust bra is in and of itself more expensive than crafting a core size bra (it requires different materials, different patterns, different engineering, etc.). But of all the names on this list, Parfait by Affinitas is one of the most budget-friendly with several beautiful styles for $40 or less. Parfait by Affinitas offers band sizes 30-40 and cup sizes D-K. Their Charlotte line in particular (shown directly below) is a popular choice.
Miss Mandalay:Founded in 2005, Miss Mandalay was one of the first full bust brands to reach mainstream popularity with beautiful designs that put fashion on an equal footing with fit. These bras are not only supportive, they’re totally gorgeous. Band sizes range from 28-38, with cup sizes going from D-H. Miss Mandalay also has a beautiful swimwear line, proving once again that full bust doesn’t have to mean plain and boring.
Tutti Rouge: The newest label on this list, Tutti Rouge just launched in 2013, but they’ve already become a customer favorite among fuller busted fashionistas who’ve been craving bright prints and fun colors. Tutti Rouge makes bras in band sizes 28-44 and cup sizes D-J. In addition, this is another budget-friendly style, with prices starting just under $40 (at current UK to US exchange rates). Sale bras can be as inexpensive as $24, an incredible price even if you’re on a budget.
Elila: In terms of prints and mesh and lace, Elila is not the most exciting name on this list, but they do offer something very rare in the bra world: bra sizes up to an N cup. Specifically, Elila produces the band size range 34-52 and the cup size range DD-N. Bras in this size range have to be functional above all, and so there’s a definite emphasis on the practicality of the design, but the lace styles in particular offer a bit of delicacy to balance the necessary structural support.
And that’s it! Of course, this list is not exhaustive; new full bust brands are entering the marketplace everyday. But hopefully, this short little directory helps to put you in touch with a bra company that may work for you. Other names that aren’t included here include Gossard, Curvy Couture, Ewa Michalak, Harlow & Fox, Claudette, Wacoal, Empreinte, Addition Elle, and Goddess… just to name a few. No doubt, in a year’s time, there will be even more to share.
What’s your favorite bra brand? Was it included here? Do you know of any new brands TLA readers should try? Please share your thoughts in the comments!