Marks & Spencer charge extra for larger sized bras – should they?


This week Marks & Spencer have been coming in for a fair bit of stick for their practice of charging extra for some bras that are larger than a DD cup. 

Women with DDs or larger can expect to pay around £2 more than their smaller chested sisters for some styles at M&S, which has led to cries of discrimination. A Facebook group has been set up in protest, with members describing the increased price (around £2) as a "tax" on those with bigger busts.

Is it, though? Let’s look at the evidence…

"Standard industry practice?"

The retailer itself has apparently defended the move, calling it "standard industry practice". Now, that’s now quite true, is it, Marks? It’s certainly standard practice within the childrenswear industry (you pay more for a dress made for an 11 year old than one made for a 7 year old, even although they’re the same style and material) but in the UK at least, it’s certainly not "industry practice" for adults, who pay the same price regardless of whether they’re buying a size 6 or a size 22.

In fact, it’s not even common practice within M&S itself: they don’t charge extra for the larger sizes in their clothing, which makes the additional charge for bigger bras – and the justification for it – even harder to understand.

Bigger sizes, more fabric, higher costs?

What’s not so hard to understand is the further clarification, which is that bigger sizes use more fabric, and therefore cost more to produce. That additional cost has to be covered somehow, hence the additional charge.

This actually sounds pretty reasonable to us, to be completely honest. If something costs more to make, it seems only logical that it would also cost more to sell. And yes, that does sound harsh, especially if you need the larger size, but you could also argue the reverse: that it’s unfair for smaller women to have to pay the same as larger ones, when the clothes they buy use less fabric and therefore cost less to produce. In fact, you could call that a "tax" on small people, if you wanted to take the argument full circle…

Of course, all of this is academic given that the disparity in price here applies to only one item of clothing: bras. Perhaps it it was the industry standard to charge different prices for different sizes, just as it is in childrenswear, M&S wouldn’t now be finding themselves at the centre of this debate. And yes, when it’s just bras that are subject to the additional price, it does seem like a tax on the bigger busted among us.

What do you think, readers? Are Marks & Spencer right to charge more for larger sized bras, or should we be hauling them off to the Fashion Police jail?

Image: Marks & Spencer ‘Ceriso’ polka dot padded bra


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