how long should bras last missfits

How Long Should Bras Last?

How long should bras last? According to our Fit Quiz data, more than 50% of the Missfits fam have had their bra for more than a year.

Unlike mansplainers and Celine Dion’s heart, bras do not go on and on. They have a specific lifespan, which is unfortunate for those of us who find it very difficult to find bras that we like.

So how long should bras last?

Well, it actually depends. 

On average, a bra should last for about 6-8 months of regular wear. 

After 8 months of regular wear, the elastic can stretch and the cup can distort, making it uncomfortable and ill-fitting. 

Thankfully, there are ways to lengthen the lifespan of your bra!

How to Make Your Bras Last Longer

bras last longer missfits

Rotate!

If you wear the same bra every day, it will wear out within a couple of months. If possible, rotate through multiple bras throughout the week so you don’t wear the same bra multiple days in a row. 

After being worn, the elastic in bra bands needs time to settle back into its original size. Wearing the same bra day after day will permanently stretch out the elastic. Change your bra each day to ensure that your bras get their proper R&R.

Rotating through four or five bras will help your bras last a year or longer!

Go Easy on the Washing

Yes, you have our permission to do less laundry! 

Bras should be washed every three wears. Read our blog post about Bra Care Hacks to learn the right way to wash bras!

Invest in Quality Bras

This is a no-brainer but the better the quality, the longer the lifespan. If you can afford to invest in higher-end lingerie, you will find that they last much longer than budget bras.

Price isn’t always an indicator of quality. Good bras have well-sewn seams, fully-encased wires, comfortable fabric, and strong closures. 

Opt for Seams Over Contour

Bras with contoured cups are great for shaping your breasts but they typically do not last as long as a lined, seamed bra. The foam in the contoured cups can become worn out and distorted after wear and washing. Bras that are constructed in multiple pieces tend to last longer.

When to Retire a Bra

donation bras last missfits

How do you know when it’s time to depart with your beloved bra? Here are some signs that it’s time to pass it on.

  • When the back band rides up, even when fastened on the tightest hook.
  • When the wires are poking through their casing
  • When it has holes or tears
  • If the hooks are broken
  • If the cups are distorted and no longer give you your desired shape
  • If the straps are stretched out and no longer supportive
  • If your body changes and you need a different size bra
  • If your back and shoulders feel sore after wearing it

How to Retire a Bra

retire a bra missfits

Good news: your bra can live a second life after it’s served you!

If the bra is in good condition, you can donate it to charity shops, women’s shelters, or organizations for breast cancer survivors.

If it’s tattered, try DIYing your bra into something else, like a floral headband!  

How long have you had your favorite bra? Let us know in the comments!

While you’re here, check out our Fit Quiz to learn about your boobs and find the perfect bra!

most common bra myths missfits

The Most Common Bra Myths

The Most Common Bra Myths (And Their Truths!)

In the era of #fakenews, how do we discern what is real?

By reading the Missfits blog, of course!

This week, we’ve rounded up the most popular bra myths and debunked them. Let’s get Mythbusting!

Bra Myth #1: Bras are Antifeminist

bra myth antifeminist missfits

We will eventually write an entire blog post (or novel!) about this subject, but to sum up: bras are bras, and they are void of inherent sociological value. Any meaning found within objects is ascribed by a human actor, and any assignment of ideas to an object should be one’s own personal decision. 

If bras make you feel comfortable and supported, wear them. If they make you feel restricted and oppressed, don’t wear them. But remember, you can still be a feminist if you wear a bra.

Bras have fascinating political and sociological histories. To learn more about how bras have been used within these spheres, check out our blog post, “Bras as Instruments of Political Protest”

Bra Myth #2: You Can’t Sleep in a Bra

sleep in bra myth missfits

Yes, you can. You will not develop cancer from it. You will also not get perkier breasts from sleeping in a bra. There is no scientific support to any of these myths.

However, if you choose to sleep in a bra, be sure it fits correctly. If not, the wires may poke you and cause injuries. 

Click here to check if your bra fits you correctly.

Bra Myth #3: You Have One Bra Size

bra size missfits

Nope! Thanks to a lack of industry-wide sizing standards, you will likely have a different bra size for each brand you shop (and sometimes multiple sizes per brand!). 

