Submitted by Annica Svensson on Wed, 11/07/2018 - 12:30
That there’s quite a lot of interesting history and work behind what may seem like such an ordinary garment as a bra, may come as a surprise to many. The higher the quality the more complicated the bra is to make. Here are 15 trivia facts that you may not know about bras.
Did you know…?
1. British women are the nationality who buy biggest cup sizes according to several industry reports. The most common size among brits are 14D. This is also true when it comes to Miss Mary. The most common size we sell in the UK is 18DD compared to the international average which is 16D followed by 16C.
2. There are no shortcuts or quick automatic solutions when manufacturing bras. Sewing a single bra may involve 35 pieces, 60 seams, 65 moments. Around 10 seamstresses work closely together to make this happen.
3. A standard underwired bra is made of 35 individual pieces. And since a single model may be offered in 75 different sizes, that means that approximately 2400 pieces need to be drawn and size graded. At Miss Mary we do this process by hand.
4. All breasts are unique, even the ones of the same size. If two women with the same breast size would try on the same bra model in the same size, the bra will look different on each woman. To secure the optimal shape, personal fittings need to be done on several women, and not just one.
5. The same underwire is used for sister sizes, i.e. 16B = 14C = 12D.
6. When it comes to providing support, the band around your back is responsible for a majority of the bra’s support, about 80%, and hold the bust in place throughout the day. A wide back is more crucial to the level of support than wide straps. The purpose of wide straps is to avoid chafing and provide additional comfort for the shoulders.
7. A minimizer bra with underwire uses an underwire one size larger than a normal bra of the same size. The larger circumference of the underwire compensates for a shallower cup. This way the volume will be the same but with a reduced bust appearance.
80% of all women wear the wrong size bra. The wrong size may cause pain in shoulders, neck and breasts.
8. You may have heard that 80% of all women wear the wrong size for their bra, that’s a number that’s often quoted by brands and media. But did you know the original source? It’s from research by Kanhai and Hagg in 1999. Later, similar numbers were confirmed in separate research in 2002 by Greenbaum, Heslop, Morris, Dunn and in 2008 by Cameron and Fitzgerald. The latter also reported that 70% wears a too small size, and 10% wear a too large size.
9. The first patented bra design was made of 2 silk handkerchiefs and a pink ribbon by a New York socialite Mary Polly Jacobs to wear with an outfit at a party when she didn’t want to wear a corset.
10. Bras got a huge sales and popularity boost during World War II when the chairman of the WAR Industries Board Bernaud Baruch asked women to stop wearing corsets since the metal used for corsets could be of better use if they were to be used for war aid instead. 28 000 tons of metal were saved by producing fewer corsets, enough to build a battle ship – and women started using bras more commonly.
11. The cup-size system was invented by Russian-born American dressmaker Ida Rosenthal in 1922 and became more common during the 30s. For many years only size A-D cups were being produced. It wasn’t until the 90s that cups bigger than size DD became popular.
12. The first padded cup was created by Frederick of Hollywood in the 40s. They were the ones who also produced the first push-up bra.
13. It’s difficult to make moulded cups in really large cup sizes bigger than F-cup. This is because there’s a limit to how much fabric suitable for a cup can be stretched or forced without losing shape or strength. Thus, really big cup sizes usually feature seamed cups.
14. A pair of large breasts may weight 4 kg. That demands a lot from a bra. That’s why making bras from small to large cup sizes is never only about the beauty of fabrics and lace. High-quality material is key to excellent support and comfort.
15. Bra cups may be created in a wide variety of ways, from moulded cups to cut-and-sew cups. The more parts a seamed cup has the more control the designer have of the cup fit and shape. A three-panel tulip cut cup will shape your breasts round in a similar way of a moulded cup.
Do you know any more interesting bra trivia that we didn’t mention here? If you do please write it in a comment below. We love all kinds of “useless” knowledge, because as proudly self-proclaimed lingerie nerds, we believe no bra knowledge or trivia is ever useless, only useful.