What is Bra/Brassiere?
Brassiere or Bra is one of the most attractive and effective undergarments for women. The brassiere or bra was born at the dawn of the 20th century just after the decline in the popularity of corsets in the late 19th century. Worn today by virtually every woman in the United States from about the age of twelve, the brassiere first emerged in the early 1900s and became a standard item of dress within the next thirty years. Mass production of brassieres began very early in the twentieth century. Many have curiosity about brassiere special unmarried persons. Now, I will discuss about different parts of a bra, I mean anatomy of bra.
A brassiere (commonly referred to as a bra) is a woman’s undergarment that supports her breasts. Bras are typically form-fitting and perform a variety of functions and have also evolved into a fashion item. The primary purpose of a bra is to enhance the wearer’s comfort by supporting her breasts.
Different Parts of a Bra:
Bras have evolved over the years into a variety of unique, innovative and highly technical styles. Still most modern bras contain a few common elements and similar basic design. Bra consist of parts like band, bridge, apex, strap, adjuster, hook and eye, cup, cradle, sling, wing etc.
The cups are the part of the brassiere that holds the breasts. The Cup is one of two usually separate areas of fabric that surround, lift and/or cover the breasts. The cup can be seamless (made of one piece of fabric) or multi-part (made of several different sections reinforced by carefully placed seams). There are advantages and disadvantages to each. The shape and construction of the cup determine the resulting breast shape; round, projected, minimized, natural, lifted or contoured.
The band refers to the part of the bra that wraps around your body. It is the base part of the brassiere. It wraps around the rib cage and fastens in the back. The band is very important because it is designed to anchor the entire bra to the body and should provide 75%-90% of the support. The under band or bottom band runs along the bottom of the brassiere and anchors the bra to the body. It should fit snugly against the body, providing the majority of the support for the breasts.
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The Strap is the part of the bra that joins the top of the cup to the back of the band by going over each shoulder. The strap is used primarily to keep the cup in place not to support the entire weight of the breasts. It varies by style but generally the straps of the brassiere extend from the upper corner of the top of the bra cup, go up and over the shoulder, and join to the back of the bra. Since brassiere straps are not necessary many bras are available with convertible or removable straps.
The functions of bra straps are to keep the cups in place and to provide partial support for the breasts’ mass against gravity. When a bra is fitted properly, the bra straps should provide 10–20% of the breast support, with the remaining support provided by the bra’s underband. A too-tight bra strap may not only cause skin irritation but can also restrict blood flow, affect nerve responses, and induce headaches. If a bra strap digs into the shoulder, it may hurt soft tissues and exert pressure on the cervical nerve. Conversely, if a bra strap is too loose, it may fall off the wearer’s shoulder and cause embarrassment. Good bra straps should be wide enough and adjustable to comfortably provide sufficient breast support without digging into the shoulders.
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However, a bra strap is actually required to comprise at least two sections, each having an appropriate elongation and elastic modulus. A common practice is to sew together a front section, with a large elongation and smaller modulus, and a back section with a small elongation but large modulus.
Bridge / Center Gore:
The bridge of the brassiere is the center front area between the cups. The bridge provides separation of the breasts, putting the breasts in proper position to ease into the cups. It is sometimes part of a cradle. If the bridge does not match the spacing between your breasts the brassiere will not sit flat against your body. The bridges in store-bought bras rarely match up with an individual’s breast spacing.
The apex is the part or the brassiere where the strap joins the cup.
The adjuster is used to tighten or loosen the strap accordingly. Its position on the strap can vary and depends on the design of the brassiere.
The Wing is the side part of the band that wraps from the outer edge of the cup around the side of the body to the back of the band.
Hook and Eye:
Hook and eye closure of bra that is situated either in the front, back, or on the sides. The number of hook and eye depends on size of the brassiere. There are typically three sets of closures; this provides the wearer the ability to make minute adjustments in band size as needed.
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Some bras incorporate a sling into the inner cup to provide additional support to the side of the breast to stop it from spreading out to the side. It is popular to use a sling in cups for larger breasts or for any size when the outer fabric is too delicate to provide enough support on its own.
If the straps are the beams that make up the vertical support of your bra, imagine the rings and slides as the hinges. You need them to create an adjustable back so that one bra size can fit different body types / heights.
The frame is the cup holder of the bra. Surprisingly frames are actually optional! For frameless bras, the cups are joined directly to the band and to the bridge. So long as they are well designed and constructed, frameless and full frame bras will provide equal support. Please note that you cannot simply omit the frame from a full frame pattern and get the same results.
A cradle helps position the wires and cups securely against the chest. Many women therefore and bras with cradles more comfortable to wear.
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.