Time to celebrate! It’s been 90 years since Marks & Spencer’s very first bra went on sale. Back then, women just wanted to stop their breasts jiggling about. Today, they want a lot more than that. We asked these women to share their needs, so we could find the bras that they should be wearing from the brand.
Samantha Khoo, 27, public relations manager.
“I’m pretty small, so it’s not always easy to get the right size and fit for a smooth silhouette. I need a versatile range of lingerie styles that cater to my lifestyle. For instance, I have many off-theshoulder tops, so I need strapless bras that stay up. When I train with weights, I go for stylish and comfortable sports bras that provide good support without being constricting.”
Lingerie To Try.
Padded Multiway Bra, $59.90 for a pack of two.
Sumptuously Soft High Impact Zip Front Padded Sports Bra, $79.90.
Isabella Floral Lace Brazilian Knickers, $15.90.
Extra High Impact Zip Front Non-wired Sports Bra, $89.90.
Perfect Fit Memory Foam Padded Strapless Bra, $79.90.
Marks & Spencer: Ninety years of lingerie expertise
Evolution of the bra
Marks & Spencer (M&S) started selling lingerie, including cotton hose and its first bra with two triangles, an underband and adjustable straps. It only came in one size.
By Christmas that year, corsetry, uplifting bras and slinky nightwear were all the rage.
The brand became the first British retailer to have its own research laboratory to develop new fabrics and test merchandise for optimal quality.
M&S held its first lingerie fashion show.
Jerraine Teo, 35, executive.
“Durability is very important. I look for quality lingerie that keeps its shape and has a reasonable price tag. When I find a design that fits well, is comfortable and provides good support, I tend to stick to it.”
Lingerie To Try.
Total Support All-over Fleur Lace Non-Wired Bra, $49.90.
Superhold Non-wired Padded Strapless Bra, $79.90.
Smoothlines No VPL Lace Low Rise Shorts, $15.90.
2-tone Floral Lace Full Cup Bra, $39.90.
Padded Underwired Full Cup T-shirt Bra, $49.90 for a pack of two.
Comfort Lace High Rise Shorts, $15.90.
Cup sizes – small, medium and large – came out.
Nylon corselettes for full-body shaping were launched.
Lycra was introduced in girdles because it was soft, easy to wash and lighter than other fabrics.
Marks & Spencer adopted international cup sizes, ranging from A to DD.
The hugely popular Trellis Lace collection sold more than a million pieces in under 18 months.
Michelle Yow-Davidson, 37, marketing manager.
“In the fifth month of my pregnancy, I developed eczema. Hormonal changes made my skin more sensitive to certain fabrics, especially lace and scratchy cotton. Now, I only buy lingerie made of non-irritating, breathable materials. I’m thinking about nursing bras, but those in the market look dated. I want something more fashionable.”
Lingerie To Try
Maternity Cotton Rich Spotted Non- Wired Nursing Bra, $99.90 for a pack of two.
Cotton Rich Padded T-shirt Full Cup Bra, $49.90 for a pack of two.
Maternity Seamfree Padded Full Cup Nursing Bra, $99.90 for a pack of two.
Maternity Spacer Non- Wired T-shirt Nursing Bra, $99.90 for a pack of two.
Sporty underwear styles in plain and striped cotton hit the stores.
The petite-size lingerie range for a smaller figure typical of Asians was launched in Hong Kong.
The Secret Support line gave one the option to go braless. Its innovative shaping and support technology that enhanced the bust or slimmed the waist was also used in the brand’s T-shirts, tops and swimwear.
The M&S Two Cup Sizes Bigger Push-up Bra was introduced. It was such a hit that it had a waiting list of 1,600 people soon after it launched.
Vanice Law, 43, stay-at-home mum.
“I don’t usually buy full-cup bras as they tend to show under my clothes. Although the other styles don’t provide a lot of support, I compromise by going for those with a thicker underband. But one criterion I cannot let go of is style. My lingerie has to be beautiful.”
Lingerie To Try.
Historical Romance Embroidered Bodice Balcony Bra, $109.90.
