How 8 companies are re-inventing the bras of the future
For many of us, bras are a necessary evil. And heaven forbid you are bigger, smaller, asymmetric, or somehow different from a fashion designer’s mannequin. Why are we still stuck in the dark ages of bras?
Think about it. Marilyn Monroe wouldn’t have a clue how to use your phone. On the other hand, you probably share the same type of bras and the same type of bra problems as Ms. Monroe once did. Does that make you feel better or worse?
Well, two hundred years after the Industrial Revolution, a few brave and ambitious folks are finally getting around to improving the modern bra. Many of these developments are from of grassroot efforts and first-time entrepreneurs. Let’s hear it for the bra-makers of the future.
A swiss army knife for nursing mothers
The Anywhere bra by Ollie Gray is made for the modern mother superstar who does everything. Developed by former Lululemon designer Kate Rech, the Anywhere bra provides an all-in-one solution for all your babycare needs through pregnancy, breastfeeding, and pumping as well as the rest of your work and leisure life.
What’s the main idea behind this bra? This bra does everything. It functions as a great nursing bra with an easy-to-release clasp. It also works as a hands-free pumping bra with any breast pump on the market. But that’s not all.
The slim, sleek design lets you wear the bra under any clothing, including work clothes. The straps can swap between crossed or straight styles to fit your clothes. The wirefree comfort and support are good enough for the gym class too. You wear one bra everywhere and anywhere, just like the name says.
What Rech and her team have done is try to make “the nursing bra cool”. This young company raised over $30,000 in a successful Kickstarter bid and is now in full operation. Visit their brand new site at Ollie Gray.
Smart phone, smart watch, smart… bra?
OMSignal makes the OMBra, which they dub “the world’s smartest sports bra”. It’s a FitBit for your chest, measuring basics such as heartbeat and breathing, as well as collecting statistics on your runs such as stride length and calories burned.
The hardware in your bra records your biosignals and integrates with the OMRun phone app to optimize your running. If your running pace is too slow, you aren’t burning enough calories or training your aerobic capacity properly. If you run too fast, though, you increase the risk of fatigue and injury. By monitoring your personal running performance profile, OMRun guides you through an optimal running program.
OMSignal launched in Canada in 2014 and released their OMBra just recently. Their smart bra is quite new and they currently only have iPhone integration If you have an Android phone, you’ll have to wait longer for your bionic bra. The current starter kit retails for $169 at OMSignal.
Most difficult bra design: challenge accepted
Imagine if there was a reality TV show contest about bra designers. You know that the last episode is going to ask the participants to do something absurdly hard and stupid, like design a sports bra for extra busty women using materials from CVS and then laugh at the ensuing catastrophes.
For well-endowed women, this is no joke. They know the special headaches, or rather chestaches, that accompany vigorous exercise. Support versus comfort – pick one or the other. It’s fair to say that there’s really no great solution at the moment. That’s changing now.
Elyse Kaye and her team at Bloom Bras aim to re-invent the sports bra for plus sizes, and we do mean plus sizes. Their sizing chart ranges from 30DD all the way to 44K, with nothing less than a DD cup.
It’s not just about sizing, though. The Bloom Bra uses patented adjustable straps, cinching cups, and compression fabric to provide the perfect, adjustable fit. You can change the bra on the go to match different levels of activity. The particular design of this bra spreads the weight to your back and sides instead of just the shoulders and ribs.
Bloom Bras is another former Kickstarter child now available for general orders. Find out more at Bloom Bras.
Sports for the younger sister
Dragonwing girlgear is a startup targeting active youth. Soccer mom MaryAnne Gucciardi began her company when she couldn’t find suitable activewear for her sports-inclined daughter. Existing offerings were the wrong size, uncomfortable, low-quality, or not age appropriate.
Instead, Dragonwing provides girls sensible, high-performance bras that give them the confidence to go full throttle without fear of discomfort or impropriety. They make a variety of bras, camisoles, leggings, and compression shorts for a complete outfit. Their combination of quality fabrics, excellent design, and customer focus has earned them rave reviews from moms and daughters alike.