A recent article in the Atlantic outlined just how arbitrary sizing is in companies like Victoria’s Secret: 

“[The former president of Victoria’s Secret] made it a point to not conduct any research at all into what actual women wanted, from their underwear or from their lives. ‘The company does no consumer or market research, absolutely none!’ [Roy Ramond, the founder of Victoria’s Secret] said. ‘I just don’t believe in it.’”

Based on these comments, we can easily assume that your bra size will not be consistent between brands – particularly because some brands (like Victoria’s Secret) do not have a concrete basis for standard sizing.

Some countries have a standardized bra sizing system, which you can read about here.

Bra Myth #4: A Well-Fitting Bra Won’t Leave Marks

marks missfits

Unfortunately, it will. This is because for a bra to fit properly, it has to be snug against the skin to support the weight of your breasts. You will have imprints of your bra on your skin after a full day of wear, like a bra ghost. 

If the marks are heavily indented and red or you feel discomfort when wearing your bra, it may not fit you correctly. Here’s how to tell if your bra fits.

Bra Myth #5: The Straps Do the Supporting

bra myth straps

Wrong again, sort of. Bra straps should only hold about 20% of the weight of your breasts. The majority of the weight is held by the bra band. 

If your straps dig into your shoulders from the weight of your breasts, it’s an indicator that your band size may be too big, or your cup size too small. Learn more about bra fitting here.

What other bra myths have you heard? Leave us a comment below!

Be sure to check out our Fit Quiz to find your perfect bra fit!

world's wildest bras missfits

The World’s Weirdest Bras

The World’s Weirdest Bras

Some months ago during a field trip to Berlin’s Spy Museum, our CTO Alex stumbled upon the “Bra Spying Camera”, which was used by female informers to the East German government of the 1980s.

Image via News.com.au

This piqued our curiosity and sent us down a rabbit hole–besides housing spy cameras, what other quirky and wild uses have been invented for the bra?

Settle in for a fun read, and let us know in the comments which ones you would wear!

Wild Bra #1: The Emergency Bra

Images via Boston Herald

This bra is a beautiful marriage of utility, design, innovation, and strangeness. It was invented by Dr. Elena Bodnar and won an Ignoble Award in 2009 for “designs that make you think and laugh.” The bright-red lingerie functions as a normal bra, but in emergency situations it can be transformed into a gas mask.

Dr. Bodnar explained,

“The goal of any emergency respiratory device is to achieve tight fixation and full coverage. Luckily, the wonderful design of the bra is already in the shape of a face mask and so with the addition of a few design features, the Emergency Bra enhances the efficiency of minimizing contaminated bypass air flow.”

A bra that looks cute and is functional in emergency situations? Sign us up!

Wild Bra #2: Candelabra Bra

Image via Hannah Havana

Half erotic, half scary, this bra puts the “bra” in candelabra. In case you’re looking to add some heat to your bedroom repertoire, here’s an idea for you.

Wildest Bras #3: Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bras

fantasy victoria's secret missfits

The Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bras might be the most expensive bras to ever exist, with some costing as much as $15 million USD.

Each year, Victoria’s Secret unveils its Fantasy Bra in November – a handmade bra embellished with fine Swarovski gemstones and diamonds. 

Wild Bra #4: Triumph Bras

triumph bras missfits

Each year, the Japanese brand Triumph releases limited prototypes of crazy bras, including bras with build-in fishtanks, bras made of glass, and bras made with soccer balls!

Wild Bra #5: The Wine Rack

wildest bras missfits

This bra has a built in bladder that holds 25 ounces of liquid! The Wine Rack website says to “Take a bottle of wine, a mixed drink or even a fifth of your favorite hard stuff to the movies, concerts, ball games, even PTA meetings.” The built-in straw makes for easy sipping!

Wild Bra #6: Madonna’s Cone Bra (designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier)

wildest bras missfits

The famous (or infamous?) cone bra was introduced on Jean-Paul Gaultier’s runway in Winter 1984. The pop princess saw it on the runway, and six years later asked Gaultier to design the costumes for her Blond Ambition tour. Thus, the bra became known to the world.

Wild Bra #7: Katy Perry’s Firework Bra

To be honest, all of Katy Perry’s bras could have made this list. She has worn bras that look like mint candy, Hershey’s kisses, sparkly film reels, and bras that shoot whipped cream. Her wildest one debuted in her 2001 music video for “Firework”: it shot fireworks out of her chest!

