Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bras, Bras, Bras! Episode 1 - Bizarre Bra and Breast facts

I was planning to start off the formal series with the history of the bra (which dates back more than 4000 years!). But in my research, I came across such a wide array of bizarre information that didn't really fit anywhere in the series that I decided to start with a list of fun facts.

  • Approximately $16 billion dollars are spent annually on bra purchases worldwide. That's $16,000,000,000.
  • The average woman in America owns 9 bras.
  • On October 27, 1999, two women were reportedly killed when lightning struck the underwire in their bras. This wasn't the first report of bras attracting lightning. In 1982, the Rome News-Tribune reported a similar incident, and there are references to 1991 underwire strike as well.
  • According to National Geographic, women's breasts average from 10 ounces to 20 lbs.
  • Annie Hawkins-Stone holds the Guinness Record for having the largest natural (no implants) breasts at size 102ZZZ and weighing in at approximately 56 lbs.
  • The worlds longest bra chain comes in at 166,000 bras. This may seem like a trivial record, but several organizations around the world, including GirlGuiding NZ are using their attempt to break the longest bra chain record as a way to raise funds for breast cancer awareness. You can donate unwanted bras to them and at the end of the record they will send all of the good condition bras to women in need in Africa, Haiti and the Pacific Islands.
  • Despite rumors that wearing an underwire bra can cause breast cancer, scientists, including the director of medical content for the American Cancer Society, say that's simply not true.
  • Researchers are designing and have patented a bra that can detect breast cancer in the very early stages of development.
  • Japan's Triumph International lingerie company has some outrageous bra ideas and has come up with anti-smoking bras, heated bras to prevent colds, and bras that turn into shopping bags.
Photo Source: Japan Today

Check back next week to learn the long history of the bra.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bras, Bras, Bras! A Series on the History, Sizing, Fit and Functionality of the Bra

Lately the vast majority of the customer questions we're getting are about bras.  What size bra should I get? Underwire or wireless? Padding versus No Padding? International sizing?  Which styles have the most support? Which are latex-free? Which are best for my body shape? Etc., etc. 

Our last give-a-way - for the allergen-free bras - got more entries than any other contest we've ever run.  And of course, we all know how difficult it is to find clean, organic bras that are chemical free and sustainably produced.

So I've decided to offer up a series on bras, focusing on organic cotton and sustainable bras, of course.  Over the next month or so, I'll be providing everything (that I can think of) you've ever wanted to know about bras.  So here's what I have in mind.  Please leave a comment if there's something else you want to know and I'll make sure it gets in.

  • The History of the Bra: Where it came from and how it has evolved.
  • Bra Sizing: How to determine what size you are and the conversion to international sizing.
  • Top Bra Styles by Body Type: Which bra "features" flatter your body.
For today, let's start off with my story.  So, how did FaeriesDance.com get to have (what I'm pretty sure is) the largest selection of eco-lingerie in the country?  The story goes like this...

Before I became environmentally conscious about everything, bra shopping was my secret salve.  Whenever I’d get depressed about something or needed a quick pick-me-up, it was off to the mall for the perfect bra.  Underwire, push-up, plunge, padding, lace, it was all good.  My lingerie drawer was better stocked than some restaurant kitchens.  And it never failed me.  As long I could find a good bra, life went beyond just bearable to fabulous, even if only temporarily.

You see there’s something luscious about wearing stunning lingerie – even boyfriendless – because lingerie is your own little secret.  Work can be overwhelming, the house can be a mess, you can argue with your family, but underneath your clothing, where no one else can see, you have… ARMOR.  That’s right, beautiful, sexy, feminine, armor.  The perfect, outrageous purple lace bra is as good as a bullet-proof vest when it comes to deflecting negativity.  And if the day happens to be going well anyway, that quick trip the rest room and peek at your hot pink panties will bring an extra smile to your face every time.  I like colors.  Oh sure, I’ve got white and nude for those days with a crisp white collared shirt, but any big sweater was always hiding something bright and cheerful.

But then I started learning.  I learned about the pesticides used in crops and what it does to the water, soil and wildlife in the area.  I learned about chemical finishing agents and what they do to the workers who handle them, the towns that have to deal with the toxic wastes and even the impacts on our own bodies as we wear them.  I learned about sweatshop labor, about appalling working conditions, subsistent wages and 6 year olds working 12-hour days.  I saw our culture being controlled by energy needs, and oil, and terrorists.  And suddenly, I couldn’t go bra shopping anymore and chinks developed in my armor.

So what's a girl to do faced with the destruction of our planet, our home and our way of life?  Well in my case, I opened my own eco-boutique specializing in organic bras.  Now, not only am I my own best customer, but with my armor restored, I want to help all those other women who need better, more luscious, sexier, prettier under armor without all the bad stuff.