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Finding Smaller Back Bras in DD+ Full Bust Sizes at Nordstrom

2012 March 28
by Sarah

Recently I noticed that Nordstrom had sizes 28D-I and 30C-M (US sizes; equivalent to 28D-G and 30C-J UK) available for sale on their website.

Woohoo!! While it’s still not as extensive as sizes you can get on UK websites (Bravissimo, Figleaves, or Brastop, for example), this is GREAT news for us US women with smaller bands and bigger cups who want to skip international shipping fees–Nordstrom has free shipping and returns. Score!

Then I saw a tweet from Christine at Boosaurus saying she couldn’t find any 28 or 30 bands at her local Nordstrom and wondered if she should write to them and ask if they might stock more in those sizes. She’d been looking for a 30E for a friend, and the sales person had told her that size was always selling out.

Sounded familiar. When I’d been into Nordstrom over a year before, they didn’t have anything on the floor to fit me in; we had been looking for a size around a 32G, but that size was scarce, none of them fit, and the fitter and her supervisor didn’t have anything else in stock that they thought would fit. I was told I’d need to special order.

Instead of going through that hassle, I asked if they ever carried the 32GG/H sizes they thought I might need in the store (as it turns out, the special order wouldn’t have worked anyway; as I’ve written about before, I was really around a 28J/JJ). I really hoped I wouldn’t always be a “special order” case and that I’d be able to come back to try bras on. She told me that they were always needing more small band sizes/big cup sizes in stock, that they were very popular sizes and always selling out, and that I should write and let the company know I wanted to see more of them. 

I wasn’t hopeful my little email would make much of a difference, but when I saw Christine’s recent tweet, we decided nothing ventured, nothing gained, and emailed Nordstrom about carrying the larger selection of smaller band/larger cup bras in stores that they (thankfully!) have online.

Christine had a much different response to her email than I did, but I was, honestly, shocked to receive a reply directly from the Chicago store manager. She offered to set up an appointment with their regional buyer.

“Many of our suppliers do not make the petite sizes you mention,” she wrote, “but [our regional buyer] is certainly the best person to fit you and bring in the right product to take care of you.”

I had my appointment 2 weeks ago, and one thing I learned was that no one is asking for the sizes I mentioned. If no one asks for a 28 or 30 back bra, it makes the most economical sense, of course, for stores to make those available as a special order. Supply and demand 101.

But at the same time, if my experience trying to find a bra that fit was similar to any other women out there, maybe they, like me, gave up on going to physical stores — why bother, when they never have sizes that fit you in stock to try on? The more women decide they’ll just order online, the less stores will have any need to stock these sizes or believe there are many women out there who wear these smaller bands and bigger cups, even though research shows this isn’t true. But wouldn’t the fact that there is a demand for these sizes explain how they always “sell out” when they *are* in stock? (I also wonder if the lack of these sizes in stores mean more women than ought to be are fit into bigger bands than they wear; that would have been the case with me had I special ordered that first time around, so I think the question is fair given the attitudes surrounding smaller back bras.)

The thing is — trying on bras at physical stores has some great benefits: you can winnow out styles that don’t suit you, and you have multiple band and cup sizes on hand to find your size in a particular brand or style. It saves time and money on the endless process of ordering, shipping back, waiting for exchanges, waiting for the money to be credited back to you, etc. I don’t discount the benefits of physical stores, and I’d like to support them with my money.

If you, too, would like to see more smaller band and DD+ cup sizes available in stock at your Nordstrom for you to try on, I encourage you to contact them with your request at contact@nordstrom.com. Based on the response we’ve had so far to the Bra Band Project, I know there’s plenty of us out there. But how will they know what their customers need unless we ask them? The worst that can happen is they’ll hear your request; you might even get an email like mine inviting you to come back in for a fitting. Whatever the initial response, if we show enough demand, perhaps those of us in any size not often carried in stores will eventually get to walk in and try on bras, too. Wouldn’t that be worth it?

