Lots of folks ask us “why did you rebrand as Aisle”? That’s a good question; it started, as always, with our desire to do better. Although our Luna Undies were a very popular product, they had some limitations. The gusset wasn’t as absorbent as we’d like, it didn’t wick moisture away from the user and we knew there were some fit issues. So, really, Aisle started as our attempt to build the best period undies in the world. It transformed our company - and also blew up our size chart.
For those who don’t know, sizing is created on a process called ‘grading’. A sample size is created and tested on a model who is pretty much the mathematical model for that size. (This might be the first problem, starting by putting a set of numbers on a human, but we digress.) The model wears the garment and a variety of tweaks are made to make sure they fit just right. Then, the garment pattern is created, sizing up and down from the sample size, and they go to market. The exact proportions are different between brands. In short, this is why you can go into three different stores and be three different sizes.
The vision for Aisle was a place where you could find what you needed for your period, no matter your flow, gender, body shape or size. We sought to scale our plus size offerings, creating plus sizes for all styles up to 5X, a new step for us. Finally, we were committed to doing it right.
Our first step was to establish two sample sizes; one for straight sizes and one for plus sizes. This allowed us to ensure the fit was accurate for both ranges; ultimately, it meant we developed two different products per style. We consulted with a plus-size fitting expert. Finally, we ordered dozens of samples and fitted them on a whole bunch of folks - some with flatter bums, bigger bellies, shorter waists or wider hips. We worked through tons of feedback to create the best fit we could. Despite this, we still didn’t quite pull off what we wanted to.
We were under-resourced to bring all the styles to market for launch; we simply ran out of time and money. We decided to prioritize fitting our hipster (continually our best selling style) and our gender inclusive boxer brief. We’re still a small business, and there are a lot of competing priorities. However, the onus isn’t on plus size folks to wait for a brand to decide that they are worthy of underwear (or anything else) that fits. We’re really, sincerely sorry if we didn’t have your first choice of style at launch. It was disappointing for many of you, and we didn’t meet our own expectations.
We are thrilled to confirm that we now have our brief available up to a 5X. We also make a bikini, and as of today, they’re not available in plus sizes. When we fit tested all the undies, we took the feedback of dozens of folks, asking them about leghole fit, rise, bum coverage - but it all came down to one question. We asked everyone if they would buy these with their own money. For our plus size fit testers, the answer to the bikini was no. So rather than launching a product that wasn’t ready, we kept working on it.
So, the bikini isn’t here yet. It’s been redesigned, and will fit a bit differently than our straight size bikini. It’s slated for our next production run, and we’re psyched to get it out there. You can see a sneak peek on @gaymisspiggy’s Instagram, who was kind enough to really work through the fit iterations with us as one of our fit testers.
We’ve got lots of plus size goodness in the pipeline for 2021. We’re also establishing a feedback loop - if you buy our undies, you’ll get a survey in your email asking for your feedback on the fit. If you fill this out, take a whole bucket of our gratitude - you’re helping us get better every time.
We believe that brands shouldn’t be lazy about fit. There is a deserving plus size market out there and so few brands are featuring sustainable design and true plus size inclusion. We don’t want a cookie for our efforts; we just want everyone to feel great in their period undies. We wrote this blog post because so many of us have found demystifying the fit process has helped us feel less shame about the way our own bodies are shaped. Trust us - if it doesn’t fit, it’s not you. It’s the clothes, and the brand that made them.
To all our customers, regardless of pants size - thank you always for your enthusiasm, encouragement and audacity. We wouldn’t be here without you.