Have you ever shopped for something — say, an item for your house or another everyday product — and been floored to find out what it costs? Well, here at Face Junky, we’re shaking off the sticker shock to examine why certain products are so dang expensive. Today’s item: bras. There are more options than ever for size, cut and material at a wider range of price points, but how much should you spend to get one that will last?
Whether you’re an A cup or larger than a DD, you’ve likely been frustrated at some point in your life by how much you’ve had to spend on a bra. But when you find a good one, you’ll likely wear it until it’s quite literally falling apart.
To understand the bra industry, TMRW sat down with two experts, who broke down the ins and outs and what to look for the next time you’re bra shopping.
Bras are made from a lot of pieces
A single bra is comprised of many more pieces than other clothing items, such as shirts or pants, and “without economies of scale, you’re paying up for all the components,” Cordeiro Grant explained. “Within one bra, there’s as many as 25 components,” such as clasps, straps and adjusters.
“If you’re a small company … you’re not going to get the price advantage as if you’re running 10,000 or 60,000 units,” she added. “If you’re running just five 34Bs, six 36Bs … that makes it really expensive.”
Smaller clothing makers can reach economies of scale more easily if they use a mill that’s already making fabric for several different companies. But this is much harder to find for 25 bra components in the dozens of sizes and styles bras come in, compared to four or so for T-shirts, Corderio Grant said.
What’s more, big box chains might be able to afford to price bras lower and take the financial loss because they’re making it up with other products, according to Harrington.