Ages ago when I visited the Curves Expo in NYC, I saw the gorgeous Floris on a model and was intrigued by the shape and fit, and I had high hopes the style would suit the needs of some of our customers.
Sizing & Fit: Unfailingly, I wear a 30HH in Panache bras, and the Floris is no exception. The band feels comfortably snug and firm on the loosest set of hooks while the cup has no gaping or overflow. When I saw the Floris on the model, I was struck by the similarities in shape to the Jasmine/Envy without utilizing a stretch lace. As much as certain customers prefer the stretch and contouring of lace, I have others who want a firmer fabric at the top of the cup. Like the Jasmine/Envy lovers, these women still want a bra with side support and forward projection, and Floris appeared a good compromise.
After discussing cup sizes and band sizes, we can now put the two studies together to discuss popular bra sizes for the shop. Below are a series of graphs showing the cup size sales for bands 28-46. (Note: Graphs use UK-sizing for the cups.)
After discussing our store demographics as well as the best-selling band sizes, today we’re examining cup sizes. Keep in mind, cup size means nothing without a band to give it context, but for the purposes of our analysis, I want to compare how sales across cup sizes differ. Below is a graph for the sales distribution of each cup size. (Note: For my discussion, I will refer to cup sizes using the UK sizing system.)
Observations & Notes:
Cup sizes E through G account for over 62% of our sales, down 3% from last year, and if we include D and DD cups, the number jumps to 75%, also down from last year.
The GG+ cup sizes account for over 22% of our sales, up a percent from last year.
Traditional mainstream cup sizes A-DDD/E account for nearly 31% of our total sales.
Best-selling cup sizes E-G are all within 1% of each other with the UK F cup (US G) edging out the competition.
Hello Everyone, Keeping our evolving demographics in mind, today we will be discussing cumulative sales for band sizes. For the moment, we will omit cup size and instead examine how much of our sales is concentrated per size. Check out the graph below to see the percentage of total sales represented by each band size:
Observations and Notes:
We have sold a few 50+ bands, but the frequency is so sporadic and the amount so trivial that I have not included them in the graph. For reference, 50-56 bands occupy 0.16% of our total sales.
Band sizes 32 to 38 account for nearly 70% of our total sales, which is up 2% from last year. If we factor in 40 bands, the figure jumps to nearly 79%, up 5% from last year.
The 34 band size continues to be our best-selling band size store-wide.
Sadly, 28 and 30 bands only account for 8.92% of our sales which is down slightly from last year.
Traditional plus-size bands (38-46) represent 36.74% of our sales, down 2% from last year.
It’s that time again! Since we celebrated our third anniversary in July, I can now analyze three year’s worth of sales to discuss the sizes and styles we sell most. I am incredibly excited for this opportunity because we have a significantly larger sample to use, and I feel this year’s analysis will demonstrate more diversity and stronger sizing trends. Per usual, I want to start by discussing the demographics for our region as well as for our customers. Not only can age, income, and even race impact what sizes and styles customers purchased, but they can also be useful in identifying the current or emerging needs of our target market. Consequently, I wanted to include them as a way of providing context for our sales history. The statistical data for the county and city are courtesy of the US Census, but the information regarding customers will be strictly observational based on my experiences as I never collect customer’s personal details.
Below is a table consisting of the various counties from which we see the most customers, and I’ve included the average income as well as the percentage of white and black residents. All of the counties as well as the state contain roughly 52% female, so I decided not to include this figure in the chart.*
Since we are based in Burlington (Alamance County), I also am including background information on our city.**
I have spoken at length recently regarding my newly acquired devotion to both the original Comexim Linea Artisana as well as their collaboration with Anna Pardal, but I have been remiss in actually writing reviews of their products. Georgia was one of my original free samples to demonstrate the quality and aesthetic of a Linea Artisana bra, and it ultimately became a personal favorite:
Sizing & Fit: I quickly discovered that both Linea Artisana and Anna Pardal employ tighter bands and slightly smaller cups than my former go-to Cleo. My usual 30HH was all kinds of small, so I settled on 32HH as my ideal size for the brand. In Georgia, this size fit perfectly, leaving me to believe there is consistency in sizing across the two lines. The band was comfortably snug on the loosest set of hooks when I received it although it has stretched a little faster over time, and the cups had no overflow or gaping at the top.
