From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A brassiere (Brit. /'bræzɪεə(r)/; U.S. /brə'zɪr/, commonly referred to as a bra, /brɑ/) is an article of clothing that covers, supports, and elevates the breasts. The bra is considered a foundation garment, as well as an undergarment, because of its role in shaping the wearer's figure. It was originally developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to replace the corset, and has now become, in many parts of the world, the most popular form of undergarment for the upper body, although camisoles and chemises are increasingly challenging this.
The bra may be worn to support and to restrain pendulous breasts during exercise (especially the sports bra) or to support them during everyday activities (ordinary bras). Many wearers also wear bras in an attempt to prevent their breasts from sagging later in life. The bra may also be worn to observe modesty or the perceived social expectations thereof. As a fashion statement, it is worn to present a certain image of femininity; it is typically designed to lift the breasts from their normal position, for a more youthful look or for enhancing décolletage. These roles are sometimes conflicting. Designers usually aim at producing a garment that fulfils a practical role as well as making it look attractive.
Many have questioned the practical need for the bra; it has been suggested that it does little to prevent the effects of aging on the breasts, and some have claimed that breasts are healthier when left free to move rather than being restrained. Also, the bra has become charged with political and cultural meanings that overlay its practical purpose. Traditionally it is viewed as symbolic of a young girl's coming of age, one of the tokens that indicate that she has become a young woman. It can also be interpreted as a feminine icon, a means by which women assert their sexuality. On the other hand, some may see it as a symbol of the repression of women's bodies. All of these debates mean that the bra has assumed a cultural significance which far outweighs that which is normally accorded to an item of clothing.
The French word brassière refers to a baby's vest (undershirt) or lifebelt, underbodice or harness. The word brassière derives from bracière, an Old French word meaning "arm protector" and referring to military uniforms (bras in French means "arm"). This later became used for a military breast plate, and later for a type of woman's corset. The current French term for brassière is soutien-gorge, literally, "held under the neck" or "throat-support". In French, gorge (throat) was a common euphemism for the breast. This dates back to the garment developed by Cadolle in 1905.
The term "brassiere" seems to have come into use in the English language as early as 1893. Manufacturers were using the term by about 1904, Vogue magazine first used it in 1907, and by 1911 the word had made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary. In the 1930s, "brassiere" gradually came to be shortened to "bra". In the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec, both soutien-gorge and brassiere are used interchangeably.
The claim that the brassiere was invented by a man named Otto Titzling (phonetically tit-sling) who lost a lawsuit with one Phillip de Brassiere (fill up de' brassiere) is an urban legend that originated with the 1971 book Bust-Up: The uplifting tale of Otto Titzling and the development of the bra and was propagated in a song from the movie Beaches.
During recorded history, women have used a variety of garments and devices to cover, restrain, or elevate their breasts. Brassiere or bikini-like garments are depicted on some female athletes in the seventh century BC during the Minoan civilization era. Similar functionality was achieved by both outerwear and underwear.
From the 16th century onwards, the undergarments of wealthier women were dominated by the corset, which pushed the breasts upwards. In the latter part of the 19th century, clothing designers began experimenting with various alternatives to the corset, trying things like splitting the corset into multiple parts: a girdle-like restraining device for the lower torso, and devices that suspended the breasts from the shoulder for the upper torso.
By the early 20th century, garments more closely resembling contemporary bras had emerged, although large-scale commercial production did not occur until the 1930s. Since then, bras have virtually replaced corsets (although some prefer camisoles), and bra manufacture and sale has become a multi-billion-dollar industry dominated by large multinational corporations. Over time, the emphasis on bras has largely shifted from functionality to fashion.
 Construction and fit
A bra usually consists of cups for the breasts, a centre panel, a band running around the torso under the bust, and a shoulder strap for each side. Bras are typically made of a fabric, such as cotton or polyester. Spandex and lace are also often used for various parts of the bra. The cups for the breasts may be reinforced by underwires made of metal originally, but mainly plastic now. The bra is usually fastened with a hook fastener on the band, typically at the back. In some bras the fastener is in the front, between the cups. Others are pulled on over the head and have no fasteners at all.
