Bendon advertising: not news, also angry-making

So Stuff has a breathless report about how tits are getting bigger.

Entirely coincidentally, it reads really similarly to these stories from 2010 and 2009.

Now before you tit-bearers get your [brandname] panties in a twist, let me reassure you that these articles are Serious Journalism and not at all just slightly-reworded press releases from … who was it again?

… D cups and bigger accounting for nearly half of Bendon bras

… according to Bendon figures.

… Bendon spokeswoman Rachael Parkin

The 2010 story, wonderfully, doesn’t mention Bendon at all.  But … oops:

“A D size 10 years ago was considered wow,” says braologist Carol Rashleigh.

Who was it they quoted back in 2009?  Oh, right:

Fayreform “braologist” Carol Rashleigh

Of the “subsidiary of Bendon” Fayreforms, not the Staffordshire Fayreforms.

The 2011 rehash attempts, one assumes, to provide “balance” by also mentioning Triumph, which … doesn’t really make it better. in terms of that whole “this is just a fucking advertorial” thing.

Because here’s a few minor problems with taking Bendon’s marketers’ word for anything to do with the size of Kiwi knockers:

1.  Bendon themselves will tell you that most NZ bra-wearers are wearing the wrong size.  Usually a back size too big and ergo a cup size too small.

Bendon will especially emphasise this if you complain to their customer service department about continually being unable to find comfortable, consistently-sized bras, even when you rely on the advice of their “braologists”, most of whom incidentally have no fucking idea how to fit a bra on a fat person.

2.  Bendon stock a ridiculously narrow range of sizes, and even slightly towards the edges of the bell curve you may have to count yourself lucky to find anything, which then feeds into the following:

3.  “Sales figures” are reeeeeally interesting when you consider that small back/small cup bras can cost as little as $20, and larger back/larger cups of “odd” sizes like 10G or 18A, when you can even find them, will likely be part of the “plus-size” range, usually hidden at the back of the shop, and cost $50 if you are lucky.

Point being, as a fat woman I have 6 bras (and 2 emergency ill-fitting ones for when the laundry doesn’t dry.)  I buy bras when I have to, and I can usually buy one, two at a time if I save my pennies (and I’m damn well off).

You think maybe those sales figures are just slightly skewed by the fact that Bendon provides fuck-all for “unusual” sizes and prices “unusual”-sized people out of the market? (If the Obesity Epidemic is real, there must be demand, and capitalism tells me that demand will be answered by supply … *crickets*)

And that’s not even touching on the thinly-veiled “OMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC/BUT AT LEAST THE CHICKS ARE HOT” dichotomy.  Because there’s no other reason, if people are buying more larger-sized bras, they could possibly have to do so.

I mean, “vanity sizing” is toooootally a myth.  No one would ever think to make the Ds just a bit smaller so more women can feel validated by patriarchy to have bigger knockers (and seriously, why is it ALWAYS Ds?  Or DDs?  I’m looking at you, Letters to Penthouse.)

And our population certainly isn’t getting bigger simply out of ageing and changes in the ethnic makeup of our society.

Nope, I’m convinced.  Good on Stuff, and TV3 before them, for providing such awesomely insigtful free advertising for Bendon (and Triumph!) analysis.


PS.  No, I will not try Kirkcaldie & Staines.  Bendon may have shameless marketers and pet journalists but at least I’ve never seen their salespeople happily gossip to the DomPost about the “freaks” they’ve had to deal with.


  1. Nik

    I am very glad I don’t work at Kirks anymore. And did you see the picture the Dom Post used to illustrate the article? Ffffffff.

    • QoT

      It’s just illustrating the story, honest! The ability to use that story to have boobs on the frontpage of Stuff was totally not at all part of the reason they published it. *facepalm*

  2. Robyn

    If you’re ever in Auckland, I recommend the bra department ladies at Smith and Caughey. The sort who can accurately determine your bra size without even measuring. One lady there sorted me out and gave me a back size far smaller than I would ever have guessed, and similarly a cup size way bigger than I was expecting. It felt weird, and yet it fit perfectly and suddenly all my tops looked better on me. Keep looking for the good bra ladies – they’re out there.

    Bendon have a rubbish range of sizes, but the Fayreform range is pretty decent with the styles for the larger sizes. I’m not sure about Bendon’s DimitiSO range. I somehow think of them as for women with implants.

    • QoT

      Sorry, Robyn, but this simply does not match my experience. Fayreform are not “pretty decent” – they claim to be “the experts in D to J cups” yet only *one* of their ranges comes in a J, and only in *some* back sizes, and for $80. Add to that the erratic stocking of those sizes in Bendon stores (and this is straight from the horse’s mouth: I had a sales assistant state “Yeah, it’s weird, last season we got HHs and Js in this style but this season we only got Gs.”)

      One of the reasons you may think of DimitySO as “for women with implants” is precisely because Bendon and other brands treat people with very large or “out of proportion” breasts as freaks who need to be sent to their special section at the back of the store where the weirdos hang out.

      Plenty of women have large breasts without implants.

      And there’s a privilege aspect to this too: some people can’t afford to just go to Auckland, or to shop around hoping that maybe THIS $60 bra will actually feel comfortable after a day’s wear and not need to be re-washed after every wear just to get its shape back.

  3. alexlodda

    “I mean, “vanity sizing” is toooootally a myth. No one would ever think to make the Ds just a bit smaller so more women can feel validated by patriarchy to have bigger knockers ”

    This. They’ve done the same with other clothing sizes – a current 14 is what a 12 was 10 years ago. Cotton On, by no means the only cynical doucheankles that do this, are one of the worst for selling a “large” that is actually what I would consider to be a size 8-10. But the internal logic is the opposite I suppose: while selling an old B-C as today’s D, as you say, propogates a sense of validation by patriarchy, making women feel like shit because they’re too big for the “large” also feeds it, but from the other direction.

    Remember ladiezz: it’s not the clothing that’s badly cut, it’s your “unusual” body.

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  7. Tamsin B-G (@Tansy91)

    Argh. I fucking hate bra manufacturers sometimes. I recently shelled out $100 for a bra because after months of having nothing that fit me properly I was desperate enough to spend that much money.

    • QoT

      Yep, been there. I also love how they stick the plus-size in the back, where Normal Customers don’t have to see them.

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