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7 Responses Post a comment
  1. March 28, 2012

    I think it’s great that you and Boosaurus are hitting up Nordstrom about greater sizing range in the physical stores. Due to where I live (Christchurch, New Zealand) and the fact that I haven’t yet sorted out my most accurate bra size/shape, buying bras online is extremely impractical for me – usually I can’t return them or, if I can, I’d end up having to pay shipping costs that amount to more than the bra did! While my particular shipping circumstances won’t apply to many in other countries, it’s still much easier to try on a range of bras within a store, especially if you’re not really sure what styles or sizes fit you best.

    Any encouragement for a company to stock a reasonable range is to be applauded – and hopefully on my part emulated when I’m more aware of what encouragement the companies in NZ need xD

    • Sarah permalink
      March 29, 2012

      Thanks for your comment — it’s really interesting to hear how difficult online shopping is in some parts of the world. Do stores in NZ have a decent range of bra sizes?

      • March 31, 2012

        Nowhere near what I’d like! I’ve seen up to a US J cup, but that was on a 40 band back. I’ve seen bras up to 44 band, but only one store I know of in Christchurch does 28 band backs. I think maybe two in Auckland (our biggest city) offer them. Very few places offer 30 bands and of those that do, only one place I went to goes up to an F cup in a 30 back. Most didn’t go past D, if they even got there.

        I’m really unhappy with the choice of bras here – especially since even your most basic of bras will cost at least NZD45 (I think about $37 in USD) if it’s outside the “normal” range. I’ve managed to get a few bras cheaper but I really have to hunt for them and I get very little choice.

        • Sarah permalink
          April 1, 2012

          Agh, so frustrating! It’s interesting to hear how common this problem is across the globe — in Brazil, NZ, the US…women are looking for smaller backs, but can’t get them, or unaware that these small bands exist and putting up with the readily stocked 34s and 36s the stores (like Victoria’s Secret) say they are. And then the bra industry says things like there’s no market for these sizes or they’re for juniors! My hope is that the more we ask, the more we’ll be heard. International shipping is a cash drain I think we’d all love to avoid!

          You’ll have to excuse my ignorance on this one, but is shipping to/from Australia just as steep for you as, say, to/from Poland or the UK? I’ve seen a few full-busted Aussie boutiques kicking around on Twitter. It’s definitely less to ship from the US to Canada, say, than the US to the UK, so just curious if their proximity makes it any less painful to buy from (although STILL, that’s got to be annoying with customs etc to always have to buy int’l).

          • April 16, 2012

            Oops, missed your reply!

            I know of three stores in NZ that do sell brands that have a bigger range, but the prices for those bras are almost always at least US$80 which is more than my limited budget can deal with. I try to support those boutiques, but I just can’t afford to.

            I’d say it’s likely that the shipping from Aussie to NZ is much less than the shipping from the UK or Poland, and the shipping time would be greatly reduced too. I’ve not really looked at many Aussie boutiques because from what I can tell the prices are steep compared to the prices in the UK or Polish stores. In the two stores I’ve looked at recently, the prices for the bra + shipping match or exceed the prices that I can get from NZ anyway. My only option for anything slightly cheaper is to try on a bra in NZ (if it’s one of the more common big name brand bras) and then order it from overseas.

            I will look into Australian boutiques more, though, since I hadn’t thought of it before. Thank you!

  2. March 29, 2012

    Wow that’s great customer service! Too bad I’m in Canada, otherwise I’d try and check out my local store.

    I think the size selection in the US has improved quite a lot. You guys now have Figleaves US, for example. And your efforts will hopefully bring about change in the brick-and-mortar stores.

    I can empathise with contrary kiwi. Lived in Australia until two years ago and the return shipping was painful! Now in Canada the shipping (usually back to the UK) hasn’t changed much. And on top of that, I have to also deal with paying duties on the bras shipped here, too!

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