As a big-chested Asian female living in Hong Kong, bra shopping is definitely a difficult task
Lingerie is a necessary evil. It makes you wonder why women are asked to spend extra money on garments to cover parts of their bodies – as if tampons and pads aren’t adding to our financial burden bit by bit already? Then, once you’ve conformed to society’s fashion rules and decided it’s not too bad of an idea to wear a bra – just to make yourself feel good and comfy – you realise how difficult shopping for bras in Hong Kong actually is. At least for those who aren’t bearing common sizes in Asia. Isn’t it time for more bra size diversity?
Bring on the bra size diversity (pretty, please!)
As a petite Asian woman who is comparatively large chested, a 32DD, the bra shopping experience exhausts me. Most of the time, the designs that you fancy won’t deliver your size – it’s either a 32C or a 34D and neither of them fits comfortably. And we can forget about those lovely bralettes.
Before going to college, I finally had my correct cup size measured by a professional at a lingerie store. Only then I found out I was wearing the wrong size in high school the whole time! I’d hooked myself up with a B cup, it was ill-fitting and gave my boobs odd positioning – not ideal. Soon after my discovery, I got a number of new bras and they all looked hideous, like cotton-made chest armour in hues of beige or grey. The straps were so wide and they were super uncomfortable, yet they were still on the pricey side: a minimum of HKD$400 (USD$50) per bra. As a student, it baffled me that I had to spend so much on something lying underneath my top. Since then, I had not been a big fan of lingerie shopping for years.
Now that I’ve found new ways to enjoy lingerie shopping, I feel spoiled
Now as a financially independent working adult, I’ve found new ways to reapproach lingerie shopping. There are indeed stylish (or sexy), high quality and functional bras available for petite yet big-chested women. You just need to dig deeper, way deeper, and mostly on the internet. I’ve become a big fan of Net-A-Porter, #NotSponsored, which features a great selection of high-end lingerie brands such as Agent Provocateur, Chantelle, Yasmine Eslami and many more. There is no longer a lack of bra size diversity over there.
Not only have I fallen head over heels in love with these brands’ beautiful craftsmanship, but they also stock a wide range of sizes from 32A to 36E to 38D (including the elusive 32DD). The only problem is that they now cost HKD$800 (USD$100) each and sometimes more than that. But the way they complement the shape of your breasts, it really does make a difference. I’m not usually the kind who spends money on fashion-forward apparel, but somehow I’ve allowed myself to splurge on these wonderful bras – they just fit so well, it’s outrageous.
A while back, I was tracking down actual stores in Hong Kong which stock Agent Provocateur and I came across Lane Crawford. Unfortunately, they only had sizes up to C at the time, which wasn’t surprising considering the Asian market. I’m fully aware that I’m privileged enough to spend a certain amount of money on expensive lingerie online that fits and looks great. But honestly, how great would it be if more physical stores provide a more diverse range of sizes for women, and make them more affordable instead of a luxury. There aren’t only 32Bs or 34Cs among Asian women as well as other ethnic groups. So until #FreeTheNipples becomes completely normalised, stop making bra shopping so hard for the rest of us.