The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes...

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The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes...

Beitragvon headology » 31 Januar 2014, 23:33

I was away from my computer for a couple of hours and when I came back I discovered a recent discussion on my twitter timeline, regarding the issue of higher prices for bras in larger cup sizes. The starter seems to have been the Busts4Justice-campaign addressing a M&S pricing policy. (Perhaps you remember that the British clothing chain had charged £5 extra for larger sizes until the said campaign called them out on the injustice of said policy)

So this is what seems to have happened before: https://twitter.com/lingerie_addict/sta ... 4577978372
In a nutshell: people complained about not every company producing every size and also about the higher prices for D+bras.

Now, Cora Harrington / @lingerie_addict twittered:
For example, I'm thinking of @Busts4Justice famous campaign targeting bra pricing at @marksandspencer. Knowing what I know now I wish that campaign had addressed WHY full bust bras cost more. It's not arbitrary. They are legitimately more expensive to produce.


Becky Mount / @BeckyAndTheJets answered:
we spoke to M&S about this during the campaign. I understand (then and now) that bras over a certain cup size DO cost more but for the biggest UK company to offer a limited size range and still charge up to £5 felt unjust. They had staggered sizing, they weren't producing every size under the sun. It IS an issue but their reasoning wasn't particularly valid. plus hindsight is a great thing and at the time we were just campaigning for what we felt was poor treatment of customers


Cheryl ‏@InvestIYChest:
plus the same theory isn't (or wasn't) applied to other garments in M&S


Cora Harrington ‏@lingerie_addict
To be fair, other garments are not as complex as bras.


Becky Mount ‏@BeckyAndTheJets
no, but if a company chooses to provide a bigger range of sizes, they shouldn't charge more


Cora Harrington ‏@lingerie_addict
I do think it'd be great if fuller busted bloggers addressed some of the pricing issues more. There's a lot of ignorance.


Whole conversation can be read here: https://twitter.com/lingerie_addict/sta ... 0753655809


I really don't get what this is all about. Of course it's expensive to construct D+ bras. Who would ever have claimed otherwise? But I don't see the whole point of "You'll have to put up with the higher price then" - especially when talking about a huge company like Marks & Spencer. Of course they'll get the money from somewhere else, probably all of the bras get a little more expensive but mixed calculation is always a big part of the business and no revolutionary new idea.

I also don't see how it's a problem to admit that bra prices depending on the size of your boobs isn't really fair and therefore, from a subjective perspective, it's only logical that people complain. I'd also love to buy my bras at H&M for 15€. Why overidentify with large companies and state: yeah, but for them it's more expensive, so they have to charge extra? Why not show a little solidarity?

Obviously there has been quite a bit of tension between the lingerie and the bra fitting bloggers before but now it appears to be getting worse. I don't follow the international boobosphere too much, so maybe someone can shed a little light on the issue: what TF is going on there?!
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Re: The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes..

Beitragvon karma » 1 Februar 2014, 00:10

Ugh, I can't tell why, but I sometimesI feel like these discussions are their way of getting more compassion for their oh-so complicated life. For me they're like "look at me, I've got big boobs, I need DD+ and my whole life is so unfair because of this, including the clothing industry which constantly disses me". *sighs*

I think we all agree on the fact, that there are wiser strategies for M&S when it comes to pricing schemes.
Anyway, are there even any brands/shops which vary their prices with the cup sizes? Shopping around mostly at recommended shops from the board, some eBay.co.uk shops, I have never stumbled across any shop which does that. Please enlighten me if there is an issue with this (besides M&S already withdrawn policy)

Nevertheless I am not generally offended by the fact to pay more for my bras then I did before I got fitted.
I recently found an old, nearly unreadable bill from 2007 for 29,90 for a padded multiway bra from H&M! No sight of bra-multipacks back then, about the fit of this gem I will remain silent... *willnichtsehen*

Looking at the Cleo brand and it's range, no bra costs more than 29 pound, applying some voucher magic or waiting for new season's arrival around 20 pound is a bargain you can easily get. But I would never dare to compare Cleos fit and quality to the one of H&M (substitute with various department stores). (Talking about fair production is not the right point here, neither, that would drive the discussion further than I intend at the moment).

I just wanted to state here, that for me buying lingerie has become more of a treat and hobby and important to myself. I have to move around money from other budgets, but as it is important to me, I am willing to invest more. I would never think of blaming companies for high prices for D+ cups in general, because low prices would not change anything for the better, only a customer could buy more items for the same amount of money. Cheaper prices will lead to less engineering in patterns or fitting issues, less new models, cheaper laber costs and even cheaper fabrics.

