Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Guitar Hero: 4'33"

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Swinging Bra

Protection from Gravity, plus Freedom
  (+5, -7)
(+5, -7)
  [vote for,

Since I'm not an expert on women's undergarments, it could be that this is an old idea that doesn't need further exposure, and so should be deleted. On the other hand, if something like this was in moderate use, I probably would have noticed.... :)

If you have ever heard of Isaac Asimov, you probably know that he wrote a lot of books on a lot of topics. Only one of them was published not-immediately under his own name: "The Sensuous Dirty Old Man", by "Dr. A". In this book he describes the bra as B.R.A., "Breast Restraint Apparattus", designed to minimize both motion and the viewing pleasure of half the human species. (He also describes the motto of women who rebelled against such restriction as "Let's Incinerate Bras", or L.I.B.)

Now, bras do have a useful purpose. There are a lot of old issues of National Geographic Magazine in which the result of not-wearing a bra for forty years is plain to see. Gravity just does not treat breast tissue kindly, over time. So the question is, "How can we give women the benefit of bras without destroying the freedom of motion that men like to see, while the bras are in use?"

I suggest something like a pair of slings. Start with a long strip of cloth, say 10cm wide (the width more than the length will depend on breast size). Let's start at the left shoulder, where the cloth is placed flat against the skin. The strip flows down toward the left breast, and the left edge of the strip moves away from the skin and angles toward the front of the breast. The strip then passes beneath the breast and goes back up toward the left side of the neck. A simple straight strip of cloth should be able to do this, but bunching-up of the cloth under the breast needs to be prevented. A somewhat D-shaped piece of wire might be sewn into the strip, where the flatter side of the D is at the edge of the strip that is placed against the chest, while the width of the D is the same as the width of the cloth. (The D should also have a bend in it to match the curve of the cloth under the breast, and so I said, "somewhat D-shaped piece of wire".)

At the neck the cloth strip goes around behind, and back down toward the left side of the right breast. It passes underneath (assisted by another wire) and heads back toward the right shoulder. The two ends of the strip are then connected, again behind the neck, possibly using something like Velcro (which allows for adjustment to accommodate a range of breast sizes).

I should mention that if the cloth strip was doubled, and the two wires were free to move along the strip in-between the two layers, then this also would allow relative-position-adjustment such as could accommodate many women.

Thus is the weight of the breasts supported against gravity, without confining them so totally as ordinary bras, that even women protest. Some experimentation may be useful, to determine what variation works best (an O-shaped wire may sort-of "roll" against the chest better than a D shape, but might be less comfortable).

Vernon, Aug 18 2005

Review of "The Sensuous Dirty Old Man" http://homepage.mac.../Books/Book112.html
In case you thought Vernon was just making this up. [jutta, Aug 18 2005]

Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown http://gendertree.c..._of_a_strapless.htm
The seminal tretise on the subject [csea, Aug 18 2005]

Nipple covers http://www.seenontv..._nipple_covers.html
As mentioned in an annotation [Vernon, Aug 19 2005]

Invention of the bra http://www.snopes.c...ess/origins/bra.asp
Wasn't Titsling, nor Brasierre [csea, Oct 20 2005]


       This design seems to concentrate all the weight on the neck rather than the shoulders (which are more capable of bearing weight). Maybe you could add something to the design to transfer the weight onto the shoulders and mid-back, but then you might end up with something close to a conventional bra.
st3f, Aug 18 2005

       [jutta], thanks for the link!   

       [st3f], that's a good point. 'Tis a good thing at the end I specified that experimentaion on variants could be useful!   

       Let's see...start with an even longer cloth strip. From the initial starting point at the left shoulder, instead of connecting with its opposite at the right shoulder, it passes down behind the back toward the right underarm. Then the strip goes around in front, above the breasts, toward the other arm. The strip at the right shoulder does the equivalent at the right arm, and the connection is in front. How's that for getting some of the weight off the neck?
Vernon, Aug 18 2005

       Another problem is that you just have to cover your nipples when wearing certain clothes. Really soft t shirts are no problem without a bra but you try wearing a slightly stiffer shirt all day whilst walking around. The friction of the fabric and the up and down movement of the breast lead to v. sore nips indeed. Believe me. You seem to aiming to maximise this effect, you old sadist, you.   

       That would be a minus from me but, as you are trying to invent an alternative to bras, I'll remain neutral (don't like wearing bras).
squeak, Aug 18 2005

       [squeak], I've heard that there is some sort of "nipple cap" that women sometimes get, when they want to reduce the visibility of an at-random stiffened nipple. Seems to me that they could also be used to protect from soreness?   

       Or...(inspiration strikes), consider a kind of patch that you attach to the inside of one of those coarse blouses. The material of the patch is non-irritating (and very thin, so the patch is as unnoticeable as possible from the outside of the other fabric).
Vernon, Aug 18 2005

       I would like to see an illustration of this because it reads to me as a haltertop from which you push the front under the breasts and maybe add a few strings.   