Some bras contain padding, designed either to increase comfort, to make the breasts look bigger, or to conceal the nipples. Push-up bras in particular are designed to enhance the cleavage and use padding and the cut of the pattern to achieve this effect. Breast pads or "falsies" are sometimes worn between the breast and the bra to give the appearance of larger breasts—this requires that the wearer use a bra with a larger cup size than is required for her breast size.
The backstrap (band) and cups should provide most of the support, rather than the shoulder straps, which are responsible for a number of health problems (see Mechanical principles, below).
- When viewed from the side, the strap that runs around the body should be horizontal, should not ride up the back, and should be firm but comfortable.
- The underwires at the front should lie flat against the rib cage (not the breast), along the infra-mammary fold, and should not dig in to the chest or breast, rub or poke out at the front.
- The breasts should be enclosed by the cups and there should be a smooth line where the fabric at the top of the cup ends.
- There should not be a ridge or any bulging over the top or sides of the cups, even with a low-cut style such as the balconette bra.
 Mechanical principles
A pair of breasts can weigh several kilograms. For instance a pair of "D cup" breasts may weigh 15–23 pounds (7–10 kg), dependent on band and cup size. (A 42D breast would weigh more than a 30D and a 36J breast would weigh more than a 36C.) One of the principal functions of a bra is to elevate and "support" the breasts, that is, to raise them from their normal position lying against the chest wall. The bra's shoulder strap should bear little weight. This is considered the defining characteristic of the bra: supporting the weight from the back and shoulders, as opposed to lift from below (as corsets do).
Over-reliance on the platform (backstrap) for support will lead to undue compression of the breasts, so much of the weight tends to be carried by the shoulder strap, particularly for larger breasts. The major engineering weakness of the bra is that it acts as a pulley, transferring the weight of the breasts from the lower chest wall to higher structures such as the back, shoulder, neck, and head. This can result in pain and injury in those structures, especially for women with larger breasts.
 Size and measurement
The comfort and function of any given bra is highly dependent on the correct size and fit. A large range of sizes are available to cater to the wide variety in the size of women's breasts and bodies. Bra sizes typically vary in two ways: the volume of the cups that fit over the breast, and the length of the back strap that goes around the body. It is essential that the bra fit correctly in both of these dimensions. There is typically some ability to adjust the band size, since bras usually have three or four alternative sets of fastening hooks. The shoulder straps of a bra are also almost always adjustable. The size of women's breasts is often expressed in terms of her usual bra size.
 Measurement systems
Although all bras are labeled by size, many women find that the only way to obtain a bra that fits properly and achieves the effect they want is by trial and error with each bra type, model and brand. This method is the most reliable.
Though many countries use the metric system (centimetre) to measure things typically measured in the customary system (inch), the majority of these nations still use inches to determine the underband size of the bra itself.
There are several methods which may be used to provide an approximate size by taking measurements. However, bra sizing systems differ widely between countries, between manufacturers, and between brands and designs, which can create many problems. Many researchers have demonstrated that these problems arise because fit requires knowing the breast volume, not the body circumference (the distance around the body), which is what is actually measured. Although bra sizing uses the circumference to estimate the volume, this has been shown to be highly unreliable.
The size of a bra is commonly described by two values. The first is the band size (underband), a number based on the circumference of the chest under the bust, excluding the breasts. The second is the cup size given by a letter of the alphabet, and relating to the volume of the breasts themselves. For example, a 30D bra is for a 30-size band and a D-size cup. Cup sizes start with A, the smallest, and increase through the alphabet. While there is some general agreement about the meaning of A-D, which includes the vast majority of women, cup sizes greater than D become increasingly unreliable. A double lettering system may also be used, e.g. DDD for F or AA for a size smaller than A.
Band size is usually determined by measuring body circumference either under or above the breasts and then adding a specified amount to account for the fact that the ribcage is generally wider at the height of the breasts than at the point at which one measures. A second measurement is then taken of the chest circumference over the fullest part of the breasts (overbust). The cup size can then be calculated with tables or a conversion tool from the difference between these two measurements, as shown here.
A common mistake is to take the overbust measurement with a bra on, instead of braless, with the breasts held at the desired position. The mean underband circumference in the UK is 34 inches (86 cm). For the overbust measurement, this is 40 inches (101 cm), for women 18–64 years.
 Fitting difficulties
Women often find it difficult to find the correct bra size. To achieve perfect sizing consistently, a bra would have to be custom made, because a "one-size-fits-all" manufacturing process is fraught with difficulties. Breasts vary in the position on the chest, and in their diameters.
