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The Boss: Why I Decided to Create a Lingerie Company With 70 Bra Sizes

4 minute read

In The Boss, women share how they became successful and the lessons they learned along the way.

“You don’t carry my size.”

As the founder of a bra company, there are few things more painful than hearing a customer say those words. I founded ThirdLove five years ago, and from day one my goal has been to create bras that that help women feel confident and comfortable. The knowledge that any woman has been left out makes me feel like I’ve failed.

That’s why we made the decision to launch 24 new bra sizes this week — ranging from 44B-48D. We’ve been working on this initiative for over a year, and have more than 1.3 million women on the waitlist for these bras.

The extent of our waitlist shouldn’t come as a surprise: The average size of American women is between 16 and 18, and the average woman’s cup size in America is a 34DD. Our more inclusive sizes enable more women to find their perfect fit. And when you consider that a woman’s bra size changes throughout their life, having more sizes available helps women enjoy the same bras they know and love as their bodies change throughout their lives.

One of ThirdLove's new bras
ThirdLove's Naked 3 Full Coverage Bra.Courtesy of ThirdLove

In launching our new sizes, we’ve also made the decision to not call them plus size; they’re just sizes. There’s a lot of debate around the term “plus size” with interesting points on both sides. Some feel it’s an unnecessary or stigmatizing label, and others think it’s a helpful classification and that the stigma is societal rather than inherent in the words themselves.

We thought long and hard about our new sizes and what — if anything — to call them. To come to an answer, as with many of the decisions we make, we asked our customers what they wanted. The resounding answer was that they did not want the plus size label. Our customers want to consider their bra size as just their bra size, not something different or separate.

Our decision to opt out of the term isn’t an effort to place a value judgment on the term, or even to make a big statement. Rather, it’s to enable women to choose how they want to define themselves. We want to give women more choices about what they wear, where they shop and hope that other retailers will follow suit.

You’ll find our new sizes in the same place as all the other sizes — no separate section or different shopping experience. The aesthetic, look and feel of these new bras are exactly the same as ThirdLove’s other offerings. Each of our new size bras were designed using real women’s bodies instead of the fit models who are the industry standard.

I’ve always seen our role as one that serves women. And for us to truly do that, we need to give women choices. I started the company because I couldn’t find a bra that fit me properly, and was tired of having bad options. We invented half cup sizes, and with this latest addition, we now carry 70 bra sizes in total, far beyond the industry average.

Whatever her shape or size, I want every woman to see herself reflected in our brand — and hopefully all brands — and feel welcomed by the retail landscape. This is just the beginning, but my hope is that the majority of women will soon be able to find their size — whether petite, tall, big or small — in all shops and online retail destinations. Really, it’s the only way forward.

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