Choosing an outfit each day can be a challenge, as many of us know only too well.
But deciding on underwear seems more straightforward. For despite having drawers full of different styles, nearly a third of women wear only two of their bras.
A survey by the Queen’s corsetiere, Rigby & Peller, found that many gravitate towards their tried and tested favourites day in, day out, reluctant to take a risk with something new.
More than half of the 2,000 women questioned even admitted that their drawers were full of new lingerie which they never intended to wear.
Six in ten claimed they felt more self-assured in their “old faithfuls”, as newly purchased bras ran the risk of being unsupported. A resounding 70 per cent said they would rather wear an old grey bra that felt like a second skin than an expensive new one which turned out to be uncomfortable.
Rigby & Peller, which was founded in 1939, said many women have drawers full of unwearable bras because they have been incorrectly measured.
A spokeswoman for the company said: “Women are persistently being let down by a lack of knowledge and expertise being offered by retailers on what makes a good bra that not only fits, but suits their lifestyle needs.
“We’re witnessing a pattern where ladies are becoming increasingly disillusioned with purchasing lingerie that doesn’t suit them properly – whether the fit is wrong due to being incorrectly measured in-store, or having selected it themselves only to find the shape doesn’t work within their wardrobes.
“Consequently we’re finding that, despite lingerie being available to purchase from multiple retailers these days, the number of our expert in-store appointments has risen dramatically over the last year.
“More and more women are actively seeking out specialist advice for accurate guidance on sizing and styling but also to understand the real benefits of their bras.”
Further findings of the survey include that a third of women had immediately discarded a bra they had just bought after discovering it didn’t fit when they got home.
But the survey revealed that when women eventually found a bra which fitted correctly, the garments stood the test of time, with three in 10 wearing the same two pieces of underwear for over 10 years.
Five per cent were reluctant to throw out a bra they had purchased over 20 years ago.
While wearing a limited set of bras on rotation has been shown to correlate to badly fitting lingerie, it could also be due in part of a larger trend in which many women are now avoiding bras which encourage too much uplift, plunge or cleavage, preferring to go for the more natural look.
Researchers also found the average woman finds just 27 per cent of their lingerie wardrobe comfortable, and a quarter of those polled don’t have a single bra which is comfortable all of the time.
And while nine in 10 women in the survey said they would like to fill their wardrobes with lingerie which both looks and feels amazing, over half felt that they had to sacrifice one preference for the other.
The spokeswoman for Rigby & Peller added: “Unfortunately, the truth is bras don’t last forever – they do have a lifespan.
“This research highlights the importance of having regular lingerie fittings to ensure you’re getting the most from your lingerie.
“The danger of wearing two bras on rotation for a lengthy period is you risk losing fundamental qualities of your bra, like support, over time.
“Plus, technology and trends are constantly evolving meaning bras that you may have had 10 years ago are certainly not the same as today.”
By Alexander Ward