The influence of ageing on bra preferences and self-perception of breasts among mature women

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The ageing process has both psychological and physiological effects on women, and tactical choices are often made regarding beauty interventions to mask the outward signs of increasing age. The bra is believed to counteract the negative effects of ageing on the breast and alter the perceptions of one’s body. Due to the profound anatomical changes to the breast with increasing age, this paper aimed to examine the influence of ageing on women’s perceptions of their breasts and their bra preferences. 208 women aged 45–65 years were surveyed about their breasts, their bras and how they felt ageing may have influenced these. The findings showed 80 % of women surveyed had noticed a significant change in their breasts with ageing, just 7 % of the women surveyed were still proud of their breasts and 84 % of women dressed to look younger. Further, over 50 % of respondents would now not wear the bra they had worn in their twenties, indicating a change in bra preferences with age. The bra variables of primary importance to participants were: comfort, the bra’s ability to stay in place, optimal fit, appearance under clothing, support, discreetness, shoulder strap design, silhouette, breast shape, fabric and breast lift. These variables are perceived as being influential in the appropriateness of the bra and its social role for mature women; therefore, it is these bra variables that should be the focus of subsequent research regarding the optimisation of bras for women aged 45–65 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-240
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Issue number3
Early online date26 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


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