Author: Cora Harrington;Source: Adapted from The Lingerie Addict

For many of us, the world of lingerie is magical and exciting and empowering. However, it can also be overwhelming. There are so many terms to learn, so much information to know. What exactly does full bust mean? Is it the same as plus size? What about words like luxury? Or handmade? And how does all of this apply to you? Allow me to pull back the curtain for you! Here's is your quick introduction to seven commonly used lingerie terms, so you'll be better able to find the lingerie that's perfect for you.


Full bust refers to a cup size of DD or above. That DD mark is what's called a "size break," when the pattern and construction of a bra needs to change to support the weight of a heavier bust moving forward. You'll notice that bras for full busts often have features like thicker straps, sturdier fabrics, side slings, and more rigid wires.


Plus size refers to bra band sizes of 38 or above. Although some plus size bra manufacturers also make 34 or 36 bands, that 38 or 40 band mark is when a bra is usually considered plus size. Plus size bras often feature wider bands, wider straps, and bra cups that are cut to the proportions of a wider body.


If full bust refers to DD+ cups and plus size refers to 38+ bands, then core size refers to band and cup sizes that fall into the "core" or most commonly available group, roughly equating to 32-36 band sizes and B-D cups. Another way to think of core sizes is that they come after small bust (A, AA, AAA cups) and small band (26, 28, 30) sizes but before full bust and plus size. In other words, they're at the center of the size range.


An off-the-rack or ready to wear garment is one that's pre made (or able to be pulled off the rack) in a company's standard size range. This is the model of purchasing clothing most of us are most familiar with. While inconsistencies between brands are a common complaint in ready to wear sizing, those inconsistencies are what allow us to buy any off-the-rack clothing at all. If every company made their garments to a single, standardized chart, most of us would have to purchase custom.


A custom or made-to-order garment is one that's been individually made for you, usually in a regularly available style according to your measurements. Sometimes, a garment is completely custom and one-of-a-kind, in which case words like "bespoke" or "couture" may be used instead. Custom or Made-to-Order garments will almost always be more expensive than their equivalent off-the-rack counterparts. 


All lingerie (with the exception of knit items, like hosiery) is handmade. Whether is a $5 pair of knickers or a $500 bra, human hands sat down to sew it. When the word "handmade" is used in marketing however, it's usually as a way to refer to small, indie designers. That is, one pair of hands made the garment from start to finish (as opposed to the multiple people used on a factory production line). 


Luxury is a word that gets used a lot...to the point where it's almost lost its meaning. From my perspective, luxury lingerie uses only the finest fabrics, the most refined sewing techniques, has a remarkable or unique aesthetic, and is often made in small, limited edition batches. Exceptional quality in every respect, from your first encounter with the brand to the last, is the mark of true luxury.  Until next time!