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Bras aren’t anatomically obliged to support breasts, but are worn in answer to cultural influences. Women’s choices about what bra to wear are consciously and unconsciously influenced by social perceptions of the ideal female body form, which changes over time. As lingerie, bras are about expressing female sex attraction and expressions of sexual fantasy. Bras are used to make a declaration as evidenced by Jean Paul Gautier’s designs and Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour.

In the 1920s in the United States, the fashion was to flatten the breasts as typified in the Flapper era. throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the sweater girl became fashionable, supported by a bullet bra recognized also as a torpedo or cone bra as worn by Jane Russell and Patti Page. In the early 1960s, smaller breasts gained popularity, and in the late 1990s bigger breasts became more fashionable. Iris Marion Young portrayed preferences in the United States in 1990: “round, sitting high on the chest, big but not bulbous, with the look of firmness.” This is regarded as contradictory in some number of ways.

As outerwear, bras in the form of bikini tops in the 1950s became the satisfactory public display in modern times. throughout the 1960s, designers and manufacturers presented padded and underwire bras. After the Miss America protest in September 1968, manufacturers were worried that women could stop wearing bras. In answer, many altered their marketing and claimed that wearing their bra was like “not wearing a bra”. In the 1970s women sought more comfy and natural looking bras.

Victoria’s Secret commissions a fantasy bra every fall. In 2003 it hired the jeweller Mouawad to design one containing more than 2,500 carats of diamonds and sapphires, valued at USD$10 million, it was the world’s most priceless bra at the time.

It became fashionable from the early 1990s to wear clothing that showed bra straps. Sports bras, in specific, are frequently worn as outerwear. Versace’s Fall 2013 Couture collection shown fashions that were open in the front, revealing underwire bras.

Madonna was one of the 1st to start showing her bra straps, in the late 1980s. A corset she wore as outerwear throughout her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour sold for USD$52,000 in 2012 at the Christie’s Pop Culture auction in London.

Wearing clothes that reveal the bra or straps became so common that Cosmopolitan produced terms in 2012 on how to expose them. Advice included keeping away from plain, flesh toned, smooth cup bras, so that the contact doesn’t appear accidental, ensuring the bra is in good condition, and wearing a style that either matches the colour of the outerwear or is considerably different.

Bras aren’t worn around the globe, in some third world countries bras may cost up to 1030 hours of a woman’s wages, making them unaffordable to most of the population. As of 2011, women in Fiji required to pay up to a week’s wages for a new bra. Bras are greatly prized at second hand markets in West Africa. The Uplift Project gives recycled bras to women in developing countries. Since 2005 they shipped 330,000, as well as to Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and Cambodia.
German pole vaulter Flo Khnert wearing an athletic support bra typically called a sports bra.

Surveys have stated that 525 of Western women don’t wear a bra. A Harris Poll commissioned by Playtex asked more than 1,000 women what they like in a bra. Among the respondents, 67 said they favor wearing a bra to going braless, while 85 wanted to wear a “shape enhancing bra that feels like nothing at all.” They were split as regards underwire bras: 49 said they favor underwire bras, the same as those who said they favor wireless bras.

As indicated by underwire maker S & S Industries of New York, who supply bras to Victoria’s Secret, Bali, Warner’s, Playtex, Vanity just and other labels, about 70 of bra wearing women wear underwire bras.

In an online survey for All You magazine in 2013, 25 of women stated that they don’t wear a bra every day. A “National No Bra Day” was 1st observed in the United States on nine July in 2011. Women posted on Twitter about the break they feel when taking off their bra. More than 250,000 people expressed an interest in “attending” the day on a Facebook page.