America’s Cup Size Runneth Over: Changes for the Lingerie Industry

The average consumer in the United States has changed drastically over the past 60 years. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average woman, ages 20-74, weighed 140 pounds in 1960. As of 2002, the survey showed that the average woman in that same age group now has an average weight of 164.7 pounds. This steep incline in weight has had its ramifications in the fashion industry. Now fashion designers are embracing plus sizes and fashion photographers are photographing curvy New York fashion models like Crystal Renn.

One industry that has seen a huge change is size run is the lingerie industry. As of 1992, the average bra size for an American woman was 34B. Today, the average size is 34DD. This increase in bra sizes is not only attributed to weight gain and rising obesity rates but also to an increase in bra fit awareness and an increase in breast implants. In 2005, Oprah Winfrey held an episode on her daytime show to bring light to the fact that the majority of women are wearing the incorrect bra size. Generally, women are wearing too large of a band size and too small of a cup size. Lingerie appreciation has also increased in the past few years with pop culture’s celebration of burlesque with films, musicals and celebrities like Dita Von Teese.

So what does that mean for all the professionals in the lingerie industry? Well, most big name brands have increased their size run for bras. Ecommerce website, has proclaimed that their best selling bra is a 34E in the Just Peachy brand.  Italian lingerie designer, Cosabella, has also expanded its band size run to 38 for C, D and DD bra sizes. Now, women with smaller busts are having a tougher time finding their proper size in many styles. This is just one more interesting development in the world of retail that will affect the fashion industry for years to come.

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