Moron More on the problems with having a bigger bust and trying to find lingerie…
Once upon a time, I had a favorite bra. It was perfect. It was made by Lilyette, and, as as I recall this was the early 1990s, so the bra was then made by NCC Industries, not Maidenform (which purchased NCC in 1995).
The bra was called the “Full Busted, Not Full Figured” bra — and that’s precisely why it was so perfect. It had a larger cup, but not too-large a band. It had a bit wider shoulder strap, for comfort; but the straps were not placed as wide apart as they are for full-figure women, and so the straps did not slide off your shoulders.
I discovered this too late, however, due to the usual pursuit of bra perfection which goes as follows: many bras are taken into the fitting room, multiple times, until you return victorious with a few that fit to the racks, looking for another color or style and purchase just two or three of the bras — because you have to see how well they wear for over the course of a day, how well they wash, and how well they wear over the course of a day after washings. Then you go back to invest in more of the bras.
But by the time I returned to the store to get more a few months later, I was dismayed when I found just one of these lovely bras in my size.
I asked the department store’s lingerie specialist when more were due in. She gave an unhappy twist of the mouth and said, “No more are likely to come in.” And, motivated by what I can only assume was a combination of exhaustion at having to give bad news to another distressed customer and the look of determination on my face, she told me the lingerie maker’s rep was in that day — did I want to speak with her?
Did I?! Oh heck yes!
So the clerk smugly (because she wasn’t going to have to explain this herself, but would rather enjoy watching the rep handle an upset customer) made a call to the back and the rep quickly came to the counter to assist me.
I asked when I could expect more of my favorite Lilyette Full Busted Not Full Figured Bras to arrive. The lady told me that no more of the bras were going to be made, and started to try to sell me on another Lilyette bra.
“Why won’t they be making any more of these bras?” I demanded to know. The sales rep began to walk away from the desk, trying to led me to and sell me other Lilyette styles she “just knew” I’d “love.”
When I made no move to follow her — neither physically to the bra racks, nor willing to change my mind about the conversation being finished — she awkwardly stepped back to the desk and dealt with my questions.
“I love these bras,” I said. “Why won’t the company be making more of them?”
The conversation was slow and painful — for both of us. But eventually the truth came out: Those Lilyette bras sold so well that the company was forced to discontinue them.
Yeah, I know; that doesn’t seem to make sense, does it.
My eye brows were arched and my mouth hung open when the rep said it. And the store clerk looked aghast too.
But the plain and simple “business facts” were that Lilyette had been making small runs of the bras, but the great success of the Full Busted Not Full Figured bras had left them with the choice to either shut-down and retool one of their main production lines, invest in another production line, or discontinue the bras and (much more quickly and less expensively) end the customer demands for the new bras.
I believe today we’d call this a WTF? decision.
Especially since NCC Industries was in financial trouble (and Maidenform too after purchasing NCC).
It would seem to me that when you have a product in such hot demand, that you could capitalize on it — both in terms of units sold and a higher price point to cover the costs in manufacturing. But Lilyette didn’t see it that way. And so that was the end of my favorite bras.
Now, if there’s any moral to this sad little lingerie story for us as consumers, it’s this: Perfect bras for the full busted and not big boned, full figured or plus sized have been created; we just can’t buy them.
We have to change this.
Maidenform must have the specs on the Lilyette Full Busted Not Full Figured bras — heck, their Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Design Operations, Steven Castellano must know where they’re at; he was a designer for Lilyette & Maidenform from 1992 to 2000. Even the trademark slogans, “Full Busted Not Full Figure,” “Full Busted And Beautiful,” and “Just Full Busted,” are available to secure again.
While my attempts to contact them have gone ignored, perhaps they will not ignore a greater number of demands…
So, I urge those of you with full bustlines, those of you who adore full busts, and those of you who just believe in lingerie equality, to contact Maidenform (at investor relations too) and ask about making the return of the Lilyette Full Busted Not Full Figured bra possible.
I simply have to believe that now more than ever this bra is needed. The glut of boob jobs alone would seem to make this bra more salable than ever.
Image credits: Newspaper ad, from the Syracuse Herald Journal (September 22, 1993); Lilyette lingerie magazine ad.