American women bought $6.4 billion worth of bras last year. But here’s the really remarkable number: Eight out of 10 bought the wrong size.
Turns out it’s hard to find a bra that fits right, though it’s easy to get women to talk about their daily undergarment hassles.
“Either your boobs don’t fit in the cup, or they’re too big, or it hurts,” says Sarah DeGaetano in Midtown Manhattan.
“Even if you find a bra that fits your boobies," adds Marie Josma, "you have to worry about the weight on your shoulders.”
“The standard size is not the same for every woman,” says Shaleema Mitchell.
Now, after eight years of research, Jockey International says it has the solution to the standard 12 bra sizes: the Jockey Bra.
Jockey, an underwear maker perhaps best known for men’s briefs, conducted body scans of over 800 women to come up with a system of 55 sizes. It’s called “volumetric sizing,” and it's based on the shape and size of both chest and breast.
“The contour is actually three-dimensional,” explains Miryah Fantegrossi, director of design for women’s apparel at Jockey. “So if you took the underwire out of a traditional bra and rested it on a table it would lie flat. Our 3D contour actually takes the shape of the rib cage and captures the breast tissue in a more comfortable way.”
So forget A cups and double D’s. This system has a whole new set of numbers. Supported by 26 international patents, Jockey’s mostly female designers were also able to get rid of the wire.
“It’s the closest thing to custom,” says Fantegrossi.
A special sizing kit can be ordered online for $20, which goes toward the purchase of a $60 Jockey Bra.
If the new patented sizing system and bra take off, shoppers won't be able to use it with other companies, locking customers in to Jockey's brand -- at least for the five styles the company offers.
Still, it’s risky to try to upset a size system used across the industry since the 1930s.
“They’ve not only got to educate the consumer on the benefits of this, they’ve got to prove that it’s worthy of all the effort to learn about it and experiment with it,” says Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst with NPD Group.
Steven Addis with consulting group Addis Cresson believes consumers will welcome Jockey’s new bra. “This is a category with a lot of dissatisfaction,” he says.
That dissatisfaction has even spawned "Double Divas," a Lifetime reality TV show -- about bra fitting.