While you’re here, be sure to take our Fit Quiz to find your perfect bra fit! To learn more about bra styles, check out our Encyclopedia of Bra Styles!

missfits faves what we're loving lately

Missfits Faves: What We’re Loving Lately

Missfits Faves: What We’re Loving Lately

Welcome back to our blog! This week we’re doing a roundup of what we have been loving lately: accounts, podcasts, businesses, articles, and apps!

What have you been loving, Missfits fam? Let us know in the comments below!

#1: PJ DeVito (@peterdevito)

Peter Devito is a New-York based photographer who uses his photos to highlight body positivity, diversity, gender-based violence, LGBTQIA+ rights, and more. His work has been featured in Vogue, New York Times, Allure, Marie Claire, and more.

#2: Growing Up with Toni Podcast

missfits growing up with toni cover image

We’re big fans of The Cut here at Missfits HQ, and we especially loved their podcast episode dedicated to the memory of Toni Morrison, a beloved and powerful author who passed away this month. In this episode, various readers of Morrison’s work reflect on how it impacted them over the years.

#3: Arlinda McIntosh (@funkingafter50)

“It’s only fabric, we make the rules!” – Arlinda McIntosh

Age is just a number and nobody demonstrates that better than the woman behind the Instagram account @funkingafter50. Ms. McIntosh rocks mindful consumption better than most, and sells her zero-waste, versatile skirt designs through her company, Sofistafunk.

#4: Bra Sizing in the NYT?

missfits new york times bra sizing

Yes, it happened!

So what do you think, do 80% of women really wear the wrong bra size?

To tl;dr the article for you: No, we don’t, because most bra sizes are arbitrary and bogus.

However, the number of women who are forced to put up with ill-fitting bras is still too high, which is why Missfits exists. To find your perfect fit, take our Fit Quiz or read about how bras are supposed to fit!

#5: Calmness is Contagious

missfits calmness is contagious

We’ve always known that our energy and mood affects others, but according to article author Ashley Abramson, Stanford scientists, neuroscientists, and psychiatrists, being calm is actually contagious. This occurs through a phenomenon called co-regulation, and is supported by polyvagal theory and attachment theory. V cool!

#6: The Happy Newspaper

No news is good news. But good news is good news, too.

Emily Coxhead is on a mission to spread good news to the world, and she does so through her quarterly newspaper, The Happy Newspaper. Each issue includes heart-warming stories, such as research-based evidence that cuddling helps heals injuries faster!

You can subscribe here.

#7: Flo App

Wouldn’t it be nice to be notified when your period is about to start? Now you will be.

Flo is an ovulation calendar, period tracker, pregnancy tracker, and health assistant with an easy interface and helpful features. They also have a very active blog with tips on menstrual health, pregnancy, diet, sleep, and fitness.

As an added bonus, Flo recently stopped sharing data with Facebook.

#8: Pinterest’s Compassionate Search

Pinterest recently introduced their latest endeavor, compassionate search.

When a user searches “stress quotes”, “anxiety”, “depression”, or other mental-health related topics, the app will suggest guided activities to help the user improve their mood.

The activities are research-based and the initiative has been backed by Stanford, Brainstorm, and the National Suicide Prevention Line. Yay for destigmatizing mental health!

What have you been loving lately, Missfits fam? Let us know in the comments below!

While you’re here, be sure to check out our Fit Quiz to find your perfect bra!

Our Favorite Bra Hacks

Missfits presents: Our Favorite Bra Hacks!

Is it just us, or is everything being “hacked” these days? 

You’ve probably seen those Instagram accounts dedicated to this very phenomenon – happy videos showing how to DIY a potato chip bag into a pencil case, a men’s shirt into a dress, etc. While these are fun and silly projects (though who needs a pouch made from a bra?!), we’re interested in “hacks” that will actually make our life better! 

Keep reading for our favorite bra hacks that will alleviate some of the pain bras cause us!

Bra Hacks #1: Peekaboo Straps

Do you have a top that you absolutely love, but cannot wear because it makes your bra straps peek out? 

To solve this problem, make the straps on your bra much longer than normal. Then, use a bra clip, an elastic strap, or a paper clip to attach the straps together in the back, or at the nape of your neck. It will hide those pesky straps in a snap!

bra hack paper clip

Bra Hacks #2: Straps Digging into Your Shoulders

While this issue actually derives from bra fit issues, there are ways to alleviate your pain more easily than buying a new bra. You can buy silicone pads, or just wrap an adhesive bandage around where your straps are digging into your skin. This will add some cushion to the straps and prevent those red skin grooves!

