I hear this statistic everywhere. Sometimes it changes a bit. Sometimes it's 80%. Sometimes 70%, sometimes it's even written as 8 out of 10. But the general message stays the same.
It sounds sort of impressive, doesn't it? 85% of women. Well, I'm a pretty big advocate of getting a correctly fitting bra and I do believe that most women are indeed wearing a bra that's not right for them. But I'm skeptical about this particular statistic.
See, I would like for this to have come from some real study. But as many of my readers have probably guessed, I am a skilled and very thorough researcher. And when I encounter something like this on the internet, I frequently find that it is misreported, or just plain comes from nowhere. I always try to dig deeper, find the original research, find out where things came from.
So when I started to hear this statistic, I tried, and tried, to find where it originated from. I would have loved to have actually found something. There are very, very, very few studies on breasts or bra fitting. Most of what we know about the health benefits of a bra that fits are very anecdotal. Some more formalized research would be really nice. But I could not find anything, at all, about where this statistic might have originated from.
And then, even if that was a real study, how would you define a bra that fits, or doesn't, for the purpose of a study? Even so-called "experts" routinely put women in horribly fitting bra. There is no REAL research about the "correct fit," or how that might affect your health, that I have ever been able to find. I think that many Americans are still just unwilling to accept that there might be health reasons, and not just marketing/cosmetic reasons, for having your bra fit correctly.
I see this statistic used primarily as a marketing/scare tactic by lingerie companies. Then, so often, the same companies "re-fit" women into bras that still don't fit. But because the company has "fitted" these women into the "correct size," these women stubbornly believe that now they are wearing the right size, and that bras "just suck" or are painful, by definition. They won't seek out a new fitting, because the scary "fitter" pushed whatever size it was.
You would think that, if these companies actually cared about this statistic, they'd be making steps to change it for the better- and it would have changed over the several years it's been floating around.
So, I think it is safe to say that this is a pretty much meaningless statistic that gets thrown around because it's convenient. Maybe it originated with Oprah. Who knows? But I wouldn't trust it.
However, I DO think that the majority of women are wearing an ill fitting bra size. I would personally estimate it to be much closer to 90% or more. Yes really. Just In the city where I live, there isn't a single store you can even buy sizes outside of 32-48 A-DD. I suspect the average woman needs a 28-32 band size and above a D cup- and that's not even available here. The only people I know or have seen who are wearing correctly fitting bras are people I have fit myself. I would guess that out of the 90,000 people in my immediate area, less than 10 are wearing a bra that fits them right. That's certainly more than 90% wearing the wrong size. ;-)
In the end, it doesn't really matter what percentage of women wear the wrong bra size. What matters is helping women to find bras that fit, and that they can feel comfortable and beautiful in. So maybe, instead of repeating this statistic over and over again ad nauseum, we could just focus on the health and other benefits of wearing a bra that fits. Or better yet, could we have some real research? Pretty please?