There’s been a stat floating around for, like, EONS that 70-85% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. If you’ve ever experienced the joy of a bra that actually fits, you realize that the source of your everyday discomfort has, in part, been that thing with straps under your shirt. Part of the problem is that bra-makers historically haven’t taken into account that women’s bodies are more diverse than the alphabet allows.
And then came Michelle Lam. The founder of undergarment retailer True & Co. aims to change the underwear game by making bras that fit 6,000 different body types. Again, that’s SIX THOUSAND. If that seems like a high number, just consider how many different women there are on the planet. Of course we’re not all going to fit into a handful of sizes.
According to Lam, the problem with how we, the females of our species, bra-shop is that we think it’s just a band and cup-size game. True & Co. also takes into account the curvature of the breast and the weight distribution of the breasts on the chest. Which is to say not all 34B boobs are created equal. Even if two women are buying the same size bra, if their breasts differ in curvature and weight distribution, the same bra is just NOT going to work for both of them. You could have spillover boobs or falling-off-bra-straps; things that are uncomfortable and distracting and are in their very small, particular, and annoying way, going to prevent you from having the most awesome possible day.
What’s cool about Lam, is that she has a distinctly body positive outlook on lingerie—which is something I never regarded as important until right now.
For instance, Victoria’s Secret has about half the market cornered on the $11 billion a year bra business, but according to True & Co’s research, only one in five women are actually looking for the kind of bra that Vicky’s Secret sells—you know, a bra that’s padded, pushed-up, or both: a bra that’s designed to make your boobs look three cup sizes larger than they actually are.
Lam told Fast Company her goal is to make bras that allow women “to look at themselves in the mirror and feel like the most beautiful version of themselves, which is what a beautiful bra does.” She followed up by pointing out that the padded, pushed-up, super-boobs image that Victoria’s Secret peddles is “. . . not every woman’s definition of beauty.”
The 35-year-old, whose background is in corporate strategy and finance, had her “aha” moment trying on bras in a fitting room, like the rest of us. Instead of having a meltdown over the fact that nothing fit right, she thought, “How can we use technology and data to rethink this?” Obvs.
So she bought 500 bras and organized a focus group with her friends. Their feedback led to a quiz that’s now on the True & Co. website, designed to help customers find a bra that really fits their bodies.
I THOUGHT my bra fit me, but the more I delve into the world of boob curvature and breast-to-chest weight distribution, the more I wonder whether my bra life has all been a lie. In any event, I’m pretty excited to find out which of the 6,000 body types I can call my own.