As soon Is I think pricing is not fair, I don't buy it, it's easy for me. As I have this very distinctive view of consumption, I usually keep away from such discussions, so well done, headoloy, you made me write quite a few lines here (and hopefully some on the topic, too) :D
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Re: The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes..

Beitragvon Kaylin » 1 Februar 2014, 01:07

To be true up to now, _I_ never stumbled across a bra costing more in larger cup sizes _after_ my fitting here. I only know about that fact from the time before and trying to by bras via catalogue (german companies like Bader, formerly Quelle, Neckermann and so on). There you often have graduated prizes the larger cup and band size get. By the way it is the same with clothing there...
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Re: The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes..

Beitragvon headology » 1 Februar 2014, 01:19

karma hat geschrieben:As I have this very distinctive view of consumption, I usually keep away from such discussions, so well done, headoloy, you made me write quite a few lines here (and hopefully some on the topic, too) :D

ehehe. :D

Besides M&S I've never heard of another example of charging more for the same bra in larger cup sizes but German mail-order companies used to have a similar policy on clothing, for example a size 36 being cheaper than a size 42.

I think one of the enraging discussion starters were people complaining about bra prices around £35 (today about 43€) being too expensive. I'm a little divided on the issue. For example, bras that cost 35GBP in the UK are more likely to be around 50 to 60 Euros in a German lingerie store; this is a lot of money for low-income earners. And while spending time on the internet, learning about bra fit and cheaper options is of course a way of dealing with the money-issue, it's not a solution for everybody.

Sometimes I have the impression that the idea of affordable products per mass production is so overwhelming that people only argue: well, then buy only one instead of ten which neglects the fact that often this is not simply a matter of choice.
I wrote a blog post on the topic a while back, after having experienced a lot of different reactions of customers - and there were quite a few who told me that they could only afford one bra and had to come back the next month to get a second one. (The post is unfortunately only available in German: Ist passende Unterwäsche eine Luxusfrage?). The question here is basically: can people afford the clothes they need?

For example, if you allow me a shoe-analogy: if you need shoes that are significantely wider/slimmer than average, you'll have to buy expensive ones. Of course, one of the side effects might be that they're really good shoes, quality, construction, fair trade and all, but this also means that you get only one pair - as compared to people with mainstream feet who can just buy 5 cheap pairs for the same price. (Okay, there is still Sam Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness to be considered but that's perhaps another topic...)

So I think, that people do have a right to complain about the unfairness and the mainstream-feet-people don't get to say: "Stop whining, you simply have odd feet." This does not neccessarily mean that no one acknowledges capitalist realities and the practical constraint of doing business. It's just about showing solidarity as opposed to being a dick.

And that's one of the tendencies I see here - putting the logic of the companies first instead of trying to see the different sides of the problem. And that's why I think the "be realistic about the price questions"-argument might be only one of many conflict issues and the lack of compassion could be sth like a general defence mechanism to a perceived "attention craving" like you mentioned. There seems to be the notion that the big cup bloggers are getting all of the attention while there's none left for the needs and desires of small busted women.
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Re: The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes..

Beitragvon karma » 1 Februar 2014, 10:51

headology hat geschrieben:So I think, that people do have a right to complain about the unfairness and the mainstream-feet-people don't get to say: "Stop whining, you simply have odd feet." This does not neccessarily mean that no one acknowledges capitalist realities and the practical constraint of doing business. It's just about showing solidarity as opposed to being a dick.

And that's one of the tendencies I see here - putting the logic of the companies first instead of trying to see the different sides of the problem. And that's why I think the "be realistic about the price questions"-argument might be only one of many conflict issues and the lack of compassion could be sth like a general defence mechanism to a perceived "attention craving" like you mentioned. There seems to be the notion that the big cup bloggers are getting all of the attention while there's none left for the needs and desires of small busted women.


Well, not getting stuck on one idea/opinion is the hardest part in this often emotional discussions. I agree on the fundamental right of complaints. But what comes after that? I always want solutions, but I cannot think of one here. Sobbing won't get the big companies to be a good samaritan and lower the prices - economy does not work that way. (Insert ranting about big companies here)

If you look at it closely, there is more wrong than the pricing schemes (starting by how much they pay the employees? I guess none of the big companies affords fair wages or "fair" materials, have to hop over in our "Fair Lingerie" Thread to check that and invest a little bit about production sites).

