Tag : bra

Protesters don their Bras in Hong Kong

August 2, 2015, saw a protest with a difference in Hong Kong. Protesters both male and female demonstrated outside Hong Kong’s police headquarters in support of a woman who was arrested, charged, convicted, and sentenced for using her breast to bump a police officer during another protest.

Dozens of male and female activists gathered outside the police headquarters in the Wan Chai district. Some carried bras as banners, while others wore them over the top of their t-shirts.

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The protest was triggered when a thirty year old local woman was sentenced last week to serve three and a half months in jail for assaulting a police officer during a March 2015 protest against cross-border traders from mainland China. The woman was found guilty of using her breast to bump against the chief inspector of police’s arm.

The ridiculous charge has elicited furore from men and women, who fear it sets a precedent that will exploit the rights of women to participate in any kind of protest activity.

The irony is that during the incident, the chief inspector’s hand touched the said woman’s breast as he tried to grab her handbag strap. She yelled “indecent assault” at the time and made an accusation against him of indecent assault. The tables were turned, however, when the magistrate found that she had trumped up the allegation and that she herself had acted maliciously and used her breast as a weapon against the police inspector to harm his pristine reputation.

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Crowds of supporters of all ages at the protest chanted “Breasts are not weapons. Give back our breast freedom”.
The very idea that breasts could be considered a weapon, and that a woman who makes an accusation of indecent assault against a man who gropes or touches her inappropriately could be in turn accused of malicious intent and be herself punished boggles the mind. The defendant is appealing her sentence.

The Joys of Bra Shopping – the Teen Perspective

As a teenager, I have mixed feelings about bras. Most of those feelings are negative. As an example, when the only bra I have left is that one bra which is visible through my shirt. As I walk around, I’m perfectly aware that every single person in my vicinity knows the colour of one half of my underwear. And I begin to wonder, why did I buy this bra? Ah, yes, bra shopping. I love shopping for myself, but bra shopping is something I could very easily do without.

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Firstly, since I cannot drive, and when I’m starting out with bra shopping require some … assistance, I have to go with my mother. Which would normally be fine, if we were shopping for something like clothes or presents for friends. But bra shopping is a bit more perilous in this situation. It begins with the moment I walk into the bra section, and I am bombarded with the sight of neon pink and bright green bras, and I think “how do people even wear those without the aforementioned see-through shirt disaster?” With a quick glance over my shoulder to make sure there is no one I know within a 50 metre radius, I reluctantly press on further into the shopping section of doom.

It turns out, while I was busy contemplating the issue of bumping into school peers and neon bras, my mother has already picked out a selection for me to try on. And since I’ve already managed to get separated from her, she is forced to hold it up in the air and call out to me. At this moment, I have one of two choices: walk towards the bra being suspended in the air and reveal that it is beckoning for me; or I can hide, and no doubt succumb myself to more calling out and eventual anger from my mother. Let’s face it, angry mothers are scary. So, I make my way towards her, once again hoping that no one I know is nearby.

After a hasty discussion involving my mother holding the bra up to me and asking me whether I think it will fit (if I say yes, does that mean we can leave early?), I have to go try it on anyway. Now, I don’t know about you, but stripping down in a change room is hellishly awkward. They don’t have CCTV cameras in there, right? Not to mention the straps on this bra probably won’t be set right, and the band will be stubborn and not want to attach, and basically it will just be a disaster. Still, it’s a bra, and it fit eventually, so I’m done here, and I’m ready to leave this shop as soon as possible.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit harsh on the bra shopping experience. It is important, and when you learn you’ve gone up a bra size, well, that’s always a bit exciting (as a teen it is, anyway). There are definitely aspects which are less than desirable, and when you’re a teenager, the bad tends to outweigh the good. Thank goodness for online shopping at Undiewarehouse!

The Humble Bra – Part 3

In the 1950s, in a post-war society, women wanted glamour – and lots of it. After years of deprivation due to World War II, fashionable women emulated Hollywood stars who wore uplifting bras that seemed to achieve the impossible. Berlei, Triumph and Maidenform were big players in the manufacture and sale of quality bras that were not only functional but beautiful as well. The style of the time was for a pointed, circular, conical shape.  “Sweater Girls” like Lana Turner and Jayne Mansfield, and clever advertising, inspired everyday women to pay close attention to the appearance of their breasts under clothing.

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In the 1960s, bras were well designed to look good under knitted dresses. Rubber parts were eliminated and Lycra fittings became the norm.  Then when Yves Saint Laurent showcased a sheer blouse worn with no bra, feminists responded with ire and demanded women burn their bras. In reality, bras were not actually burned (except as publicity stunts) and most women did not abandon their bras, though attitudes to their wear did relax somewhat. Bras became less structured and from 1965, transparent sheer fabrics were sometimes used for their construction. Women who had worn bras to bed now slept braless for the first time in many years.

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The pointed shape of the 1950s made way for a more natural look. Then in 1968 the first Wonderbra was produced by Gossard, to lift and enhance cleavage like never before.

