I’ve always thought of myself as someone with a barely-there chest. But it’s not just because I’m a 32A — it’s because when I go shopping, I’m constantly reminded that I’m outside the “norm” for traditional brassieres. It’s no secret that finding bras that fit (as opposed to ones you fit into) is a task that’s easier said than done for small-chested people like myself. In fact, for years I resigned to only wear bralettes since their silhouettes actually tend to frame the natural shape of my boobs. So when I found out about Pepper, a brand that specializes in bras for small busts (and has adorable branding to boot) I was intrigued, if not slightly apprehensive.
The brand develops cute and comfortable bras for small sizes (think AAs-Bs) and tackles common fit issues like the all-too-real cup gap, head-on. “Pepper was first inspired by my personal experience of going through puberty hearing ‘small chested’ used as an insult, then as a young adult going into Victoria’s Secret and being handed a push-up bra to look two sizes bigger,” Jaclyn Fu, the founder of Pepper, shares with me in an email. “As an Asian-American, I grew up wanting nothing more than to be accepted by society as American. This included learning to diminish my own beauty and envying ‘Western’ beauty ideals such as bigger eyes — bigger everything.”
Fu goes on to tell me that the brand was born from the pain — and eventually the love — she has for her body. With Pepper, she hopes to help women “celebrate their bodies as they are and dismantle the harmful ways women’s bodies are portrayed in media.” Well, she certainly had me there.
I love my boobs — they’re the perfect size for me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That said, I’ve definitely struggled with feeling “too small.” From a college roommate who looked at my colorful bras in awe of how “cute and tiny” they were to resorting to sizes too big because I really, really wanted a stylish option worth showing off, it always felt like there was more worth having. And don’t even get me started on the push-up bras that were more or less foam wedges strapped to my chest.
According to Fu, standard bras in the lingerie world were “designed for the industry ‘standard’ 36C size and then graded up and down from there.” With that size as the foundation, Fu says most women aren’t wearing bras created specifically for different body types and unique fit challenges. Pepper’s bras go against this, celebrating and normalizing smaller chests — and dare I say, making them feel sexier than ever.
Before I got down to business, I double-checked my fit with the company’s sizing quiz (yup, still a 32A) and went with the Classic All You Bra for this Pepper bra review. The moment I slipped it on, I noticed a clear difference in the fit compared to the other options in my top drawer. The most significant part about this bra — and where Pepper shines, IMO — is how the cups fit. Fu designed Pepper’s bras to fit snug against the chest, solving the incredibly annoying issue of gaping at the sternum. Hallelujah.
Another winning feature? The comfortable cup molding. As someone with one breast slightly larger than the other, most bras make one side feel too big or too small. This one feels like the Goldilocks of bras — where both sides are just right. When I asked Fu how she designed the bras to make the perfect fit, she said it’s all in Pepper’s “secret sauce,” but she focused on the unique shape, depth, and measurements from small chested women. She also used her own body—as well as early customer feedback—as a guide. “Our community has been so supportive and eager to be part of the development process, which is a reason why all of our styles fit so well—they were born from a community,” she says.
Along with the overall fit, the bra just feels good. Be it the silky-smooth bands and straps or the mesh material, this bra has gotten me through full days working at home, coffee runs, and picnics at the park. And after I broke it in a bit, the underwire bra started to feel just as comfortable as my go-to bralettes and wireless bras, but with a touch of added support and coverage.
Apart from moments when I wanted to feel a little spicy with sexy lingerie, I couldn’t even remember the last time I donned anything with underwire before putting one on for this Pepper bra review. And while the jury’s still out as to whether or not I’ll be seeking added coverage full time, it’s hard to imagine wearing anything else. There’s an episode from Lizzie McGuire where Hilary Duff attempts to go shopping for a bra. She stands next to her best friend in the middle of the room screaming, “I want a bra! Okay? A bra!” Well, Lizzie, I share the sentiment — and for me, Pepper’s bra is it.