Georgia utilizes the same lightly padded three section cup design as the Anna Pardal Emmeline, and the high, rounded profile offers superb forward projection for the fuller bust. One of the reasons I love Comexim and Anna Pardal is their use of narrow, low underwires. Fuller-bust brands often assume we all need or want underwires to touch underneath the arms or center gores wide and tall enough to lift and separate breasts into their own galaxies. For some women, this design works exceptionally well, but for others, especially those with close set breasts like myself, it is a form of torture. The shape and lowness of the underwires and cups on Georgia feels comfortable, even after long days at the shop.
As with the Cleo Millie review, I originally tested the Curvy Kate daisy Chain a couple months ago, but I wanted to proceed with my review because the style is the predecessor to the upcoming Dare and Firecracker styles releasing later this year:
Size & Fit: Depending on the width and shallowness of the design, I wear between a 30HH or 30J in Curvy Kate bras, and since the Daisy Chain has a low center gore, I opted to try the 30HH first. Usually, the wide, shallow shape wreaks havoc on my naturally close set breasts, and I was more than a little skeptical when I ordered the style. However, the fit was surprisingly good. The band was quite firm on the loosest set of hooks and did not feel like it would stretch out easily. On my larger side, I had a slight overflow toward the center when I moved but not enough to justify the J cup.
Curvy Kate has been undergoing fit improvements over the last several seasons based on customer and retailer feedback, and one of the things I noticed instantly about Daisy Chain was the vast improvement on the width of the underwire and center gore. It was definitely narrower and felt much more comfortable, particularly on the side. Furthermore, the side of the cup did not pull uncomfortably into my underarm as has happened frequently in the past with CK bras. The space I usually have at the bottom of the cup was also lessened with this design too.
Daisy Chain also sports a plunge shape, and the low center gore felt amazing. When I first tested Daisy Chain, I realized how much I wanted bras with lower center gores that did not rest on my breast tissue. In many ways, the improved, comfortable fit of Daisy Chain set the stage for my later romance with Comexim. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the design of Daisy Chain, and this was the first style from Curvy Kate since the Tease Me was discontinued that got me excited about the fit potential. However, the profile was a little pointier on me than I prefer, and I didn’t find it as flattering under my clothes. I’m not sure if the style produces the same effect across breast shapes or sizes though. If you love the pointed or bullet-shaped bras, this could be worth considering. [Read more...]
Originally, I tested the Cleo Millie shortly before I left for the Curves Expo in New York, which was only four months ago. *casts a sheepish look at the rest of the Internet* Between managing the store, catching up from Curves, and a few personal health hiccups, I accrued a lengthy backlog of items to review, but I am determined to post information on everything. Interestingly, when I first recorded the video review for the Millie, I had not heard from Comexim or Anna Pardal about their desire to export to the US; as a result, I will pretend Cleo is still my favorite brand and judge accordingly.
Size & Fit: I ordered my standard 30H in the Millie, and the fit was not as perfect as with the other Cleo bras I owned. The band felt firm but comfortable on the loosest set of hooks; however, I struggled with the cup size. One side fit fairly well, but the other had slight overflow without a full scoop. However, the more bothersome issue was a strange indention where the flimsy mesh fabric met the patterned lower cup and created lumps under my tops. Upon further inspection, I think the issue results from the significantly lighter mesh contrasting sharply with the firmer fabric on the lower cup. My breast tissue is what I’d call “average” in terms of firmness, and I think women with really firm tissue would not experience this problem.
