By Elisabeth Dale
It May be Time for a New Line of Male Lingerie
Less than one percent of all breast cancer cases are found in men. It’s a rare disease, striking one out of every 1000 versus one out of 8 women in their lifetime. It’s still relatively uncommon for males to be diagnosed with this “pink” or female disease. Yet what men seem to experience more often is the struggle women commonly have with their own breasts: finding the right fit in a bra. No, it’s not some sexual fetish creating a kinky fashion demand. There are lingerie lines available to meet that need. Rather it is men developing female-like mounds on their chests and discovering that they need to contain and restrain this new breast flesh.
Male breast growth is a medical condition known as gynecomastia. Young males can develop a hormonal imbalance that causes them to grow breasts. Often the only treatment available to young patients is breast reduction surgery. One out of four men between the age of 50 and 70 are also diagnosed with this disorder. It turns out that many drugs used to treat enlarged prostates, heart disease, and even depression can result in gynecomastia. These men face the same body image issues as adolescent girls. But more mature men are less inclined to resort to surgery when it comes to their new man boobs. They instead turn to the array of women’s bras to camouflage and control these breasts under their clothes.
I’ve received many emails from men who have asked for my advice on the best bras for their body type. They tend to need garments with broader bands and smaller cups. Not always satisfied with male compression shirts, they turn to women’s sports bra manufacturers for comfort and relief. They have the same complaints as most women: suffer from back pain, difficulty with sizing, and can’t find styles that flatter their figures. Many men now rely on some of my personal everyday bra brands like Moving Comfort, Wacoal, and others.
An aging population of baby boomers is bound to increase its dependence on the drugs that result in this breast growing side effect. Should bra designers take into consideration this new male foundation need? What do you think? Is it okay for a guy to be fitted in a women’s lingerie department or store?