Reformation's Full-Cup Clothing Line Illustrates a Big (Breasted) Problem
LA-based cool girl brand Reformation has released a "full cup" collection — unfortunately named "I'm Up Here" — that's designed for busty women. As a so-called "full cup" lady myself, I was excited when I heard the news. But that excitement didn't last long once I checked out the items online.
According to Racked, the new line "will feature strategically placed cut-outs and fabric designed to hold in boobs and mask underwire without sacrificing Reformation's sexy vibe." The tops, dresses, and rompers are not-too-unreasonably priced, going from about $78 to $218. The clothes in this collection are cute. Very cute. That's not the problem. Some of them do look more bra-friendly than your average sexy clothing, but not by much. There are enough thin straps and restrictive-looking necklines to make me call BS on this one.
As a petite, thin woman who happens to have sizable breasts, I would be able to wear almost all of these items without revealing more than I'd like to reveal. But then again, I can shop at basically any store. I have a tricky body-type, but I usually wear a size small or x-small despite my chest. There are many big-breasted women who can't find clothes everywhere. If a brand is going to claim that a collection is for women who wear full-cups, they should be taking the non-Kate Upton types into account.
As Ashley Hoffman at Styleite puts it, "The fact that they’ve been selling womenswear this long without accounting for the women who outbreast the customers who actually get to have romper access is ridiculous, and fashion sites are acting like this is The Rapture for girls with chests. Are we all looking at the same web page? From the look of it, these clothes will fit women who simply have visible chests, not 'full cup' as advertised."
But there's an even bigger issue with the Reformation collection. The original promotional photos feature a modestly busty blonde model. She looks pretty averagely chesty to me, but at least there's still visible boobage happening there. However, the woman who models the collection on the Reformation website is essentially flat-chested. Gorgeous, sure! But certainly not voluptuous.
Ugh. In my experience, collections for large-chested women are either modeled by girls with A cups who are not the target audience or plus-sized models who aren't necessarily large-breasted. It really gets my goat (sorry) when clothing companies act like most women are flat as boards and those of us with an even slightly visible chest are like unicorns. That is exactly the message Reformation sends when they show their "full cup" collection on a distinctly non-curvy model.
Why are clothing companies so resistant to showing varied body types, even when advertising clothing designed for varied body types? This is alienating. If teenage me looked at the product images for the Reformation collection, I would be in tears. I would assume that the A cup model was considered "full cup" and that my 30G bras made me a disproportionate alien. We are a society that both idolizes and vilifies breasts because of the way they (supposedly) stand for female sexuality. Full cup chests will only become normalized once clothing companies stop pretending that any breasts are large breasts.
In the meantime, check out some clothing companies that actually cater to your busty self!