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Men Who Wear Bras: An Under-served Lingerie Market

November 12, 2014

By ELISABETH DALE

gynecomastia

More and more men are struggling to find bras to support their developing breasts. Gynecomastia (male breast growth) is a well-documented medical condition linked to several causes, and is a side effect of many common prescription and over-the-counter drugs. According to some experts, nearly half of all men will experience gynecomastia at some point in their lives but will be too embarrassed to consult a physician about the problem. The only treatment options for men who grow breasts are (a) breast reduction surgery, or (b) wearing a bra.

Why should the intimate apparel industry pay attention to this non-traditional group of potential bra buyers?

male-with-breastsFirst, their numbers are growing. While some choose surgery (over 20,000 annually, with male breast reduction surgeries up 13% since 2000), it’s not an option for everyone. Many can’t afford the cost or aren’t medically eligible. Their stories can be found on the very active gynecomastia forums, where information on bra wear is shared. There’s even a male blogger in Germany who posts helpful bra reviews. But men with breasts don’t always know where to buy a bra, or if they’ll be rejected by fitters or stores. Many find female friends or a compassionate spouse to help with basic bra issues.

Second, they have a real need. Men with breasts can’t hide their breasts under extra baggy t-shirts and jackets. They work in all industries, represent a wide range of ages, and measure from B to H cups. Many are looking for relief from constant back aches, in addition to reducing everyday bounce. Some males look for sports-like compression or classic minimizers, while others appreciate more fashionable bras. Their tastes are as varied as those of female bra buyers.

Third, men with breasts look for quality construction and exhibit solid brand loyalty. They approach bra fit and buying in a very matter-of-fact way. Those who write to me or comment on my blog posts appreciate well-made bras. They are familiar with brand names like Playtex, Wacoal, and Panache; and also Simone Perele, Empriente, and Prima Donna. Unlike some female bra buyers, they’re not splurging on a new bra because they’re dating someone new. (Quite the contrary, most men with breasts try to keep their bra wear hidden and often wear vests over shirts as extra camouflage.)

It’s not clear whether this new bra wearer is taken seriously by the intimate apparel industry. In my conversations with brands at a recent lingerie trade show, no one seemed very interested in talking about this niche market. Instead they laughed off the issue with a ‘we’ll take all customers’ attitude. This may represent a willingness to allow men to buy their bras. But there’s no real compassion for or focus on treating men as “normal” bra-buying customers.

How could this under-served group be helped? Bra brands could add a male bra fitter to their bra fitting team, if only on-line or as a phone resource. Brands might reach out to the female fitters who have fit men, and ask for their advice. Industry insiders could put together a focus group of guys who wear bras, in order to assess their needs. Bra retailers could train female employees or have policies about men who ask for bra fittings in their stores.

The bra industry could welcome this new group of bra wearers because of the very real medical reasons why men need to wear bras. As one 45-year-old male said: “it’s about time that the world is accepting that men also have boobs, and some need to wear a bra.”

What do you think? Should bra brands be doing more for the growing population of men who wear bras?

 

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Bras Don’t Cause Breast Cancer

November 3, 2014

wear-bra-no-cancerby ALLISON GOODLIN

If you want to reduce your breast cancer risk there is much you can do, but don’t stop wearing that bra. The common myth that bras cause breast cancer has been debunked according to a new study. Skipping your bra won’t reduce your cancer risk, but it is almost a certain guarantee that you’ll soon have sagging breasts.

What’s the Link between Bras and Breast Cancer?

The reasoning behind the bra and breast cancer link all comes down to lymphatic fluids. This fluid circulates throughout the body. Some believe that constricting the movement of lymphatic fluid (by wearing a bra for example) makes it more difficult for the body to filter and remove toxins leading to an increased breast cancer risk.

The study’s authors wanted to dig into this myth and discover the truth. Is there really a link between bras and breast cancer?

The study compared 469 healthy post-menopausal women with more than 1,000 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Bra-wearing habits were a primary point of comparison, everything from cup size, underwire preference, amount of time bras were worn each day, etc. The researchers found that no aspect of bra-wearing was conclusively linked to breast cancer.

quot-bra-cancerWhat does this mean for you? Quite simply the study should remove the fear behind wearing a bra. You can safely support your breasts without worrying that you’re also increasing your cancer risk. Many women wear bras and they don’t need to feel like they are putting their bodies in jeopardy to keep their breasts looking their best.

Dr. Mary Gingrass, a respected plastic surgeon from Nashville, finds the news exciting. She explains, “As a plastic surgeon my goal is to help men and women look their best. When women skip the bra, sagging quickly follows. Take care of your breasts and wear a bra. Pregnancy, breast feeding, and life will give your breasts plenty of reasons to sag over the years; don’t speed the process by skipping your bra.”

What Can You Do to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk?

If you’ve been avoiding bras for fear of breast cancer, research suggests that you can safely stop, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a few other lifestyle changes to reduce your breast cancer risk. Here are a few easy options you can try:

Eat Your Veggies - A healthy diet packed with fruits and vegetables is a great way to reduce your risk for many types of cancer, including breast cancer. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale are cancer fighting powerhouses.

mammogram-7204-1c7f0Hit the Gym - Exercise helps you to reduce your breast cancer risk in a couple of different ways. Research suggests that frequent exercise cuts breast cancer risk on its own. Exercise also fights obesity, a factor that can increase your risk of getting breast cancer.

Don’t Forget Your Mammograms! Breast cancer is highly treatable if caught early and getting regular mammograms is an excellent way to catch cancer while it is still small. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you’re due for a mammogram and get one right away if you need one.