Bra Hacks #3: Straps Slipping Off Shoulders

If you have sloped shoulders and your straps fall off easily, fear not! There are some hacks for you. The first option is to wear a racerback bra, but this is not a good option for larger-chested ladies, as it can be hard to find a racerback in larger sizes. 

You can also use a bra clip or elastic band to solve this problem. If you’re crafty, a bit of hot glue zig-zagged on the inside of your strap will add grip and prevent slippage!

bra hack hot glue

Bra Hacks #4: Adding Support to Bralettes

We love bralettes but they don’t boost our ladies very nicely. If you want extra support underneath your cute bralettes, wear a nude strapless bra underneath for added lift and comfort. 

bra hack bralette

Bra Hacks #5: Band Too Short?

If the band of your bra is too small, make it longer with a bra back extender. They are inexpensive and a quick fix to this problem, especially because many brands don’t make bands in large sizes.

bra hack back extender

Bra Hacks #6: Boob Sweat

It’s August, which means that more than any other month of the year, we ladies are facing some serious boob sweat. To keep dry, try sticking a panty liner in your bra! Yes, it’s silly, but yes, it works!

Bra hack panty liner

Bra Hacks #7: Mom Life

If you’re a breastfeeding mom and are always losing your baby’s pacifier, clip it to your nursing bra! 

bra hack pacifier

Bra Hacks #8: The Bend-and-Tuck

Did you know there is actually a correct way to put on a bra? First, put your arms through the straps and close it on the correct setting in the back. Next, lean over and let your breasts fall into the cups! Finally, use your hand to guide all of your breast tissue into the cup. 

To make sure your bra fits you properly, be sure to check out our Ultimate Bra-Fitting Guide!

What are some of your favorite bra hacks? Let us know in the comments below!

globe with a measuring tape wrapped around it

Bra Sizing Around the World

Like currencies, visa requirements, and the pronunciation of “aluminum”, bra sizing lacks an international standard. 

Bra sizing emerged in the 1930s and 1940s when modern bras became more commercialized. Manufacturers could not create tailored bras for every woman, so the band + cup sizing was introduced to create a broad range of fits that a woman could easily identify based on her measurements. Most countries use the band + cup sizing technique, but the numbers and letters vary. So, your bra size will change depending on where you are in the world.

In this post, we outline the basics of bra sizing and how different countries approach it.

Basics of Bra Sizing

As we mentioned, bra sizes usually include a band measurement and a cup measurement, such as 34B. 

The number indicates the width of a woman’s torso, and the letter represents the difference between a woman’s bust size and her torso size. You can learn more about how cup sizes are measured over here.

Image of how bra sizing is measured

Bra Sizing Around the World

Most bras worldwide are measured with the band + cup sizing. A larger band number indicates a bigger torso size, and a letter further along in the alphabet represents a larger difference between bust and band. In this way, a UK size 38F would have a larger band and larger cup than a size 32A.

Bra Sizing in the United States

Bras sold in the United States are measured in inches. 

Bands are usually offered in sizes of 2-inch differences, starting at 28 inches, and the torso is measured underneath the armpit. Cup sizes vary in a range of one inch: an A cup means that a woman’s bust is one inch larger than her torso, a B cup means that her bust is two inches larger, etc. 

A standard for cup lettering does not exist in America. Some stores sell bras with cup sizes A, B, C, D, DD, DDD, E, EE, EEE, F, etc. Others use A, B, C, D, DD, DDD, G, H, I, etc.

If you have a bust larger than size C, you may have trouble comparing cup sizes between manufacturers. 

Bra Sizing in the UK

Like the United States, the UK also measures bra bands in increments of 2 inches, and are sized 28, 30, 32, 34, etc.

Bra cup sizes vary by manufacturer. Some sellers designate cup sizes as AA, A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, etc. However, stores such as Marks & Spencer eliminate double sizes past DD. This means that if you usually wear a J-cup size and purchase a J-cup from Marks & Spencer, you will receive a size equivalent to an H-cup.

To avoid this, we recommend to always try on bras before you buy them.

