Creating a clothing line is hard work, but creating a clothing line for women with big busts is especially challenging.*
It’s been over four years since I gave you my last “state of the big bust clothing market”, and as I clicked through broken links on our Best Clothing for Big Busts page, I realized we’re long overdue for an update. Some companies have disappeared.** Others seem to have hit a wall because there’s little evidence of life except a website.
And then there are the brands that keep designing for our fuller busts. Here’s an update on each, including one very special company that has returned from the dead. I’ll introduce some exciting new full bust clothing companies to you in my next post.
If you follow Patricia McCaw on Instagram, you know the absolute joy she derives from dressing women with D cups and higher. One big change she’s made recently is to sell directly to customers via her website and pop up shops. This way she gets all the pleasure of customer interaction with none of the pain of production deadlines and retailer margin demands. In the very near future, she’s going to relaunch as Bolero Boutique and promises to offer her dresses in exciting new fabrics.
June is the five-year anniversary of this high-end clothing brand. In the past, Miriam’s designs have veered toward higher necklines and modest cuts because, like many of us growing up, her teachers often ordered her to “go to the office, you’re not complying with the dress code!” This spring marks a dramatic departure with the Amber dress, boasting “our lowest neckline ever, inspired by feedback from my friend Davina, who upon viewing a previous collection exclaimed, ‘But Miriam, what if I want to show off my boobies?’ This piece lets you show off some cleavage, and the doubled fabric offers a little bit of support along with wide straps that won’t reveal your plunge bra.” Want a little less plunge? I’m loving the sweetheart neckline of the Molly dress.
We are totally on board with founder Urszula Jerzak’s mission to “show customers that good quality, perfect fit and responsible production is important and is available for all women, no matter how big their bust is.” An architect who loves to sew, she divides her time between constructing and designing buildings and clothes. Her main goal is to continue sewing more styles every year. She wants to add new jackets to the collection, and she told me, “Maybe, finally, we’ll be able to offer our customers winter coats!”
This big bust clothing pioneer is finally venturing from their corner of the world to ours. We cannot wait for its new Soho location to open, making it easier and more affordable to write reviews for you.
DD Shop/DD Atelier
DD Shop announced last November that it would be offering clothing again, and the full-bust forums buzzed with hope. Members wondered: Is founder Olga Promptova back? Is DD Shop the same as DD Atelier? Will they ship to the United States?
Right now it’s still the original DD Shop that Olga began in 2007 and shuttered in 2017, and YES, THEY WILL SHIP INTERNATIONALLY, INCLUDING TO THE UNITED STATES, although shipping won’t be cheap (see below). Olga has moved on, but you’re going to love the story behind new owner Alena Suvorova. Here are two excerpts from our recent email exchange:
I used to be a DDshop customer myself, my size used to be 75G and now I fit into 85H. Every woman with a problem like this can understand the feeling, when she is fit and has a great figure yet only can wear clothes that fit at least somehow. And you can’t really change people’s perception of you that you don’t have a fashion taste, when in reality just nothing ever fits. So because of this I wasn’t able to accept the fact that DDshop has been closed and now I’m in the process of doing everything possible for its revival.
And we are planning on reviving DDAtelier with international shipping, yet we are having a bit of trouble finding reliable and affordable shipping options. If there’s any chance that you know any transport and logistics companies that are providing international shipping, including shipping to USA, we would be very grateful to hear about them.
- We’re very particular.
We know what good fit feels and looks like, and that’s what we expect. We’re also not going to get excited about styles that are purely utilitarian. A lot of full-bust startups are passionate about solving a problem, but creative vision also matters.
- Curves are complicated. And they’re hard to scale (unless it’s a “relaxed fit” garment or yet another knit wrap dress).
- The digital landscape is super crowded. To get anyone’s attention, a new fashion company must be a fully formed brand even though they’re still figuring everything out by trial and error.
- Trial and error is inevitable . . . and expensive. There’s a LOT of it involved in creating and marketing full-bust clothing. Running out of money before you figure it out is a serious danger.
- Price. The retail price that many women are looking for is only possible from a big corporation. Big companies can easily afford all the samples it takes to get a design right, have access to amazing fabrics at a lower cost, and aren’t limited to small production runs. (However, even ASOS doesn’t look like it’s up to the fuller-bust clothing challenge, and Marks & Spencer is out of the “no-peep” shirt business . . . see below.) It’s a risk for a startup to carry a lot of inventory. Doing so will lower production costs, but it can sink a company that gets the mix wrong or is a victim of bad quality control.
- Distribution. Online only? Boutiques? Pop ups? Each has its own special challenges. But when the right customer finds the right garment, it’s all worth it.
**Some we expected. Others are a big surprise. Here’s the list:
More Front Room (The website has been advertising for a lead designer for over a year now.)
Marks & Spencer no-peep shirts
ASOS—they’re still on the list and responsible for most of the commissions that Hourglassy receives through affiliate links. However, they no longer have tall and petite versions of their fuller-bust button front shirts; there are only three fuller-bust dress styles on their site; and most of the fuller-bust tops are knits.