A is for ‘A-Cup’

7 Aug

As some of you will know, I have started writing a weekly column for Nineteen13.com where I cover an A-Z of lingerie! This is A for A-Cup:

A for A-Cup

A-Star. A-Team. A-level. Such positivity surrounds the first letter of our alphabet, however it is frequently disregarded in the lingerie stakes. While A for Apple may be less than apple-like in this circumstance, I would like probe at the underwear industry from a more petite perspective.

I am a  ‘lucky’ size; I can walk into any store and find several styles that will fit and flair, but I am more than aware that the choice is rather limited when the letter is ‘A’, be it single, double or triple. I have enlisted the assistance on this topic of my dear friend Hazal. Considering my chosen topic of specialism, you won’t be surprised that my first point of eye-line is usually the bust – I’m like that weird leering teacher/ colleague / bank manager every lass knows. Or is that just me…?

Anyway, the point is that I didn’t notice Hazal having a particularly petite chest until we discussed it over a box of sale lingerie. While I was savagely clawing at bargain bras much like a starved lion tears at a defenseless beast, I noticed my friend taking her time looking through size labels, with decidedly less luck.

As an A cup at the most, Hazal finds the lack of quality designs for smaller cup sizes frustrating. “It doesn’t feel that as much thought goes into making flattering lingerie for ladies with small boobs as there are for bigger boobs”, she says. “There are specialised stores for women with bigger boobs to find the perfect bra to accentuate their figure however there isn’t so much for us flat-chested girls”.

While smaller sizes are indeed available, the variety is less so. “I often longingly gaze at the gorgeous shape of balcony bras knowing that they would look silly on my flat chest and feel that there isn’t enough equivalent for ‘small-boobed’ girls”, Hazal says. “I would love to find more designs that allow me to look sexy”.

 On hearing Hazal’s quest, I wanted to speak with someone who knows the A-cup industry very well – Fiona Goad of Little Women, the petite lingerie specialist. Fiona launched the site 15 years ago, in the midst of media coverage citing big boobs as the ‘big thing’. Since this time, it’s fair to say that relatively little has changed in mass desire – however styles have!

“Balconette and Plunge bras only work for the smaller bust if they are ultra padded – especially if you have lost some of the fat from the top of your breast (this happens as we age)”, Fiona tells me. From experience, Fiona finds that traditional cup shapes are most effective in maximizing a smaller bust. Covering more of the chest, they create the impression of bigger boobs.

Of course, the aesthetics are crucial, but what about the tech-spec of the bra in its due purpose: a support mechanism. How is this different in the A-Cup conundrum?  Fiona explains how the notion that smaller cup sizes need underwire is, in fact, a myth. “Non-wired bras are often far more comfortable for AA and AAA cup sizes and those of good quality give just as much support, uplift and shape”. Fiona continues to tell me that the “cradle” (where the wire would be if there was one) should follow the natural curve under the breast, without resting on the soft tissue. I rarely see sexy, non-wired bras in the high-street stores, so it’s refreshing to see that they make-up 90 per cent of Little Women’s stock.

It all comes down to attitude. “What is the point in wearing a bra if you have no boobs?” – a question I have heard asked many a time. Well, the simple fact of the matter is that if the soft tissue is soft, there is no reason not to offer a helping hand (or cup!). Lingerie portrays our various moods, be they cheeky, practical, girly or downright dirty.

Celebrities will always and forever influence and reflect our attitudes towards the bust. While beauties Christina Hendricks and Scarlett Johansson draw boob-attention seemingly magnetically, may I highlight how some of the world’s sexiest women are smaller on top? Take Nicole Richie, Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman for three, not forgetting Hazal’s ‘boob-icon’- the almighty Jennifer Anniston. “They are a good size, great shape and she is the perfect example of being able to go out not wearing a bra and still looking fabulous”, Hazal concludes. Indeed, those with a smaller bust will never fail to look ‘the sex’, quite capably stepping out in merely the string-strap cami in carefree and hassle-free glory.

So why, if small boobs are evidently just as sexy as their larger counterparts, would anyone bother with the gel/air/water/chicken fillet (100% fake chicken, suitable for vegetarians) boosting that is so widely available in comparison to other options? Clearly the lingerie industry is responding to market statistics, however once society steps out of the iron-hot box of ‘big is beautiful’ we will open our eyes and see what the options are on accepting our body for all its graces.

Hazal sums up this sentiment perfectly; I asked her if a guy had ever given her ‘stick’ about her cup size, to which she responded:

 “I once had a guy tell me I would be perfect if my boobs were bigger. I responded by telling him that even if he was perfectly endowed he’d still have no chance.”

For lingerie that flatters the smaller sizes visit Little Women at www.littlewomen.com

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