A bra, short for brassiere or brassière, is a form-fitting undergarment designed to support or cover a woman's breasts. Bras are designed for a variety of purposes, including general breast support, enhancing breast size, creating cleavage, or for other aesthetic or practical considerations. Swimsuits, camisoles, and backless dresses may have built-in breast support with supportive bra cups. Nursing bras are designed to facilitate breastfeeding. Some people have a medical and surgical need for brassieres, but most wear them for fashion or cultural reasons. There is no evidence that bras prevent breasts from sagging and some studies even suggests the opposite (weakening of the breasts' supportive tissue), with the exception of wearing them during sports exercises.
Bras have become a Fashion item:
Bras have gained importance beyond their mere functionality as a garment. Women's choices about what kind of bra to wear are consciously and unconsciously affected by social perceptions of the ideal female body shape, which changes over time. Bras have become a fashion item and cultural statement that are sometimes purposefully revealed by the wearer or even worn as outerwear, and possess a physiogogic aspect.
Mass Production of Bras:
Mass-produced bras are manufactured to fit a prototypical woman standing with both arms at her sides. The design assumes that both breasts are equally sized and symmetrical. Manufacturing a well-fitting bra is a challenge since the garment is supposed to be form-fitting but women's breasts may sag, vary in volume, width, height, shape, and position on the chest. Manufacturers make standard bra sizes that provide a "close" fit, however even a woman with accurate measurements can have a difficult time finding a correctly fitted bra because of the variations in sizes between different manufacturers. Some manufacturers create "vanity sizes" and deliberately mis-state the size of their bras in an attempt to persuade women that they are slimmer and more buxom.
A Bra is made up of 20 to 48 Parts!!:
"A bra is one of the most complicated garments to make. A typical design has between 20 and 48 parts, including the band, gore, side panel, cup, apex, neckline, underwire, strap, ring, slider, strap join, and closure. Bras are built on a square frame model. The primary component offering the most support is a chest band that wraps around the torso. It supports two cups that are usually held in place by two shoulder straps. The chest band is usually closed in the back by a hook and eye fastener, but smaller busted models may be fastened at the front. Sleep bras or athletic bras do not have fasteners and are pulled on over the head and breasts. The section between the cups is called a gore. The section under the armpit where the band joins the cups is called the ""back wing"".
Bra components, including the cup top and bottom (if seamed), the central, side and back panels, and straps, are cut to manufacturer's specifications. Many layers of fabric may be cut at the same time using computer-controlled lasers or bandsaw shearing devices. The pieces are assembled by piece workers using industrial sewing machines or automated machines. Coated metal hooks and eyes are sewn in by machine and heat processed or ironed into the back ends of the band and a tag or label is attached or printed onto the bra itself. The completed bras are folded (mechanically or manually), and packaged for shipment.
The chest band and cups, not the shoulder straps, are designed to support the weight of women's breasts. Strapless bras rely on an underwire and additional seaming and stiffening panels to support them. The shoulder straps of some sports bras cross over at the back to take the pressure off the shoulders when arms are raised. Manufacturers continually experiment with proprietary frame designs. For example, the Playtex ""18-Hour Bra"" model utilizes an M-Frame design"
"Bras were originally made of linen, cotton broadcloth, and twill weaves and sewn using flat-felled or bias-tape seams. They are now made of a variety of materials, including Tricot, Spandex, Spanette, Latex, microfiber, satin, Jacquard, foam, mesh, and lace, which are blended to achieve specific purposes. Spandex, a synthetic fiber with built-in ""stretch memory"", can be blended with cotton, polyester, or nylon. Mesh is a high-tech synthetic composed of ultra-fine filaments that are tightly knit for smoothness.
Sixty to seventy per cent of bras sold in the UK and US have underwired cups. The underwire is made of metal, plastic, or resin. Underwire is built around the perimeter of the cup where it attaches to the band, increasing its rigidity to improve support, lift, and separation.
Wirefree or softcup bras have additional seaming and internal reinforcement.
By the late 1970s, wire-free bras were emerging both at Hanky Panky and at Hanro in Switzerland. Cosabella in Italy and Eres (company) in France followed in the 1980s, as did Eberjey in the 1990s. Others use padding or shaping materials to enhance bust size or cleavage. "
In most countries, bras come in a band and cup size, such as 34C; 34 is the chest band, or the measurement around the torso directly underneath the breasts, and C is the cup size, which refers to the volume of the breasts. Most bras are offered in 36 sizes; the Triumph "Doreen" comes in 67 sizes, up to 46J.
Bras come in a variety of styles, including backless, balconette, convertible, shelf, full cup, full coverage bra, demi-cup, minimizing, padded, plunge, lounge bra, posture, push-up, racerback, sheer, strapless, T-shirt, underwire, unlined, and soft cup. Some special styles are manufactured by companies like plus-size bra, bridal bra and cancer bra. Cancer bra is a special in its kind for breast cancer patient whose breast removed in the operation.
Women's choices about what bra to wear are consciously and unconsciously affected by social perceptions of the ideal female body shape, which changes over time. As lingerie, women wear bras for sex appeal. Bras can also be used to make a social statement as evidenced by Jean-Paul Gaultier's designs and the cone-shaped bra Madonna wore outside her clothing on her Blond Ambition World Tour.