       Besides that: One of the reasons breasts tend to hang whith the climing of age, is that the skin tissue loses its hydrogen (like the rest of your skin) and with it its elasticity.
Also, the milk glands shrink after the meno-pauze, leaving less 'filling'.

       And even disregarding all of the above; any holder that leaves the breasts free to dangle, also leaves it at the whim of tension. There are more pulls then just gravity [Vernon] I think you know that.   

       the reason for covering nipples in any clothing is beyond me. But then again, so is plastic churgiry.   

       P.s.: the only way I know that will keep breasts firm (even without a bra) for very long is icy cold showers.
Susan, Aug 18 2005

       [Susan], thanks for the info. (Do you happen to know if stimulation, even after menopause, helps reduce shrinkage of the milk glands?) Not much I can do about an illustration at this time. Not to mention that experimentation really is warranted, to reach the most effective/comfortable design, before an illustration is made. I think this is a terrific opportunity for an inventor of the female persuasion. After which, perhaps, this Idea may prove worthy, or perhaps merely remain Half-Baked forever.   

       Regarding straps, I don't know why ANY bra has such narrow cutting straps. A wide strip of cloth, as I specified, helps to spread the load!   

       About the tensions from swinging, yes, I had thought about that, but concluded that since gravity is by far the worst and most constant offender, it is the thing most needing to be handled. For those occasions when a woman feels she will be too active for this sort of bra, the ordinary bras will likely still be available.
Vernon, Aug 18 2005

       Alas [Vernon] it is the way of (wo)man that when the eggs are gone, so is the need for milk glands. Unless off course there is a female out there who would like to nurse a child into his/her fourties.   

       There has already been an invention for women who have larger breasts (I've seen it on Oprah (I know, I know)) but I'd have to google for it. The main feature is a bridge on the shoulder, distributing the 'load'.   

       On a more personal note: Women in general don't like 'them' bouncing around. It draws the attention away from our other faculties (such as our brain) which might explain the 3 fishbones and not much annotations from the girls.   

       //Not to mention that experimentation really is warranted, to reach the most effective/comfortable design, before an illustration is made.//
Is that a call for test subjects?

       In all fairness: could this idea be inspired by a man's desire to see more bouncing?
Susan, Aug 18 2005

       [Susan], nursing a baby isn't the only sort of possible stimulation for the breasts, as I'm sure you know, heh heh.   

       Regarding detraction from brainpower, yes and no. I agree that women are more likely to fishbone this idea than men (and am surprised that only [st3f] from the guys has anno'd, albeit with a technical fishbone).   

       Still, I'm certain there are times when gals want to stupify guys. Skipping a bra altogether is not always done only because of discomfort or hot days. Also, consider the process of putting on makeup to become more "attractive" -- as in "attract" -- a purely physical method, that!, which does not much advertise brainpower. Anyway, part of the purpose of this Idea is to give women having chosen that particular (and, yes, usually temporary) mind-set something of the braless effect, while minimizing the long-term price exacted by gravity. I never said this type of bra was intended to permanently replace the ordinary type.   

       Regarding volunteers, my current situation (as normal for my life: unexplainably weird) does not include an opportunity to take advantage of that. And, women who like this Idea really don't need me to experiment with it enough to decide if some variant is workable, since the description here is pretty thorough.   

       Finally, this Idea is intended to be a compromise of several issues, not just a thing for male satisfaction. Just consider the dichotomy between disliking the confiment of a bra, AND disliking all the motion that happens when no bra is worn. Compromise is the ONLY solution there!
Vernon, Aug 18 2005

       [vernon] I sincerely hope this does not offend you: You are cracking me up! It could be my mind-set but when I read //stupify guys// I'm getting this picture in my head which involves physical movement of bodily parts.   

       Reading between the lines though I do acknowledge the duality in women. Putting on make-up to attract men but refuting the claim of the importance of physical importance.   

       So.. back to the idea. I'm going to be honest about it. I hate bra's. I wear them only for the aformentioned reasons (the: drawing attention part). They give me headaches and are all-round uncomfortable to wear. You might be on to something if you could find a way to lose the strings. I would kill for a bra wich would be soft and easy to wear and would still be able to reduce the bouncing to a minimal. The problem is: once you go soft, you lose support (of the breasts) because, comparing to fabric, they are very heavy.   

       I think any bra that distributes the weight over the shouderblades, instead of the neck or shoulder bones would work better. So again: you might be on to something.
Susan, Aug 18 2005

       I've provided a [link] to what I believe is the earliest and most complete scientific paper on the subject.
csea, Aug 18 2005

       [Susan], you're welcome. I confess to have deliberately used quite a few words here that can imply more than they say in strict context. "Stupify" was just one of them.... And Thank You, for the encouragement!   

       [csea], yes, that paper is indeed a classic.   

       [Pa`ve], yes, the drive to reproduce is claimed to be at the root of a large percentage of progress (if you get rich doing something new, you can afford a lot of kids, see?).
Vernon, Aug 19 2005

       Here is another suggestion for the route taken by that long strip of cloth:
The strip needs to be quite long, perhaps 3 meters (10ft). Start at left shoulder as before, where the strip goes down below the left breast and back up again. BOTH ends of the strip now go behind the back toward the right underarm. Both pass in front of the chest above the breasts, toward the left underarm. Then the strip goes behind the back toward the right shoulder, and the loop is completed below the right breast. The actual connection point of the ends of the strip can be as previously described, in front, above the breasts.