EN 13402: The European Standard Bra Sizing

In 2007, most of Europe implemented a standard sizing system called EN 13402. It identifies how clothing should be sized depending on a range of bodily measurements, measured in centimeters. For example, a women’s size Small shirt will fit a woman with a bust in the range of 82-90 centimeters.

EN 13402 also includes standards for bra sizing. As with bras from the United States and the UK, European bras are sized from torso circumference (measured underneath the breasts) and bust circumference – the EN 13402 calls these measurements “underbust girth” and “bust girth”.

Band sizes are offered in increments of 5cm, beginning at 60. Cup sizes are measured as the difference between the underbust girth and the bust girth, starting at 10cm and increasing every 2 centimeters (as opposed to one inch, as in the UK and US systems). 

In the European standard, An AA cup will fit a 10-12 centimeter difference, an A cup will fit a 12-14 centimeter difference, etc. This means that while a UK bra size 34C translates to a European bra size 75C in any size conversion chart, the cups of the 75C bra will be smaller in volume, because each progressive size in the EU system (2cm) corresponds to a smaller difference compared with that in the UK or US system (1 inch). This difference becomes more noticeable in larger cup sizes, buying D+ cup bras from a different country, do your best to try a few different sister sizes before settling on your fit.

The EN 13402 sizing standard has been adopted in all European countries excluding Italy, France, Spain, and Belgium. It has also been adopted by other non-European countries, and therefore is considered the “International” standard.

Bra Sizing in France/Spain/Belgium

France, Spain, and Belgium size their bras very similarly to what is outlined in the EN 13402 sizing standards. The only difference is that, for unknown reasons, band sizes are exactly 15 centimeters larger than EN 13402 bands. For example, an “International” bra sized 70A would be offered as 85A in France. Cup sizes are the same.

Bra Sizing in Italy

Italian bras are offered in a unique sizing system, which can be converted from the EN 13402 sizing.

Italian band sizes are usually represented by the number 0 and Roman numerals I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII. Band sizes in Italy are found by dividing the International band size by 5 and subtracting 12. Italian size 0 corresponds to International size 60, size I will fit International size 65, etc.

See our international bra conversion chart below for reference.

Bra Sizing in Australia and New Zealand

While most countries have a loose guideline to how bras are measured, Australia and New Zealand do not. Bras in these countries are sometimes sold in American sizes, International sizes, or through a brand’s personal sizing system. Some bras are even offered in sizes Small, Medium, or Large. If you are bra shopping in Australia or New Zealand, we recommend using the conversion chart below to help you shop between brands.

We know that the lack of a universal standard makes bra shopping abroad a daunting endeavor. International size conversion charts can help, though they come with their own inaccuracies, especially in larger cup sizes. We hope that this post gives some useful pointers when bra-shopping abroad. Good luck, and let us know how your bra-buying adventures go!

International Size Conversion Charts

Converting Cup Sizes between EN 13402 and UK

Bra sizing conversion chart between European standard and UK

Cup Size Conversion

How to convert cup sizes

Band Size Conversion

How to convert band sizes

underwire bra

Why Do Bras Have Underwires? The What, When, How, and Why

As far as bra components go, underwires are probably the most infamous. They snap and shift and shank us at the least convenient moments, and many of us have given up underwire bras altogether to opt for something less structured. 

This leads us to two questions: What is the actual purpose of underwires in bras? And secondly, is it possible to find an underwire bra that is comfortable? 

Keep reading to discover the why and how of underwires in bras!

The What: What Exactly is an Underwire?

Underwires are rigid semicircles sewn into the band of a bra, at the front and just under the breasts. The underwires are made from materials like plastic, metal, or resin; most bras use a steel underwire. 

Underwires range in shapes because they are designed to follow the curve of one’s breast root (where the breast joins the body). They are offered in three categories of shapes, and depending on your needs you’ll benefit from different underwire shapes:

J-Shaped Underwires

J-shaped underwires are found in everyday bras, from balconettes to demi bras. These underwires are suited for a variety of breast root shapes, and the lower center can accommodate close-set or touching breasts. If you are unfamiliar with all of these bra style terms, head over to our Encyclopedia of Bras to learn more! 

