What's in a Name: Curvy In-Betweeners and Why We Matter

April 22 2020 – Athena Kasvikis

What's in a Name: Curvy In-Betweeners and Why We Matter | Behave Bras
What's in a Name: Curvy In-Betweeners and Why We Matter | Behave Bras

I’ll admit it. I love making up nicknames for people. I think it’s because I’m so bad at remembering names. Nicknames help me to remember a person’s name and make it easier for me to place them in the future. 

When I started Behave, I wanted to give a name to the ladies that we serve and design for, and to describe women just like me who have struggled for so many years. Naming something also normalizes it. It has to exist if it has a proper name, right?

Up until recently, a huge portion of women in the lingerie space had largely gone unrecognized or were lumped into other categories that didn’t actually define us. And being one of these ladies myself, I decided to nickname us all so we could bring ourselves into a larger conversation more easily.

We are women with big busts and smaller bands.  DD-I cup and 30-38 inch bands.

This is a unique group of women because many “Regular” size lingerie brands carry 30-38 inch bands, BUT stop their cup sizing at a DD. And Plus-Sized lingerie companies offer above a DD cup BUT don't start their sizing until a 38 band. 

So where are the options for women who can fit only a cup OR a band in either market? And what is the name for these women? Because they fall somewhere outside of both Regular and Plus while belonging in neither group. 

Being able to offer a new term, for a group of ladies so underserved and so ignored by major brands, felt like a way to bring us all into the spotlight.

Of course I’ve always liked the word “curvy.” It’s such an empowering word to describe women who are bigger in some place and it definitely applies to a certain part of our consumers. Used just the word "curvy" though doesn’t do us justice.

Our consumers are also challenged with lingerie shopping.

They’re stuck in between 2 major clothing and lingerie markets, but not truly recognized by either. 

They cannot go into a lingerie store and find offerings in their size, because many stores don’t keep enough inventory to show 75+ sizes of bras. They stick with regular and plus-sized and call it a day. “In-Betweener” naturally describes this state of limbo quite well. 

“Curvy In-Betweener” then perfectly summarizes our collective sorority of big-busted, smaller-waisted ladies. 

There are some traits to our Curvy In-Betweeners that are very unique: 

First off, we own a LOT of lingerie. 

A study done in 2014 found that women with a DD cup and up, spent 33% more money on lingerie and undergarments than women with A, B, C or D cups.

This is likely because we struggle mightily to find things that fit. Curvy In-Betweeners are constantly miss-sized into bras because companies are more interested in getting us into something they sell, rather than something that fits. 

Bra companies need to be better consumer-stewards and they’re not. Your job, if you’re offering fit services, is to actually FIT a consumer properly. Most companies do the opposite. They fit women who come to them looking for help, into something not necessarily the right size, thereby perpetuating the myth that bras are made to be uncomfortable. 

The rage that lives inside of me from years of dealing with this is immense. 

Curvy In-Betweeners also buy a lot of lingerie because our bodies can change quite rapidly with weight gain and loss. Said another way, when some of us gain a few lbs., chances are that it is going to show up in our bust.

I have fluctuated in weight for years, sometimes by 5 lbs on any given week, and it wreaks havoc with my bra sizing. I’ve studied the bra market heavily- I own about 150 bras at this point, ranging from 30F through 34H.

There’s another defining thing about Curvy In-Betweeners. A not-so-empowering issue: It’s the negative effect that this dynamic can have on our body confidence. You’d think we would have all the confidence in the world... Big boobs, smaller bands, what's not to love? 

But society has sensationalized this body type for years. Breast augmentation is one of the most common plastic surgeries in the country.

If you don’t have big boobs, you want them. But if you do have big boobs, you want them gone.

And let me tell you why:

When women like me go into a store, and cannot find anything in our size, it is easy to feel like we don’t exist.

We feel like outcasts, as if something is wrong with us. We assume that we’re just “weird” and “different” and “freakish.”

I could cry thinking about the number of times women have told me this as I’ve sized them. 

Gorgeous, intelligent, hilarious women will stand there and explain to me how nothing ever fits them well and how they have terrible boobs and how they're just cursed in the body department. 

And they’re all wrong.

I blame the industry as a whole for this. For not doing better for women.

For failing to talk about the truth that exists in this space: That woman's bodies come in all sizes. That just because you fall outside of what they offer, that doesn’t mean you’re unworthy of an offering. 

Plus-sized brands have done a lot for women these past 10 years, helping dispel the stigma around women of a larger size. And rightfully so, because at least half of women in the US are fitting into something that’s considered plus-sized right now. Plus-sizing should just be called “average-sizing” at this point.

But when it comes to lingerie, we’re still woefully lacking in the inclusivity department. 

Certain companies that have dominated the market for the past 30 years have (wrongfully) taught women that the biggest size cup is a DD. I believe this is completely absurd and downright criminal.

There HAS to be more than just 5 cup sizes in the world! A, B, C, D and DD is just a small portion of the sizing that exists. Bra sizing goes all the way up and down the alphabet. 

For some reason, I find that many CIBs are scared of those later parts of the alphabet. They hear a size like a “E cup” or a “G cup” and lose their minds. It’s funny in a way, but ultimately sad- because the stigma around having a bust that’s larger than a DD cup shouldn’t even exist. 

Us CIBs will be the first ones to tell you that we have a “big bust”, but as soon as you put an uncommon letter label on there, many of them freak out. It’s cognitive dissonance at it’s finest. We will only be able to change this gut reaction by normalizing what is already a normal consumer segment by talking openly about these kinds of ladies. By identifying our unifying traits and communicating our shared experiences. 

We are not an outlier or "freaks" or anything other than perfectly normal women with slightly above average busts. 

So there it is. Curvy In-Betweeners are officially “a thing.” We exist and we matter. Behave is here to give us a collective voice and bring us all into the larger conversation.