Shopping for clothing when you’re curvy can be tough. Figuring out what “type” of curvy you are according to the fashion industry can be even harder. How do you know when you are full busted or full-figured?
Full busted and full-figured are used interchangeably in fashion articles and by brands, but knowing the difference between the two can help you decide whether a brand caters to you or not. Today we’ll talk about some definitions, how the industry sees these two groups of customers and how this can help you when you’re trying to buy something.
Definition: Full Busted
In industry terms, full busted is used to describe someone who has a small band measurement and a large cup measurement. For most brands this starts at a D cup and can go all the way up to a K cup and beyond. For band sizes, full busted customers tend to range from 26 to 34.Panache Jasmine Balconette Bra Available in Bands 30-38, Cups D-K via Nordstrom Kiyoko Bra by Freya Available in Bands 28-38, Cups D-H via Bravissimo
Full-figured is, to put it simply, the Plus size version of full busted. These customers are plus size, but exceptionally curvy. Band sizes for full-figured lines usually start at a 36 (occasionally at a 34) and go up from there. Cup sizes start at a D cup and up.Sculptress Kitty Bra Available in Bands 40-44, Cups DD-HH via Forever Yours Lingerie Dita Von Teese Sheer Witchery Full Figure Bra Available in Bands 38-44, Cups C-F via Nordstrom Sculptress Chi Chi Full Support Bra Available in Bands 40-44, Cups DD-HH via Forever Yours Lingerie
Many full busted lines go right up into full-figured territory but don’t advertise that way, while some full busted brands cater to petite figures. Many fall right around the middle, which usually equates to about a G cup in full busted sizes. For much of the industry, cup sizes above a G are illogically associated with plus size figures. If you’re full busted, there’s a good chance some part of the industry is assuming you’re plus size no matter what.
So how does this help you shop? Well, to start, if you’re full-figured you should also be looking at full busted lingerie lines. Many cover both without advertising the full-figured part of the range, so don’t assume that you won’t fit into something because it’s not labeled as full-figured. The same assumption can be made about clothing companies that cater to curvy figures. Chances are, if they go into your size range, then they also cater to fuller figures and are just selling it under the “curvy” umbrella.Panache Clara Bra on Full Bust Model Available in Bands 30-38, Cups E-J via Bravissimo Panache Clara Bra on Full-Figured Model Available in Bands 30-38, Cups E-J via Forever Yours Lingerie
If you are full busted and have a small band size, look for some of the new indie startups that cater to that size range, like Bosom Galore and All Undone. You should also probably start with British brands over US-based ones, as places like Bravissimo tend to cater to smaller band sizes better than US-based brands do. Fortnight Lingerie also carries great wireless bras and bodysuits for customers in that size range.Bosom Galore Classique Bra Available in Bands 26-34, Cups E-H via Bosom Galore Mira Longline Wire-Free Bra Available in Bands 30-36, Cups B-F via Fortnight Lingerie
Keep in mind that many brands now offer both a full bust and a full-figured range under the same parent company, with some size overlap. Freya, Huit, Elomi and Goddess now all exist under the same roof, as do Panache and Sculptresse. In many cases, you can find the same bra styles in both lines. If you fall in love with a particular style from one company you can usually find a duplicate in a sister brand. For instance, Panache carries the Jasmine and the Envy, which also shows up as the Chi Chi and Flirtini under the Sculptresse branding.
If this all seems too confusing to keep track of, there’s an easy solution. Find a blogger who is similar to you in size and build and follow them. Bloggers spend tons of time keeping track of where favorite bras pop up and are always happy to share.
Do full busted and full-figured lingerie categories confuse you? Have you ever asked a lingerie or clothing blogger for help? What do you think the industry can do to help consumers find what fits them best?