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Bra slips were also popular in the 1960s: an all-in-one underwired cleavage bra and short mini slip, worn with panties and tights under a mini dress. This was the least women had ever worn!

The 1970s saw bras made seamlessly and in fabrics with colour, prints, and nude tones. The braless, natural look was in vogue. The eighth season of TV show Bewitched, for example, saw Elizabeth Montgomery create a stir as Samantha when she was obviously braless in certain scenes and outfits.

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Women in the 1980s became very body conscious and erotic lingerie a la Dynasty and Dallas inspired camisoles, bodysuits and teddies.

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Cleavage and shape were again popular in the 1990s and the Wonderbra made a comeback. Bras were at times worn as outerwear by celebrities such as Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker.

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Today there are bras for every circumstance, look, and occasion: sports, maternity, training, strapless, T-shirt, sexy, convertible, plunge, push-up, everyday, novelty, bridal… who knows what the future will bring in bra styling?

The Humble Bra – Part Two

In 1889, Herminie Cadolle, a French corsetiere, invented what we think of as the first modern bra. Called the “corset-gorge”, it was a two piece garment which consisted of a corset for the bust, and a lower corset for the waist. She described it as “designed to sustain the bosom and supported by the shoulders”. Cadolle patented her invention and showed it at the Great Exhibition of 1889.

In 1893 Marie Tucek patented a breast supporter which was very similar to what we today recognise as a bra: shoulder straps, separate “cups” to support the breasts, and hook and eye closures. Initially, the design was not particularly comfortable to wear.

1907 saw Vogue magazine use the word “brassiere” for the first time. In 1915, a New York socialite named Mary Phelps Jacob patented the “backless brassiere”, made of two handkerchiefs and a pink ribbon. It was sold under the name “Caresse”. By the end of World War I, bra sales had taken off.

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 During the 1920s, the fashion was to flatten the bust as much as possible, effecting an androgynous look.

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But things were soon to change after Russian immigrant Ida Rosenthal formed a company in 1922 with her husband: Maidenform. Bras had bust cups, which were attached to elastic, uplifting the breasts rather than flattening them. Thus by the 1930s, a curvier silhouette was more fashionable, and A B C D sizing charts came to be early in that decade.

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World War II saw the necessity for bras to be more durable for women working in factories and on farms. In 1941, inventor and billionaire Howard Hughes used his vast engineering skills to design a bra for Hollywood actress Jane Russell: it was underwired and cantilevered, with the intention of emphasising her considerable assets. Curved steel rods under each cup were connected to the shoulder straps; it pulled the breasts upwards and allowed the straps to sit away from the neck, resulting in any amount of breast to be exposed as desired.

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For the rest of this decade and into the 1950s, the busty sweater girl look was the height of style. Bras were inspired by the military, with conical and torpedo shapes very common. “Lift and separate” was the catchcry of breast fashions.

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In the 1950s, bras and girdles were designed to be as glamorous as possible…

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 Stay tuned next time for Part 3 and the conclusion of the story of the humble bra.

 

The Humble Bra – Part One

The bra, like other garments, has a long, long history, dating back as far as at least 2700BC when the Greeks had the concept to restrain a woman’s breasts. Wall art from the time depicts women wearing outer garments which laced and seemed to partially restrain, and partially push up and expose the breasts. In Ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom, around 1570BC, women’s fashion was that they were generally bare breasted.

In Classical Greece, about 750BC, women wore a belt-like garment under the bust,  loosely draped and often with one breast exposed. A band of cloth known as an apodesmos, or mastodeton was also worn to bind down the breasts for exercise in places like Sparta, where women were allowed to participate in sports.  When the apodesmos was worn under the breasts, it highlighted them. Another word for a breast-band or belt was strophion.

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Mosaics from Rome circa 300BC depict women wearing bikini-style tops while undertaking exercise.

In China during the Ming dynasty, about 1368,  a form of primitive “bra” was worn,  complete with cups and straps drawn over shoulders and tied to the seam at the lower back. Popular amongst the rich, this was called a Dudou. According to Chinese legend,  the beautiful concubine of the Emperor of Tang Dynasty (AD 618 – 907), Yang Yuhuan,  invented Dudou. Art from the time is the first depiction we have of sexy lingerie.

 

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In the Middle Ages women did not generally restrict or support their breasts in any way; if they did, a cloth binder was used. An edict of Strasbourg in the Holy Roman Empire, dated 1370 states, “No woman will support the bust by the disposition of a blouse or by tightened dress.” In the France of Charles VII (1403-1461), a gauze drape was used over the bust. Breasts were minimised with straight bodices and full skirts; corsetry was designed for function rather than aesthetics. Contrary to this, the ideal female form of this time was large breasted and full figured.

By the mid 1500s, corsetry was used for fashion and the hourglass shape was desired. Breasts were compressed by corsets so they overflowed from the top of dresses, giving a voluptuous (and one must suspect, uncomfortable) result.