J-shaped underwires illustration

Plunge/Rocker Underwires

Plunge/rocker wires are banana-shaped wires that can accommodate wide breast roots that do not require much support. Meanwhile, a shorter wire means that they can be more comfortable for women with short torsos or high-set breasts. They are typically used in plunge and push-up bras. 

plunge underwires illustration

U-Shaped Underwires

The third style is a U-shaped underwire. With longer wires, they are often used in strapless bras (not reliant on a shoulder strap for support) and in bras designed for larger breasts, such as larger than a cup size D. U-shaped wires can give a centering effect and are generally suitable for women with narrow breast roots, because they do not stretch as wide as plunge or J-shaped underwires.

U-shaped underwires illustration

The When: The Birth of Underwires

Back in 1893, an American woman named Marie Tucek received a patent for a “breast supporter”. Like a modern bra, her invention featured two cups for breasts and hook-and-eye fasteners in the back. 

patent for bra 1893

Notably, the patent also included the incorporation of cardboard or metal (or another stiff material) to lift the bust from underneath – as an underwire does in modern bras.

In the 1930s, another American inventor named Helen Pons patented a bra with an “open-ended wire loop” that was similar to U-shaped underwires in bras today. The patent laid the groundwork for further underwire bras, which emerged in the following decades.

In the 1940s, businessman and movie producer Howard Hughes (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in 2004’s The Aviator) commissioned an underwire bra worn by Jane Russell in one of his films. The support offered from the underwires created a more lifted, centered, and exposed bust (read: cleavage). The look gained popularity, and by the 1950s, the incorporation of underwire had become standard for everyday bras.

Today, between 60% – 70% of bras sold globally are underwire bras.

The How: How Do Underwires Work?

When studying the design of underwire bras, we were surprised to learn that the physics of an underwire is similar to the physics used in cable bridges! 

Both objects use a cantilever system to provide support and stability through the redistribution of downward tension. In a bridge, the downward force of traffic is transferred up the bridge cables, into the towers, and down into the earth. Similarly, in a bra, the weight of your breasts is transferred into the cups, up along the wires, and down to your band. For this reason, a longer wire tends to mean greater support in a bra, and a snug, stable band is particularly important for stability. (Imagine what would happen if bridge wasn’t well-anchored into the earth). 

The Why: What’s the Point of Underwires?

Many women enjoy the structure that underwire bras offer. Compared their non-wired counterparts, underwired bras offer greater definition, lift, and weight distribution.

The curved shape of underwires guide breasts into natural contours so they appear uniform and even. They also can separate the breasts, so as to avoid a “uniboob” effect. 

Underwire bras also lift breasts above their natural position. To the extent that you appreciate a heightened and lifted bustline, a properly-fitted underwire bra can help to achieve that silhouette. 

The third benefit of underwires is that they distribute the weight of your breasts close to your chest and across your torso, so your shoulders and back don’t become strained.

Do you prefer underwire or soft-cup bras? Let us know in the comments below!

To learn more about bra history, bra styles, or bra care, check out our other blog articles!

To find your perfect bra fit, head over to our Fit Quiz!

cake by the sweet feminist

A Roundup of What We Loved in June

Welcome to our new blog series: a monthly roundup of What We Loved! 

In June, we saw a plethora of encouraging launches, ideas, and movements that support women all over the world. 

What did you love this month? Be sure to leave us a comment below!

1. Inclusivity in the Beauty Industry

Image of transgender model for Sephora campaign

Cosmetic brands have been championing diversity lately, which is a win for everyone. 

In June, Pat McGrath launched her first foundation, which is offered in 36 different shades that range from Light to Deep. Urban Decay also launched a foundation collection, with 50 different shades. Here’s hoping that these initiatives will inspire other brands to follow suit!

Sephora launched their Identify As We campaign, which features transgender, non-binary, and genderfulid individuals in their advertisements. It follows last month’s “We Belong to Something Beautiful” ad campaign, and is an effort to reach marginalized communities and reconstruct idealized standards of beauty. 

2. New Swimwear Sizing

Screenshot from kitty and vibe website

This month we discovered Kitty and Vibe swimwear, which is based on a unique sizing system that incorporates hip and butt sizes. Women have raved that they have finally found swimsuits that fit! No more diaper butt, hallelujah.

 3. Pride 

Image from Philadelphia Pride 2019

Happy Pride Month! While some argue that Pride campaigns are profit-driven capitalist schemes, we are encouraged by the celebration of all forms of love.

