How the Lingerie Industry Fails to Design for Most Women

What are some things the mainstream lingerie industry gets wrong regularly when designing for women? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Heidi Zak, Co-Founder of ThirdLove, on Quora.

Oh, where to start? Almost all retailers, including lingerie brands, design products with a "one to many" approach. What I mean by that is that there are standard fit models that most brands use to design their product specs. For bras, companies use a 34B fit model as the "ideal standard" and then evenly grade up and down to get to a 34A and 34C, for example. That means ONE fit model (who is a 34B) creates the sizing for literally millions of women. It's kind of crazy when you really think about it.

What we do differently at ThirdLove is use real women's aggregate measurements, body shapes and other input to design each size independently. We look at a 36C or a 34F or a 32B ½ (yes - we added our own unique ½-cups too!) independently and create the right, nuanced specs for a woman of that specific size. We understand that every woman's body is different, and we design bras from a MANY to ONE approach - i.e. the opposite of traditional retailers.

We size our bras on real women and invite friends of the brand, many local women and our employees to wear-test our products before we launch them in each and every size to make sure our bras really do fit real women right.

Last point here: we focus on quality over quantity at ThirdLove. Bra shopping can be very confusing and overwhelming. Whether online or in a store, sometimes you're looking for the best Strapless, or T-shirt Bra or Wireless, and there are literally hundreds of options. How do you know which one is best when there are too many to choose from? We focus all of our energy here on creating best-in-class products -- which is why we only have one Strapless Bra. And that Strapless Bra is the best one out there. We took over two years to develop it -- the first one we created wasn't good enough, so we pulled it and stopped selling it and went back to the drawing board. We knew we wanted to provide women with a strapless that you never have to tug on to keep up, and one that gives you a great shape under any dress or top. And, based on the customer feedback we've received, I think we've done just that.

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