A number of stores have certified professional bra-fitters specialists. However, even bra fitters have been shown to be quite variable in their recommendations. Buying "off-the-shelf" or "online" bras is unwise if the buyer has never tried on the brand and type of bra that they are interested in buying.
Some bra manufacturers and distributors state that trying on and learning to recognize a proper fit is the best way to determine a correct bra size, much the same as with shoes. Some critics observe that measuring systems such as the one described above often lead to an incorrect size, most commonly too small in the cup, and too large in the band. For anyone and especially cups sizes larger than a D, one should get a professional fitting from the lingerie department of a department store or a specialty lingerie store.
Some women intentionally buy larger cups and pad them, while yet others buy smaller cups to give the appearance of being "full". Finally, the elastic properties of the band make band size highly unreliable, and in one study the label size was consistently different from the measured size. Fashion and image drive the bra market, and these factors often take precedence over comfort and function.
As already noted, there is no agreed standard across all manufacturers for measuring and specifying bra size. Obtaining the correct size is further complicated by the fact that the size and shape of a woman's breasts fluctuate during her menstrual cycle, and also with weight gain or loss. It is frequently stated, from the results of surveys, that between 70 and 85% of women are wearing incorrectly fitted bras. This may be partly due to a lack of understanding of how to correctly determine bra size; it may also be due to unusual or unexpectedly rapid growth in size brought on by pregnancy, weight gain, or medical conditions including virginal breast hypertrophy.
As breasts become larger, their shape and the distribution of the tissues within them changes, becoming ptotic and bulbous rather than conical. This makes measurements increasingly unreliable, especially for large breasts. Similarly the heavier a build the woman has, the more inaccurate the underbust measurement as the tape sinks into the flesh more easily. Finally, most women are asymmetrical (10% severely), with the left breast being larger in 62%, especially when the breasts are large.
Large-breasted women often have particular difficulty finding a proper fitting bra because fewer options are available on the market for their sizes. There are, however, an increasing number of companies that specialize in making selling large-size bras, such as Bravissimo and Triumph
Many of the health problems associated with bras are due to fitting problems and are discussed further below, under health problems. However, finding a comfortable fit is described as very difficult by many women, which has affected sales.
 Types of bra
A wide range of styles of brassieres now exists, to be worn in a variety of situations, and with a variety of outergarments. For instance strapless, backless and multiway bra styles specialise in being invisible underneath less than full coverage garments whereas push up and plunge focus on shaping the bust and cleavage. The degree of shaping and coverage of the breasts varies between styles, as do functionality and fashion, fabric, and colour. Styles range from the purely utilitarian to the sensual. Others include various accessory structures such as padding and underwiring. Many bras will fall into more than one category, such as a maternity bra designed for facilitating access to the nipple, but that is also designed to provide support to heavier lactating breasts. Definitions are not always very accurate or exclusive (e.g. shelf bra). Sports bras have more recently been developed with the primary purpose of restricting breast movement.
 Therapeutic role of the bra
 Countering the aging process?
- See also: Breasts
Anatomically, the breasts are non-rigid organs, with few support structures, such as connective tissue. Breasts are composed of the mammary glands, which remain relatively constant throughout life, as well as the adipose tissue or fat tissue that surrounds the mammary glands. It is the amount and distribution of adipose tissue that leads to variations in breast size. In addition, the breasts contain internal ligaments, although their exact function as related to breast support is controversial. These ligaments, and the overlying skin (referred to as the dermal brassiere). help determine the resulting breast shape.
As the breasts mature, they fold over the lower attachment to the chest wall (infra-mammary fold), and their lower (inferior) surface lies against the chest wall when vertical. In popular culture, this maturation is referred to as "sagging" or "drooping", although plastic surgeons refer to it as "ptosis", and recommend mastopexy (breast lift) for "correction".
Although the exact mechanisms that determine breast shape and size remain largely unknown, it has long been claimed that this occurs because the normal anatomical support is inadequate, especially in older women and those with larger breasts. Hence the bra is often proposed as a means of providing artificial support, based on the presumption that the breasts cannot support themselves. Health professionals have, however, found no evidence to suggest that the bra changes the natural process of aging of the breasts. Bra manufacturers have also stated that bras only affect the shape of breasts while they are being worn.