Americans saw a big push for the Equality Act, which will garuntee protection from discrimination for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Tinder jumped on board and is donating money through their #RightToLove campaign, and Taylor Swift urged the US Senate to pass the bill with her star-studded music video You Need to Calm Down. The number of elected officials in America who identify as LGBTQIA+ has risen since last year, Mastercard is allowing transgender individuals to use their chosen name on their debit and credit cards, and brands like Morphe and American Apparel launched collections that donate 100% of proceeds to LGBTQIA+ causes.

4. Women-Led Protests

Women disperse a protest by stripping to their bras

Women around the world demanded equality this month. Swiss women protested equality in the workplace (you can read more on our blog here!) by burning bras and staging walk-outs. Israeli women dispersed violent protestors by stripping down to their bras in the middle of busy streets. And Japanese women (18,000 of them!) petitioned to remove regulations that require women to wear high heels in the workplace. Who run the world?

5. The World Cup

fifa women's world cup 2019

June launched the kickoff of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, held this year in stadiums around France. Women from all over the world fought hard, including Team USA, who broke the record for the largest margin of a win in a World Cup game after they defeated Team Thailand 13-0.

6. Female Artists

cake by The Sweet Feminist

This isn’t exclusive to June, because we always love female artists, but this month in particular we’ve been loving the wonderfully political homemade cakes by The Sweet Feminist and the empowering illustrations by Alison Rachel’s Recipes For Self Love

7. Lingerie Brands Promoting Body Positivity

Plus-size mannequin in Nike store

Thank you to brands who depict real women in their marketing campaigns! This month we loved the inclusivity of model casting in JBC Lingerie, Hopeless Lingerie, FLUX Undies (that are period-proof!), and Aerie. Special shoutout to Nike, who advertised sports bras on plus-size mannequins in their London store!

Thanks for another great month, Missfits fam. See you in July!

Women throwing feminine objects in a Freedom Trash Can in 1968

Bras as Instruments of Political Protest: A Brief History

The bra is a fascinating object of study. 

Depending on who you ask, it can represent femininity, functionality or oppression. In addition to being an everyday undergarment, it’s also been used as a symbol of political  protest, long before the days of Women’s Marches and #FreeTheNipple. 

But why protest with bras?

Perhaps more than any other garment, bras are heralded as an icon of  femininity and womanhood – both of which encapsulate complex sociological issues. They have therefore been visible for decades as women have fought for freedom from gender-based expectations and rules, freedom from cultural discipline of our bodies, freedom from legal or political control over what we do with our bodies, our family, our career, and more.

Below, we’ve outlined a brief history of how bras have been used in protests around the world!

Early Protests: What to Wear by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, 1873

Screenshot from Phelps's "What to Wear", which includes burning corsets as a measure of protest

The earliest record we found of women’s undergarments and politics is in feminist writer E.S. Phelps’s 1873 book What to Wear, where she describes the burning of corsets as an act of liberation. We hear a lot of talk about bra burning and protests in the 1960s, but the idea was actually initiated in this text:

“So burn up the corsets! No, nor do you save the whalebones. You will never need whalebones again. Make a bonfire of the cruel steel that has lorded it over the contents of the abdomen and thorax so many thoughtless years, and heave a sigh of relief; for your ‘emancipation,’ I assure you, has from this moment begun. A certain sense of freedom follows this change.”

Screenshot from Phelps's "What to Wear"

Miss America Protest, September 1968, New Jersey

It began with a letter. A former child star named Robin Morgan, on behalf of an organization called “The New York Radical Women” wrote a letter in August 1968 to the mayor of Atlantic City, asking for a permit to protest the Miss America Pageant. Her reasoning was that the Pageant “projects an image of women that many American women find unfortunate: the emphasis being on body rather than brains, on youth rather than maturity, and on commercialism rather than humanity.”

A letter to Atlantic City mayor asking for a protest permit

The protest took place in September, and about 400 women showed up to the Atlantic City boardwalk. They handed out pamphlets, compared the pageant system to livestock auctions with the aid of real farm animals, and notably, tossed traditionally “feminine” products into a Freedom Trash Can.

Women of the 1968 Miss America Pageant Protest throw feminine objects into a Freedom Trash Can

The items included fake eyelashes, issues of Playboy, mops, high heels, and of course, bras.

According to the protestors, these items were “instruments of female torture” and did not have a place in a feminist society. 

