A peek into the ladies lingerie sector
There's a good reason why lingerie was originally called Foundation Wear; it's the vital base helping to form any fashion silhouette. Consider the stark contrast between corseted Victorian women and the emancipated women of the 1920's -30's.
Fit is all in the lingerie market (at least it should be). Body shaping solutions known as 'Control Wear' now saturate the market at all levels.
Body Shape Variations
For anyone who has not studied lingerie theory, fifty women of the same bra size could be compared and no two would be the same and only a tiny percentage would be symmetrical.
Industry experts stress the value of aiming product at a market sector and keeping consistency of fit rather than trying to design a range that would be all things to all customers.
There is also a move towards customers seeking a 'Comfort Fit' which could also be described as a 'general fit' favoured by larger retailers such as M & S and the supermarkets. Brands usually favour a more specific tailored shape which their customers identify with and repeat purchase.
Core sizes (32-38 A-D)
The average bra size in the 1960's was 34B compared to the average size now which is 36D.
Many companies, particularly brands stock only core sizes in most of their ranges.
Plus sizes (DD upwards) -This is a rapidly growing market as UK ladies have become larger but research and fit are not as well established. Each company is using a different fit dependent on how they want the profile of their bra to appear.
I believe that any designer would benefit from studying lingerie as it is an excellent design discipline which would help a designer understand good fit. There are many specialised contour courses at De Montfort University in Leicester.
Last year I studied on a short, professional course which I would definitely recommend to you if you want to have a closer look at this product area.
This is an example of one of the courses offered http://www.dmu.ac.uk/business-services/professional-short-courses/intimate-apparel/bra-pattern-cutting-grading-and-sewing.aspx
There's much more to say about lingerie...I believe that it's a very interesting and challenging product area given that our body shapes are so varied and changing...