10 Lingerie Experts on the Difference Between Boobs on the East and West Coasts (It's a Thing)

How women prefer their breasts to look, from New York to L.A.

Graphics, Animation, Illustration, Artwork, Flesh,
(Image credit: Getty, design by Perri Tomkiewicz)

A short time after I was reborn a 30DDD, the founder and CEO of True&Co. told me that my boobs had a, shall we say, westward leaning—as in they were more separated than other girls in my geography usually like. As in they were more L.A. than New York.

I wasn't offended because I still don't know how to handle whatever's going on here ::gestures at chest helplessly::, but she did bring up an interesting divide that deserves further exploration. So here, nine more lingerie experts interpret the chasm, based on sales data, customer feedback, and their own experiences dressing belles poitrines across America.

"We can't deny the popularity of the yoga culture in the west, and I think this has given us designers more opportunity for creativity in bralettes, as the bralette now gets to be 'seen' more during the daylight hours and not just kept undercover." —Susan Beischel, founder of Skin

"Women on the West Coast are completely happy to let their underpinnings show—women have no qualms about the straps of their bra or the entire bra itself showing through their outerwear. Women on the West Coast also seem to be shifting away from underwire brassieres. Natural is the order of the day out here!" Liseanne Frankfurt, designer of LFRANK

"The West Coast is all about wearing lingerie as a part of your outfit instead of just as underpinnings, though the East Coast has been getting on board with this more and more. We see a lot of bodysuits being sold out West, in part because of the recent trend of wearing them with jeans (Khloé Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski)." —Pascale Leclere, owner and director of Gooseberry Intimates

For the Other, It's About Function (and Not #FreeingtheNipple Just Yet)

"The East Coast loves more structured pieces and 'traditional' styles. More people out East buy balconette and full-coverage bras. Your underwear is the foundation of your everyday wardrobe, so what is socially acceptable to wear to work has a massive influence on the kind of bra a woman will choose to buy. The types of jobs and workplaces that have sprung up out west have been less traditional than those in the east. Of course, an attitudinal shift is taking place all across the nation so we expect these trends to level out in the next few years." —Michelle Lam, CEO and cofounder of True&Co (also the inspiration behind this story)

"The Chantelle purchase behavior (from our e-commerce) shows a very different style approach when our customers select their lingerie. We have found that the East Coast (especially New York) prefers 'no frills,' or seamless/smooth products, whether they are T-shirt bras or minimizers." —Sonja Winther, president of Chantelle USA

Some Really Specific Info About Knickers

"Generally speaking, the Northeast (excluding Florida) opts for comfort, with briefs, boy shorts, and hipster styles leading the way. On the other hand, the West Coast (Los Angeles and Southern California, but excluding Portland and Seattle) prefers skimpier styles, like thongs." —Alexandra Popa, founder and designer of Bordelle

"In the past year or so, we've seen the high-waist underwear trend really take hold on the East Coast." —Marissa Vosper, cofounder of Negative Underwear

Color vs. Non-Colors vs. Both

"L.A. women are more adventurous in the colors and styles they chose, while N.Y. women tend to purchase the basics and classics." —Astrid Unwalla, founder of Nudwear Lingerie

"Typically, we always saw our West Coast clientele gravitate to light colors, whereas our East coast clientele would gravitate towards darker tones. But now that more women feel comfortable exposing their lingerie and layering it as part of their wardrobe, darker colors are becoming more popular with our West Coast clientele as well." —Christina Remenyi, founder and designer of Fortnight

"This autumn/winter season, the East Coast favorites are wine, dark peacock, and navy. For the West Coast, navy sells almost as much as black, which is surprising, and in shades of nude, they tend to go for more blush/pink tones. Color preference has a lot to do with skin tone: People tend to have a little more glow out west, so they feel more comfortable, and perhaps even look better, in bright colors or pastels. In N.Y. (and the East Coast), where bright and sunny is not necessarily the mood year-round, black is king." —Helena Stuart, founder and designer of Only Hearts

"The East Coast was always a bit more about perfection, polished from head to toe—and all things 'on point.' I'd say the East Coast is more about the perfectly poised rack, pushed up, out-in, and purposeful sculpting. West Coast breasts are free—you can be in a room full of women and have before you on-point perfection to just hanging by a thread. Generally, the Wild West is more diverse, and there is acceptance of breasts being presented however the owner feels like it." —Sharleen Ernster, CEO and designer of Hot-As-Hell

"Women are owning their femininity and making bra choices accordingly. On the East Coast, where work environments are more traditional, women still look for nipple coverage and support, although they have allowed their bras to become an accessory through lace trims, color, and visible straps. On the West Coast, there's an overall feeling of naturalness. In bras, that means bralettes and less structured fabrics. They worry more about health and mindfulness, even if that means nips are showing and the girls are less structured. The trends are different, but women are wearing what they want to feel happy, healthy and sexy. Another big thing going on in the world of intimates: *women* are designing bras now!" —Jenny Altman, CEO of iloveagood.com

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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.