"There is no medical reason to wear a bra... The decision is yours, based on your own personal comfort and aesthetics. And even though, as little girls, we were told that bras save us from hanging breasts,... whether you have always worn a bra or always gone bra-less, age and breastfeeding will naturally cause your breasts to sag." Dr. Niels Lauersen
"Breasts were fine before the invention of the brassiere... This is similar to the myth that women supposedly need corsets to support their stomach muscles... wearing a bra... has no medical necessity whatsoever... Except for the women who find bras especially comfortable or uncomfortable, the decision to wear or not wear one is purely aesthetic — or emotional... If you don't enjoy it, and job or social pressures don't force you into it, don't bother... A mistaken popular belief maintains that wearing a bra strengthens your breasts and prevents their eventual sagging. But you sag because of the proportion of fat and tissue in your breasts, and no bra changes that... If you don't like wearing a bra, don't wear one." Dr Susan Love
Indeed, there are indications that wearing a bra may have an effect opposite to that which was intended. In a Japanese study, 11 women were measured wearing a standardised fitted bra for three months. They found that breasts became larger and lower, with the underbust measurement decreasing and the overbust increasing, while the lowest point of the breast moved downwards and outwards. The effect was more pronounced in larger-breasted women. The authors of this study, along with other researchers, described the bra as an instrument of torture, comparing them to the Chinese tradition of foot binding, because they found the breasts were squeezed out of the chest wall and, therefore, hung even lower. This may be related to the particular bra chosen for the experiment. There was some improvement after changing to a different model.
While some may dispute the reasons why breasts change in shape with age and argue over whether or not the process can be delayed or reversed by wearing a bra, it is a natural process of bodily change. Health ethicists are concerned that plastic surgery and implants have altered our concept of what is "normal" and medicalised women's bodies by making a normal process a "disease."
 Pain relief and comfort
Wearing a bra can offer relief of breast pain (mastodynia, mastalgia), particularly when women are performing strenuous physical activity or exercise. Indeed, the sports bra is an example of a bra which has been specifically designed for this purpose. An underwire bra can also help support breasts and keep them from bouncing, (for example, during running) which is painful whether the breasts are large or small.
In the specific case of larger breasts, the bra lifts the breasts away from the chest and can prevent two skin surfaces from rubbing together. Without the bra, maceration (loss of skin), intertrigo (rash) and fungal infections are possible. This does, however, depend upon a correctly fitted bra that performs as intended.
 Cultural significance
 Feminist comment
Some feminist writing has recognised and discussed the erotic aspects of the bra. Others, however, have interpreted the bra as an example of how women's clothing has shaped and even deformed women's bodies to historically aesthetic ideals, or shaped them to conform to male expectations of what is desirable. Germaine Greer, for example, frequently depicts bras as symbols of oppression, and it was radical views like these which perhaps gave rise to the urban legend of bra-burning ceremonies Woody Allen satirized this activity in his film Sleeper, set in the year 2173. He is shown a 1970s news photo of a bra-burning protest, and remarks, "You'll notice it's a very small fire."
Farrell-Beck and Gau on the other hand suggest that their book falls between those two perspectives, the erotic and the patriarchal.
 The bra as a fashion item
Breasts which have not undergone sagging, and which present a "pert" or "perky" appearance, are widely considered to be a marker of youth. Bras are therefore used, particularly within Western cultures which place great value upon youth, to promote what is considered a more desirable youthful appearance by lifting the breasts from their natural position. Furthermore, the modern bra is often more decorative than its predecessors, and therefore has become both a fashion statement and an adornment, and even an icon of sensuality.
The design of bras which aim to be fashionable, rather than functional, has been driven by changing fashions in outerwear, which has often dictated what could be worn underneath. Hence its shape has evolved through flat, round, pointed, conical, to "natural". Although in popular culture the invention of the bra is frequently attributed to men, in fact women have played a large part in bra design and manufacture, accounting for half of the patents filed.
 Social pressures and trends
The average American woman today owns six bras, one of which is a strapless bra, and one in a color other than white. While reliable data are hard to obtain, it is thought that in the Western world about 90% of women wear bras. Some women wear bras based on modesty; others because they believe that it is part of their cultural norm and that not wearing a bra would lead to ostracism.
