Bra –

It fas­ci­nates both the wearer and the on­looker. Vo Bravado!

Woman's Era - - Short Story - By Ma­haraaj K. Koul

emerged as a sign of free­dom for women in the West. It freed them from the con­fines of the corset; they could wear uni­forms and work in fac­to­ries when World War I broke out. It en­abled them to en­gage in sports and gain­ful em­ploy­ment. The fe­male form got a new shape, with less dis­com­fort and be­came more ac­ces­si­ble to the male grasp!

Dr Mary E. John, ex-di­rec­tor, Centre for Women’s De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies, New Delhi, says: “Fem­i­nism has not taken up the bra as an is­sue. It is as com­pul­sory a wear as it ever was. The bra isn’t going to dis­ap­pear.” And it never did. In­stead, what was once an “un­men­tion­able” now stands out. Ear­lier a peek­a­boo for the male eye, the bra is now flaunted as a state­ment in ur­ban ar­eas and even in In­dia – a strap here, some lace there.

Adds Dr John: “It’s per­form­ing a dif­fer­ent func­tion now. It’s an ex­pres­sion of sex­u­al­ity, within cer­tain codes.”

Time was when un­der­gar­ments were func­tional, un­com­fort­able, un­men­tion­able, bought in hur­ried em­bar­rass­ment. That’s changed. Your bot­tom drawer can bulge with a froth of teeny thin­gies, some for­eign con­tenders mak­ing tri­umphal en­tries by the month, with desi man­u­fac­tur­ers claim­ing that their de­signs are spe­cially for­mu­lated for In­dian shapes and skins. They even have a brand name --- In­ner­wear --- which sounds sassy and classy! are un­aware of their right size. Af­ter de­cid­ing on a size, it’s good to try a bra for spillage or dis­com­fort.

A Chen­nai-born, San Fran­cis­cobased soft­ware en­gi­neer de­cided to do some­thing about it. Aarthi Ramaswamy used her tal­ent for cod­ing to help women find the right bra fit on­line.

The young en­trepreneurs say a bra is a com­pli­cated piece of work, fit­ted with over 20 com­po­nents. Ev­ery bra fit­ter has a set of heuris­tics or un­writ­ten rules in his head when search­ing for the best­fit­ting bra for a woman. “We baked these un­writ­ten rules into a code and cre­ated a sys­tem where, when the user shares spe­cific de­tails through a quiz (for in­stance, what breast shape – round, bot­tom, sides or sides+bot­tom – are you), we are able to de­ter­mine which set of bras work best for her.”

Mean­while, re­searchers from the Hong Kong Polytech­nic Univer­sity say that not only a “woman’s breast is a very com­plex, 3D ge­om­e­try but that the siz­ing may be in­ap­pro­pri­ate in the cat­e­go­riza­tion of breast sizes for bras.” They say that there are more than 100 key mea­sure­ments nec­es­sary to pro­duce the bra with the per­fect fit, and that the sizes should be based on a new depth/width ra­tio or ‘DWR’.

They have now low­ered their 100 mea­sure­ments to 8 fac­tors to de­scribe the breast shape --- over­all build, breast vol­ume, in­ner, out and lower breast shape, height and gra­di­ent and ori­en­ta­tion. The new DWR method will help them in­crease the num­ber of ex­ist­ing bra sizes by be­tween 8 and 16 size com­bi­na­tions of­fer­ing more choices to buy­ers. This is the first time that a bra-siz­ing sys­tem pro­to­col has been pro­posed based on 3D nude breast char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Mean­while, be­ing busty sure comes with a heavy price, and it’s not just re­stricted to ogling eyes, for even bras’ prices in­crease with

GET­TING THE RIGHT SIZE THE YOUNG EN­TREPRENEURS SAY A BRA IS A COM­PLI­CATED PIECE OF WORK, FIT­TED WITH OVER 20 COM­PO­NENTS. EV­ERY BRA FIT­TER HAS A SET OF HEURIS­TICS OR UN­WRIT­TEN RULES IN HIS HEAD WHEN SEARCH­ING FOR THE BEST-FIT­TING BRA FOR A WOMAN.

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