The Technophile Who Started a Bra Revolution

One day, after spending hours trying on bras at a department store, Michelle Lam finally had enough. Nothing fit. “The experience was so miserable. I developed body dysmorphia all of a sudden,” says the co-founder of True&Co., her science-meets-design bra store. In the weeks after, ultimately emboldened by her experience, she had to do something. So the enterprising Lam decided she needed to, as she puts it, “figure out if there is an algorithm for your boobs.”

As it turns out, there wasn’t—so she decided to create one. Any woman who enters True&Co.’s site is asked to take a confidential survey, which Lam created after observing a host of expert, old-school bra fitters. She and an early tech team used these findings to create the first algorithm, which they continually evolve based on customer feedback.

“From that quiz, we’ve identified 6,000 different body types!” marvels Lam. (The former finance whiz left her East Coast job at Bain Capital Ventures to move, jobless, with her husband to San Francisco, where she founded the company.) “Most bras are made to fit breasts with a full curvature. That’s only 28 percent of women.”

“If you look at the intimate-apparel industry,” she adds, “most of it is led by the gender that does not wear the product.” But on her site, the lingerie offerings—which include True&Co.’s original designs—evolves with these statistical findings. To date, more than 500,000 women have come to True&Co. for this expertise.

As Lam can attest, a comfy bra can have an uplifting effect on how you present yourself, even on top of your intimate apparel. “When I worked in conservative, male-dominated industries, I had an entire closet of black dresses,” she explains. “Now that I’m in a more creative place, I’ve really expanded my color vocabulary. I’m stepping up that risk-taking element.”

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