Bras are a relatively recent invention and are by no means universally worn around the world. In a cross-cultural study of bra size and cancer in 9,000 in the 1960s, a Harvard group found 93% of women wore bras (from 88% in the UK to 99% in Greece), but could not find enough women in Japan with bras to complete their study. In a number of cultures, women are quite comfortable to sunbathe or swim without any external support.
The prevalence of the bra, and perceived social expectation to wear one, does not imply that openly displaying it is encouraged. On the contrary, it is often not considered suitable to expose one's brassiere in public in western cultures, even partially, despite the fact that it is similar in appearance to the upper part of a bikini; to do so may be considered sexually provocative. However more young people are doing so, and bra straps are a common sight. Occasionally they may wear a bra as outerwear. An attractive bra can be considered partly as an accessory, just as a camisole might; more women, particularly in Eastern Europe, are now wearing translucent tops which reveal the underlying bra.
Even considering this relative cultural taboo, being seen in one's bra is still more socially acceptable than exposing the bare breasts, except at the beach. Indeed, women may choose to be seen in just a bra to make a specific point. For instance, bras have recently been used by organisations like breast cancer charities to raise money, either by sponsored walks or to sell bras owned or decorated by celebrities.
An increasing number of women and health professionals are challenging the traditional values that suggest that that bras are either medically necessary or required socially and are adopting bralessness (also known as brafreedom, or breast freedom). One survey found that 20% of women over 50 were not wearing bras (Farell-Beck and Gau p.171).
Many entertainers, actresses and members of the fashion industry have chosen not to wear bras. Susan Stranks who presented the Thames TV children's programme, Magpie between 1968 and 1974 chose not to wear a bra, even on camera. Another well known woman who regularly appears braless on TV is the presenter of BBC Gardening's Ground Force, Charlie Dimmock.
 Health problems
Many of the statements about the benefits of bras are actually situations where they can make things worse, because the vast majority of women wear bras that are ill-fitting. For instance, rather than keeping the breasts away from the chest wall, bras that are too tight can actually compress them against the chest even further. This also pulls the upper thoracic and cervical vertebrae (spine) forward and down, interfering with back, shoulder and chest movement.
As they did with corsets, health professionals have also had concerns about the constricting effects of brassieres, although this varies considerably with design and the relative size of the bra and the breast. Investigations have tried to determine the basis for statements that bras restrict the flow of body fluids within and from the breast, and the movements of the rib cage and effects on breathing. Others believe that wearing a bra can actually increase the downward movement of the breasts with age, because the chest muscles (pectoralis) that support breasts are used less and atrophy from lack of use.
When the bra straps transfer most of the weight of the breast, a deep groove can be seen over the shoulder. This pressure on the trapezius muscle can then result in neck and shoulder pain; numbness and tingling in the arm; and headaches and damage to the cervical nerve.
This seems more common in women whose activities require them to lift their arms above the shoulders. In a study of 100 women with painful shoulders, they were asked to not wear their bras for two weeks, by which time their symptoms had improved but returned within an hour of replacing the bra. 84% did not elevate their arms, and in these symptom relief was complete. Three years later, 79% of the women were still bra free; the remainder preferred pain to not wearing a bra. 16% worked in occupations requiring elevating their arms, and only achieved partial improvement. 13 of the 16 decided to become bra-free, and by six months all were cured.
Back pain is particularly common among large-breasted women who wear bras offering insufficient support. In extreme cases, such discomfort can lead to a woman seeking breast reduction surgery. In a study of 103 women seeking breast-reduction surgery (reduction mammaplasty) for pain, one woman never wore a bra, but of the remaining 102 all were wearing an incorrect bra size. The underband was too tight and the cup size too large. The larger the woman, the worse the fit. The result was a bra that compresses the breast and distorts it by compressing the breast against the skin of the chest wall.
Based on the their research, many physicians believe that bra size is meaningless, when breast volumes are calculated accurately. "The current popular system of determining bra size is inaccurate so often as to be useless. Add to this the many different styles of bras and the lack of standardization between brands, and one can see why finding a comfortable, well-fitting bra is more a matter of educated guesswork, trial, and error than of precise measurements."
Some allegations have been made that there is a connection between wearing a brassiere and the incidence of breast cancer, including comments in by Dr Sydney Singer, an anthropologist, in a book called Dressed to Kill, written in 1994. To date no scientifically valid confirmation of this theory has been published in a peer reviewed medical journal, and the causes of breast cancer are very complex.