Perfect Fit Memory Foam Padded Full Cup T-shirt Bra, $69.90.
Rosie For Autograph Silk & Lace Padded Plunge Bra, $79.90.
Isabella Grown on Printed Midi Knickers, $15.90.
Historical Romance Embroidered Thong, $49.90.
Sumptuously Soft Plunge T-shirt Bra, $59.90.
The Rosie for Autograph collection debuted, and became the fastest-selling collection in the company’s history.
Marks & Spencer continues to create innovative products like the Infin High Impact Non-Padded Full Cup Sports Bra with a special support section within the cups for greater support and less bounce.
Scan here to watch a video montage of the fascinating history of Marks & Spencer’s lingerie.
GET THE PERFECT FIT
1 The underband should be parallel to the ground and secure enough that it only allows two fingers to fit under the elastic band. Signs that it’s the wrong size: It arches upwards on your back or digs into your sides.
2 If you’re wearing an underwire bra, the centre panel between the cups should sit completely flat against your sternum without a gap – and without poking into your skin or leaving red marks. Signs that it’s the wrong size: The bottoms of your breasts peek out from under the bra or the wires overlap between the cups.
3 The side wire should be flat against the ribcage. Signs that it’s the wrong size: It digs into your underarms or into the sides of your breasts.
4 Your breasts should sit fully into the cups without any overflow. Signs that it’s the wrong size: They are bulging at the front and/or sides, there’s a gap at the top of each cup or the cups are loose and wrinkly.
5 The straps should be adjusted to fit two fingers on top of each other to prevent too much pressure on the shoulders. Signs that it’s the wrong size: They constantly fall off your shoulders or leave marks on them.
TRELLIS LACE COLLECTION
Launched in 1972, the Trellis Lace collection was Marks & Spencer’s first style to sell over a million pieces in less than 18 months. To celebrate 90 years of lingerie innovation, M&S revamped and reintroduced the Trellis Lace this year. With its plunge style and pretty criss-cross lace, the Trellis Lace Underwired Non Padded Full Cup Bra ($39.90) has matching knickers ($15.90), and fits right into every woman’s wardrobe.
This limited edition bra is available in magenta, black and almond at all Marks & Spencer stores, while stocks last.
EVERY WOMAN’S LINGERIE KIT
A heart-pumping workout at the gym and a fancy night out with the girls demand very different bra styles. Soozie Jenkinson, head of lingerie, swimwear and active design for M&S, believes every woman needs a versatile lingerie wardrobe to prepare her for any occasion. Here are her must-haves:
• The get-up and go T-shirt bra Great for everyday wear, the Smoothlines Soft Plunge T-shirt Bra offers great support with its extra soft cups, straps and fastening details to create a smooth silhouette under clingy fabrics.
• The strapless bra Off-the-shoulder tops are all the rage, so you need a bra that stays put. Marks & Spencer carries a great selection of strapless bras that promise a “super hold”.
• The sports bra This design is not strictly gym-bound. Thanks to the athleisure trend, sporty designs are being worn as stylish everyday bras. Developed to eliminate bounce, and to support your breasts, M&S sports bras are perfect for both high and low-impact activities. Choose from a wide range made for different sporting intensities.
• The innerwear-as-outerwear option Sometimes lingerie is just too beautiful to cover up. From shapewear and sexy camis to the brand’s Light Control Lace Armwear, lingerie-inspired looks are enjoying another fashion moment.
• The special-occasion bra Wearing sexy matching underwear for a hot date or a dressy event can send your confidence through the roof – and make you feel sexy, too! Pick something beautiful from the Autograph and Rosie for Autograph ranges, which are made with luxurious silk fabrics, French designed lace and gorgeous embroidery.
Exclusive for Simply Her readers
Spend $60 and above on regular-priced bras, and get a free pair of knickers worth $15.90! Simply flash this page at any Marks & Spencer store to enjoy this promotion from now until Oct 31, 2016. Offer while stocks last. Log on to www.facebook.com/MarksandSpencerSingapore for store location details.