Keeping abreast of bra designs 5



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I understand that recent scientific research has shown that the primary biological function of female breasts is to drive most men insane.

When you think about the female breast quite dispassionately, you have to wonder why God designed women to have much larger mammories than men when they are only used on, at most, a handful of occasions during a woman’s life and otherwise just get in the way.

Well ladies, you will be delighted to know that scientists at the appropriately named Biomechanics Research Laboratory (BRA) at the University of Wollongong have been doing some vital work to try and find the very best bra.

Funnily enough, the best bra is not one which comes off the most easily in the back seat of a car which is what I was taught as a teenager by more worldly-wise class-mates. And in yet another revelation, I have learned that the best bras are not necessarily made from frilly black lace. You are never too old to learn, are you?

I am given to understand that bra sizes are notoriously inaccurate and these trail-blazing researchers say that cup sizes are so unreliable that bra-fitters measuring the same woman get different results depending on whether she is standing up or lying down, breathing in or out or is she has her hands in the air or by her sides.

I guess that it makes sense even to a mere male that a more accurate way to gauge bra size is by volume and some scientists in the bra game, as it were, believe that they should come in millilitre measurements to estimate precisely how much they have to contain. When these researchers placed breasts in water to get a better estimate based on the fluid they displaced, they found – in their words – “… the average breast has a volume of around 642 ml – about the same as a large bottle of beer.”

Given that beer is the other thing most men really like, isn’t that an amazing co-incidence? I wonder if breweries deliberately bottled beer in that size so men could learn about the volume of ladies’ breasts. Well, probably not.

The lead researcher at Wollongong University’s BRA, Dr Deirdre McGhee has some great news for ladies – they have developed an app “Sports Bra” which is freely available on iTunes and will soon be available on the University’s website. According to Dr McGhee, “It is the only app in the world to contain evidence-based information to help women choose a well-fitting, supportive sports bra that is comfortable to wear during exercise”.

She believes that 85 per cent of Australian women are wearing the wrong size bra.

“Using step-by-step instructions combined with clearly labelled photographs and movies, the app guides the user in finding the right bra for their exercise needs. The app is not linked to any brand of bra and covers Australian, European and US bra sizes,” Dr McGhee said.

“Finding and trying on bras can be frustrating, exhausting and time-consuming. With so many bras to choose from, the task of finding a well-fitting, supportive exercise bra can seem overwhelming,” she said.

And if any man is now thinking that he would happily volunteer his services as a bra selector, he should hang his head in shame for being a sexist pig. The idea never occurred to me, I can tell you.

To get some idea of what the modern bra is like, I went off to the “Hestia” website which features lots of lovely snaps of healthy young ladies wearing their upper level undergarments. And, I was assured, all of these are finely constructed. I’m guessing that the founders of this company decided to call it “Hestia” after the Greek goddess of architecture.

They have twelve basic designs including the “Custom fit enhancer”, the “Custom fit back smoother” and the “Contoured comfort” and they comes in various tasteful shades and in varying sizes. I wouldn’t know the difference between a 10DD and a 16F although I understand that these are so-called “cup sizes” which is still a bit misleading because some I have seen in the course of my research for this piece would accommodate large mugs and not just a cup or three.

Marilyn Munroe said that she always wore a bra in bed because it stopped her breasts from sagging and, let’s face it, she should have known. Of course, I presume this only happened when she was alone in bed which I understand was not all that frequent. It seems that she met every straight American male between the ages of about 18 to 70 who didn’t suffer from mastrophobia, the fear of breasts.

The admirably proportioned Dolly Parton once said that she had little feet because nothing could grow in the shade and she was frank about her superstructure – “I don’t know if I’ve supporting them or they are supporting me.”


Share your thoughts below: would you use an app to fit your bra?

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Russell Grenning

Russell Grenning is a Brisbane-based former journalist and retired political adviser who began his career with the ABC in 1968 in Brisbane and subsequently worked on the Brisbane afternoon daily, "The Telegraph" and later as a columnist for "The Courier Mail" and "The Australian". He worked for a string of senior Ministers in the Federal, Victorian and Queensland Governments as well as in senior executive public relations positions, including Assistant Federal Director, Public Relations, for Australia Post, Public Relations Manager for the Queensland Department of Main Roads and Principal Adviser, Corporate Relations, for the Queensland Law Society.

  1. You are totally wrong, Russell Grenning!
    HESTIA stands for Holds Every Size Tit In Australia.
    So there!!

    3 REPLY
    • Warren – I bow to your expertise in this matter. That I have led a very sheltered life is my only defence, however pathetic and abject.

    • You’re right of course Warren. We, of a certain generation, all know that!

    • Thats given me a great giggle for the day, thanks.

  2. Well now I know why bras make me feel like my boobs are pushed from the front of my chest to nearly under my armpits. My boobs are on the front of my chest that’s where they always sit. BUT, men designing bras??? They think, a tit is a tit is a tit no matter what size. You have to realise it also matters the position they sit from the chest wall. Some women have cleavage with no bra on, some have a wide gap. Women with bigger boobs will fall to the centre when bending over, but women’s boobs are never under the armpit being pushed that way by her bra. So you men who think they know & want to know all about boobs, do more study ’cause you ain’t got it right yet. We have to pay a fortune for bras that we feel comfortable in maybe this app will help us.

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