The Full-Figured Bra Business Is Booming, and Oprah Is Its ‘Champion’

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Maybe she's not wearing a bra because she couldn't find a cute one in her size, okay? Photo: iStockphoto

Here's a fun cocktail-party conversation starter: Ten years ago, the median bra size in the U.S. was 36C. Now our nation's median bra size is 36DD. Our boobs are bigger because we are more obese, of course. While many areas of the economy are doing pretty badly, to say the full-figured bra business is growing rapidly would be an understatement. The number of bigger bras sold increased 7.4 percent from 2008 to 2009, to about 160 million units. Oprah brought full-figured bras into the spotlight when she introduced Bra Fit Interventions to explain the joys of properly fitted bras to women across the nation, and began highlighting Bra Fit Tips for fuller-figured women on her website. From WWD:

“It was definitely a wakeup moment for women when Oprah did her Bra Fit Interventions,” said Maureen Stabnau, senior vice president of merchandising at barenecessities.com. “Oprah is the champion of bra fitting and full-figure bras.”


However, the full-figured bra category has some catching up to do with the category of bras for smaller gals, stylistically speaking. Women with DD, DDD, G, H, and K cups want the same sorts of interesting designs and detailing in their breast supports as smaller-busted chicks. Also, the big-bra business is a bit confused about its own identity, and to reach its full potential they'll have to clear a few things up. Intimates in the category are referred to as full-figure, full-busted, full-fitted, DD plus, and plus-size, which is confusing.

Susan Nethero, who runs a small specialty chain called Intimacy that sells bras up to a K cup, says that what she needs, mostly, is simple: more big bras. "Full-figure bras have sold far faster and larger than average-size bras. Full-busted sales have grown by at least 10 percent over the past year, and 74 percent of my bra business is now with cup sizes larger than DD," she told WWD. "I wish there were more. We are not getting enough new [full-figured] product."

Bigger Bra Sizes Bolster Sales [WWD]