UPDATE: This post is now several years out of date, and some of the brands are no longer in business, but behold! I have updated it with lots of lovely new options!
I am so grateful to people who have spoken to me to request posts on specific bra/boob-related subjects. There have been some excellent and important requests, and unfortunately some of them are just taking more time to research than others. However, I’m happy to start a series of posts today highlighting some different brands, so that we can get a better idea of what offerings are out there for women of all different shapes and sizes. Today’s post is written through a haze of envy, since I would never be able to wear most of these gorgeous, gorgeous things, but I shall press on, somehow.
A friend of mine was talking about the blog with me a few weeks ago, and she mentioned a friend of hers who has a small bust and had recently gone into a well-known Upper West Side lingerie shop looking for a sexy, elegant, adult lingerie set. The store carried a single style in her size that wasn’t hugely padded, and it was a training bra. They couldn’t offer her even one bra that embraced the natural shape and size of her bust and offered her any sense of style or sophistication. I can’t imagine how frustrating and even humiliating that experience must have been, and it makes me angry, because there are some BEAUTIFUL styles out there that would probably have delighted this woman. Here are just a few of the offerings:
With my thanks to Treacle at the Lingerie Addict for introducing us, this brand is one I’m going to be keeping a close eye on. It’s luxury lingerie and priced accordingly, but it is GORGEOUS. I may have said “Oh wow” under my breath when I saw the home page. The collection is small, but each piece is beautifully designed and meticulously executed. One of the advantages for you whose busts are smaller is that you get to wear some elegant, refined designs that play with all manner of sheer, delicate, and lacy materials. Bra sizes are 30A, 32-34 AA-B. Knicker sizes are XS-XL.
I’ll let the website copy speak for itself “We specialize in attractive intimate apparel in hard-to-find smaller sizes 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38 A 28, 30, 32, 34, 36 B 28, 30, 32, 34 C. Made just for smaller-proportioned figures this bra is uniquely designed to give a petite woman a comfortably fitting bra while enhancing her décolletage.” Lacy and t-shirt bras are both available, along with a range of coordinating bottoms. I have heard that TLBC really understands how to fit petite figures, and they are meticulous about adjusting underwires, placing straps, and shaping cups. Read the sizing info on the website carefully, as TLBC’s sizes may differ from other companies. Shorts, thongs, and briefs are sizes XS-L.
Atlantis by Panache
Panache is a great lingerie company, best-known for their full-bust bras. In the last few years they launched Atlantis to cater to women who wear smaller sizes. The price points are accessible, but the styles themselves aren’t . . . well, they’re not particularly exciting. All of the bras are smooth, molded, and mostly padded, and all are designed specifically to enhance the bust size or cleavage. There are plunge, balconette, and strapless styles, and they fall into three different “effect” categories: enhanced, dramatic, and ultimate. If you’re looking for a delicate lace or sheer bra, Atlantis isn’t for you, but for everyday wear or for wearing under form-fitting clothing, I imagine the bras would be great wardrobe building-blocks. Bra sizes are 30 A-DD, 32-36 AA-DD, 38 B-C, with some styles stopping at C or going up to E (all UK sizes). Briefs, shorts, and thongs are UK sizes 8-16 (US 4-12).
I’m starting to see these two become more and more readily available in the United States. Damaris originally made her mark in the lingerie markets for the mind-blowingly sexy open-backed or bow-backed briefs, and she expanded that line into a high-end lingerie brand. Mimi Holliday is Damaris’ diffusion line, and while the price points are a little higher than I’d comfortably pay, it’s still a bit more accessible to the average shopper, both size (in compiling this post I realized the really incredible range of sizes the brand offers) and budget-wise. Mimi Holliday, to my mind, needs to improve the fit and support of their few full-bust offerings, as I found them a bit flimsy when I tried some, but WOW. The smaller-to-average-busted among us have a treat in store. Both brands offer multiple ranges per season with several coordinating pieces (suspenders, slips, teddies, camisoles, thongs, briefs, etc. etc.) per range, so you can choose your own lingerie ensemble. They feature gorgeous silks and lace, cute or even whimsical patterns, and eye-popping colors. Bra sizes are 28-40 AA-E (UK sizes), 28-36 AA-G (UK sizes), and 28-34 AA-GG (UK sizes). Knicker and accessory sizes are XS-XL.
Huit is a French lingerie company that was acquired in the last few years by Eveden (makers of Freya, Fantasie, Fauve, and Elomi). They’re expanding their size ranges, but for the time being they’re definitely geared more towards smaller-to-average busts, with most styles available in sizes 30-38 A-DD, with E cups on the way. Their recent collections have been sleek and vintage-inspired, and I cannot wait for them to expand further into the full-bust market. Briefs are available in sizes XS-XL.
My thanks to Catherine at Small Bust, Big Heart, for bringing this website to my attention. Little Women stocks bras in sizes 28-40 AAA-B and a wide range of knicker styles in sizes 6-16 (US sizes 2-12). As Catherine points out, many of the styles are feminine, grown-up, and quietly sexy, with no sense of urgency about boosting your bust size or cleavage levels. The styles flatter, celebrate, and support a smaller bust, without relying solely on padding or push-up construction. They stock their own lines as well as several major international brands, and prices hover in the $40-60 range, not including several sale styles. I highly recommend taking a look.
In addition to these brands, some of the larger/better known department store brands, like Wacoal, offer a petite line. I’d also strongly recommend investigating lingerie makers on Etsy. Etsy can be hit or miss, but there are also some crazily talented designers and stitchers making exquisite lingerie to order, often in organic or environmentally responsible materials, and there’s a good chance you’ll find a seller open to making an item to fit your individual measurements. Take a gander at these stores: