CEBU CITY, Philippines — Bra shopping in the Philippines isn’t as easy as you think — especially for Filipinas with large breasts.
And finding the right fit is very important.
“Chest size might add sa imohang confidence, but it also adds back pain and improper posture— don’t tell a large-chested girl that “kaswerte” (she’s lucky) because dili jud sayon mangita (og bra)(it’s not easy to look for a bra),” says Cheska, 22.
Finding a 36C cup size that would fit her has been a challenge for Cheska, who said that she had to visit a lot of stores and check online shops before she was able to finally find her fit.
Aside from the effort that she had to exert in finding her size, she also had to pay extra since large bras are more costly that the regular sized ones.
Filipinas normally have small to medium sized breasts, thus bra cups A and B are normally available in stores.
Bigger cup size
As for Cheska, a 4th year BA Communication student, she started to notice her breast started to grow larger than usual when she was still in high school.
For someone who loves to dress-ups and spend time out with friends, Cheska said, she had to make sure that she is wearing undergarments that are also appropriate for the clothes that she was wearing.
When online shopping became a fad during the pandemic, Cheska also started to check on nipple pasties, silicone strapless bras, and breast lifter tapes among others.
But while these products were somewhat helpful, Cheska said that these just didn’t fit her right.
“Problem pod nako is if ganahan kog outfit na tube or kanang sleeveless kay lisod jud ipangita ug strapless na bra na mohold jud intactly,” Cheska said.
(My problem is if I would want an outfit that is a tube or one that is sleeveless, I would find it difficult to find one and with a strapless bra to hold them intactly.)
With this dilemma, Cheska had to go back to basics. She again started her “bra hunt.”
But her size is not always available in local shops. Aside from having minimal supply, the cost is also more expensive.
According to 2023 data released by World Population Review, a website that provides population data to countries around the world, the average size for Filipina women is cup size A, the smallest cup size offered by readily accessible bras.
Cheska’s cup size is way bigger at 36C.
“Honestly, it’s hard for me to look jud sa bra nako given na its cup C and mostly sa ipang display sa stores kay mga naas A or B. Pero makakita ra jud kog bra mo take lang jud siya’g time and dapat comfortable ko dapat ana na bra,” Cheska shared with CDN.
(Honestly, it’s hard work for me to look for my bra given that its cup C, and mostly those that are displayed in stores are A or B (size). But I finally found a bra but it would take time and that I should be comfortable with my bra.)
Emelyn Letigio, a lingerie saleslady in a mall located in Consolacion town, confirmed that they normally had limited supply of bras with larger cup sizes.
What they have in stock are cup sizes A-B, which are the more saleable sizes.
“Ang kasagaran mapalit diri kay push-up bra ug naa ra gyud na sa A, B,” Letigio said.
(Those who would buy here are those looking for push up bra and that is at the A, B sizes.)
However, Letigio, who has been a lingerie saleslady since 2011, said that slowly bra manufacturing had begun to evolve to also offer new products and designs to women with larger cup sizes.
“Naa mi orientation or training sa mga new style (sa bras) before i-launch sa amo company. Karon, open na gyud ta sa mga (larger) sizes. Sa una dili pa gyud kaayo,” Letigio said.
(We have orientation or training in the new style (of bras) before our company would launch it. Now, we are open for (larger) sizes. Before, we don’t usually have those.)
But it would still be a long way to go before large sizes also start to proliferate in display areas in malls.
‘Alternative sizing’ for a ‘plus-size’ Cebuana
Letigio said they would also guide buyers in the selection process.
And in case their cup size is not in stock, they offer “alternative sizing” to customers.
Alternative sizing or ‘Bra-Sister’ sizing refers to alternate sizes where the cup volume remains constant despite changes in the band size and cup letter.
In Cheska’s case, she can opt for a 34D bra size instead of her usual 36C cup size.
“Ang akong ma recommend sa among customers na large ang chest area kay mupili sila sa katong mga ‘full-cup’ na wide og side panel. Mo shape man sa kilid ug ang bust ma support sad,” Letigio said.
(What I recommend to our customers, who chest area is large is that they choose the ‘full cup’ that has a wide side panel. It will hold the shape at the side and it will support the bust.)
Letigio said it would be important for women with large breasts to be educated on the proper way of selecting a product that would fit them.
She said that they should never be afraid to approach a lingerie sales lady and ask for assistance.
If needed, the bust should even be measured properly as part of the selecting process
Because finding a good-fit will definitely aid you in the buyer’s daily movement.
“Mas nice man gud ang mameasure para mahibaw-an gyud nila ang perfect size ug unsa na type of bra maangay nila,” Letigio said.
(It is nice to know the measure first so that they can find the perfect size and the type of bra that will fit them.)