27 September, 2018

The Surprisingly Common Phenomenon of Sizing Up for Depth


Back when I was 14 and just learning about how bras should really fit, I measured myself at home by /r/ABraThatFits' guide at a 26FF, then was fitted by a friendly in-store fitter into a 28G/26GG . I remember thinking during the fitting that the Cleo Maddie fit very well, and left the store happy in my Bravissimo Satine - having just come from a 32D! 

But then as the weeks progressed, I became confused. The bras I was trying in 28G - and even 28FF - were... too big. For my next bra, I settled in a Freya Piper Plunge Balcony in 28FF, my breast tissue sinking to the bottom, convinced I was very full on bottom because why else would these bras have so much space at the top?

I had unknowingly become a victim of "sizing up for depth", and it took me years to actually figure out what had happened - and that I actually have tall roots that make me functionally full on top.

17 September, 2018

"You'll have to come and get fitted instore" - or do we just not know how to talk about bras?


If you've ever looked up bra fitting information online, you'll be presented with a page of google results by lingerie companies and retailers, most of which give you the same (basic) advice:

"if your band rides up, it's too large!" "the gore should tack" "if the cups are visibly too small, they're too small" "if the cups are visibly too big, they're too big"

an image making fun of the poor bra fitting advice lingerie retailers give
Thanks a bunch, Boux Avenue

19 July, 2018

The Gender Pay Gap in British lingerie - why, and what are companies going to do about it?


This is a follow-up post to my previous post "The Gender Pay Gap - how do large British lingerie companies compare? ".

Now that we know that these companies do have gender wage gaps, let's see what they had to say about them. All of the companies gave some explanation, and most of them stated how they planned to fix it. But will these plans have any effect? Are they ambitious enough? How will we know as consumers if these plans are working and to what extent?

Let's dive into it, company by company, as I paraphrase all of the reports (publicly available on the Gender Pay Gap Service). Warning: this post is super long so if you just want an overview, scroll to the end. I will probably end up publishing an abridged ranking at some point in the future if this is just too many words to read (understandable).

27 June, 2018

The Gender Pay Gap - how do large British lingerie companies compare?

What is the gender pay gap?


"The gender pay gap is the difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across a workforce. If women do more of the less well paid jobs within an organisation than men, the gender pay gap is usually bigger. The gender pay gap is not the same as unequal pay which is paying men and women differently for performing the same (or similar) work. Unequal pay has been unlawful since 1970" - Gender Pay Gap Service

Due to recent legislation, all employers with 250 or more employees must calculate and publish (among other things), their mean and median gender pay gaps. This has recently come into effect with April 2018 being the first time private companies have been forced to publish this data. I have taken the opportunity to go through the reports of lingerie companies and compare them by category so you can find out what these gender pay gaps are, how they compare across companies, and what each individual company has to say about it. That's too much to fit in one blog post so welcome to a short series!

If you cannot view the images below the data can be found in this spreadsheet.

Disclaimer: I am not a statistician, economist, or business expert. I am but a simple lingerie blogger with a dream of gender equality.

What are mean and median? Why do they differ?


Means and medians are both ways of calculating averages. The mean is typically what people refer to when they talk about an average, and is calculated by adding up all of the wages and dividing this by the number of employees. The median is essentially the "middle" value. You can calculate this by arranging all the salaries in order, then picking the one right in the middle.

The thing about the mean is that it's easily influenced by outliers. If your company has five employees and you pay four of them £10/hour, but you pay the fifth £100/hour, the mean wage is £28/hour, despite this not really reflecting how most of the employees are paid. The median in this case would be £10/hour, which is more reflective of what's happening (but ignores just how much the fifth person is paid).

The Wage Gap in Department Stores/Big Retailers (that sell lingerie along with various non-clothing items):


Wage Gap in Big Retailers chart


Rankings:

Mean
1. Marks and Spencer
2. John Lewis
3. House of Fraser
4. Debenhams

Median
1. Debenhams
2. House of Fraser
3. Marks and Spencer
4. John Lewis


The Wage Gap in Major Clothing Retailers


Wage Gap in Clothing Stores chart

Rankings:

Mean
1. JD Williams
2. Asos
3. Yours Clothing

Median
1. JD Williams
2. Asos
3. Yours Clothing

The Wage Gap in Lingerie Companies


Wage gap in lingerie companies chart


Rankings:

Mean
1. Victoria's Secret
2. Ann Summers
3. Wacoal Group (owns Freya and Elomi, among others)
4. Bravissimo
5. Boux Avenue

Median
1. Bravissimo
2. Victoria's Secret
3. Ann Summers
4.Wacoal Group
5. Boux Avenue
 
When does each company stop paying women?

I stole this idea from this guardian article and I copied the dates from there, though of course the dates can be easily calculated manually.

Dates when women stop being paid
If you cannot view this diagram, please visit the guardian article linked above.

What Next?


Along with these figures, most companies published a report explaining the reasons for them and what they intend to do about their relative wage gaps. In the coming days, I will summarise and analyse these reports to the best of my ability and produce an overall ranking of which companies I believe are taking the best steps towards gender equality.

11 March, 2018

Rib Cages and Bra Fitting - a Masterpost


I've realised that while there are titbits (pun intended) of information about how rib Cages can affect bra fit floating around, it's never been collated into one easy to access article. So I've tried to do that: most of the information in this post is credited to other hardworking bloggers, please check out the credits at the end to support their work! Also big thanks to my sister for the lovely diagrams.


1. Rib Cage Shapes (horizontally)


There are two basic types of rib cross-sections to consider in relation to bra fitting, disregarding the sternum (we'll get onto the breastbone later):

Diagram showing a top down view of flat ribs and barrel shaped ribs
Flat vs Barrel Shaped Ribs

  •  Flat ribs (left) - the most common rib cage shape
  •  Barrel shaped ribs (right) - more rounded than the average rib cage shape

Most bras are designed to fit best on flat ribs.

02 January, 2018

The Outwards Scoop


We all know that it's important to scoop all tissue from the outside of the bra *into* the cups, as well as positioning the wires correctly, but recently I have been thinking about an extension of the manoeuvre:

The Outwards Scoop


You may be thinking that this is just a way to make a too small cup look like it fits correctly, but I promise you it's more than that. What is the purpose of the scoop and swoop? To make sure that all tissue that was outside the wires is now inside the wires - of course, provided that the bra isn't too narrow overall.



For those with soft tissue (and particuarly those with pendulous breasts and loose skin as well), or just a very projected shape simply scooping the traditional way can force tissue into the gore space *past* the root of your breast. This causes tissue to sit under the gore, either pushing it away or having the gore sit on breast tissue - not ideal!

27 November, 2017

Bra Shopping in Melbourne - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


A quick lowdown of three places to buy bras in Melbourne - if you're one of the two thirds of people who don't fit in the sizes most bra shops sell, or you just want somewhere to give you a good fitting, this is the post to read. Apologies for the lack of photos of the fittings, my phone was broken.

 

The Good - Brava

 

Brava exterior
Brava's exterior