If you have a sporty girl in your family, do them a favor and see what Dragonwing girlgear has to offer.
Print on demand bras from selfies
You know those print on demand kiosks where you can get a photo of yourself on a mug or tshirt? Dana Pointer’s recent Kickstarter campaign brings that idea to the bra shopping experience.
Pointer’s compamy TruNude aims to provide color and size options to all women. You start by taking a selfie usong the TruNude app, which determinea your precise skin color profile. You then enter your detailed measurements, and TruNude will make a custom bra that fits your exact shape and skin tone.
If the Ollie Gray is making a bra for Anywhere, TruNude is making a bra for Everyone. Possible cup sizes range from AA to L with skin tones for women of all colors. This the closest you can get to a bespoke bra for a retail price.
Speaking of price, the TruNude tshirt bra is currently on preorder for $99. However, TruNude is just beginning their soft launch in May 2017, prices could drop if production volumes go up substantially. Being an early adopter has its pluses and minuses.
Keep abreast of this innovative company at the TruNude website.
Filling the gap
While Bloom Bra is aiming at the busty end of the market, the new bra company Pepper aims at the exact opposite. Self-titled on Kickstarter as “the bra for small boobs”, Pepper wants to fill the need for great bras for small-chested women. Founders Jaclyn Fu and Lia Winograd started the fledgling company in 2016 and expect to ship their first products in September of 2017 following a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Their first offering is the All-You bra that supports, lifts, and fills out small busts without using artificial and uncomfortable pushup padding. Instead, the bra uses a two-part design consisting of a demi contour cup help up by mesh overlays. The results is a sleeker cup that supports the full breast and avoids gapping or other problems with awkward cups that are mismatched to small breast sizes. The All-You bra will be available in sizes from 32AA to 38B from the Pepper website.
Finally, a bra that fits
ThirdLove may be the answer to this subreddit’s raison d’être. Their focus is on providing the absolutely best possible fit. All the attention to details and minor improvements add up to one ultra-comfortable bra experience. Like an iPhone, a ThirdLove bra just get everything right.
Let’s start with something simple: cup sizing. ThirdLove offers half-cup sizes. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but a half-cup makes all the difference between being stuck a little too small or too large. The cups themselves are made from memory foam for a luxurious fit.
ThirdLove bras are just crammed full of comfort-based design features, from doing away with itchy label tags, hiding the underwire inside flat tubing, and lining the hook with microfiber and foam. All the usual pain points are gone.
What’s refreshing is that ThirdLove understands that breast shape is as important as size for finding a good fit. Usually, you are left guessing from user comments on Bratabase whether a bra is good for your breast shape. Instead, ThirdLove tells you up front how to figure out your breast shape with their Breast Shape Dictionary. From your combined size and shape, ThirdLove then recommends different bra models.
Co-founder Heidi Zaks used to work at Google, and it shows. For technology lovers, they offer an iOS app that can use selfies to figure out your best bra sizing automatically. Whether you used old-fashioned methods or the app, finding the right fit is a breeze.
The buzz is strong for ThirdLove, both from customers and companies. Customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Meanwhile, ThirdLove recently raised over $8 million in Series A with some powerhouse investors, including the former CEO of Victoria’s Secret. What are you waiting for? Start shopping at ThirdLove now!
A bra that changes size with you
Curvy Kate is no newcomer to the bra industry or to shaking it up. Unlike most other companies, they do not use traditional models and instead hold a talent search each year for women celebrating realistic shapes and all skin colors.
Their most recent innovation is the so-called “period bra” that accommodates breast size fluctuations over the course of a month. Swelling and discomfort or quad-boob is particularly bad for busty women who make up Curvy Kate’s main consumer demographic. Curvy Kate’s Ellace bra’s cup has a stretch lace top that can match the changes in your breast size. The stretch lace also works for women with asymmetrically-sized breasts.
Is this marketing hype or real innovation? We’ll let you decide on that one, but Curvy Kate recently published a blog post following one of their models over the course of a month in the Ellace bra. You can buy the Ellace bra online here.