The world is witnessing an epoch in women’s history—an empathetic and mindful global shift through which women are emboldened by acceptance for both themselves and those around them, even devoid of self-denial and punitive beauty regimes. But it’s a transformative movement in flux. And women are still bemoaning breasts, especially with age.
Nevertheless, to capitalize on the revolution, Triumph, a global leader in lingerie and shapewear since 1886, recently commissioned pan-European research and released its Female Confidence Report 2016 in conjunction with the launch of the Magic Boost collection—the Lift-Up, Push-Up and Shape-Up bras—designed to help 1.5 million women worldwide in 2016 “find the one” perfectly fitted bra and reclaim their shapes despite life’s natural changes to busts.
“These days, more women are getting appropriately fitted, but there are still women all over the world wearing the wrong size,” Triumph’s US marketing director, Mona Esphahani, told Her Report. “It is the fit that is important and not the size. If you are wearing currently a 34B, chances are you may be a 32C, it all depends on the fit. Ideally, it is best to get measured by a professional salesperson, and not just once, but periodically as our bra size changes with weight gain or loss, aging, etc.”
The brand’s research, which is the first of its kind, explores how cultural forces impact the attitudes of women in their 30s and 40s towards their breasts. The researchers surveyed over 6,000 women aged 18 to 50 through a bespoke quantitative study across the UK, France, Poland, Denmark, Germany and Italy. The results divulge telling truths about properly fitted bras: Women who wear them typically have higher levels of confidence than those who don’t. Italian women, in particular, rank the most self-assured.
In fact, body image has a net negative impact on confidence across most of Europe, whereas, in Italy, as well as Poland and Germany, it has a net positive impact. That’s because women in Italy (69 percent) put the most effort into finding the right bra in addition to knowing their size and getting regular fittings. Consequently, they reap the biggest benefits in regard to confidence in their décolletages.
“It’s important to love your body and breasts regardless of shape or size, then to be able to say, ‘This is me and, therefore, I deserve nice lingerie, because I feel good about myself,’” Maria Rotkiel, psychotherapist and media personality in Poland, wrote in the report.
And most women in their 30s 40s, or about eight out of 10, did say they felt good about themselves—compared to 72 percent in their 20s.
“Only mature women towards their 40s trust themselves and believe in themselves. Younger women in their 20s are less assertive. They allow themselves to be shouted down,” wrote Rotkiel.
Nathalie Le Breton, French television journalist and writer at Les Maternelles in France added, “With age and experience, women start discovering themselves differently and feel better in themselves.” She cited motherhood, which is often associated with this age demographic, as an enriching human experience. And, indeed, more mothers than non-mothers report overall confidence.
But while women feel positively about their families, careers, friends and love lives as they delve into their 30s and 40s, less than one in two women reported feeling good about their bodies.
The top three sources of insecurity for women in general include the pressure to “have it all,” a youth-focused visual culture and extended pressure for vitality as science pushes the limits of fertility.
63 percent of mothers expressed discontent in the sagging of their breasts since childbirth. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that 62 percent of mothers would consider a “mummy makeover,” including a tummy tuck, breast augmentation and/or a breast lift if cost wasn’t a barring concern.
But as women grow older, they’re evermore dissatisfied with the perkiness of their breasts, regardless of whether or not they’ve had children. 41 percent of women in their 30s and 45 percent of those in their 40s reported missing the natural lift they had at a younger age. Just 26 percent of women in their 30s and 23 percent in their 40s considered their breasts to be “the perfect shape,” compared to 32 percent in their 20s—which is still an alarmingly low number.
Six in 10 women said they’ve become less happy with their breasts as they’ve aged. Six in 10 women think their friends are probably more confident than them. And yet only six in 10 women know their bra sizes and only a third have been fitted in the last year; just 10 percent put in the effort to find the right bra. Meanwhile, 73 percent of women agree that they feel more confident when wearing a well-fitted bra.
Though Italian women rank the most confident in regard to their breasts, “the biggest fear for an Italian woman in her 30s is losing her beauty,” wrote Federica Fontana, television sports announcer and model in Italy. “For professional women in Italy there is a high standard of beauty they need to meet. A lot of women in public-facing jobs and those working in the media end up having plastic surgery to stay looking the part.”
As for Danish women, over half view their bodies negatively, which puts 31 percent of them in bad moods and kills the self-esteem of 44 percent of them. Likewise, Germans are inundated with the notion that women must be working mothers and desirable partners with “ideal bodies.” This poses further barriers in women’s lives by getting in the way of career opportunities. Low self-esteem would cost society more than 200,000 highly places employees in 2050 because those individuals will not pursue careers of which they’re capable, according to the report.
“I tell my clients, to make a change in your life, it begins by making a change in the way you feel about your body. When we start to take care of our bodies and love ourselves, it has positive impact on all other aspects of our life. It’s your first step towards happiness—to become the queen of your own body,” Rotkiel wrote.