I’ve been getting pretty deep into the weeds on some of our recent topics, so here’s a simple one. I can’t stand bonded edges on bras.
At Grail, we’re constantly looking at new bra styles and evaluating them as potential additions to our inventory. The decision to bring a bra into our shop comes after a careful evaluation of fit characteristics (ideally wear-tested by staff), style features, size range, construction quality, price point accessibility, and a hundred other factors. Over time, though, I’ve learned that there a few things that will pretty much disqualify a style immediately in my eyes. Hard Pass. Dealbreaker.
The first dealbreaker is bonded edges. This is when the part of the bra that folds over the top of the cups at the neckline, or at the top/bottom of the band, is glued instead of stitched together. Technically, the bonding process involves heat and pressure as well as an adhesive, but the result is just never as strong as a sewn edge. Bonded, or “seamless” edges on undergarments have the advantage of laying very smooth and mostly invisibly under clothes in areas where seams would otherwise create ridges and textures. The tradeoff for this, however, is durability. When you’re talking about bonding on the inside of a bra, there’s just no defensible justification for it. It’s a cost-cutting measure, pure and simple, and the sign of a low-quality garment. These edges always separate, and I mean always. This often happens long before any other part of the bra even begins to show wear. I can’t begin to tell you how often we get used bras donated to our Bra Bank program that look almost perfect until you notice that the bonded edges have come apart. Unfortunately, at that point, there’s really nothing that can save the bra. What a waste. 😕
Recently, a brand comped our staff a couple of bra samples to try out first-hand. This looked like a decent enough bra:
Then, I noticed that it had bonded edges…
… which literally failed the third time I put it on. I hadn’t even washed it yet. Oof.
At Grail, we never want to sell you a product that sucks. That’s why bonded edges are a hard pass. If you want your bras to last, we suggest you avoid them as well.