We hear a lot about Millennials on a daily basis, what they do, what they wear, what they eat, and how they do everything. So what’s the latest nugget? Well, it’s about the bras they buy.
Yes, researcher NPD informed us this week that the bra of choice for Millennials is… wait for it … the sports bra.
Bras have always been technological marvels but this is real ‘wearable tech’. Forget jackets that can turn on your central heating or jeans with LED lights in them. What most women want technology to do is create a bra that supports with comfort and doesn’t show through your clothes (unless you want it to, of course).
Maybe that’s not much of a surprise as this is the athleisure generation after all. But it’s pretty significant for all those firms still making traditional bras. Are their days numbered or will our bra-buying behaviour go through one of those cyclical shifts that have characterised the past 70s years?
Yes, we’ve been there before. We went from those conical, heavily-stitched and structured bras of the 50s to soft, sheer bras just a decade later and within a few years of that to no bras at all. There was even a bra called the Nipple Bra back then – it gave you support while letting your nipples show through as if you weren’t wearing one.
But it soon flipped back so that by the late 80s and early 90s it was a Wonderbra world, its push-up power reflecting that wide-shouldered, mini-skirted decade perfectly.
It’s gone in the other direction since with materials tech giving us softer, pull-on bras that offer more support than those sheers of the 60s managed. And fast forward to the middle of this decade and support-with-softness is even more of a priority. That means the sports bra rules.
NPD says sizing ease and long-term comfort are top-of-mind, not maximum cleavage. Millennials start their bra wardrobe with sports bras and these seamless, activewear bras remain a wardrobe staple.
But while 41% of Millennials told NPD they wore a sports bra in the past seven days, that number was much lower, just 21%, among non-Millennial women, according to the 2015 Bra Journey Insights report from global information company The NPD Group.
Millennials and non-Millennials alike put availability of their size, long-term comfort, durability, and support at the top of their bra brand purchase decision, but Millennials also focus on coverage and instilling a feeling of confidence in their body. Non-Millennials keep their emphasis on style, coverage, and quality.
“Comfort is a dominant theme throughout the fashion world, and today’s bra consumer, especially Millennials, is seeking both physical and personal comfort,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry analyst. “The characteristics and simplicity of sports and seamless bras are a natural fit in this comfort-focused environment, while providing more fit flexibility and ease of shopping. Brands that take note of these key elements will be more likely to stay with Millennials as they mature.”