What will nearly automatically arise is the part of low income discussions, what somebody can or cannot buy because she earns less then others and the more immediately resulting "if I had more money". It starts off that everybody feels like there is too less money for all they want and the definition of "low" is not generally agreeable. (Again, very personal impression that there is a competition who earns less and still affords the commonly appreciated lifestyle). How many bras are necessary for a woman? Hm, some may work their way around with 2, others not under 10... That's the point where I cannot offer anything to add.

I personally cannot get satisfaction from owning 5 more bras because they're cheaper. And I am not feeling less worthy because I buy one or two pairs of shoes every 5 years and wear them constantly... (or only having 2 bras, as long as the fit ;-))

Wealth, incomes, paychecks... such a sensitive subject where one easily gets upset. *seufz*

@Kaylin: :eek: really, you're right?! I have just "tested" it and really, they charge more for bigger sizes... That's really strange (I don't understand it from the companies point of view, but they rely on the lack of alternatives so you'll pay anyway and the cheaper prices to be attractive for the believed bigger crowd of smaller sized women). I totally get the frustration, if you see the smaller sizes a click away and that you have to pay more. Won't imagine how quickly one feels "wrong" with her body and how many thought about loosing weight only to fit in cheaper smaller sized clothes. Oh, that way we'll never reach a positive attitude towards different sizes and shapes *willnichtsehen*
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Re: The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes..

Beitragvon Salami » 1 Februar 2014, 14:05

The obvious parallel here to me is most hair salon price policies. Why do they charge women more than men? Why, in particular, do they short-haired women more than short-haired men, when the time amount spent on the hair cut is the same? And since that's the way it is, and it's always been, people do accept it. I have to admit that even I, as a short-haired woman, have come to accept it, although I still think it's not fair.

And since large-breasted women will pay the extra dollar for a large-cup bra, the companies can pull it off. And many women will accept it, and perhaps they will find excuses for accepting it (a larger cup needs more fabric and thus must be more expensive -- which, since fabric is only a fracture of production costs, is not a valid argument, but anyway). So yes, it should definitely be addressed in the blogosphere, imho. Will it change anything? I doubt it.
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Re: The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes..

Beitragvon headology » 1 Februar 2014, 14:44

I hear you, karma, and I'm also aware of the fact that our lifestyle depends on the exploitation of people elsewhere - and also here (I've read an article about the working conditions at Primark a while back and it was really appalling and I was actually amazed that no one seems to care, really). It's just that this argument (larger cups are, as it is, more expensive to make, ergo you have to sell them for more money) also leads to the retail idea that women who are desperate also pay more, so as long as you're catering to such a target group you can more or less charge what you want.

In the used example of Marks and Spencer, I think this is really an outrageous price policy and to defend it as justified, is rather weird.

I don't want to spend too much time on thinking & writing about the whole compassion thing and also not on the money - I also see that it's not neccessary to own more than a minimal set of underwear (for which I'd suggest three bras, a sports bra and swim wear), but my point is that often the discussion drifts off into a direction where it's implied that it's about blind consumption only and someone feels personally insulted that the price of a good bra is not on a bargain bin-level.

@Salami: The cost is not about the amout of materials needed but about the fact that the construction is a lot more effort. Which is - without doubt - the case.
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Re: The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes..

Beitragvon Salami » 1 Februar 2014, 14:52

headology hat geschrieben:@Salami: The cost is not about the amout of materials needed but about the fact that the construction is a lot more effort. Which is - without doubt - the case.


The fabric argument might pop up in many women's mind, I would think, not the companies' reasoning.

And I think I totally misunderstood; I thought the point was that bra model x in A-D costs y, and D+ of the same model costs y+5.
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Re: The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes..

Beitragvon headology » 1 Februar 2014, 15:59

Ah, misunderstanding.
In the M&S-example it is rather obvious: it were the same bra styles AFAIK. But the argument is extended to all bras and that it's legit that D+ are more expensive than other bras and that it is stupid to whine about that. Which is, IMO, a valid conclusion. I only object against the defence of M&S price policy in the first place and I also wanted to press the point, that the price issue is not just about selfpity for not being able to buy raw amounts of bras.
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Re: The (un)fairness of higher prices for larger cup sizes..

Beitragvon Salami » 1 Februar 2014, 17:50

Hmmm… aren't there many more factors at play here? Such as quality, design etc.? It is not just size alone that determines the wholesale price.
I would also think that bra series in small cup sizes cater to a younger client (as with H&M, for example), students who don't have a budget anyway, and therefore the bras a of a lower quality.
Now that I get it I totally agree with you, head. That complaint is just very narrow-minded.
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