Why are good quality bras so expensive?
Universal truth number one: there is no such thing as a ‘perfect bra’ that pleases everyone.
Universal truth number two: good quality bras are never cheap and cheap bras are rarely good quality.
At first glance, the humble bra seems like a straightforward, easy-to-make garment, and you'd think that in 2022 there would be many beautiful, comfortable, and good quality bras available. But, there isn’t!
The reality is much more complex as bras are the most sophisticated garment to make. They take a lot of time, effort and money to create and manufacture.
So, let’s unravel the mystery of the intimate apparel industry and creating a good quality bra!
What is included in the retail price of good quality bras?
Designing good quality bras
Before a bra can be made, it has to be designed. There are dozens of bra styles to choose from, and the design process varies considerably. When you create a unique bra, you have to start from scratch, which requires more time and research. It took Francesca and me more than six months to develop our idea for Infiniti Bra.
Research and development
Good quality bras have to go through rigorous research and development. We are still working with a professional lingerie design team to assess Infiniti Bra fully and make sure it ticks all the boxes. Engineers and lingerie designers are expensive, but it’s money well spent. Our team understands intimate apparel, fit points, and matching bra shape to body shape.
Number of components
Fabrics, components, molded cups, nursing slings, shoulder straps, and embellishments all drive price up. The fewer pieces involved, the lower the overall cost. Some bras are made up of 15 to 100 elements!
Fabrics and accessories
While cotton, silk, and satin are classic bra materials, there are also more elaborate fabrics created in labs during years of research. Bras that are made of higher quality materials cost more. Also, larger lingerie brands buy in bulk and can easily meet the minimum purchase order set by fabric manufacturers (often 10,000 yards). Smaller lingerie brands don’t have that buying power, that’s why their bras are more expensive.
Construction and testing
It can take a few years to create and test a new bra. The construction of Infiniti Bra was made by us and our lingerie designer, in collaboration with a fantastic manufacturer. Infiniti bra has needed eight rounds of prototypes and testing to validate its design. But lingerie is more than construction; it's also about sizing.
The shape and weight of a larger bust are different from a smaller one. These differences require new designs, patterns, and materials, and every size has to be tested and prototyped several times. A bra engineered to fit a B cup is often altered to support a G cup, and these changes can take years to perfect and they all add on to the final cost.
Manufacturing good quality bras
Or more specifically, labor costs. Did you know that all lingerie is handmade? Yes! Lingerie is mass-produced, not by machines, but by people!
Every section of a bra has to be cut to the perfect size. These sections are then sewn together by hand with industrial sewing machines or assembled mechanically. The more pieces, components, and embellishments, the more handwork! If the stitching on a bra is even slightly off, that bra is completely useless.
When you realize that hundreds of skilled workers crafted your bra, the price tag suddenly makes a lot more sense. And don’t forget marketing, packaging and all the other operating expenses such as rent, electricity and other fees.
Why you shouldn’t buy cheap bras
Now that you know what is included in the retail price of good quality bras, you can understand what steps are missing from cheap ones. For instance, the fabric may feel rough and uncomfortable and you may notice that they use plastic hardware instead of metal to cut costs. The cups may not be lined and overall the bra is usually plainer. All these factors mean that your bra won’t do its job as well and it won’t last long, which is unhealthy for your breast health and very unsustainable for the world.
A $50+ bra is well designed and made. In this price range, you’ll notice a considerable increase in quality, comfort, and fit.
But everyone has different needs and priorities, and it is not mandatory to care about all the things listed above. What matters is that you are happy and confident, and your breasts are supported.
Remember that your boobs are amazing and unique, and the only pair you’ll ever have, so make sure you take care of them! Check out our blog on how bra sizing works too!