Last summer Michelle Lam spent two hours in the lingerie section of a San Francisco department store trying on "20 different bras, one after the other, in what seemed to be a random trial-and-error sequence," she recalls. She ended up leaving empty-handed, but the experience sparked an idea: an online bra store where women could find the perfect fit.
Online retailers like HerRoom, True&Co and some stalwarts like Maidenform are trying to reinvent shopping for bras, which account for nearly half of the $14 billion annual lingerie market.
Your bra, like an ill-fitting relationship, may not be the support system you thought it was. Sure, you might share physical closeness, but under the surface, things aren't right. In fact, if the experts are to be believed, most of us spend years living with intimate apparel dysfunction. The promise of finding the perfect-fitting bra without going to a store was enough to prompt 100,000 people to try San Francisco online bra retailer True&Co during the three days following its late May launch.
Buying a bra that fits according to expert standards has, for years, entailed a visit to a department store or a lingerie shop, where employees double as "fit experts" who determine shoppers' band and cup sizes in the confines of a dressing room. But that may be changing, as online retailers debut new methods for lingerie shopping that can be done easily--and, they hope, effectively--from a computer screen. "People hate the fitting room experience," says Aarthi Ramamurthy, who launched online bra retailer True&Co in May with cofounder Michelle Lam.
By now you probably know the importance of having the right bra. A perfect fit can make you look leaner, reduce aches and pains, and be barely (if at all) visible under this season's barely there styles. True & Co. goes beyond just size to also for the shape of your "girlfriends", and developed a female-friendly online bra-fitting service. Their 2-minute quiz covers all the crucial questions, like do your cups runneth over and where do bras dig into your body? After the quiz, 5 recommended styles are sent to your home to try. You can ship back the extras at no cost, and keep the ones you feel most confident in.
The women's liberation movement once taught ladies to cast off their bras in solidarity and empowerment; now a new startup, founded by two women, is inverting that formula to make sure that when you put it back on, that bra fits like a glove.