Photo: c/o Pepper
“You’re so lucky you don’t have to wear a bra.”
If you aren’t a woman with small breasts, you’re probably guilty of saying this to someone who is. If you are a woman with small breasts, you’re probably sick of hearing it. The truth is, while women with smaller busts may not need as much support, it doesn’t mean they don’t need any at all. A bra that fits well adds shape to the body, allows you to wear what you want without feeling exposed, improves posture, and boosts confidence. The problem is that small cup sizes are often an afterthought for undergarment designers.
“This is a consumer base worthy of attention,” says Jaclyn Fu, co-founder of Pepper, the first modern bra company designed specifically for small cup sizes. Pepper introduced its first product, the All You Bra, on Kickstarter in April 2017 and raised over $47,000 in less than two weeks, proving just how underserved this market has been. “We found that most people who aren’t in this size range don’t realize the pain points of small-chested women,” she says.
“I grew up feeling like my body wasn’t enough. My mom told me to eat papaya when I was younger, because she believed papayas made your boobs bigger — they have zero effect on breast growth,” Fu tells us. “Having small boobs, myself, I never found a bra that made me feel good about my body.” While the initial concept for the product was sparked by her own body struggles, she says the real inspiration came from all of the women they talked to who shared similar stories of “feeling less-than.”
Photo: c/o Pepper
When the company surveyed over 800 women who self-identified as having small breasts, 71 percent said that mass market brands, like Victoria’s Secret, do not fit them. Some even admitted to having to shop in the tween section of department stores. The biggest fit issues Fu and co-founder Lia Winograd heard were awkward cup gaps, too much padding, exaggerated push-up, and uncomfortable underwire. That’s because most bra companies design for the “standard” 36C size, Fu notes.
The All You Bra, which retails for $49, features the brand’s Authentic Lift design with specially molded cups that are shallower in depth to eliminate gaping. Thinly lined and with less curved underwires, the bra provides a boob-hugging effect; elastic trims keep it from riding up. “This bra essentially does for the boobs what the perfect pair of yoga pants does for your butt, all without heavy push-up padding.” Yes, please.
Photo: c/o Pepper
There's also the issue of accommodating a small bust with variations in body shape. The needs of plus-size shoppers are still misunderstood, and they often struggle to find their band size with cups below a D or DD. “We want to make it clear that having small breasts doesn’t always mean skinny or petite; we currently offer up to band size 38, but plan on extending our band size range further,” Fu says. The All You Bra is available in sizes 32AA to 38B.
“We’re starting with a bra, but our ultimate mission is to boost confidence for this audience and change misinformed body standards in our culture,” Fu explains. “We are so excited to see brands pushing the inclusive fashion movement forward, from more size offerings and more skin tone shades to different gender identities. However, insults like ‘boy body,’ ‘flat as a pancake,’ and ‘mosquito bites’ are still prevalent in our society, and we want to change these negative perceptions.”
Women with small boobs deserve good bras, too.
Photo: Co-founders Lia Winograd and Jaclyn Fu
"Thanks to the incredible support we received from our passionate community, we were able to quickly iterate and improve faster than other companies," says Winograd. To join the conversation, she encourages you follow the company on Instagram and use #mypeppershakers. Here, you'll find everything from real women wearing the bra to inspirational quotes and funny (yet totally relatable!) memes.