This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
There’s a high probability that you’re currently buying and wearing the wrong bra size. By default, there’s also a high probability your current bras aren’t as comfortable as you try to convince yourself they are. A good deal of women are still wearing the same bra size they discovered the day they graduated from a training bra. What we often fail to remember is that our body (naturally) changes on a daily basis, our bust measurements ebbing and flowing just as much as our breasts grow and shrink.
It hardly helps that for years, women have been pigeon-holed into a standardized set of bra sizes that doesn’t account for natural traits – like boobs that splay to the side, petite women with larger breasts, or one breast that’s larger than another. For Abby Morgan and Lauren Cohan, the founders behind the new lingerie brand, CUUP, enough was enough. The industry has adhered to faulty sizing methods for far too long. As in most matters (don’t forget to vote!), women deserve better representation.
Morgan and Cohan met while working for Free People, and quickly discovered a mutual need to explore and tell what Cohan describes as “real human stories.” That shared level of emotion and empathy — Cohan’s has a background as a visual director and storyteller, after all — eventually blossomed into an idea for a brand that taps into one of the must intimate and human clothing items of them all: lingerie. What could be more real than a virtually universal undergarment, a daily experience shared by billions of women around the world?
CUUP Campaign Video
There’s a lot of bra brands out there trying to make up for the many, many gaps in the lingerie industry, so what exactly makes CUUP so different? For starters, they’re changing the way women approach bra sizing. The co-founders’ leading mission is to change the conversation around the female figure. Morgan explains, “We want to de-stigmatize the idea of size, to re-direct this idea of what’s sexy for women.” In 2018, A and D cups don’t carry the same “small” and “large” stigmas they used to. In fact, according to a statistic provided by CUUP, 66% of women in the U.S. wear a D cup or above. Cohan herself went into a bra fitting and discovered she was actually a 30E, a size most wouldn’t correlate with a thinner frame. But her worst discovery during the fitting process was being told they don’t carry her new size. Cohan shares, “If I had those feelings, I must not be the only one.” CUUP is altering its bras to include familiar sizing labels while accounting for the natural fit of breasts: from their fullness, to their height, to how far apart they sit on your chest.
As for CUUP’s second mission, it’s all about the marketing. The lingerie industry has flailed as it struggled to define, and reach, their ideal customer base. We’ve seen the era of push-up bras pandering to men on the hunt for a Christmas gift, the era of photoshopping out nipples because marketers thought realism wouldn’t sell, and the era of keeping thin women in sexy lingerie and plus-size women in full-coverage slings. Ultimately, women want comfort, testimonies, equality and anatomical reality in their products.
But good intentions alone can’t create a good product. For CUUP, the challenge lay in finding creators, manufacturers and experienced fitters willing to adjust their process. Manufacturing bras is surprisingly complicated: There are unchallenged antiquated industry standards in place, which make it difficult for brands to make more than about 20 sizes. The cofounders explained, “Most bra designers start designing a bra at 34B and work their way up. We started at 34E.” Over the course of two years, they used true-to-fit bodies, broke down all the technical design features (like how thick the straps are), and debated which mathematical equations would ensure sizes would grow proportionately. CUUP’s absolute priority was to create a final product that was consistent across all sizes.
As for the quality of the bras, this writer’s already been fitted for her own set, and I’m undoubtedly a fan. While I’m happy to report I haven’t been too far off on my own bra sizing, discovering a more comfortable fit that took my natural boob shape into account has been liberating. (I’ve forever been cursed with cups that have too much of a gap between the fabric and my chest). Women have suffered from ill-fitting bras for too long. It’s time we gave a more representative newcomer a warm and welcoming chance.
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