- The German synonym, Büstenhalter, literally means "busts holder".
- Radio personality Bob Collins coined another (ersatz) German synonym, "Shtoppenderfloppen".
 See also
- Brassiere measurements
- Brassiere designs
- History of brassieres
- French: Lingerie
- Male bra
- Mammary gland
- National Underwear Day
- Victorian dress reform
- La Brassiere (2001), a comedy about the design of the "ultimate brassiere"
- ^ a b c d e f g Uplift: The Bra in America. Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002 xvi, 243 pp. ISBN 0-8122-3643-2.
- ^ a b Susan Love, Karen Lindsey, Marcia Williams. Dr Susan Love's Breast Book. Paperback: 632 pages. HarperCollins Publishers; 3rd Rev edition (September 20, 2000) ISBN 0738202355
- ^ Evening Herald (Syracuse) March 1893. “Still of course the short waisted gowns mean short waisted corsets and those ladies who wish to be in the real absolute fashion are adopting for evening wear the six inch straight boned band or brassiere which Sarah Bernhardt made a necessity with her directoire gowns.”
- ^ Michael Quinion: World Wide Words
- ^ Brassiere (origin of name) Snopes.com Urban Legends
- ^ a b c d Jessica Seigel. Bent out of shape: Why is it so hard to find the perfect bra? Lifetime Magazine May/June 2003
- ^ Anne Casselman. The Physics of Bras. DISCOVER Vol. 26 No. 11 November 2005
- ^ a b Ryan E. Pectoral Girdle Myalgia in Women: A 5-year Study in a Clinical Setting Clinical Journal of Pain 16(4) December 2000, pp298-303
- ^ a b Tyrer, John. cited in Seigel 2003 q.v.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i A. R. Greenbaum
- ^ L. Peebles and B. Norris. Adult data: the handbook of adult anthropometric and strength measurements, Department of Trade and Industry, London (1998).
- ^ a b Pechter EA A new method for determining bra size and predicting postaugmentation breast size. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1998 Sep;102(4):1259-65
- ^ Bras and Pants. Mintel International Group Ltd., 2001, 2005
- ^ Playtex Fitting Guide
- ^ Boyes K. Buying the perfect bra. Good Housekeeping. August 1996 p50
- ^ Lipton B. Are you wearing the wrong size bra? Ladies Home Journal March 1996 p46
- ^ Hinds J If the bra fits, buy it. Ganett News Service May 25 1994
- ^ Oprah Winfrey: Oprah's Bra and Swimsuit Intervention
- ^ Losken A., Fishman I., Denson D., Moyer H., Carlson, G. An Objective Evaluation of Breast Symmetry and Shape Differences Using 3-Dimensional Images Annals of Plastic Surgery Volume 55(6), December 2005, pp 571-5
- ^ King, Stephanie A short history of lingerie: Doreen the bra that conquered the world The Independent June 2 2005. For comment, see Victoria Hiley Bra-burning a myth June 4. Commentary on Stephanie King A short history of lingerie June 2
- ^ Phillips, Jeanne. (Van Buren, Abigail) Dear Abby: Women tired of shouldering burden of bad bra design. May 11 2004.
- ^ Types of bra
- ^ Female Intelligence Agency: Basic breast anatomy
- ^ emedicine: mastopexy
- ^ Dr. R. Scott Smith. Fuller Breasts: A Woman's Guide to Breast Augmentation
- ^ Page K.A., Steele J.R. Breast motion and sports brassiere design. Implications for future research. Sports Med. 1999 Apr;27(4):205-11.
- ^ Norah Alberto (Maidenform): Why is wearing a bra important?
- ^ Female Intelligence Agency: Why do women wear bras?
- ^ Female Intelligence Agency: What causes sagging of breasts?
- ^ Bras, the bare facts 2000 vid. inf.
- ^ a b The Complete Book of Breast Care. 447 pages Fawcett; 1st edition October 1, 1996. ISBN 0-449-90903-4
- ^ K Ashizawa Breast form changes resulting from a certain brassiere Journal of Human Ergology, June 1990 19(1): 53-62
- ^ Meredith Schwartz: Choice and Autonomy - Ethical issues in women's health. Case study: breast implants
- ^ Hadi MS. Sports Brassiere: Is It a Solution for Mastalgia? Breast J. 2000 Nov;6(6):407-409
- ^ Kleinfelter, Rebecca. Burning the bra: Feminist pop culture revisited. Women's Studies, University of Alberta November 2005
- ^ http://www.snopes.com/history/american/burnbra.htm
- ^ Norah Alberto (Maidenform): Why is wearing a bra important?
