Brassiere (bra) is a timeless item that has been with women for ages. It is like a jewel box that jealously cherishes the femininity inside ¡V we consider it as the symbol of passion. Nowadays, bra is a type of fashion getting restless for something new. There are dozens of bras types to fit a female consumer¡¦s taste, need, style, size and particular occasion. Types such as push-up bras, full-coverage bras, maternity bras, sport bras, underwire and no underwire bras have made popular focuses on the upper torso of a woman, therefore, to most female consumers, an extravagant waste of cash is no doubt to be spent for this product.
The number of consumers spending dollars for such miraculous wear is increasing rapidly. Based on the research from Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor, ¡§68.4% of female consumers, the highest to date, said they would not sacrifice comfort for fashion, an increase of 6.4 points over the same year ago period.¡¨ (CottonInc., 2005) It is the purpose of this analysis to investigate the individual perception and psychological factors that affect those shoppers and style queens in buying this product.
In the first years of the century, the only acceptable undergarment was a corset stiffened with whaleback bones that underwent a certain degree of relaxation. Corsets moved downwards at the beginning of 1930s. Women and European women in particular, were positively electrified by the influence of new fashions such as the tango, and began to dress and deport themselves in ways that brought out their personalities. Mary Phelps Jacob was the first to patent a device that was lightweight, soft and separated the breasts naturally. After several decades of innovations, a bra can now make an average outfit outstanding as well as provides protection from elemental forces.
In fact, the world we are now living in is within a perpetual state of rapid change. Remember when underwear was first worn as outerwear? The two categories are merging and becoming almost indistinguishable, in an age when our society is increasingly future-oriented and the boundaries between lingerie, leisurewear and sportswear are correspondingly flexible.
Fig.1 Brassiere products from Triumph (www.triumph.com)
An individual has many needs and desires at anytime. According to Sigmund Freud and Abraham Maslow, ¡§a need becomes a motive when it is aroused to a sufficient level of intensity. A motive (or drive) is a need that is sufficiently pressing to direct the person to seek satisfaction.¡¨ (Kotler, Brown, Adam & Armstrong, 2004) The driving force within a woman that impels her to buy a bra is simple ¡V to obtain a fitted bra to shape her upper torso in a better way. As the woman¡¦s need is satisfied, she tends to move on to higher goal achievement such as obtaining various types of bras to suit her different purposes.
¡§Maslow¡¦s ¡§hierarchy of needs¡¨ (Fig.2) is based on the assumption that people will seek to satisfy their most pressing needs first¡¨ (John O¡¦Shanghnessy, 1992). In order of importance, they are physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and self-actualisation needs. Nowadays, the fashion market is transforming into a global market, presenting our designers with a mass of new influences and sources of inspiration. Cultural and fashion influences from the Asian countries are exploding at the same rate as their interest in Western fashion trends combines with their own traditions, values and styles. Female consumers purchase goods such as bras not only to fulfil their basic and comfort needs but to fulfil their self-esteem needs at the same time. Self-esteem refers to the ¡§value an individual attributes to various facets of his person.¡¨ (Brian Sternthal, 1992) For example, women wear tremendous sexy and gorgeous bras for their husband. They search for the greatest of cover-ups...