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The evolution of bras

Updated on February 27, 2016

Originally when the idea of the bra was first conceived it was merely as a way to add support for women. However, over the years it progressed in terms of not only comfort, but also in terms of style as well.

Comfort


One of the biggest progressions in terms of bras and comfort is the widespread adoption of underwires and padding and support within them, which as you would expect with this structural support, it allows more long term wear of the bra without there being discomfort.

Whilst not technically a component of the bra, professional fittings are now much more common than they used to be. This involves the most accurate measurement of your breasts as possible that will in turn ensure that you are able to purchase the appropriate bra for your size rather than measuring yourself at home.

Further, sports bras have increased in popularity of the years. These provide a lot more support when compared to the conventional bra when partaking in a wide array of sports and helps to keep the breasts in a set position rather than allowing them to move more freely which is seen in a conventional bra, thus increasing comfort to the woman that is wearing it.

Material


This is another area whereby bras have changed over the years. Originally it wasn’t uncommon for them to be composed of linen or cotton. However as time and materials matured, so did the choice of material for bras. Today, a wide variety of synthetic (manmade) and also natural materials are used in bras. The most common variants are either composed of silk, or consist of polyesters including latex. Both have their merits as well as some potential downsides.

With regards to silk, this is a naturally occurring material and due to the very nature of this, it is hypo allergic, which cannot be said about some manmade fibres. Similarly, due to it being a natural material, it is able to ‘breath’, whereby the fibres within the silk are able to expand and contract ever so slightly to maintain its structural integrity.

However, on the flipside of this it does not have the flexibility of other materials, such as latex and spandex based bras. The end result of this is that you have to ensure that you get a bra that is of a correct size for you.

In comparison to this, bras which consist of manmade materials such as spandex, these are able to be manipulated in such a way even if it isn’t a perfect fit for you (perhaps your size has changed since you bought the bra) due to its ability to be stretched.

This is also true for other bras that are composed of a manmade fibre. However, as with all garments that are composed of polyesters in part or whole, they can affect those with sensitive skin, something as mentioned above is not an issue when it comes to silk bras. There is also the issue that with manmade fibre bras that these can on occasion be machine washed. In comparison to this, you can never machine wash a silk bra since this will degrade the structural integrity and in turn damage the bra to the extent that it isn’t fit for purpose.

Style

Since the days of it being merely being used as a means of breast support, the bra has seen some diverse changes in style. One of the biggest is in colour options. Originally bras were normally cream coloured in their appearance. However this has long since changed with you now being able to get a bra in just about any colour that you could think off.

Further, whilst originally bras weren’t exactly the most visually enticing, they are now seen as more exciting pieces of underwear. When it comes to lingerie, there are options whereby the bra is composed of sometimes see through material to make it more alluring. Further, there are also pushup bras available as well which, as you can imagine, gives a more fuller and rounded appearance to the breasts.

Continuing with the lingerie theme, it is also possible to get matching sets with thongs, French knickers or panties that complement the bra. In cases such as this, the sets are more often than not comprised of silk and lace that only looks great, but feels great to the wearer.

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