- ^ Hsieh CC, Trichopoulos D. Breast size, handedness and breast cancer risk. Eur J Cancer. 1991;27(2):131-5.
- ^ BBC News 19 June, 2005: Bra walkers tackle night marathon.
- ^ GoingBraless.net: A bra freedom support group for women
- ^ Dr Elizabeth Vaughan, M.D. Brafree.org
- ^ Dr. Robert Mansel. Bras, the bare facts. Channel 4 vid. inf.
- ^ Dickinson, Amy. It's a wonder why women still wear bras. Chicago Tribune October 27, 2006
- ^ The Breast Site: Going Braless
- ^ BBC Gardening Presenter Biographies: Charlie Dimmock
- ^ Interview on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) with osteopaths 2003
- ^ ABC Newsonline. Science and technology: Can you make a person sick from a brassiere? Jan 16 2003
- ^ a b Dr Simon Cawthorne. Bras, the bare facts. Channel 4 2000 vid. inf.
- ^ Dr. Karen Kowalske. Bra Straps Health Watch. Office of News and Publications & the Library at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas August 2006
- ^ Times Higher Educational Supplement July 2003
- ^ Ringberg A., Bageman E., Rose C., Ingvar C., Jernstrom H. Of cup and bra size: Reply to a prospective study of breast size and premenopausal breast cancer incidence. Int J Cancer. 2006 Jul 13
- ^ Female Intelligence Agency: How bras are linked to breast cancer
- ^ Dressed to Kill
- US PAT No. 2,433 — 1859 Combined breast pads and arm-pit shield
- US PAT No. 844,242 — 1907 Bust supporter
- US PAT No. 1,115,674 — 1914 Jacob's Brassiere
 Other sources
- Ewing, Elizabeth and Webber, Jean. Fashion in Underwear (Paperback) Batsford 1971 ISBN 0-7134-0857-X
- Farrell-Beck, Jane and Gau, Colleen. Uplift: The Bra in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002 xvi, 243 pp. $35.00, ISBN 0-8122-3643-2. (for reviews, see next section)
- Greer, Germaine. The Female Eunuch (1970). 2002 edition Farrar Straus Giroux ISBN 0-374-52762-8
- Love, Susan; Lindsey, Karen; Williams, Marcia. Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book. Paperback: 632 pages. HarperCollins 3rd Rev edition (September 20, 2000) ISBN 0-7382-0235-5
- Pedersen, Stephanie. Bra: A Thousand Years Of Style, Support & Seduction. Hardcover: 127 pages. David & Charles Publishers (November 30, 2004). ISBN 0-7153-2067-X
- Steele, Valerie. The Corset: A Cultural History Paperback: 208 pages Yale University Press (February 8, 2003) ISBN 0-300-09953-3
- Stoppard, Miriam. The Breast Book. 224 pages DK ADULT 1st American edition April 4, 1996 ISBN 0-7894-0420-6
- Summers, Leigh. Bound to Please: A history of the Victorian corset. Berg Publishers (October 1, 2003) ISBN 1-85973-510-X
- Warner LC. Always starting things. Warner Brothers, Bridgeport, Connecticut 1948
 Book reviews
Farrell-Beck and Gau. Uplift
- Fischer, Gayle V. Journal of American History; 2003; Mar 89(4): 1539-40
- Murphy, Michael. Winterthur Portfolio; 2003 38(2/3): 151-9
 Journal articles
- Freeman S.K. In Style: Femininity and Fashion since the Victorian Era. Journal of Women's History; 2004; 16(4): 191-206
- Steele, Valerie. Le Corset: A Material Culture Analysis of a Deluxe French Book. The Yale Journal of Criticism - Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 1998, pp. 29-3
 Research papers
-  Kim Lovel, Chad Seastrunk, Timothy Clapp. The Application of TRIZ to Technology Forecasting. A Case Study: Brassiere Strap Technology. January 9 2006.
- Bras, the Bare Facts. Channel 4 (UK), November 2000