One claim often made by emerging intimate apparel brands is the need to "reinvent bras."
For example, here's a recent quote from a Kickstarter campaign for an ingenious strapless bra:
Despite the many technological, engineering and manufacturing developments made during the past century – consider, for example, the development of walking boots, rain jackets or even the fabric of men's shirts – the standard-issue women's bra remains stubbornly stuck in the past.
This unnamed start-up will apply "rigorous research, testing and performance standards" to the development of their new product. The implication is that no one has ever thought to do this before.
Of course, this company isn't the first to adopt this marketing angle. The argument for launching new lingerie brands often relies on the assumption that today's bra industry isn't doing much to meet consumer needs.
But is this true? Because I've been writing about bras, boobs, and lingerie for over ten years and---in that time---I've seen a ton of innovation. And the bras today have little in common with any early models.
That doesn't mean there isn't room to do more. But no one should brush off the decades of progress made in materials, design, and manufacturing.
Here's are some ways mainstream lingerie brands have managed to "reinvent bras:"
Lightweight molded spacer cups are a huge improvement to the favorite t-shirt bra. Made of breathable knit fabric, they also offer superior fit and support.
Molded Lace Cups
Another significant technological innovation is the molded seamless lace cup. Now you can get incredible lift and shape, without stitching or extra padding.
Sports bras have become a separate bra category. They're available in fashion colors and multiple styles to meet different physical fitness need. Breathable, antibacterial, wicking fabrics fit and flatter women in all sizes, including up to J cups.
Hate underwires? Several brands now offer smart alternatives beyond delicate stretch lace bralettes. These structured styles don't sacrifice support, either.
G+ Cup Bras
While it can still be a challenge to find bras above a G cup in most department stores, there are plenty of gorgeous and well-engineered options on-line. Many of these brands also offer special fitting services that allow customers to customize wire length and bands.
Probably the most noticeable bra improvements have been in nursing and maternity wear. Gone are boring and utilitarian options. Now you can find stylish sexy to sports nursing bras, with smart magnetic closure drop down cups.Cake Lotus Nursing Sports Bra Available in Sixes XS-XL via Nordstrom
This short list of recent bra innovations doesn't include all of the bra's individual components or expanded size ranges. Industries that specialize in producing wires, hooks, sliders, elastic, lace and fabrics have their milestones. Don't forget that every time a brand brings out a new color (such as the ones above with multiple prints and solids), they must match up all these pieces. And cup sizes have also expanded from the limited A through D sizes in my youth, to AAA to K, and beyond. It can take anywhere from 18 to 36 months to introduce a new design to the market, which is both time-consuming and expensive.
I don't think anyone needs to reinvent bras. Intimate apparel entrepreneurs should acknowledge current industry accomplishments while working to improve on them. Do you agree?
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