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full busted and full-figured

Full Busted and Full-Figured: A Lingerie Primer

  |   By Holly Jackson

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.

full busted and full-figured
 
Panache Jasmine Balconette Bra
Available in Bands 30-38, Cups D-K
via Nordstrom
 
full busted and full-figured
 
Kiyoko Bra by Freya
Available in Bands 28-38, Cups D-H
via Bravissimo

Definition: Full-Figured

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.

full busted and full-figured
 
 Sculptress Kitty Bra
Available in Bands 40-44, Cups DD-HH
via Forever Yours Lingerie
 
full busted and full-figured
 
Dita Von Teese Sheer Witchery Full Figure Bra
Available in Bands 38-44, Cups C-F
via Nordstrom
 
15711.fullzoom
 
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.

full busted and full-figured
 
Panache Clara Bra on Full Bust Model
Available in Bands 30-38, Cups E-J
via Bravissimo
 
full busted and full-figured
 
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.

full busted and full-figured

All Undone Mimi Bra
Available in Bands 28-34, Cups DD-GG
via All Undone
 
full busted and full-figured
 
Bosom Galore Classique Bra
Available in Bands 26-34, Cups E-H
via Bosom Galore 
 
full busted and full-figured
 
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?

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Holly lives in an old house in New Orleans with her husband, two dogs and far too many bras. By day she runs The Full Figured Chest, the preeminent lingerie copywriting and marketing firm in the industry. She is the number one recommended copywriter by The Lingerie Journal and her blog was recently featured in Lucky Magazine as one of the top three lingerie blogs online.
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