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Busted: Bad bras get the boot

When it comes to breasts, they are probably the two most important accessories a woman will ever "wear."

india Updated: Apr 22, 2006 16:37 IST

When it comes to breasts, they are probably the two most important accessories a woman will ever "wear." An integral part of the daily ensemble, the bust requires serious attention, but the truth of the matter is that 70-80% of women are victims of wearing the wrong bra for their frame.

Recently however, many intimate apparel manufacturers are getting brainy on the breast issue, conducting scientific research to uncover new bra technologies that promise everything from better fit, to sleeker design, to ultimate comfort.

Leave it to Victoria's Secret to address all aspects of bra trauma, right down to nipple visibility. Since launching the Ipex bra, which claimed to be the world's most advanced, Victoria's Secret took the Ipex technology even further, and after two years of research and trials, launched the Ipex Wireless ($42-$44) in February of 2006.

In Ipex's fibers you'll find not much more than nylon and lycra, but the bra is said to ensure "maximum coverage with minimal padding" without the use of a wire, offering support and lift with comfort in mind and no adjustment hassles. For those in the A to C cup range, this bra might be the best bet, giving lift and the illusion of cleavage to those who need it, while supporting the bustier bunch without adding any unwanted bulk.

For fuller figured women wearing a C cup and above, bras that support bigger cup sizes often fail to support the current fashion trends. Not anymore. New to Maidenform is the Flex-to-Fit technology, promising an inner cup release that sits between the bra's wire and two-way stretch foam. The bra is available up to a size DD and aims to expand and retract where needed, covering all sides and properly shaping the breast. Reasonably priced at $33, in comes in traditional black and white, as well as hot pink for a little added sex appeal.

Aesthetic and sexiness aside however, the health risk inherent in wearing the wrong bra is perhaps the larger issue. According to leading medical professionals, daily wear and exercise in bras without the proper support causes premature sagging of the breasts that only surgery can reverse years down the line, not to mention the potential onset of painful postural disorders.

To prevent such complications, Nike, a company known more for its basketball gear than bra technology, has recently launched Nike Performance Underwear Collection, a line devoted to supporting the way a body moves.

According to the Nike Sports Research Lab and Advanced Innovation Team, the company's technicians have put ten years of research, including fabric tests and motion studies, into the new line - available at Niketown, Nordstrom, and select Nike retailers in July - that promises to work wonders during workouts. Inspiration for the bra comes from the often-unaddressed fact that a woman's breast size, even within a cup size, varies greatly. One size definitely does not fit all when muscle mass and bone structure are taken into account, and forget the typical small/medium/large scale that most sports bras usually adopt for sizing.

The Nike Revolutionary Support Bra will cost you ($70, to be precise), but in addition to the dri-FIT fabric that allows skin to breathe, the bra features adjustable shoulder straps with a unique front compression strap that acts as harness for motion control of the breast, meaning optimal movement with minimal bounce.

Away with one-size-fits-all and ill-fitting bras of the past; it's time to invest in a bra that passes the tech-test.

First Published: Apr 22, 2006 16:37 IST