Furthermore, the underwires are comparable to other Cleo unpadded styles like Marcie or Lily, meaning they are narrow in the center and on the sides. Women with close-set breasts will certainly appreciate the narrowness and added depth to the cup. Likewise, the silhouette is rounded, lifted, and forward—perhaps a little too forward. Thus far, I have never worn a bra with such extreme forward projection, bordering on the old 1950s bullet bras, and I was not as enthusiastic about the profile. I wavered on keeping Millie because I wondered if washing the stiffer lower cup would ease some of the projection, but given the issues with the top of the cup, I thought it was best to pass on the style. [Read more...]
Comexim has always been a brand I admired from afar because, and I’m not ashamed to admit it, I was a chicken about placing an international order for bras I had never tried with a sizing system that made my brain hurt. Instead, I contented myself with reading reviews from fellow bra bloggers and fantasizing about the day Comexim decided to export to the US. Well, in the middle of my trip to the Curves Expo in New York, the fantasy came true. Anna Pardal and their collaborator Comexim sent me an email saying they wanted to begin selling their products here in the US and asked if I would be interested in including them in my store. Spoiler Alert: I jumped at the chance! Comexim and Anna Pardal sent me two samples each which I will be reviewing eventually, but I want to start with the Anna Pardal Emmeline because that is what we ultimately ordered for the store. (Note: If you want more information on Anna Pardal, please read these posts: Comexim and Comexim Follow-Up.)
Sizing: Since I was reticent about ordering from Comexim directly, I have no idea how their sizing works. For the export process, all of the Comexim sizes are being converted to the standard UK sizing system employed by brands like Freya, Elomi, and Curvy Kate. As a result, I will be focusing my review on the UK size because I can speak to it with more confidence. If you have questions, you can email me, and I will pass them on to Anna.
Before I delve into my personal experiences with sizing, I want to note I support Comexim and Anna Pardal’s decision to covert the Polish/European sizing into the more common UK. I have just gotten many of my customers warmed up to UK sizing, smaller bands, and cups that go past a DD. If I had to explain they needed a 70 band and a K cup, there would be way more friction in the fitting room! With the US market still on a learning curve, I think converting to the UK system will make the lives of both fitters and customers easier.
After some experimentation, I discovered my Comexim size is a 32HH which fits beautifully. The band is comfortably snug on the loosest hooks, and I do not have any gaping or overflow with the cup. Ordinarily, I wear a 30H in Cleo or a 30HH in Panache and Curvy Kate, so the band does run quite firm. Most of my customers have needed to size up at least one band size, but if you find yourself between two, then you may want to size up from the larger. For example, a woman wearing between a 32 and a 34 should try a 36. The cup also runs about a size small from the Panache Superbra brand— my new base line for establishing which size to test in Comexim or Anna Pardal. [Read more...]
Of all of the brands underneath the Panache umbrella, Sculptresse and Masquerade make the strangest bedfellows, but given both lines are significantly smaller than either Cleo or Superbra, I decided to combine them into one post, starting with Sculptresse. A first true foray into the plus-size market, Sculptresse focuses on 36+ bands and F-H cups with a mix of solid basics and cute fashion styles. Past seasons have been underwhelming, and the fuller cup designs have not resonated with my customers who long for plunges and side-support balcony bras. However, for AW14, Sculptresse reinvented itself with fashionable retro prints and new silhouettes, including two styles based on Superbra’s best-selling Jasmine/Envy frame!
Style: Balcony Bra
Sizes Available: 36F-H, 38E-H, 40DD-H, 42-46D-H
Panty Options: Midi Brief
Bra Price(s): $62
Panty Price(s): $34
Basic Colors: None
Release Date: August 2014
Sophisticated Pair Comments: Fliritini features a fuller cup design with sheer lace top cup.
Style: Four-Section Balcony Bra with Stretch Lace Top Cup
Sophisticated Pair Comments: The much-loved Jasmine/Envy bra has crossed over into Sculptresse! Given the original stops at a 38 band, ladies in the 40-46 market will finally be able to enjoy the wonderful side support and rounded shape the bra has to offer.