The bra’s history runs in tandem with that of the corset: the Regency fashion for empire-waisted dresses liberated women, for a time, from corsets as well as any restraint of the breasts. This was in part thanks to French Empress Josephine, who during pregnancy dressed for comfort and the trend took hold.

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The Victorian era of the 1800s saw women’s clothing designed to emphasize both the breast and hips by severely tight-lacing the waist. Victorian women wore many layers of clothing: a chemise with a drawstring neckline, drawers, corset and corset cover, the under petticoat, the hoop skirt, the over petticoat, and finally the dress. They must have felt warm!

By 1889, the bra made its first tentative appearance…

Stay Tuned!

Are you wearing the right Bra?

Are you wearing the right sized bra?
Buying a new bra is possibly up there in the top most-hated shopping experiences for a woman – up there with shopping for swimsuits and jeans. But what may seem overwhelming can actually be quite fun – and simple! – if you have the know-how and tools to get it right.
All you need is a pen, paper, and a flexible tape measure.
The most important thing is to buy the correct size. Up to 80% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra – and the average woman will wear six different bra sizes throughout her adult life. Weight gain or loss, hormonal changes, breastfeeding, menopause, etc can all have a dramatic impact on the natural size of the breasts and also the torso – which is just as important in fitting a bra as breast size. The wrong sized bra is not only uncomfortable, it can be unhealthy too. Neck problems, back pain, and postural issues are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s worth getting it right.
Bra sizes are based on two main measurements: busts and underbust. The combination of these two measurements will determine your band size and cup size. The cup is sized relative to the band – so not all cups are equal! For example, if a 12C bra might be correct for cup size but too big in the band, the correct size to try would not be a 10C, but a 10D. Confusing? It doesn’t need to be.
Follow these easy steps:
1. Measure Underbust: wear your most comfortable bra but nothing else on top. Use a flexible tape measure. Measure around the rib cage directly under your breasts, with the tape not too tight or loose. The tape should be parallel to the floor (use a mirror to check). This measurement (in centimetress) is your band size. Record it.

2. Measure Bust: Measure with tape, again parallel to the floor and not too tight or loose, around the fullest part of your bust (still wearing your comfy bra). Your breast shape should not be impinged upon by the tape – have it comfortable against your body all the way around but no pressing. Record this measurement, again in centimetres, rounded to the nearest centimetre.

3. Determine your bra size: The sizing chart will help you work out your optimal bra size:

 

The following are signs the bra you are wearing is the wrong size:

*  Baggy Cups = Cup size too large

• Bulging Boobs (top or sides) = Cup size too small
• Bra straps dig in = straps adjusted too tight, cups too small, or band too large
• Protruding wires = band size too large
• Back rides up = band size too small
The right bra isn’t just dependent on size.
Style, make and fabric used all play a part depending on your size, shape and preference, including cup shape, cup design, and specialist bras… below is a quick and easy guide. Enjoy shopping!
Cup Shape
• Unmoulded: no defined cup shape, made of thin material
• Contour: lightly padded to define breast shape
Cup Design
• Full Cup: covers the entire breast
• Demi Cup: covers half the breast
• Balconette: wide straps and low cut. Creates revealing cleavage.
• T-shirt: Unseamed over cup to give smooth line
• Soft Cup: No underwire
• Minimiser: Full cup to give light compression to make breasts appear smaller
Specialist
• Sports: Close fitting, restricts movement of breast during exercise
• Maternity: adjustable over course of pregnancy
• Nursing: opens for easy access to nipple for suckling baby
• Mastectomy: double lined and designed to fit a prosthesis
• Post surgery: soft, unwired, and front opening
Features
• Plunge: low centre front for wearing with low-cut tops
• Front Closure: easy front fastening and smooth back
• Adhesive: reusable or disposable, stick-on cups for smaller breast sizes
• Racerback: straps join at back near neck so shoulders are bare
• Convertible: straps adjust for various styles
• Bandeau: strapless bra
• Longline: Band sits lower on the torso
• Crop Top: No underwire, great coverage, very comfortable
• Body Shaping: shapes around the back
• Liquid Filled: push-up bra with gel padding
• Removable Padding: adjust level of push-up by adding or removing padding
Structure
• Underwire: metal, plastic or resin sewn under cups for added support
• Wire-free: banding only used for under-cup support
Padding
• None: no padding
• Light: small layer of padding
• Medium: lightly boosts cleavage with medium padding support
• Push-Up: large boost and support
• Ultra Push-Up: Look up to a cup size larger with high boost level
Fabric
• Sheer: fully see-through
• Lace: all lace or with lace detail
• Printed: patterned
• Embroidered: Patterned with stitching
• Plain: basic without pattern or trim
Impact/Support
• Low: everyday use
• Medium: Support Factor 2: SF2 = cycling, walking: reduce breast bounce by 45%
• High: SF3 = jogging, soccer, basketball: reduce breast bounce by 50%
• Extreme: SF4 = athletics, marathons: reduce breast bounce by 60%.