Cage bra. Harness bra. A bra with a more complex strap configuration over the shoulder and/or on the back band. A look that has been growing in recent years. Seemingly at once, two events brought this style to the forefront for me.
While visiting the EXPOSED: A History of Lingerie at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the graduates majoring in Intimate Apparel had their work on display in the lobby (See above). All five students incorporated some version of the cage bra. Their work is exceptional, perhaps a hopeful foretelling of the future of the industry and market. And the ubiquitous Victoria’s Secret has introduced a collection called Very Sexy, using all kinds straps and configurations in a variety of different styles.
What of this trend? Fad or mainstay? I spoke with some local retailers for their perspective. The schools of thought ranged from simple newness to bondage themed lingerie. Some motivating factors for this trend:
- Exposed strap trend brings focus to more interesting straps
- Fashion-driven, innerwear as outerwear look
- Fifty Shades of Grey brought bondage to forefront
Some retailers think this is a simple matter of runway looks being mass marketed. Which, now that the look is in all the biggest markets, signals the end.
Others feel the look allows the adventurous to explore sexuality in an innocent way and, thus, will always maintain a constant market share.
In any case, this look is a far cry from the nude, molded t-shirt bra which continues to dominate the market. And that’s exactly the point. Lingerie is a perfect means for self-expression. And there are times one feels like wearing underwear that comes with installation instructions. Enjoy yourself. And, by that, I mean enjoy your self.