Notably, the women did not burn the bras, but the bra-burning feminist trope was born from this event. Following the protest, a New York Post article drew comparison between the Freedom Trash Can and protestors of the Vietnam War who used similar trash cans to burn their draft cards. The content was then misinterpreted and disseminated falsely through media outlets (see below).

Image of "The Bra Burners" article in the New York Post, which discussed bras and protests

In following years, bra-burning became a symbol of the feminist movement, but in fact, it originates from #fakenews.

The Girl in the Blue Bra, 2011, Egypt

During the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, an image was captured of a female protestor being abused by the Egyptian military during a sit-in near Cairo’s Tahrir Square. 

The woman was dressed in a hijab and a black abaya when she was seized by the police. As she was beaten in the square, her clothing tore and she was left unconscious wearing only her bright blue bra and jeans.

She was photographed this way and the image of the anonymous Girl in the Blue Bra became a symbol for anti-violence movements throughout Egypt. You can read more here (trigger warning: violence, military force).

A woman holds up a poster with the image of the Girl in the Blue Bra, at a protest

Eurovision Protest, May 2019, Jerusalem

One of the most recent examples we have seen protests starring bras was in May of this year. 

The popular European singing contest EuroVision held its finals in Tel Aviv, Israel in May. While the final was not set to air until after sunset on Saturday evening, which is the end of Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest), there were many rehearsals and preparations taking place throughout the city to prepare for the taping.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews protested this violation of  Shabbat by stopping traffic, blocking roads, and attacking officers who tried to intervene.

Orothodox Jewish men protesting EuroVision

A group of women saw the commotion and stripped to their bras in the middle of the demonstration. The protestors, religiously banned from looking at strangers in their undergarments, dispersed quickly, thus ending the demonstration.

Women stopping a protest by stripping down to their bras

Protest Against Sexism, June 2019, Switzerland

Earlier this month, demonstrators of all genders gathered across Switzerland to promote workplace equality, fair pay, equal rights, and longer paternity leave.

Across the nation, protestors left work at 3:24pm (the time of day when women should stop working to earn, proportionally, as much as men in a day), flooded the streets with signs, and burned bras. 

The protest was similar in nature to the 1991 protests, which pressured the Swiss government to legally enforce gender equality.

Photo of a crowd at Swiss protests, with a woman holding a sign that reads "Feminism = Equality"

What do bras symbolize for you? Do you think they are an effective tool of protest? Let us know in the comments below!

Check out more of our blog posts about bra history and bra fit, then head over to our Fit Quiz to learn more about your own bra fit!

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11 Mind-Blowing Bra Facts That You Didn’t Know

How much do you know about bras?

This roundup of fun bra facts has us thinking we may not know as much as we thought we did!

Bra Fact #1: The average woman owns 9 bras (but only wears 6 on a regular basis!) Source

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Bra Fact #2: The average push-up bra costs $29.49 USD, which is cheaper than the average bralette, which averages $32.88 USD. Source.

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Bra Fact #3: Bras account for 55.5% of of the global lingerie market, which is worth $16.5 billion USD. Source.

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Bra Fact #4: According to our Fit Quiz data, H&M is the most popular retailer for Missfits women to buy bras, followed by Marks & Spencer and Intimissimi

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Bra Fact #5: Bras and bra-like garments date back to the 14th century BC. Female athletes in the Minoan civilization used them while they competed! Source.

history of bras

Bra Fact #6: Some bras, such as PrimaDonna brand bras, are composed of 40+ pieces and require a very technical assembly.

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Bra Fact #7: The largest bra ever made was created for World Cancer Day. The finished bra weighed 90kg and covered 375 square meters!

world's largest bra

Bra Fact #8: Our Fit Quiz data indicates that the most popular bra size for Missfits women is 34B.

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Bra Fact #9: The world’s most expensive bra is the Heavenly Star Bra, created by Victoria’s Secret in 2001. It is worth $12.5 million USD and boasts 1,200 pink sapphires and a 90-carat diamond.

the world's most expensive bra

Bra Fact #10: Mark Twain invented the bra clasp! He even has the patent for it. Source.

bra clasp patent drawing

Bra Fact #11: A bra should last between six and nine months of wear. Here’s how to make your bras last longer!

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We hope this list of bra facts was interesting and educational! What is your favorite bra fact? Leave us a comment below!

While you’re here, be sure to check out our Fit Quiz!