When Busts 4 Justice challenged Playtex on their hopelessly misleading bra calculator app (above) last year, dozens of bloggers and Playtex customers joined the fight to get them to rethink the mis-advice they were giving to women. And Playtex listened – removing the app and inviting a focus group of Busts 4 Justice friends to meet them in London and discuss bra fitting advice and what they could be doing better. Impressive stuff.
The problem is, that outside of the US Playtex are operated by licensees. So while the marketing team representing Playtex UK reached out to women and tried to make a difference, Playtex fans in the US didn’t feel quite so valued by the brand. Not only did complants fall on deaf ears, the Playtex US bra calculator tool gives even poorer results than its now obsolete British sister. Behold:
The bra calculator works alongside guidance videos that – though does recommend a yearly professional fitting – sends women completely off in the wrong direction from her perfect fit. To make it worse, through slick, chirpy ‘bra makeover’ videos you can watch long suffering misfitted women in to… another misfitting size – reinforcing the bad lessons being dished out to unknowing Playtex customers and prolonging the discomfort and culture of fit miseducation of women everywhere.
According to Playtex I am a 34C, so I popped in to a local lingerie store to find a bra in “my” size (let it not be said that I don’t give this calculators a fair chance to prove me wrong…). Let me describe what happens to my body in a 34C bra – in case you can’t imagine already. My breasts are harshly forced back in to my chest – causing a boob pancake that starts near the bottom of my ribs and heads to my chin, and gives a four(+) boob effect under clothes. In such a small bra, my nipples are barely covered, and the wires dig in sharply in to the delicate breast tissue. The front gore is nowhere near my chest – in fact in a bra this small I’m spilling out both over and under the cup – and the band pulls up my back. This causes further pain, and the unsupported cups pull down my straps and cut in to my shoulders. Every time I move, I have to to readjust my breasts because they are simply not contained by the bra. And this is without even leaving the changing room. I am uncomfortable, I look ridiculous, and if this was the daily reality of my lingerie experience I would absolutely hate my body.
Is this the experience Playtex want customers to have in their lingerie?
Of course I am not a 34C. I am a US 30I/28J (a UK 30G/28GG). Simply by not adding four/five/six (seriously Playtex? Six!?) to that initial underbust measurement, I find a size that gives me perfect support, has improved my body confidence, dropped me a dress size, and empowered and enabled me to become much more active in my daily life.
C is a small cup size. In fact, if you understand bra relativity you’ll understand that D is too (please read this if I’m confusing/surprising you here). Support for fuller busts cannot be found by increasing back sizes. It is found by close – even tight – support around the underbust that is capable of taking 80% of the breast weight – and letters of the alphabet beyond DDD.
So, my gorgeous US readers – here is the rallying cry. We (but especially you – you are their customers and they should want to deserve your custom) shout. We e-mail. We recruit our readers to shout and e-mail too. The method Playtex US are using to advise women on their bra size is wildly misleading – and we prove this by describing what happens when we squish our chests in to their suggested sizes. The bravest souls could even take a picture showing the effect to illustrate the point – there’s nothing like a visual aid to hammer home the point. Playtex UK listened to customers when they said their welfare and comfort was let down by such an arbitrary and misleading tool. Do Playtex US value their customers enough to do the same?
D is not big. 34B is not ubiquitous. Adding inches to an underbust measurement completely fails women beyond a C cup. And every woman deserves better from their lingerie than companies pedalling these +inch size calculators are offering.
The War on Plus Four is back on. Who’s in?