       It occurs to me that putting the thing on by oneself might not be so easy from that description, so I'll try again:
Put the middle of the strip against the chest, above the breasts. Take each end to the side under the arm and around behind the back, and toward the opposite shoulder (the ends cross behind the back). Each end now goes over the shoulder and below a breast and back up again. Over the shoulder and behind the back to cross again, finally going aound the sides under the arms in front, where the ends are connected above the breasts.

       That's a lot of cloth. I suppose that if such a strip is applied to an ordinary clothing-store dummy, the strip can be sewn and clipped to reduce the amount of material. As [st3f] indicated in his post, the result may end up resembling a standard bra -- but the opportunity IS here to have both swinging and non-swinging versions (in front, where the loop ascends from the breast and crosses the horizontal strip, sewing them together should reduce motion).
Vernon, Aug 19 2005

       after picking myself up from the floor, disentangling my various limbs and painfully replacing a dislocated shoulder by thumping it against a brick wall reminiscent of Martin Riggs, the thought occurs to me - can I remove this bra from beneath my t-shirt with one hand?
po, Aug 19 2005

       No, but anyone else can.
angel, Aug 19 2005

       [po], heh, if the simple unsewn cloth strip is used, I imagine you could take it off with one hand (it would sort-of be an unwinding kind of thing). If the minimal-cloth sewn-up version was used, it would be a unit that you put your arms though the appropriate openings, not unlike the arm-holes in a buttoned blouse, after which the strap in front is connected above the breasts, and the breasts are placed into the looping supports. One-handed removal probably wouldn't be simple, because of the arm-holes.
Vernon, Aug 19 2005

       Note to girls: Do not wear this bra with a low-cut top.   

       (Someone will, though. There are enough women who wear conventional bras with halter-neck tops etc. Classy)
squeak, Aug 19 2005

       I agree with [sqeak], I never did understand why girls thought that the more you see their bra the sexier they look. But unfortunately I have to fishbone this idea. Making bras more complicated just so men don't get robbed of the pleasure of watching our "swing" seems like such a dumb idea to me. Although, in the defense, it was a man that thought of bras in the first place, so I can't say much.
babyhawk, Aug 19 2005

       I always find these ideas tough to visuallize without drawings. Ok, I admit I'm too lazy to read through the idea and all of the annos and a drawing would remove the need to.
Worldgineer, Aug 19 2005

       //if the simple unsewn cloth strip is used, I imagine you could take it off with one hand (it would sort-of be an unwinding kind of thing)// yeah, it was unwrapping myself like a mummy that sent me crashing to the floor but I won't hold it against you - all in aid of science or fashion or whatever...
po, Aug 19 2005

       [po], just do it slower next time. And, that could be interestingly effective when you are in "performing" mind-set mode. :)   

       [squeak], that thought did occur to me. This is partly the reason why the strap-connection should be something not-too-visible, like Velcro instead of metal hooks. Also, I sometimes wonder why bras are usually white or black. At first glance, the physical arrangement of an ordinary bra and a bikini-top are pretty similar, so why do women worry so much about a bra being visible? (For therapy, go see the movie "Splash", and dare yourself to be as bold as the actress (NOT the character she portrayed!) who put on her upper garments out-of-order.) It seems to me that a range of colors for bras would allow the worry to be dismissed, and that upper-chest-strap of this type of bra could be visible and match the rest of the outer garment.
Vernon, Aug 19 2005

       :) our Dawn French wore her bra on the outside of her top to great effect - I think it was for comic relief!   

       that's the charity event in case you were wondering.
po, Aug 19 2005

       //Although, in the defense, it was a man that thought of bras in the first place//
I think not. Similar garments are shown in wall-paintings of the second millenium BC, and recognizable a bra and briefs on a 4th century AD Sicilian mosaic. The modern form of the bra was invented in 1893 by Marie Tucek , or in 1913 by Mary Phelps-Jacobs, depending on how you interpret the term.
angel, Aug 19 2005

       I think you're on the right track (I am very appreciative of my partner's halter neck bra -probably yet another of those uncomfy things that men like and women complain about, but there you go). I also like this idea of turning a bra into a really nice article of clothing, bra straps generally look quite unattractive on display but are sometimes hard to conceal. Bra straps made of wide bright ribbon would look nicer and be comfier.   

       [squeak] - Only ever wear silk blouses. Another problem solved by [wagster].   

       [po] - Did you really.....??
wagster, Aug 19 2005

       [angel] I stand corrected. I have always been under the impression that it was a man that invented the type of bra we wear today. And the corset. But it seems that you know what you are talking about, so I will quit while I am only behind by a little. ;)
babyhawk, Aug 20 2005

       Some further research indicates that it was a woman who invented the bra see [link].
csea, Oct 20 2005


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle