Bras, which have been appearing in one form or another since at least the 15th century, have been staple items in women’s wardrobes for so long that you could not imagine needing any instruction manuals.
Still, eight out of ten women still wear the wrong size, according to underwear manufacturers such as Jockey International Inc. in Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States, and Wacoal Holdings Corp. in Kyoto, Japan.
“They just do not realize it, but it really depreciates them,” said Christine Claro, who helps women find their right size in Bloomingdale’s lingerie department.”Once I help them find the right bra, the girls hug me, kiss and cry.”
Hoping to share this love-and the additional sales that come with it-the underwear manufacturers have a renewed emphasis on the indefinable art of mating women with bras that really fit and fit. Stocks are high: Bras account for more than half of the $ 11 billion a year in US lingerie business, according to market researcher NPD Group according to USVSUKENGLISH.
And since women have shown that they are willing to change their bras, over time-from the flat-breasted style preferred by the twinkling 1920s to the miracle bras of the 1990s-companies are challenging old beliefs about underwear.
Jockey, a privately held company started in 1876 as a business of selling better quality socks to lumberjacks, launched a new system of sizes in May. Instead of the standard measures like 32A and 34B, which have been used since the 1930s, it has begun offering 55 new sizes with settings such as 4-36 and 10-44.
The first number of the pair separated by hyphen refers to one of the 10 sizes of patented bowls that the Jockey developed from the analysis, in 3D, of 800 women. Customers use a jockey”docking kit” with 10 plastic bowls to see which one fits best with the variations of their breasts. The second number is based on the measurement of the torso below the bust.
“It took us literally eight years to develop this fitting and volumetric bra,” said Dustin Cohn, chief marketing officer at Jockey. The breasts are three-dimensional, so measuring only with a tape measure does not work well, he said. But not everyone accepts Jockey’s size review.
“We have a system that works,” said Debby Gedney, president of Luxury Intimate Brands, at Komar, a 105-year-old family-owned clothing company whose lines include Ellen Tracy and Betsey Johnson.”It’s simple? No, but we will not complicate it further.”
Jessica Pfister, vice president of Le Mystère, of Komar, a luxury lingerie brand that is sold at Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s Inc., Harrod’s and elsewhere, said that better communication with consumers is critical:”It is Essential, especially nowadays, when the new generation that reaches maturity is even more full than it was before.”
In September, Le Mystère will present an internet campaign to demonstrate the appropriate fit. A series of before-and-after photos will show ordinary women from the neck down-not models-wearing t-shirts over their old bras, and then with Le Mystère bras that really fit well.
With the correct size, Pfister said, the women seemed visibly more confident, and leaner.”The right-sized bra raises the breasts over the rib cage that gets a bit narrower,” she said.
In the ads, Le Mystère will not wear ordinary women, but a beautiful model, though with natural breasts.”We always use natural models except when we make a line especially for women with enlarged breasts,” said Pfister, who said that enlarged breasts are often recognizable because they are more spaced from”east to west,” and strangely firm and circular.
“Even though it looks natural, the raised bust does not react to a bra in the same way,” Pfister said.”We want to show exactly what we’re doing with natural breasts.”