Are you wearing your bra? If you’ve been avoiding bras or underwires to reduce your breast cancer risk a new study suggests you can safely give your breasts the support they need. Bras don’t cause breast cancer.

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Everything You Need to Know about Buying Surgical Bras

October 5, 2014

abstract-bra-confusion-bb

by ALLISON GOODLIN

When looking for a surgical bra for an upcoming breast augmentation or mastectomy it can feel like you’re swimming in a sea of confusion. Which bra will provide the support you need during healing? What are bra pockets and do you need them? What features are essential? What do you need to avoid? Let go of the confusion and let us show you the way. When you know what to look for, buying a surgical bra doesn’t have to be a mind boggling process.

Surgical Bra Essentials

These must have features will ensure that your surgical bra is comfortable and supportive from the day after surgery until your healing is complete. Every feature on this list is a must so don’t compromise. Read more

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Real Reasons Women Get Breast Implants

September 24, 2014

By ELISABETH DALE

Why do women get breast implants? It’s the No 1 cosmetic surgery in the US, even though it carries with it the burden of judgment and dismissal. So what’s driving these women? Are they young and insecure? Superficial? Desperate?

The answers might surprise you.

Of the 300,000 implant procedures in the US in 2013 (up 37% since 2000 and still rising), the breakdown by age, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, goes like this:

2013 ASAP Breast Augmentations, by Age

13-19                                     8,234

20-29                                   83,638

30-39                                 105,877

40-54                                   85,516

55+                                       6,934

Note the largest group: 30 to 39-year-old women. Not recent grads. Not porn stars. Not young women on the prowl.

What could be their motivation?

Most 30 to 39-year-olds are … Read more

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Surgeons Recommendations for Bras after Breast Reconstruction

September 10, 2014

By Allison Goodlin
abstract-nude

For many women their breasts are an important part of their identity as a woman. When cancer, congenital deformities, or other problems interfere with the breast tissue it can be an experience that challenges confidence and causes intense frustration. Luckily, breast reconstruction is an option for many women, restoring confidence and helping women to love the way they look once again.

After breast reconstruction that go-to favorite bra you loved before probably won’t fit the same way you remember. Reconstructed breasts may look and feel natural, but the implants and surgical techniques used do change the way that bras fit, making bra shopping a whole new experience. Dr. Steven Robinson, a breast surgeon at Ohio Plastic Surgeons, Inc. has put together some … Read more

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Dos and Don’ts of Bra Shopping after Breast Augmentation

August 14, 2014

by Allison Goodlinafter-augmentation
One of the things women most look forward to after breast augmentation surgery is getting brand new, stylish bras to show off their enhanced figure. Many dream of a trip to their favorite lingerie store to pick up the latest fashionable looks. Bra shopping after breast augmentation is an exciting time; here are some tips from Dr. Nina S. Naidu, a New York plastic surgeon, to help make your bra shopping a success.

Bra Shopping after Breast Augmentation Dos

Wear the Right Bra at the Right Time ~ While fancy lace undergarments might start calling your name soon after your bandages are removed; wait until you have your doctor’s approval before you start wearing a regular bra. A support bra may … Read more

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Five Signs It’s Time to Throw Away Old Bras

July 28, 2014

By Elisabeth Dale

CIMG0004-210x210I hate having to throw away old bras. I’m not even sure why it’s so hard. I know they don’t last forever.

Yet many feel like good friends, and it’s tough to let go of these formerly supportive relationships. Sometimes I remember where I bought a particular bra, in what city or store, who I was with, and if I wore it on a special occasion. I’ve got some great personal memories stashed in some of my old bras.

But there’s no way to make room for new lingerie friendships without clearing out some of the tired and messy bra clutter in my life.

If you are reluctant to throw away old bras, these five signs may make the job a little Read more

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Elisabeth Dale

 
BREAST BRIEFS ~ All about breast health and breast related topics
 

Contributing Authors Include: ELISABETH DALE and ALLISON GOODLIN

 

 
ELISABETH DALE is an internationally renowned breast expert and author, and the founder of www.TheBreastLife.com. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Tyra Banks Show, BBC World News, NPR, and has been featured in The New York Times, Cosmo, Glamour, Men’s Health, and the Sunday London Times.
 
In her book, bOObs: A Guide to Your Girls, and on her website, Elisabeth entertains, educates and encourages AAA through KK cups to learn more about their bodies and support the changes their breasts go through from puberty to motherhood and menopause.
 

 
At TheBreastLife.com, women can bare and share their intimate feelings and stories about their bodies (mammoirs), and experience a safe haven to explore new and innovative products, services, clothing, and surgical options. You can visit www.TheBreastLife.com to find the best breast gear and garments that have earned The Breast Life Seal of Approval from a trusted community of product testers, and share your finds and feelings with an active community of other smart, stylish and interested women.
 

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ALLISON GOODLIN

Allison is a professional writer, who enjoys writing about health, beauty tips, and skin care. She has written for several beauty blogs and fashion publications, but has recently found an interest in the plastic surgery industry. After overcoming breast cancer, Allison has focused her research on breast surgeries, with emphasis on patient lifestyle after breast augmentation, breast lifts and especially breast reconstruction for cancer patients. She is dedicated to informing seasoned and future patients on the how-to’s after breast surgery.
 
She truly feels that each patient should experience the excitement of purchasing lingerie once your new look has finally healed and with the experienced surgical advice, patients will be equipt with the information to enjoy their buying experience.