Lingerie retailers will need to improve their customer service if they want to convince consumers to let go of their old faithful bras, a study by heritage corsetiere Rigby & Peller warns.
In a survey of 2,000 women, over a third admitted wearing just two bras on rotation, while three in 10 women have been wearing their same two pieces for over 10 years.
While its reassuring to know that women continue to spend their money on underwear, more than half of the ladies polled said they have drawers full of brand new sets, which they have never worn – and never intend to.
Rigby & Peller emphasised the importance of a good fitting service, after finding that a third of women frequently discard a bra immediately after purchase, after getting home and finding their new purchase doesn’t fit properly.
A further 31% have pushed a bra to the back of their wardrobe after realising the underwires dig in, while 20% admit they have never worn lingerie which was bought on impulse.
A spokeswoman for Rigby & Peller said that women are persistently being let down by a lack of knowledge and expertise being offered by retailers on what makes a good bra that not only fits, but suits their lifestyle needs.
“We’re witnessing a pattern where ladies are becoming increasingly disillusioned with purchasing lingerie that doesn’t suit them properly – whether the fit is wrong due to being incorrectly measured in-store, or having selected it themselves only to find the shape doesn’t work within their wardrobes,” the spokesperson added.
“Consequently we’re finding that, despite lingerie being available to purchase from multiple retailers these days, the number of our expert in-store appointments has risen dramatically over the last year as more and more women are actively seeking out specialist advice for accurate guidance on sizing and styling but also to understand the real benefits of their bras.”
Notably, given their bad experiences with ill-suiting lingerie, more than 60% of women admit they don’t own a single item of underwear that makes them feel confident.
And as such, one in 20 women are still wearing a bra they bought over 20 years ago.
More than six in 10 women admit one of the reasons they resort to wearing the same bras day in and day out is because they feel more self-assured when they wear their ‘old faithfuls’.
A further 26% will avoid wearing new underwear which doesn’t support or hold them in properly, while 21% have discarded items which look terrible underneath clothing, either because the colour or pattern shows through.
And while 45% of women feel embarrassed to be wearing underwear which is years old and no longer looks attractive, they’ll resort to wearing if it new purchases end up being disappointing.
A resounding 70% of ladies would rather wear an old grey bra which feels like a second skin than an expensive new purchase which turns out to be uncomfortable.
And while wearing a limited set of bras on rotation has been shown to correlate to badly fitting lingerie, it could also be due in part of a larger trend in which many women are now avoiding bras which encourage too much uplift, plunge or cleavage, preferring to go for the more natural look.
In this survey, 81% of ladies say they don’t like their chest to be on show, and would rather their underwear made them look a nice shape, and most importantly, contained.
A further 50% want their underwear to fit their lifestyle or wardrobing needs – whether this is making them feel confident for a meeting, attractive for a date or motherly when looking after the children.
But researchers also found the average woman finds just 27% of their lingerie wardrobe comfortable, and a quarter of those polled don’t have a single bra which is 100% comfy all of the time.
And while nine in 10 women would like to fill their wardrobes with lingerie which looks and feels amazing, 66% currently find it difficult to tick both boxes.
As a result, 62% would welcome expert advice to help build their underwear collection with pieces which fit well, build their confidence and which they also love.